The Scarlet Gown Part 4

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Oh, not in leaves or flowers Endures the charm That clothes those naked towers With love-light warm.

O dear St. Andrews Bay, Winter or Spring Gives not nor takes away Memories that cling

All round thy girdling reefs, That walk thy sh.o.r.e, Memories of joys and griefs Ours evermore.

A COLLEGE CAREER

I



When one is young and eager, A bejant and a boy, Though his moustache be meagre, That cannot mar his joy When at the Compet.i.tion He takes a fair position, And feels he has a mission, A talent to employ.

With pride he goes each morning Clad in a scarlet gown, A cap his head adorning (Both bought of Mr. Brown); He hears the harsh bell jangle, And enters the quadrangle, The cla.s.sic tongues to mangle And make the ancients frown.

He goes not forth at even, He burns the midnight oil, He feels that all his heaven Depends on ceaseless toil; Across his exercises A dream of many prizes Before his spirit rises, And makes his raw blood boil.

II

Though he be green as gra.s.s is, And fresh as new-mown hay Before the first year pa.s.ses His verdure fades away.

His hopes now faintly glimmer, Grow dim and ever dimmer, And with a parting s.h.i.+mmer Melt into 'common day.'

He cares no more for Liddell Or Scott; and Smith, and White, And Lewis, Short, and Riddle Are 'emptied of delight.'

Todhunter and Colenso (Alas, that friends.h.i.+ps end so!) He curses _in extenso_ Through morning, noon, and night.

No more with patient labour The midnight oil he burns, But unto some near neighbour His fair young face he turns, To share the harmless tattle Which bejants love to prattle, As wise as infant's rattle Or talk of coots and herns.

At midnight round the city He carols wild and free Some sweet unmeaning ditty In many a changing key; And each succeeding verse is Commingled with the curses Of those whose sleep disperses Like sal volatile.

He shaves and takes his toddy Like any fourth year man, And clothes his growing body After another plan Than that which once delighted When, in the days benighted, Like some wild thing excited About the fields he ran.

III

A sweet life and an idle He lives from year to year, Unknowing bit or bridle (There are no proctors here), Free as the flying swallow Which Ida's Prince would follow If but his bones were hollow, Until the end draws near.

Then comes a Dies Irae, When full of misery And torments worse than fiery He crams for his degree; And hitherto unvexed books, Dry lectures, abstracts, text-books, Perplexing and perplexed books, Make life seem vanity.

IV

Before admiring sister And mother, see, he stands, Made Artium Magister With laying on of hands.

He gives his books to others (Perchance his younger brothers), And free from all such bothers Goes out into all lands.

THE WASTER'S PRESENTIMENT

I shall be spun. There is a voice within Which tells me plainly I am all undone; For though I toil not, neither do I spin, I shall be spun.

April approaches. I have not begun Schwegler or Mackintosh, nor will begin Those lucid works till April 21.

So my degree I do not hope to win, For not by ways like mine degrees are won; And though, to please my uncle, I go in, I shall be spun.

THE CLOSE OF THE SESSION

The Session's over. We must say farewell To these east winds and to this eastern sea, For summer comes, with swallow and with bee, With many a flower and many a golfing swell.

No more the horribly discordant bell Shall startle slumber; and all men agree That whatsoever other things may be A cause of sorrow, this at least is well.

The cla.s.s-room shall not open wide its doors, Or if it does, such opening will be vain; The gown shall hang unused upon a nail; South Street shall know us not; we'll wipe the Scores From our remembrance; as for Mutto's Lane, Yea, even the memory of this shall fail.

A BALLAD OF THE TOWN WATER

It is the Police Commissioners, All on a winter's day; And they to prove the town water Have set themselves away.

They went to the north, they went to the south, And into the west went they, Till they found a civil, civil engineer, And unto him did say:

'Now tell to us, thou civil engineer, If this be fit to drink.'

And they showed him a cup of the town water, Which was as black as ink.

He took three sips of the town water, And black in the face was he; And they turned them back and fled away, Amazed that this should be.

And he has written a broad letter And sealed it with a ring, And the letter saith that the town water Is not a goodly thing.

And they have met, and the Bailies all, And eke the Councillors, And they have ta'en the broad letter And read it within the doors.

And there has fallen a great quarrel, And a striving within the doors, And quarrelsome words have the Bailies said, And eke the Councillors.

And one saith, 'We will have other water,'

And another saith, 'But nay;'

And none may tell what the end shall be, Alack and well-a-day!

[GREEK t.i.tLE]

The Scarlet Gown Part 4

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The Scarlet Gown Part 4 summary

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