’Twas at the May Term Races
That first I met her eye:
Amid a thousand Graces
No form with her’s could vie.
On Grassy’s sward enamelled
She reigned fair Beauty’s Queen;
And every heart entrammell’d
With the charms of sweet eighteen.
Once more I saw that Bonnet—
’Twas on the King’s Parade—
Once more I gazed upon it,
And silent homage paid.
She knew not I was gazing;
She passed unheeding by;
While I, in trance amazing,
Stood staring at the sky.
The May Term now is over:
That Bonnet has ‘gone down’;
And I’m myself a rover,
Far from my Cap and Gown.
But I dread the Long Vacation,
And its work by night and day,
After all the dissipation
Energetic of the May.
For x and y will vanish,
When that Bonnet I recall;
And a vision fair will banish,
Newton, Euclid, and Snowball.
And a gleam of tresses golden,
And of eyes divinely blue,
Will interfere with Holden,
And my Verse and Prose imbue.
* * * *
These sweet girl graduate beauties,
With their bonnets and their roses,
Will mar ere long the duties
Which Granta wise imposes.
Who, when such eyes are shining,
Can quell his heart’s sensations;
Or turn without repining
To Square Root and Equations?
And when conspicuous my name
By absence shall appear;
When I have lost all hopes of fame,
Which once I held so dear;
When ‘plucked’ I seek a vain relief
In plaintive dirge or sonnet;
Thou wilt have caused that bitter grief,
Thou beautiful Pink Bonnet!
THE MAY TERM.
Mille venit variis florum Dea nexa coronis:
Scena ioci morem liberioris habet.
OV. Fast. IV. 945, 946.
I wish that the May Term were over,
That its wearisome pleasures were o’er,
And I were reclining in clover
On the downs by a wave-beaten shore:
For fathers and mothers by dozens,
And sisters, a host without end,
Are bringing up numberless cousins,
Who have each a particular friend.
I’m not yet confirmed in misogyny—
They are all very well in their way—
But my heart is as hard as mahogany,
When I think of the ladies in May.
I shudder at each railway-whistle,
Like a very much victimized lamb;
For I know that the carriages bristle
With ladies invading the Cam.
Last week, as in due preparation
For reading I sported my door,
With surprise and no small indignation,
I picked up this note on the floor—
’Dear E. we are coming to see you,
’So get us some lunch if you can;
’We shall take you to Grassy, as Jehu—
‘Your affectionate friend, Mary Ann.’