Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/Early School

First published in Out of School at Eton, and later included in Lapsus Calami. In the third edition "Early School" is preceded by "A Thought" and followed by "An Election Address".

Early School

If there is a vile, pernicious,
Wicked and degraded rule,
Tending to debase the vicious,
And corrupt the harmless fool;
If there is a hateful habit
Making man a senseless tool,
With the feelings of a rabbit,
And the wisdom of a mule:
It's the rule which inculcates,
It's the habit which dictates,
The wrong and sinful practice of going into school.

If there's anything improving
To an erring sinner's state,
Which is useful in removing
All the ills of human fate:
If there's any glorious custom
Which our faults can dissipate,
And can casually thrust 'em
Out of sight, and make us great:
It's the plan by which we shirk
Half our matutinal work,
The glorious institution of always being late.