Introduction

Oliver Goldsmith’s poetry “The Village Schoolmaster” is a fragment from his well-known poem “The Deserted Village.” The use of the term “village” in the title makes it very evident that the poem is situated in a rural setting, perhaps the speaker’s hometown. The poem expresses the speaker’s thoughts and feelings about a teacher while painting a realistic image. Thomas Byrne, the poet’s instructor, could be the schoolmaster depicted in the poem. The Schoolmaster, who is adored by all the people for his wisdom and love of reading, is described in the poem as having several traits.

About The Poet

Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish author, playwright, dramatist, and poet best known for his plays The Good-Natur’d Man and She Stoops to Conquer as well as his pastoral poetry The Deserted Village.

Theme Of The Poem

The poem is about the headmaster of a village school. The poet discusses several of his eccentricities in this poem. The master combines knowledge and reason with sternness and humour. His students were aware of his good nature and grew to know him well enough to be able to predict his impending rage.

Stanza 1

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way 
With blossom’d furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his mansion, skill’d to rule,
The village master taught his little school;   

In a little village, the local schoolmaster supervises his little institution. The poem opens with a description of the school’s location. A crooked fence that is bending over is located close to the school. Although there are flowers along the road leading to the school, nobody seems to be admiring or appreciating them. The school is described as a “noisy mansion” that listens to the schoolmaster’s rules. The village master conducts his lessons there.

Stanza 2

A man severe he was, and stern to view, 
I knew him well, and every truant knew; 
Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to trace 
The day’s disasters in his morning face;   

Goldsmith was familiar with him and everyone else who was a truant knew that he was a serious man who was tough to gaze. By looking at the teacher’s face, the kids have learned to judge his mood. His forehead is where you can see the trouble of the day.

Stanza 3

Full well they laugh’d with counterfeited glee, 
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he: 
Full well the busy whisper, circling round, 
Convey’d the dismal tidings when he frown’d:  

Although he is disciplined, he is also compassionate and humorous. He cracks lots of jokes. The kids pretend to giggle with joy whenever he cracks a joke. They will let the rest of the class know if they see any signs of rage on his face. 

Stanza 4

 Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught, 
The love he bore to learning was in fault. 
The village all declar’d how much he knew; ‘ 
Twas certain he could write, and cipher too:  

The schoolmaster is a good man in general. If he has a flaw at all, it is his passionate love for knowledge. The locals look up to and respect the schoolmaster. He is praised by everyone in the village for his extensive knowledge. He was good at writing and numbers.

Stanza 5

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage, 
And e’en the story ran that he could gauge. 
In arguing too, the person own’d his skill, 
For e’en though vanquish’d he could argue still;   

He had the ability to forecast weather and tides. It is also considered that he has the ability to accurately scan an area. He is also capable of debating rationally and engaging with the local parson, who is highly regarded by his parishioners.

Stanza 6

While words of learned length and thund’ring sound 
Amazed the gazing rustics rang’d around; 
And still they gaz’d and still the wonder grew, 
That one small head could carry all he knew.

The master would impress the uneducated villagers by using complex phrases and emotive language. The parson acknowledges the master’s knack for debates. The villagers are perplexed as to how his little brain could hold such vast knowledge.