“How oft in schoolboy-days, from the school’s sway”

&
from Sonnets, Second Series

XXIX

How oft in schoolboy-days, from the school’s sway
Have I run forth to Nature as to a friend,—
With some pretext of o’erwrought sight, to spend
My school-time in green meadows far away!
Careless of summoning bell, or clocks that strike,
I marked with flowers the minutes of my day:
For still the eye that shrank from hated hours,
Dazzled with decimal and dividend,
Knew each bleached alder-root that plashed across
The bubbling brook, and every mass of moss;
Could tell the month, too, by the vervain-spike,—
How far the ring of purple tiny flowers
Had climbed; just starting, may-be, with the May,
Half-light, or tapering off at Summer’s end.

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