A race down the grassy hillside,
A scramble and splash at the creek,
A pause at the rugged sliprails,
And a game of hide-and-seek.
A search for the white scrub-lilies
In gullies fern-shaded and cool,
Ah! never the day seemed weary
In the days we went to school.
They go to school now— the children—
O'er a road well-metalled and hard
To a white-washed building standing
In a pleasant, wide play-yard.
They know not the joys and pleasures—
The fun that we used to know
Going to school in the old time,
In the years long, long ago.
The dear old school-house nestled
In a shady forest glade,
It was full of the dancing shadows
The leafy branches made.
And the birds sang gaily around it,
And the creek murmured low beside,
'Neath the scarlet-tasselled ti-trees
That bent to the rushing tide.
And ever the creek is flowing,
And singing the same old song;
And under the blossoming ti-trees
The birds flit all day long.
But the school-house lies in ruins,
And never by hill or lane,
With racing, and noise, and laughter,
Will the scholars come again.
And never again will the children
Tread the shady path to the creek ;
They will never wake the echoes
With their shouts at hide and seek.
They have left their childish studies
And scattered and sundered wide,
They are learning sterner lessons
In the busy world outside
The Worker, 10 December 1898, p11.