O, MASTER, no more of your lessons!
For a season we bid them good by,
And turn to the manifold teachings
Of ocean, and forest, and sky.
We must plunge into billow and breaker;
The fields we must ransack anew;
And again must the sombre woods echo
The glee of our merry-voiced crew.
From teacher’s and preacher’s dictation—
From all the dreaded lore of the books—
Escaped from the thraldom of study,
We turn to the babble of brooks;
We hark to the field-minstrels’ music,
The lowing of herds on the lea,
The surge of the winds in the forest,
The roar of the storm-angered sea.
To the tree-tops we’ll climb with the squirrels;
We will race with the brooks in the glens;
The rabbits we’ll chase to their burrows;
The foxes we’ll hunt to their dens;
The woodchucks, askulk in their caverns,
We’ll visit again and again;
And we’ll peep into every bird’s nest
The copses and meadows contain.
For us are the blackberries ripening
By many a moss-covered wall;
There are bluehats enough in the thickets
To furnish a treat for us all;
In the swamps there are ground-nuts in plenty;
The sea-sands their titbits afford;
And, O, most delectable banquet,
We will feast at the honey-bee’s board!
O, comrades, the graybeards assure us
That life is a burden of cares;
That the highways and byways of manhood
Are fretted with pitfalls and snares.
Well, school-days have their tribulations;
Their troubles, as well as their joys.
Then give us vacation forever,
If we must forever be boys!