Did you ever wax witty, and when
You had smashed an opponent quite small,
Did he seem not to mind it at all,
But get up and smash you again?
If any or all of these things
Have happened to you (as to me),
I think you’ll be found to agree
With yours truly, when sadly he sings:
’How many the troubles that wait
On mortals!—especially those
Who endeavour in eloquent prose
To expound their views, and orate.’
WITH APOLOGIES TO LORD TENNYSON
O swallow-tailed purveyor of college sprees,
O skilled to please the student fraternity,
Most honoured publican of Scotland,
Milton, a name to adorn the Cross Keys;
Whose chosen waiters, Samuel, Archibald,
Helped by the boots and marker at billiards,
Wait, as the smoke-filled, crowded chamber
Rings to the roar of a Gaelic chorus—
Me rather all those temperance hostelries,
The soda siphon fizzily murmuring,
And lime fruit juice and seltzer water
Charm, as a wanderer out in South Street,
Where some recruiting, eager Blue-Ribbonites
Spied me afar and caught by the Post Office,
And crimson-nosed the latest convert
Fastened the odious badge upon me.
MAGNI NOMINIS UMBRA
St. Andrews! not for ever thine shall be
Merely the shadow of a mighty name,
The remnant only of an ancient fame
Which time has crumbled, as thy rocks the sea.
For thou, to whom was given the earliest key
Of knowledge in this land (and all men came
To learn of thee), shalt once more rise and claim
The glory that of right belongs to thee.
Grey in thine age, there yet in thee abides
The force of youth, to make thyself anew
A name of honour and a place of power.
Arise, then! shake the dust from off thy sides;
Thou shalt have many where thou now hast few;
Again thou shalt be great. Quick come the hour!
SONG FROM ‘THE PRINCESS’
As through the street at eve we went
(It might be half-past ten),
We fell out, my friend and I,
About the cube of x+y,
And made it up again.
And blessings on the falling out
Between two learned men,
Who fight on points which neither knows,
And make it up again!
For when we came where stands an inn
We visit now and then,
There above a pint of beer,
Oh there above a pint of beer,
We made it up again.
FROM THE UNPUBLISHED REMAINS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
It was many and many a year ago,
In a city by the sea,
That a man there lived whom I happened to know
By the name of Andrew M’Crie;
And this man he slept in another room,
But ground and had meals with me.