Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VALEDICTORY ADDRESS, by ROYALL TYLER

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A VALEDICTORY ADDRESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I dare to say you all do wonder
Last Line: And so I make my manners.
Alternate Author Name(s): Old Simon; S.
Subject(s): Schools; Students

Delivered in the Bank Hall, Brattleboro' East Village, at the
Quarterly Examination of Miss PECK'S Select School.
by Thomas Pickman Tyler, -- (Aged Eight Years.)

I DARE to say you all do wonder
How our good Ma'am, who is so wise,
With taste so pure, and judgement nice,
Shall commit so sad a blunder,
As, 'gainst all reason, rhyme and rule,
To make me mouthpiece of the School:
Perhaps she thought that I might show
How well her very worst might do;
At any rate, shine or not shine,
The praise, or blame, be hers, not mine.
As for myself, in some snug corner,
I'd rather sit, like brave Jack Horner,
And with my thumb, like Jack so sly,
Pluck out the plums from the Christmas pie;
For in my mouth plums are much sweeter
Than finest words of prose or metre --
But Ma'am commands, and I obey,
For she holds here a sovereign sway;
Shall I a little rebel prove,
When govern'd by her law of love?

Now, if your patience will prevail,
Indulge me, and I'll tell a tale.
"Oh, dear Mama, pray let me see
What you have in your hand for me --
Some almonds, raisins, nuts, or figs,
Or peppermints, or sugar pigs?"
Thus William to his mother said,
As she her opening palm display'd,
And show'd to his disgusted eyes
Some shrivel'd things of dwarfish size,
Dark as the sweepings of some room,
Which long had mourn'd the absent broom.
"I don't want them," said pouting Will,
"They're neither fit for food or play,
They look as bad as Doctor's pills,
Do throw the dingy things away."
"Poor simple child," Mamma replied,
"Know you despise the garden's pride;
For from these shrivel'd dwarfish things,
The glory of the garden springs:
True, cast these seeds in the high way,
And they no glory will display;
But plant them in the garden fair,
Beneath the gardener's fostering care,
Nurtur'd and cultur'd, each will bloom
And shed its richest, best perfume:
Not he, so fam'd in scripture story,
Great Solomon, in all his glory,
Was ere so deck'd the eye to please,
Or ere array'd like one of these:
And Education is defined,
The horticulture of the mind;
The mental buds, by its kind care,
Unfold their petals to the air,
Prepar'd by bland instruction given,
To shine on Earth or bloom in Heaven."

Thus ends my tale -- and now I pray
Let me apply it my own way.

Kind Patrons, who here condescend
Our exhibition to attend,
Think not these benches now sustain
Of Girls and Boys a simple train,
But that within our classic bowers,
You see a rich parterre of flowers,
Of buds and blossoms, tendrils -- shoots,
Springing from intellectual roots;
Your fancies sure you need not strain,
To change to flowers our female train.

See Ellen there her bloom disclose,
Say, is she not a blushing Rose?
In sweet Sophia you may ken,
A sister rose of the same stem,
While in Miss Fanny's form you trace,
The aspiring Tulip's airy grace;
Her little namesake sure will tally,
With the sweet Lily of the Valley.
The China Aster's varied dye,
Bright Sarah's mental powers imply,
And in Elizabeth we view,
The snowy Lily's Virgin hue;
The golden Panza, may, I fancy,
Portray our modest, pensive Nancy;
In fair Calista's beauteous face,
We may the bright Carnation trace;
In graceful Helen's air you see,
The very Pink of courtesy:
Do you the Rose of Sharon prize,
On our Lucretia cast your eyes;
Would the pale Serenga seek,
Mark gentle Anna's snowy cheek;
The Amaranthus well may be,
Sweet little Gurtrude named for thee;
And sure the gay, sweet scented Pea,
May tipify fair Emily.

Our Marys too, as bright a knot
As ever deck'd a maiden's bower;
One is Jonquil, a Snow drop one,
And one a lovely, sweet wild flower.

Elizabeth -- her sister Jane,
Are buds that one day will expand:
Soon as their spring is on the wane,
They'll bloom the glory of the land.

Sweet Lucy is a bright Moss-pink,
As ever flash'd its tints before ye,
And Henrietta is, I think
You'll all allow, a Morning Glory.

Our bright Eliza, I'll not name,
But rather wish you'd tax your powers,
Provided you with care select
Her emblem from the fairest flowers.

In our cold, bleak and northern air,
We have few flowers that may compare
With sweet Belinda's speaking face,
Or harriet's form, or Julia's grace.

There is a fine, attractive flower,
By botanists called Mignionette,
Which I pronounce, by fancy's power,
Shall give the name to Mariette.

Come, Maia, from thy sylvan bowers,
Queen of gay tints and frolic fancies --
Come, bring thy best bo[u] quette of flowers,
The finest type for brilliant Frances.

Yet there's one favorite, pretty Miss,
Whose given name I've most forgot;
But you may find her out by this,
Her Lin[n] ean name -- Forget-me-not.

Perhaps within our flowery set,
You'll ask, if we have not some Nett --
No -- no -- not Nettles, that's not right;
We have no plants so impolite.
Perchance we have, if you require,
Some pretty sprigs of Sweet, Sweet-briar.
But what are then you boys -- you'll cry,
Have you no flowers to name them by?
Why boys, as boys, are well enough,
And you may call us Garden Stuff;
For if with our associates fair,
You should for once us boys compare,
Besides the jonquil, pink, and rose,
We dwindle to -- Potatoe Blows.
Now if within our Garden fair
You find aught lovely, good or rare,
To our Instructress give the praise;
Our dear Instructress crown with Bays
For to her kind, judicious care,
We gratefully owe all we are.

Nor would we now forget what's due
Most Honored Patroness to you,
To nurse these buds to opening flowers,
Needs genial suns, and fostering showers:
All these your favor has supply'd, --
To you we owe our garden's pride,
You have the seeds of science sown
And when in life our buds are blown.
Then -- then, we'll own the gen'rous deeds,
And bless the hand which sow'd the seeds.

And now, kind friends, I pray excuse
My falterings and my stammers --
Respectfully I take my leave,
And so I make my manners.

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