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.
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 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.
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: