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3 Comments

  1. I’ve always greatly enjoyed this poem, but I never really understood it. I think I do a little better now that I’m older and re-read it, but I think it would make even more sense if I was old enough to know exactly what a copybook is, or was.

  2. Dear PP,

    I couldn’t quite figure it out either, so I looked it up on Wikipedia (which is always the answer – ha!). Anyway, here’s what it said:

    “The central message of the poem is that basic and unvarying aspects of human nature will always re-emerge in every society. The copybook headings to which the title refers were proverbs or maxims printed at the top of 19th century British schoolboys’ notebook pages. The students had to write them by hand repeatedly down the page.”

    Hope that is helpful. =)

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