The Master and the Students


(The eleventh of the Black Hole Ballads)

THERE is a master whose name is Ned
And with his supple cane
He makes our brains swim in our head,
While our red hands tingle with pain.

“Have you not wit that is keen?” quoth he,
“Have nought but a bearded brain?
“Though your red hands tingle with pain, I see,
“I will cane you once again.”

He gazed at us students with wrathful eyes,
He stroked our drooping hands;
Each day this was our sacrifice
To cruel Ned’s commands.

“My can has need of these hands of red”
The master said, and smiled.
“Big clumsy tokens all” said Ned,
“Of dull brains like a child!”

“They shall all swell in cane’s delight,
“Chastised with great care;
“And you, upon the sweet skin white
“These livid bruises wear”.

And the master went. In manner gay
We watched him go sans moan.
We knew we would meet him the very next day,
But to-day we were alone!

And who shall toll at what may hap
Between this day and next?
For there were some cared not a scrap
If Uncle Ned were vext.

And ‘mid our bare concealed mirth
The master came next day;
For an angel visited the green green earth
And stole his can away.

July, 1927