An old teacher sat in a reverie deep,
He whistled a tune though soft and meek,
Then he gazed into by-gone days,
And many the lad passed before his face.

He saw himself there, tall, sturdy and strong,
Teaching the young hearts right from wrong,
In a dusty old schoolroom, where many the lad,
Learned to read, to write, and to add,

He knew them as babies, he knew them as boys,
He saw them clasping old rusty toys,
And then he saw them as soldier lads,
Going off to battle, smiling though sad,

Some of his pupils in far away lands,
Preaching the Gospel to pagan gangs,
Many the youth he taught how to trod,
One day to become a good priest of God.

Ah! those were the days of sadness and joy,
Many the frown heartbreak and sigh,
Slowly the knowledge crept into each cell,
He smiled when he saw the little brains swell.

Though old are they now, perhaps neath the clay,
To him they are still the wee lads bright and gay,
Each face he can see, each brow he beholds,
As they sat there together in good days of old.

The small pretty lassies have all passed away,
Their children now shyly bid him Good-day.
A warm tear slowly flows down his pale cheek,
His poor heart gives way to its last mighty beat.

Down from the Master of Masters there came,
Hundreds of saints in gallant array,
The old teacher knew them – each happy brow,
Still the same faces though happier now.

The old Master now is sitting in state,
His hard work is over, bliss is his fate,
Sitting around him again he beholds
The souls that he moulded in good days of old.

Ah! great is the call of a teacher in life,
A difficult strain to mould a young mind
But greater by far, the ever lasting reward
Which awaits the lone master, when called by the Lord,

Copyright Máiréad Tuohy Duffy (C)2004