Way out in the woods there are brothers who read
By the light of a candle, in Greek,
And in far away places are thousands, indeed,
Who several languages speak.
I have sat near a stove in a queer little store
Where the farmers were gathered, and heard
A learned discussion of classical lore
That my soul with amazement has stirred.
I have looked at rough hands and at storm-weathered cheeks
And imagined their master to be
Uncultured, untutored, as wild as the creeks
That are rushing their way to the sea;
But I’ve found just behind the stern mask that he wears,
In the simplest of style and of dress,
A knowledge of life and a grasp of affairs
That professors don’t always possess.
I blush for the arrogant city man’s ways
Who struts in his pomp and his pride,
And thinks that all wisdom in city walls stays,
And fools in the country abide.
For out in life’s forests and out on its plains,
By the side of her mountains and brooks,
In the roughest of garments are scholars with brains
Who know the inside of their books.
Oh, fool from the city, who views with a sneer
What is not of the city itself!
For what are the things that you seem to revere
But the glint and the glitter of pelf?
You are warped with conceit and are prejudice-blind,
And you know not the truth of the earth,
That wherever men labor there always you’ll find
The things that are really of worth.