’My achievements thou hast heard
of, how I chalk the wily cue,
Pull an oar, and wield the willow, and have won my double-blue;
How I ride, and play lawn tennis; how I make a claret cup;
Own the sweetest of bull terriers, and a grand St. Bernard pup.
’But believe me, since I’ve
seen thee, all these
pleasures are a bore;
Life has now one only object fit to love and to adore;
Long in silence have I worshipped, long in secret have I sighed:
Tell me, beautiful Aesthesis, wilt thou be my blooming bride?’
‘Sir Student,’ quoth the maiden,
’you are really quite intense,
And I ever of this honour shall retain the highest sense;
But forgive me, if I venture’—faintly blushing thus she spoke—
‘Is not true love inconsistent with tobacco’s mundane smoke?’
‘Perish all that comes between us,’
cried Athletes, as he threw
His weed full fifty paces in the stream of Camus blue:
The burning weed encountered the cold river with the hiss
Which ensues when fire and water, wranglers old, are forced to kiss.
‘Sir Student, much I thank thee,’
said the Lady, ’thou hast shown
The fragrance of a lily, or of petals freshly blown;
But before to thee I listen there are questions not a few
Which demand from thee an answer satisfactory and true.’
‘Fire away,’ exclaimed Athletes,
’I will do the best I can;
But remember, gentle Maiden, that I’m not a reading man;
So your humble servant begs you, put your questions pretty plain,
For my Tutors all assure me I’m not overstocked with brain.
‘Sir Student’ cried the Lady,
and her glance was stern and high,
Hast thou felt the soft vibration of a summer sunset sky?
Art thou soulful? Art thou tuneful? Cans’t thou
weep o’er nature’s woes?
Art thou redolent of Ruskin? Dost thou love a yellow rose?
’Hast thou bathed in emanations
from the canvass of Burne Jones?
As thou gazest at a Whistler, doth it whistle wistful tones?
Art thou sadly sympathetic with a symphony in blue?
Tell me, tell me, gentle Student, art thou really quite tootoo?’
‘’Pon my word,’ replied
the Student, ’this is coming
it too strong:
I can sketch a bit at Lecture, and can sing a comic song;
But my head with all these subjects ’tis impossible to cram;
So, my beautiful Aesthesis, you must take me as I am.’
‘Wilt thou come into my parlour,’
asked the Maid,
’To my little bower in Girton, where a table shall be laid?
Pen and paper I will bring thee, and whatever thou shalt ask,
That is lawful, shall be granted for performance of thy task.’
Lightly leapt the young Athletes from
his seat beside the Cam:
’This is tempting me, by Jingo, to submit to an Exam!
So it’s time, my learned Lady, you and I should say good-bye’—
And he stood with indignation and wild terror in his eye.