Two schoolboys on their way to school
I day by day was meeting;
Yet tho' I met them day by day,
We each and all pursued our way
Nor changed a friendly greeting.
At last I got to nod and smile,
To smile they, too, were willing;
And then I used to stop and stand,
And often shake them by the hand,
And sometimes tip a shilling.
Till it became a daily treat
To meet these morning scholars:
I loved to see their merry looks,
Tho' schoolward bound, with bag of books,
Bright cheeks, and shining collars.
Soon came the summer holidays,
And when they were half over,
I took a trip to Germany,
And three months passed away ere
I Recrossed the Straits of Dover.
Again I took that old, old walk,
What time the leaves were yellow;
The autumn day was very still —
Just at the bottom of the hill
I met one little fellow.
He hailed me with a joyful cry
Of joyfulest delectation:
I laughed to see him laughing so, —
"But where's our friend?" "What! don't you know?
He died in the vacation."
How was it that I turned aside,
With rough, abruptest bearing?
No matter; on the instant I
Turned off, nor even said, "Good-bye,"
And left the youngster staring.