By the waters of Cam, as the shades were
A Fellow sat moaning his desolate lot;
From his sad eyes were flowing salt rivulets, blending
Their tide with the river which heeded them not—
“O! why did I leave,”—thus
he wearily muttered—
“The silent repose, and the shade of my books,
Where the voice of a woman no sound ever uttered,
And I ne’er felt the magic of feminine looks?
“Then I rose when the east with
Aurora was ruddy;
Took a plunge in my Pliny; collated a play;
No breakfast I ate, for I found in each study
A collation which lasted me all through the day.
“I know not what temptress first
came to my garden
Of Eden, and lured me stern wisdom to leave;
But I rather believe that a sweet ‘Dolly Varden’
Came into my rooms on a soft summer eve.
“From that hour to this, dresses
silken and satin
Seem to rustle around me, like wings in a dream;
And eyes of bright blue, as I lecture in Latin,
Fill my head with ideas quite remote from my theme.
“My life was once lonely, and almost
But now, if I venture to walk in the street,
With her books in her hand, some fair Peripatetic
Is sure to address me with whisperings sweet.
“O, dear DR. OXYTONE, tell me the
Of this terrible phrase, which I cannot make out;
And what is the Latin for “reaping” and “gleaning?”
Is “podagra” the Greek, or the Latin for “gout?”
“’And what do you mean by
Did the ladies in Athens wear heels very high?
Do give me the rules for Greek accents, and Crasis?
Did CORNELIA drive out to dine in a fly?
“’When were bonnets first
worn? was the toga becoming?
Were woman’s rights duly respected in Rome?
What tune was that horrible Emperor strumming,
When all was on fire—was it Home, Sweet Home?”
“Such questions as these (sweetest
questions!) assail me,
When I walk on our Trumpington-Road-Rotten-Row;
The voice of the charmer ne’er ceases to hail me
(Is it wisely she charmeth?) wherever I go.
“Locked up in my rooms, I sigh wearily
But cards, notes, and letters pour in by each post;
From PHYLLIS, EUPHROSYNE, PHIDYLE, CHLOE,
AMARYLLIS and JANE, and a numberless host.
“And now, I must take either poison
For things cannot last very long as they are.”
He ceased, as the exquisite form of a pupil
Dawned upon him, serene as a beautiful star.
Much of syntax and “accidence moving”
Discoursed as they sat by the murmuring stream,
Till, as young Desdemona was charmed by Othello,
She listened, as one who is dreaming a dream.