After Phoebe Cary, after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Tell me not, in scolding shouts,
    Education is an empty dream,
For the brain is dead that doubts,
    And things are not what they seem.

Married life is real, earnest ;
    Though one must not forget to learn ;
Taken from love, to love returnest,
    It has been spoken and you yearn —

For enlightenment and wisdom,
    To each destined end or way ;
But you must be bright and winsome
    In pursuit of graduation-day.

School is long, and love is fleeting,
    But our brains, they ache for lore,
Still, our souls deserve a-treating
    Of love and knowledge, an open door —

To the world’s broad field of battle,
    To the bivouac of life,
Be not like dumb, drive cattle !
    Be a scholar, and a wife !

Trust no future, howe’er pleasant !
    Let the dead past bury its dead !
Act, — act in the living Present :
    Heart within, a Diploma ahead !

Lives of slothfullness remind us
    We can spend our days the same,
And, departing, leave behind us
    A life unfulfilling, such a shame;—

Such a life, that perhaps another,
    Riding on life’s bumpy train,
Seeing an unmarried brother,
    May choose him o’er training her brain.

Don’t do that !  Be up and doing !
    A good man will want you smart ;
Don’t stop achieving, don’t stop pursuing,
    Labor to learn and follow your heart !


Gina Moriarity is a poet living in Belle Vernon, PA.

Featured Image: “Astronomy,” by James Sant, 1850.

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