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Dunce

 At school I never gained a prize,
Proving myself the model ass;
Yet how I watched the wistful eyes,
And cheered my mates who topped the class.
No envy in my heart I found, Yet bone was worthier to own Those precious books in vellum bound, Than I, a dreamer and a drone.
No prize at school I ever gained (Shirking my studies, I suppose): Yes, I remember being caned For lack of love of Latin prose.
For algebra I won no praise, In grammar I was far from bright: Yet, oh, how Poetry would raise In me a rapture of delight! I never gained a prize at school; The dullard's cap adorned my head; My masters wrote me down a fool, And yet - I'm sorry they are dead.
I'd like to go to them and say: "Yours is indeed a tricky trade.
My honoured classmates, where are they? Yet I, the dunce, brave books have made.
" Oh, I am old and worn and grey, And maybe have not long to live; Yet 'tis my hope at some Prize Day At my old school the Head will give A tome or two of mine to crown Some pupil's well-deserved success - Proving a scapegrace and a clown May win at last to worthiness.

by Robert William Service
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