The Scarlet Gown Part 1

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The Scarlet Gown.

by R. F. Murray.


St. Andrews, but for its Town Council and its School Board, is a quiet place; and the University, except during the progress of a Rectorial Election, is peaceable and well-conducted. I hope these verses may so far reflect St. Andrews life as to be found pleasant, if not over exciting.

I am able to reprint the verses on 'The City of Golf' by the special courtesy of the Editor of the Review_.

A few explanatory notes are given at the end of the book.



The voice that sings across the night Of long forgotten days and things, Is there an ear to hear aright The voice that sings?

It is as when a curfew rings Melodious in the dying light, A sound that flies on pulsing wings.

And faded eyes that once were bright Brim over, as to life it brings The echo of a dead delight, The voice that sings.


In vain you fervently extol, In vain you puff, your cutty clay.

A twelvemonth smoked and black as coal, 'Tis redolent of rank decay And bones of monks long pa.s.sed away-- A fragrance I do not admire; And so I hold my nose and say, Give me a finely seasoned briar.

Macleod, whose judgment on the whole Is faultless, has been led astray To nurse a high-born meerschaum bowl, For which he sweetly had to pay.

Ah, let him nurse it as he may, Before the colour mounts much higher, The grate shall be its fate one day.

Give me a finely seasoned briar.

The heathen Turk of Istamboul, In oriental turban gay, Delights his unbelieving soul With hookahs, bubbling in a way To fill a Christian with dismay And wake the old Crusading fire.

May no such pipe be mine, I pray; Give me a finely seasoned briar.

Clay, meerschaum, hookah, what are they That I should view them with desire?

Both now, and when my hair is grey, Give me a finely seasoned briar.


Artemis! thou fairest Of the maids that be In divine Olympus, Hail! Hail to thee!

To thee I bring this woven weed Culled for thee from a virgin mead, Where neither shepherd claims his flocks to feed Nor ever yet the mower's scythe hath come.

There in the Spring the wild bee hath his home, Lightly pa.s.sing to and fro Where the virgin flowers grow; And there the watchful Purity doth go Moistening with dew-drops all the ground below, Drawn from a river untaintedly flowing, They who have gained by a kind fate's bestowing Pure hearts, untaught by philosophy's care, May gather the flowers in the mead that are blowing, But the tainted in spirit may never be there.

Now, O Divinest, eternally fair, Take thou this garland to gather thy hair, Brought by a hand that is pure as the air.

For I alone of all the sons of men Hear thy pure accents, answering thee again.

And may I reach the goal of life as I began the race, Blest by the music of thy voice, though darkness ever veil thy face!


Brown was my friend, and faithful--but so fat!

He came to see me in the twilight dim; I rose politely and invited him To take a seat--how heavily he sat!

He sat upon the sofa, where my hat, My wanton Zephyr, rested on its rim; Its build, unlike my friend's, was rather slim, And when he rose, I saw it, crushed and flat.

O Hat, that wast the apple of my eye, Thy brim is bent, six cracks are in thy crown, And I shall never wear thee any more; Upon a shelf thy loved remains shall lie, And with the years the dust will settle down On thee, the neatest hat I ever wore!


Short s.p.a.ce shall be hereafter Ere April brings the hour Of weeping and of laughter, Of suns.h.i.+ne and of shower, Of groaning and of gladness, Of singing and of sadness, Of melody and madness, Of all sweet things and sour.

Sweet to the blithe bucolic Who knows nor cribs nor crams, Who sees the frisky frolic Of lanky little lambs; But sour beyond expression To one in deep depression Who sees the closing session And imminent exams.

He cannot hear the singing Of birds upon the bents, Nor watch the wildflowers springing, Nor smell the April scents.

He gathers grief with grinding, Foul food of sorrow finding In books of dreary binding And drearier contents.

One hope alone sustains him, And no more hopes beside, One trust alone restrains him From shocking suicide; He will not play nor palter With hemlock or with halter, He will not fear nor falter, Whatever chance betide.

He knows examinations Like all things else have ends, And then come vast vacations And visits to his friends, And youth with pleasure yoking, And joyfulness and joking, And smilingness and smoking, For grief to make amends.


Sweetheart, that thou art fair I know, More fair to me Than flowers that make the loveliest show To tempt the bee.

When other girls, whose faces are, Beside thy face, As rushlights to the evening star, Deny thy grace,

The Scarlet Gown Part 1

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The Scarlet Gown Part 1 summary

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