The Scarlet Gown eBook

The Scarlet Gown

The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.

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The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
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Start of eBook1
TO —–­7

Page 1


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 Saturday Review.

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

R. F. Murray.

 The voice that sings

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.

 The best pipe

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 passed 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.

 Hymn of Hippolytus to Artemis

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 passing 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.

Page 2

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!

 On A crushed hat

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!

 A SWINBURNIAN interlude

Short space shall be hereafter
   Ere April brings the hour
Of weeping and of laughter,
   Of sunshine 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,

I silent sit and let them speak,
   As men of strength
Allow the impotent and weak
   To rail at length.

 If they should tell me Love is blind,
   And so doth miss
The faults which they are quick to find,
   I’d answer this: 

Page 3

Envy is blind; not Love, whose eyes
   Are purged and clear
Through gazing on the perfect skies
   Of thine, my dear.

 Music for the dying


Ye who will help me in my dying pain,
   Speak not a word:  let all your voices cease. 
Let me but hear some soft harmonious strain,
   And I shall die at peace.

Music entrances, soothes, and grants relief
   From all below by which we are opprest;
I pray you, speak no word unto my grief,
   But lull it into rest.

Tired am I of all words, and tired of aught
   That may some falsehood from the ear conceal,
Desiring rather sounds which ask no thought,
   Which I need only feel: 

 A melody in whose delicious streams
   The soul may sink, and pass without a breath
From fevered fancies into quiet dreams,
   From dreaming into death.

 Farewell to A Singer


As those who hear a sweet bird sing,
   And love each song it sings the best,
Grieve when they see it taking wing
   And flying to another nest: 

We, who have heard your voice so oft,
   And loved it more than we can tell,
Our hearts grow sad, our voices soft,
   Our eyes grow dim, to say farewell.

It is not kind to leave us thus;
   Yet we forgive you and combine,
Although you now bring grief to us,
   To wish you joy, for auld lang syne.

 The city of golf

Would you like to see a city given over,
   Soul and body, to a tyrannising game? 
If you would, there’s little need to be a rover,
   For St. Andrews is the abject city’s name.

It is surely quite superfluous to mention,
   To a person who has been here half an hour,
That Golf is what engrosses the attention
   Of the people, with an all-absorbing power.

Rich and poor alike are smitten with the fever;
   Their business and religion is to play;
And a man is scarcely deemed a true believer,
   Unless he goes at least a round a day.

 The city boasts an old and learned college,
   Where you’d think the leading industry was Greek;
Even there the favoured instruments of knowledge
   Are a driver and a putter and a cleek.

All the natives and the residents are patrons
   Of this royal, ancient, irritating sport;
All the old men, all the young men, maids and matrons—­
   The universal populace, in short.

In the morning, when the feeble light grows stronger,
   You may see the players going out in shoals;
And when night forbids their playing any longer,
   They tell you how they did the different holes

Golf, golf, golf—­is all the story! 
   In despair my overburdened spirit sinks,
Till I wish that every golfer was in glory,
   And I pray the sea may overflow the links.

Page 4

 One slender, struggling ray of consolation
   Sustains me, very feeble though it be: 
There are two who still escape infatuation,
   My friend M’Foozle’s one, the other’s me.

As I write the words, M’Foozle enters blushing,
   With a brassy and an iron in his hand . . . 
This blow, so unexpected and so crushing,
   Is more than I am able to withstand.

So now it but remains for me to die, sir. 
   Stay!  There is another course I may pursue—­
And perhaps upon the whole it would be wiser—­
   I will yield to fate and be a golfer too!

 The swallows


I love to see the swallows come
   At my window twittering,
Bringing from their southern home
   News of the approaching spring. 
‘Last year’s nest,’ they softly say,
   ’Last year’s love again shall see;
Only faithful lovers may
   Tell you of the coming glee.’

When the first fell touch of frost
   Strips the wood of faded leaves,
Calling all their winged host,
   The swallows meet above the eaves
 ‘Come away, away,’ they cry,
   ’Winter’s snow is hastening;
True hearts winter comes not nigh,
   They are ever in the spring.’

If by some unhappy fate,
   Victim of a cruel mind,
One is parted from her mate
   And within a cage confined,
Swiftly will the swallow die,
   Pining for her lover’s bower,
And her lover watching nigh
   Dies beside her in an hour.

 After many days

The mist hangs round the College tower,
   The ghostly street
Is silent at this midnight hour,
   Save for my feet.

With none to see, with none to hear,
   Downward I go
To where, beside the rugged pier,
   The sea sings low.

It sings a tune well loved and known
   In days gone by,
When often here, and not alone,
   I watched the sky.

 That was a barren time at best,
   Its fruits were few;
But fruits and flowers had keener zest
   And fresher hue.

Life has not since been wholly vain,
   And now I bear
Of wisdom plucked from joy and pain
   Some slender share.

But, howsoever rich the store,
   I’d lay it down,
To feel upon my back once more
   The old red gown.

 HORACE’S philosophy

What the end the gods have destined unto thee and unto me,
Ask not:  ’tis forbidden knowledge.  Be content, Leuconoe. 
Let alone the fortune-tellers.  How much better to endure
Whatsoever shall betide us—­even though we be not sure
Whether Jove grants other winters, whether this our last shall be
That upon the rocks opposing dashes now the Tuscan sea. 
Be thou wise, and strain thy wines, and mindful of life’s brevity
Stint thy hopes.  The envious moments, even while we speak, have flown;
Trusting nothing to the future, seize the day that is our own.

Page 5

 Adventure of A poet

As I was walking down the street
   A week ago,
Near Henderson’s I chanced to meet
   A man I know.

His name is Alexander Bell,
   His home, Dundee;
I do not know him quite so well
   As he knows me.

He gave my hand a hearty shake,
   Discussed the weather,
And then proposed that we should take
   A stroll together.

 Down College Street we took our way,
   And there we met
The beautiful Miss Mary Gray,
   That arch coquette,
Who stole last spring my heart away
   And has it yet.

That smile with which my bow she greets,
   Would it were fonder! 
Or else less fond—­since she its sweets
   On all must squander. 
Thus, when I meet her in the streets,
   I sadly ponder,
And after her, as she retreats,
   My thoughts will wander.

And so I listened with an air
   Of inattention,
While Bell described a folding-chair
   Of his invention.

 And when we reached the Swilcan Burn,
   ‘It looks like rain,’
Said I, ‘and we had better turn.’ 
   ’Twas all in vain,

For Bell was weather-wise, and knew
   The signs aerial;
He bade me note the strip of blue
   Above the Imperial,

Also another patch of sky,
   South-west by south,
Which meant that we might journey dry
   To Eden’s mouth.

He was a man with information
   On many topics: 
He talked about the exploration
   Of Poles and Tropics,

 The scene in Parliament last night,
   Sir William’s letter;
’And do you like the electric light,
   Or gas-lamps better?’

The strike among the dust-heap pickers
   He said was over;
And had I read about the liquors
   Just seized at Dover?

Or the unhappy printer lad
   At Rothesay drowned? 
Or the Italian ironclad
   That ran aground?

He told me stories (lately come)
   Of good society,
Some slightly tinged with truth, and some
   With impropriety.

 He spoke of duelling in France,
   Then lightly glanced at
Mrs. Mackenzie’s monster dance,
   Which he had danced at.

So he ran on, till by-and-by
   A silence came,
For which I greatly fear that I
   Was most to blame.

Then neither of us spoke a word
   For quite a minute,
When presently a thought occurred
   With promise in it.

’How did you like the Shakespeare play
   The students read?’
By this, the Eden like a bay
   Before us spread.

 Near Eden many softer plots
   Of sand there be;
Our feet, like Pharaoh’s chariots,
   Drave heavily.

And ere an answer I could frame,
   He said that Irving
Of his extraordinary fame
   Was undeserving,

And for his part he thought more highly
   Of Ellen Terry;
Although he knew a girl named Riley
   At Broughty Ferry,

Page 6

Who might be, if she only chose,
   As great a star. 
She had a part in the tableaux
   At the bazaar.

 If I had said but little yet,
   I now said less,
And smoked a home-made cigarette
   In mute distress.

The smoke into his face was blown
   By the wind’s action,
And this afforded me, I own,
   Some satisfaction;

But still his tongue received no check
   Till, coming home,
We stood beside the ancient wreck
   And watched the foam

Wash in among the timbers, now
   Sunk deep in sand,
Though I can well remember how
   I used to stand

 On windy days and hold my hat,
   And idly turn
To read ‘Lovise, Frederikstad’
   Upon her stern.

Her stern long since was buried quite,
   And soon no trace
The absorbing sand will leave in sight
   To mark her place.

This reverie was not permitted
   To last too long. 
Bell’s mind had left the stage, and flitted
   To fields of song.

And now he spoke of Marmion
   And Lewis Morris;
The former he at school had done,
   Along with Horace.

 His maiden aunts, no longer young,
   But learned ladies,
Had lately sent him Songs Unsung,
   Epic of Hades,

Gycia, and Gwen.  He thought them fine;
   Not like that Browning,
Of whom he would not read a line,
   He told me, frowning.

Talking of Horace—­very clever,
   Beyond a doubt,
But what the Satires meant, he never
   Yet could make out.

I said I relished Satire Nine
   Of the First Book;
But he had skipped to the divine
   Eliza Cook.

 He took occasion to declare,
   In tones devoted,
How much he loved her old Arm-chair,
   Which now he quoted.

And other poets he reviewed,
   Some two or three,
Till, having touched on Thomas Hood,
   He turned to me.

’Have you been stringing any rhymes
   Of late?’ he said. 
I could not lie, but several times
   I shook my head.

The last straw to the earth will bow
   The o’erloaded camel,
And surely I resembled now
   That ill-used mammal.

 See how a thankless world regards
   The gifted choir
Of minstrels, singers, poets, bards,
   Who sweep the lyre.

This is the recompense we meet
   In our vocation. 
We bear the burden and the heat
   Of inspiration;

The beauties of the earth we sing
   In glowing numbers,
And to the ‘reading public’ bring
   Post-prandial slumbers;

We save from Mammon’s gross dominion
   These sordid times . . . 
And all this, in the world’s opinion,
   Is ‘stringing rhymes.’

 It is as if a man should say,
   In accents mild,
’Have you been stringing beads to-day,
   My gentle child?’

Page 7

(Yet even children fond of singing
   Will pay off scores,
And I to-day at least am stringing
   Not beads but bores.)

And now the sands were left behind,
   The Club-house past. 
I wondered, Can I hope to find
   Escape at last,

Or must I take him home to tea,
   And bear his chatter
Until the last train to Dundee
   Shall solve the matter?

 But while I shuddered at the thought
   And planned resistance,
My conquering Alexander caught
   Sight in the distance

Of two young ladies, one of whom
   Is his ambition;
And so, with somewhat heightened bloom,
   He asked permission

To say good-bye to me and follow. 
   I freely gave it,
And wished him all success. Apollo
   Sic me servavit.

 A Bunch of TRIOLETS

TO —–­

You like the trifling triolet: 
   Well, here are three or four. 
Unless your likings I forget,
You like the trifling triolet. 
Against my conscience I abet
   A taste which I deplore;
You like the trifling triolet: 
   Well, here are three or four.

 Have you ever met with a pretty girl
   Walking along the street,
With a nice new dress and her hair in curl? 
Have you ever met with a pretty girl,
When her hat blew off and the wind with a whirl
   Wafted it right to your feet? 
Have you ever met with a pretty girl
   Walking along the street?

I ran into a lady’s arms,
   Turning a corner yesterday. 
To my confusion, her alarms,
I ran into a lady’s arms. 
So close a vision of her charms
   Left me without a word to say. 
I ran into a lady’s arms,
   Turning a corner yesterday.

 How many maids you love,
   How many maids love you! 
Your conscious blushes prove
How many maids you love. 
Each trusts you like a dove,
   But would she, if she knew
How many maids you love,
   How many maids love you?

 A ballad of refreshment

The lady stood at the station bar,
   (Three currants in a bun)
And oh she was proud, as ladies are. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

For a weekly wage she was standing there,
   (Three currants in a bun)
With a prominent bust and light gold hair. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

The express came in at half-past two,
   (Three currants in a bun)
And there lighted a man in the navy blue. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

 A stout sea-captain he was, I ween. 
   (Three currants in a bun)
Much travel had made him very keen. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

A sober man and steady was he. 
   (Three currants in a bun)
He called not for brandy, but called for tea. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

Page 8

‘Now something to eat, for the train is late.’ 
   (Three currants in a bun)
She brought him a bun on a greasy plate. 
   (And the bun was baked a week ago.)

He left the bun, and he left the tea,
   (Three currants in a bun)
She charged him a shilling and let him be,
And the train went on at a quarter to three. 
   (And the bun is old and weary.)

 A December day

Blue, blue is the sea to-day,
   Warmly the light
Sleeps on St. Andrews Bay—­
   Blue, fringed with white.

That’s no December sky! 
   Surely ’tis June
Holds now her state on high,
   Queen of the noon.

Only the tree-tops bare
   Crowning the hill,
Clear-cut in perfect air,
   Warn us that still

 Winter, the aged chief,
   Mighty in power,
Exiles the tender leaf,
   Exiles the flower.

Is there a heart to-day,
   A heart that grieves
For flowers that fade away,
   For fallen leaves?

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 shore,
Memories of joys and griefs
   Ours evermore.

 A college career


When one is young and eager,
   A bejant and a boy,
Though his moustache be meagre,
   That cannot mar his joy
When at the Competition
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 classic 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.


Though he be green as grass is,
   And fresh as new-mown hay
Before the first year passes
   His verdure fades away. 
 His hopes now faintly glimmer,
Grow dim and ever dimmer,
And with a parting shimmer
   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 friendships 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.

Page 9

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.


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.


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.


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 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 class-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.


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: 

Page 10

’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!


I love the inoffensive frog,
   ‘A little child, a limber elf,’
With health and spirits all agog,
He does the long jump in a bog
Or teaches men to swim and dive. 
If he should be cut up alive,
   Should I not be cut up myself?

So I intend to be straightway
   An Anti-Vivisectionist;
I’ll read Miss Cobbe five hours a day
And watch the little frogs at play,
With no desire to see their hearts
At work, or other inward parts,
   If other inward parts exist.


Beloved Peeler! friend and guide
   And guard of many a midnight reeler,
None worthier, though the world is wide,
      Beloved Peeler.

Thou from before the swift four-wheeler
   Didst pluck me, and didst thrust aside
A strongly built provision-dealer

Who menaced me with blows, and cried
   ‘Come on!  Come on!’ O Paian, Healer,
Then but for thee I must have died,
      Beloved Peeler!


Here, where the thoroughfares meet at an angle
   Of ninety degrees (this angle is right),
You may hear the loafers that jest and wrangle
   Through the sun-lit day and the lamp-lit night;
Though day be dreary and night be wet,
You will find a ceaseless concourse met;
Their laughter resounds and their Fife tongues jangle,
   And now and again their Fife fists fight.

Often here the voice of the crier
   Heralds a sale in the City Hall,
And slowly but surely drawing nigher
   Is heard the baker’s bugle call. 
The baker halts where the two ways meet,
And the blast, though loud, is far from sweet
That with breath of bellows and heart of fire
   He blows, till the echoes leap from the wall.

 And on Saturday night just after eleven,
   When the taverns have closed a moment ago,
The vocal efforts of six or seven
   Make the corner a place of woe. 
For the time is fitful, the notes are queer,
And it sounds to him who dwelleth near
Like the wailing for cats in a feline heaven
   By orphan cats who are left below.

Page 11

Wherefore, O Bejant, Son of the Morning,
   Fresh as a daisy dipt in the dew,
Hearken to me and receive my warning: 
   Though rents be heavy, and bunks be few
And most of them troubled with rat or mouse,
Never take rooms in a corner house;
Or sackcloth and ashes and sad self-scorning
   Shall be for a portion unto you.


The rain had fallen, the Poet arose,
   He passed through the doorway into the street,
A strong wind lifted his hat from his head,
   And he uttered some words that were far from sweet. 
And then he started to follow the chase,
   And put on a spurt that was wild and fleet,
It made the people pause in a crowd,
   And lay odds as to which would beat.

The street cad scoffed as he hunted the hat,
   The errand-boy shouted hooray! 
The scavenger stood with his broom in his hand,
   And smiled in a very rude way;
And the clergyman thought, ’I have heard many words,
   But never, until to-day,
Did I hear any words that were quite so bad
   As I heard that young man say.’


   Thrice happy are those
   Who ne’er heard of Greek Prose—­
Or Greek Poetry either, as far as that goes;
   For Liddell and Scott
   Shall cumber them not,
Nor Sargent nor Sidgwick shall break their repose.

   But I, late at night,
   By the very bad light
Of very bad gas, must painfully write
   Some stuff that a Greek
   With his delicate cheek
Would smile at as ’barbarous’—­faith, he well might.

   For when it is done,
   I doubt if, for one,
I myself could explain how the meaning might run;
   And as for the style—­
   Well, it’s hardly worth while
To talk about style, where style there is none.

   It was all very fine
   For a poet divine
Like Byron, to rave of Greek women and wine;
   But the Prose that I sing
   Is a different thing,
And I frankly acknowledge it’s not in my line.

   So away with Greek Prose,
   The source of my woes! 
(This metre’s too tough, I must draw to a close.)
   May Sargent be drowned
   In the ocean profound,
And Sidgwick be food for the carrion crows!


How many the troubles that wait
   On mortals!—­especially those
   Who endeavour in eloquent prose
To expound their views, and orate.

Did you ever attempt to speak
   When you hadn’t a word to say? 
   Did you find that it wouldn’t pay,
And subside, feeling dreadfully weak?

Did you ever, when going ahead
   In a fervid defence of the Stage,
   Get checked in your noble rage
By somehow losing your thread?

 Did you ever rise to reply
   To a toast (say ’The Volunteers’),
   And evoke loud laughter and cheers,
When you didn’t exactly know why?

Page 12

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.’



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.


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!


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.



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.

Page 13

I was an ass and he was an ass,
   In this city by the sea;
But we ground in a way which was more than a grind,
   I and Andrew M’Crie;
In a way that the idle semis next door
   Declared was shameful to see.

 And this was the reason that, one dark night,
   In this city by the sea,
A stone flew in at the window, hitting
   The milk-jug and Andrew M’Crie. 
And once some low-bred tertians came,
   And bore him away from me,
And shoved him into a private house
   Where the people were having tea.

Professors, not half so well up in their work,
   Went envying him and me—­
Yes!—­that was the reason, I always thought
   (And Andrew agreed with me),
Why they ploughed us both at the end of the year,
   Chilling and killing poor Andrew M’Crie.

But his ghost is more terrible far than the ghosts
   Of many more famous than he—­
   Of many more gory than he—­
And neither visits to foreign coasts,
   Nor tonics, can ever set free
Two well-known Profs from the haunting wraith
   Of the injured Andrew M’Crie.

For at night, as they dream, they frequently scream,
   ‘Have mercy, Mr. M’Crie!’
And at morn they will rise with bloodshot eyes,
   And the very first thing they will see,
When they dare to descend to their coffee and rolls,
Sitting down by the scuttle, the scuttle of coals,
   With a volume of notes on its knee,
   Is the spectre of Andrew M’Crie.


I met him down upon the pier;
   His eyes were wild and sad,
And something in them made me fear
   That he was going mad.

So, being of a prudent sort,
   I stood some distance off,
And before speaking gave a short
   Conciliatory cough.

I then observed, ’What makes you look
   So singularly glum?’
No notice of my words he took. 
   I said, ‘Pray, are you dumb?’

 ‘Oh no!’ he said, ’I do not think
   My power of speech is lost,
But when one’s hopes are black as ink,
   Why, talking is a frost.

’You see, I’m in for Math. again,
   And certain to be ploughed. 
Please tell me where I could obtain
   An inexpensive shroud.’

I told him where such things are had,
   Well made, and not too dear;
And, feeling really very sad,
   I left him on the pier.



It was a phantom of delight
When first it gleamed upon my sight,
A scholarly distinction, sent
To be a student’s ornament. 
The hood was rich beyond compare,
The gown was a unique affair. 
By this, by that my mind was drawn
Then, in my academic dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay
Before me then was my M.A.

I saw it upon nearer view,
A glory, yet a bother too! 
 For I perceived that I should be
Involved in much Philosophy
(A branch in which I could but meet
Works that were neither light nor sweet);
In Mathematics, not too good
For human nature’s daily food;
And Classics, rendered in the styles
Of Kelly, Bohn, and Dr. Giles.

Page 14

And now I own, with some small spleen,
A most confounded ass I’ve been;
The glory seems an empty breath,
And I am nearly bored to death
With Reason, Consciousness, and Will,
And other things beyond my skill,
Discussed in books all darkly planned
And more in number than the sand. 
Yet that M.A. still haunts my sight,
With something of its former light.


After the melting of the snow
   Divines depart and April comes;
Examinations nearer grow
After the melting of the snow;
The grinder wears a face of woe,
   The waster smokes and twirls his thumbs;
After the melting of the snow
   Divines depart and April comes.



In Algebra, if Algebra be ours, x and x^2 can ne’er be equal powers, Unless x=1, or none at all.

It is the little error in the sum,
That by and by will make the answer come
To something queer, or else not come at all.

The little error in the easy sum,
The little slit across the kettle-drum,
That makes the instrument not play at all.

It is not worth correcting:  let it go: 
But shall I?  Answer, Prudence, answer, no. 
And bid me do it right or not at all.



Loud he sang the song Ta Phershon
For his personal diversion,
Sang the chorus U-pi-dee,
Sang about the Barley Bree.

In that hour when all is quiet
Sang he songs of noise and riot,
In a voice so loud and queer
That I wakened up to hear.

Songs that distantly resembled
Those one hears from men assembled
In the old Cross Keys Hotel,
Only sung not half so well.

For the time of this ecstatic
Amateur was most erratic,
And he only hit the key
Once in every melody.

If ’he wot prigs wot isn’t his’n
Ven he’s cotched is sent to prison,’
He who murders sleep might well
Adorn a solitary cell.

But, if no obliging peeler
Will arrest this midnight squealer,
My own peculiar arm of might
Must undertake the job to-night.


Two old St. Andrews men, after a separation of nearly thirty years, meet by chance at a wayside inn.  They interchange experiences; and at length one of them, who is an admirer of Mr. Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads, speaks as follows: 

If you were now a bejant,
   And I a first year man,
We’d grind and grub together
In every kind of weather,
When Winter’s snows were regent,
   Or when the Spring began;
If you were now a bejant,
   And I a first year man.

If you were what you once were,
   And I the same man still,
You’d be the gainer by it,
For you—­you can’t deny it—­
 A most uncommon dunce were;
   My profit would be nil,
If you were what you once were,
   And I the same man still.

Page 15

If you were last in Latin,
   And I were first in Greek,
I’d write your Latin proses,
While you indulged in dozes,
Or carved the bench you sat in,
   So innocent and meek;
If you were last in Latin,
   And I were first in Greek.

If I had got a prize, Jim,
   And your certif. was bad,
And you were filled with sorrow
And brooding on the morrow,
 I’d gently sympathise, Jim,
   And bid you not be sad,
If I had got a prize, Jim,
   And your certif. was bad.

If I were through in Moral,
   And you were spun in Math.,
I’d break it to your parent,
When you confessed you daren’t,
And so avert a quarrel
   And smooth away his wrath;
If I were through in Moral,
   And you were spun in Math.

My prospects rather shone, Jim,
   And yours were rather dark,
And those who knew us both then
Would often take their oath then,
 That you would not get on, Jim,
   While I should make my mark;
My prospects rather shone, Jim,
   And yours were rather dark.

Yet somehow you’ve made money,
   And I am still obscure;
Your face is round and red, Jim,
While I look underfed, Jim;
The thing’s extremely funny,
   And beats me, I am sure,
Yet somehow you’ve made money,
   And I am still obscure.



I drove a golf-ball into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I lent five shillings to some men,
They spent it all, I know not when,
For who is quick enough to know
The time in which a crown may go?

Long, long afterward, in a whin
I found the golf-ball, black as sin;
But the five shillings are missing still! 
They haven’t turned up, and I doubt if they will.


Ah yes, we know what you’re saying,
   As your eye glances over these Notes: 
’What asses are these that are braying
   With flat and unmusical throats? 
Who writes such unspeakable patter? 
   Is it lunatics, idiots—­or who?’
And you think there is ‘something the matter.’ 
   Well, we think so too.

We have sat, full of sickness and sorrow,
   As the hours dragged heavily on,
Till the midnight has merged into morrow,
   And the darkness is going or gone. 
We are Editors.  Give us the credit
   Of meaning to do what we could;
 But, since there is nothing to edit,
   It isn’t much good.

Once we shared the delightful delusion
   That to edit was racy and rare,
But we suffered a sad disillusion,
   And we found that our castles were air;
We had decked them with carvings and gildings,
   We had filled them with laughter and fun,
But all of a sudden the buildings
   Came down with a run.

Page 16

Not a trace was there left of the carving,
   And the gilding had vanished from sight;
But the ‘column’ for matter was starving,
   And we had not to edit—­but write. 
So we set to and wrote.  Can you wonder,
   If the writing was feeble or dead? 
We had started as editors—­Thunder! 
   We were authors instead.

 We’d mistaken our calling, election,
   Vocation, department, and use;
We had thought that our task was selection,
   And we found that we had to produce. 
So we sigh for release from our labours,
   We pray for a happy despatch,
We will take our last leave of our neighbours,
   And then—­Colney Hatch.

We are singing this dolorous ditty
   As we part at the foot of the stairs;
We cannot but think it’s a pity,
   But what matter? there’s nobody cares. 
Our candle burns low in its socket,
   There is nothing left but the wick;
And these Notes, that went up like a rocket,
   Come down like the stick.


Ever to be the best.  To lead
   In whatsoever things are true;
   Not stand among the halting crew,
The faint of heart, the feeble-kneed,
Who tarry for a certain sign
   To make them follow with the rest—­
Oh, let not their reproach be thine! 
   But ever be the best.

For want of this aspiring soul,
   Great deeds on earth remain undone,
   But, sharpened by the sight of one,
Many shall press toward the goal. 
 Thou running foremost of the throng,
   The fire of striving in thy breast,
Shalt win, although the race be long,
   And ever be the best.

And wilt thou question of the prize? 
   ’Tis not of silver or of gold,
   Nor in applauses manifold,
But hidden in the heart it lies: 
To know that but for thee not one
   Had run the race or sought the quest,
To know that thou hast ever done
   And ever been the best.


Through many lands and over many seas
I come, my Brother, to thine obsequies,
To pay thee the last honours that remain,
And call upon thy voiceless dust, in vain. 
Since cruel fate has robbed me even of thee,
Unhappy Brother, snatched away from me,
Now none the less the gifts our fathers gave,
The melancholy honours of the grave,
Wet with my tears I bring to thee, and say
Farewell! farewell! for ever and a day.


Lost at sea, with all on board! 
No one saw their sinking sail,
No one heard their dying wail,
Heard them calling on the Lord—­
Lost at sea, with all on board.

Till the sea gives up its dead,
There they lie in quiet sleep,
And the voices of the deep
Sound unheeded overhead,
Till the sea gives up its dead.


A day of gladness yet will dawn,
   Though when I cannot say;
Perhaps it may be Thursday week,
   Perhaps some other day,—­

Page 17

When man, freed from the bond of clothes,
   And needing no more food,
Shall never pull his neighbour’s nose,
   But be extremely good.

When Love and Nobleness shall live
   Next door to Truth and Right,
While Reverence shall rent a room,
   Upon the second flight.

 And wishes shall be horses then,
   And beggars shall be kings;
And all the people shall admire
   This pleasant state of things.

But if it seems a mystery,
   And you’re inclined to doubt it,
Just ask your local poet.  He
   Will tell you all about it.


It seems a hundred years or more
   Since I, with note-book, ink and pen,
In cap and gown, first trod the floor
   Which I have often trod since then;
Yet well do I remember when,
   With fifty other fond fanatics,
I sought delights beyond my ken,
   The deep delights of Mathematics.

I knew that two and two made four,
   I felt that five times two were ten,
But, as for all profounder lore,
   The robin redbreast or the wren,
 The sparrow, whether cock or hen,
   Knew quite as much about Quadratics,
Was less confused by x and n,
   The deep delights of Mathematics.

The Asses’ Bridge I passed not o’er,
   I floundered in the noisome fen
Which lies behind it and before;
   I wandered in the gloomy glen
Where Surds and Factors have their den. 
   But when I saw the pit of Statics,
I said Good-bye, Farewell, Amen! 
   The deep delights of Mathematics.

O Bejants! blessed, beardless men,
   Who strive with Euclid in your attics,
For worlds I would not taste again
   The deep delights of Mathematics.


I loved a little maiden
   In the golden years gone by;
She lived in a mill, as they all do
   (There is doubtless a reason why). 
But she faded in the autumn
   When the leaves began to fade,
And the night before she faded,
   These words to me she said: 
’Do not forget me, Henry,
   Be noble and brave and true;
But I must not bide, for the world is wide,
   And the sky above is blue.’

So I said farewell to my darling,
   And sailed away and came back;
 And the good ship Jane was in port again,
   And I found that they all loved Jack. 
But Polly and I were sweethearts,
   As all the neighbours know,
Before I met with the mill-girl
   Twenty years ago. 
So I thought I would go and see her,
   But alas, she had faded too! 
She could not bide, for the world was wide,
   And the sky above was blue.

And now I can only remember
   The maid—­the maid of the mill,
And Polly, and one or two others
   In the churchyard over the hill. 
And I sadly ask the question,
   As I weep in the yew-tree’s shade
With my elbow on one of their tombstones,
   ‘Ah, why did they all of them fade?’
 And the answer I half expected
   Comes from the solemn yew,
’They could none of them bide, for the world was wide,
   And the sky above was blue.’

Page 18


This is the time when larks are singing loud
   And higher still ascending and more high,
This is the time when many a fleecy cloud
   Runs lamb-like on the pastures of the sky,
This is the time when most I love to lie
   Stretched on the links, now listening to the sea,
Now looking at the train that dawdles by;
   But James is going in for his degree.

James is my brother.  He has twice been ploughed,
   Yet he intends to have another shy,
Hoping to pass (as he says) in a crowd. 
   Sanguine is James, but not so sanguine I.
 If you demand my reason, I reply: 
   Because he reads no Greek without a key
And spells Thucydides c-i-d-y;
   Yet James is going in for his degree.

No doubt, if the authorities allowed
   The taking in of Bohns, he might defy
The stiffest paper that has ever cowed
   A timid candidate and made him fly. 
Without such aids, he all as well may try
   To cultivate the people of Dundee,
Or lead the camel through the needle’s eye;
   Yet James is going in for his degree.

Vain are the efforts hapless mortals ply
   To climb of knowledge the forbidden tree;
Yet still about its roots they strive and cry,
   And James is going in for his degree.


Hurrah for the Science Club! 
   Join it, ye fourth year men;
Join it, thou smooth-cheeked scrub,
   Whose years scarce number ten

Join it, divines most grave;
   Science, as all men know,
As a friend the Church may save,
   But may damage her as a foe.

(And in any case it is well,
   If attacking insidious doubt,
Or devoting H—–­ to H—–­,
   To know what you’re talking about.)

 Hurrah for the lang-nebbit word! 
   Hurrah for the erudite phrase,
That in Dura Den shall be heard,
   That shall echo on Kinkell Braes!

Hurrah for the spoils of the links
   (The golf-ball as well as the daisy)! 
Hurrah for explosions and stinks
   To set half the landladies crazy!

Hurrah for the fragments of boulders,
   Surpassing in size and in weight,
To be carried home on the shoulders
   And laid on the table in state!

Hurrah for the flying-machine
   Long buried from sight in a cupboard,
With bones that would never have been
   Desired of old Mother Hubbard!

 Hurrah for the hazardous boat,
   For the crabs (of all kinds) to be caught,
For the eggs on the surface that float,
   And the lump-sucker curiously wrought!

Hurrah for the filling of tanks
   In the shanty down by the shore,
For the Royal Society’s thanks,
   With Fellowships flying galore!

Hurrah for discourses on worms,
   Where one listens and comes away
With a stock of bewildering terms,
   And nothing whatever to pay!

Page 19

Hurrah for gadding about
   Of a Saturday afternoon,
In the light of research setting out,
   Coming home in the light of the moon!

 Hurrah for Guardbridge, and the mill
   Where one learns how paper is made! 
Hurrah for the samples that fill
   One’s drawer with the finest cream-laid!

Hurrah for the Brewery visit
   And beer in liberal doses! 
In the cause of Science, what is it
   But inspecting a technical process?

Hurrah for a trip to Dundee
   To study the spinning of jute! 
Hurrah for a restaurant tea,
   And a sight of the Tay Bridge to boot!

Hurrah, after every excursion,
   To feel one’s improving one’s mind,
With the smallest amount of exertion,
   And that of the pleasantest kind!


He brought a team from Inversnaid
   To play our Third Fifteen,
A man whom none of us had played
   And very few had seen.

He weighed not less than eighteen stone,
   And to a practised eye
He seemed as little fit to run
   As he was fit to fly.

He looked so clumsy and so slow,
   And made so little fuss;
But he got in behind—­and oh,
   The difference to us!



In the hard familiar horse-box I am sitting once again;
Creeping back to old St. Andrews comes the slow North British train,

Bearing bejants with their luggage (boxes full of heavy books,
Which the porter, hot and tipless, eyes with unforgiving looks),

Bearing third year men and second, bearing them and bearing me,
Who am now a fourth year magnate with two parts of my degree.

We have started off from Leuchars, and my thoughts have started too
Back to times when this sensation was entirely fresh and new.

When I marvelled at the towers beyond the Eden’s wide expanse,
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father’s manse

With some money in his pocket, with some down upon his cheek,
With the elements of Latin, with the rudiments of Greek.

And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Underneath the towers he looks at, in among the throngs of men,

Men from Fife and men from Forfar, from the High School of Dundee,
Ten or twelve from other counties, and from England two or three.

Oh, the Bursary Competition! oh, the wonder and the rage,
When I saw my name omitted from the schedule in the cage!

Grief is strong but youth elastic, and I rallied from the blow,
For I felt that there were few things in the world I did not know.

Then my ready-made opinions upon all things under heaven
I declaimed with sound and fury, to an audience of eleven

Gathered in the Logic class-room, sworn to settle the debate, Does the Stage upon the whole demoralise or elevate?

Page 20

This and other joys I tasted.  I became a Volunteer,
Murmuring Dulce et decorum in the Battery-Sergeant’s ear;

Joined the Golf Club, and with others of an afternoon was seen
Vainly searching in the whins, or foozling on the putting-green;

Took a minor part in Readings; lifted up my voice and sang
At the Musical rehearsals, till the class-room rafters rang;

Wrote long poems for the Column; entered for the S. R. C,
And, if I remember rightly, was thrown out by twenty-three;

Ground a little for my classes, till the hour of nine or ten,
When I read a decent novel or went out to see some men.

So I reaped the large experience which has made me what I am,
Far removed from bejanthood as is St. Andrews from Siam.

But with age and with experience disenchantment comes to all,
Even pleasure on the keenest appetite at last will pall.

Had I now a hundred pounds, a hundred pounds would I bestow
To enjoy the loud solatium as I did three years ago,

When the songs were less familiar, less familiar too the pies,
And I did not mind receiving orange-peel between the eyes.

Yet, in spite of disenchantment, and in spite of finding out
There are some things in the world that I am hardly sure about,

Still sufficient of illusion and inexplicable grace
Hangs about the grey old town to make it a delightful place.

Though solatiums charm no longer, though a gaudeamus fails
With its atmosphere unwholesome to expand my spirit’s sails,

Though rectorial elections are if anything a bore,
And I do not care to carry dripping torches any more,

Though my soul for Moral lectures does not vehemently yearn,
Though the north-east winds are bitter—­I am willing to return.

At this point in my reflections, on the left the Links expand,
Many a whin bush full of prickles, many a bunker full of sand.

And I see distinguished club-men, whom I only know by sight,
Old, obese, and scarlet-coated, playing golf with all their might;

As they were three years ago, when first I travelled by this train,
As they will be three years hence, if I should come this way again.

What to them is train or traveller? what to them the flight of time? 
But we draw too near the station to indulge in the sublime.

In a minute at the furthest on the platform I shall stand,
Waiting till they take my trunk out, with my hat-box in my hand.

As the railway train approaches and the train of thought recedes,
I behold Professor —–­ in a brand new suit of tweeds.

 TO C. C. C.

Oh for the nights when we used to sit
   In the firelight’s glow or flicker,
With the gas turned low and our pipes all lit,
   And the air fast growing thicker;

When you, enthroned in the big arm-chair,
   Would spin for us yarns unending,
Your voice and accent and pensive air
   With the narrative subtly blending!

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Oh for the bleak and wintry days
   When we set our blood in motion,
Leaping the rocks below the braes
   And wetting our feet in the ocean,

 Or shying at marks for moderate sums
   (A penny a hit, you remember),
With aching fingers and purple thumbs,
   In the merry month of December!

There is little doubt we were very daft,
   And our sports, like the stakes, were trifling;
While the air of the room where we talked and laughed
   Was often unpleasantly stifling.

Now we are grave and sensible men,
   And wrinkles our brows embellish,
And I fear we shall never relish again
   The pleasures we used to relish.

And I fear we never again shall go,
   The cold and weariness scorning,
For a ten mile walk through the frozen snow
   At one o’clock in the morning: 

 Out by Cameron, in by the Grange,
   And to bed as the moon descended . . . 
To you and to me there has come a change,
   And the days of our youth are ended.


In youth with diligence he toiled
   A Roman nose to gain,
But though a decent pug was spoiled,
   A pug it did remain.



In the oldest of our alleys,
   By good bejants tenanted,
Once a man whose name was Wallace—­
   William Wallace—­reared his head. 
Rowdy Bejant in the college
   He was styled: 
Never had these halls of knowledge
   Welcomed waster half so wild!

Tassel blue and long and silken
   From his cap did float and flow
(This was cast into the Swilcan
   Two months ago);
 And every gentle air that sported
   With his red gown,
Displayed a suit of clothes, reported
   The most alarming in the town.

Wanderers in that ancient alley
   Through his luminous window saw
Spirits come continually
   From a case well packed with straw,
Just behind the chair where, sitting
   With air serene,
And in a blazer loosely fitting,
   The owner of the bunk was seen.

And all with cards and counters straying
   Was the place littered o’er,
With which sat playing, playing, playing,
   And wrangling evermore,
 A group of fellows, whose chief function
   Was to proclaim,
In voices of surpassing unction,
   Their luck and losses in the game.

But stately things, in robes of learning,
   Discussed one day the bejant’s fate: 
Ah, let us mourn him unreturning,
   For they resolved to rusticate! 
And now the glory he inherits,
   Thus dished and doomed,
Is largely founded on the merits
   Of the Old Tom consumed.

And wanderers, now, within that alley
   Through the half-open shutters see,
Old crones, that talk continually
   In a discordant minor key: 
 While, with a kind of nervous shiver,
   Past the front door,
His former set go by for ever,
   But knock—­or ring—­no more.

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For the information of those who have not the happiness to be members of the University of St. Andrews, it may be well to explain a few terms.  A bejant is an undergraduate student of the first year.  In his second year he becomes a semi, in his third a tertian, and in his fourth a magistrand.  The last would seem to be a gerundive form, implying that a man at the end of his fourth year ought to be made a Master of Arts; but unfortunately this does not always happen.  A divine is a student in Divinity.  A waster is a man of idle and (it may be) profligate habits.  A grinder, on the contrary, is one who ‘grinds’ or reads with an unusual degree of application.  A bunk is the lodging or abode in St. Andrews of any student.  A spree is not necessarily an entertainment of rowdy character; the most decorous Professorial dinner-party would be called a spree.  A solatium is a Debating Society spree, held in December or January; a gaudeamus is a festival of the same kind, only rather more ambitious, celebrated towards the close of the session. Session would be rendered in England by ‘term.’  The Competition (for Bursaries), or the ‘Comp.,’ is the examination for entrance scholarships.  The cage is a curious structure of glass, iron, and wood, in which notices and examination lists are posted.  The letters S.  R. C. denote the Students’ Representative Council.  An L.L.A. is a Lady Literate in Arts. Math. (as the discerning reader will not be slow to perceive) is an abbreviation, endearing or otherwise, of the word Mathematics. Moral stands for Moral Philosophy. Prof. is a shortened form of Professor, and certif. of certificate. Plough, pluck, and spin are used indifferently, to signify the action of an examiner in rejecting a candidate for the M.A. or any other degree.  It should be mentioned that the degree of B.A. is not now conferred by the Universities of Scotland.

Page 4.  Euripides:  Hippolytus, 70-87.

Page 22. Odes, I. II.

Page 52. The Town Water.  The state of things described in this ballad, so far as the quality of St. Andrews water is concerned, has long since been remedied.  As to the demeanour of the Bailies and Councillors, I cannot speak with the same certainty.

Page 64. Milton, a name to adorn the Cross Keys.  Mr. Milton’s name is no longer associated with this time-honoured tavern, but with a new hotel.

Page 86. [GREEK TITLE].  The motto in the Upper Library Hall, where the ceremony of Graduation takes place.

Page 88.  Catullus, CI.

Page 101. The shanty down by the shore.  The St. Andrews Marine
Biological Laboratory.

Page 117. This was cast into the Swilcan.  The Swilcan Burn is a small stream which flows across the golfing links, and forms one of the hazards of the course.

Page 23

Printers to Her Majesty