The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1904
"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough."
[Our "Epic Bard" is at it again. We think that "Insonmia" would have been a more appropriate title or Nightmare "Wood B" still desires anonymity. An "Admirer" who writes asking whether his name may be explained by transposing "Sticks" for "Wood" and "2 B" for "B", must rest content until Homer himself declares.]
Full oft do we have visions strange to see,
And strange were those which lately came to me.
'T was on the day on which our stone was laid,
When all of us in ribbons bright arrayed,
Tho' come to cheer and shout with might and main,
Were slightly damped in spirit by the rain;
'T was on the night we held our little dance,
'T was then indeed these dreams I tell did chance.
Before my startled eyes appeared a band
Of worthy men, the richest in the land;
Whilst round about, with looks of mute appeal.
The students stood in various déshabille
Some had no boots and some there were lacked ties,
Whilst not a few looked hunger from their eyes.
E'en one there was, a truly worthy type,
Who smoked the fragrant tealeaf in his pipe.
But wherefore was this sorrowful array,
Of students, who were once so bright and gay?
It was that they, both loyal hearts and true,
Had given their last, Victoria Coll., for you.
Moved by this sight, from out this little band
Of worthy men the richest in the land,
Forth stepped an ancient gent* of lordly air,
Liberal he looked, with silver flowing hair,
And thus he spoke, in accents loud and clear,
While those about him shouted out, "Hear! Hear!"
"I trust this gift will not appear too small,
Which here I give, ten thousand pounds in all.
"Tis said that but the poor folk help the poor,
But all such vain delusions here I cure.
For truly is't not better thus to give,
If we can easily do so, while we live ?
For when we're 'neath the cold and humid ground,
Then matters nought the poor and paltry pound.
Our money's squandered by our wives and heirs,
They've got the cash, for us there's no one cares.
So take this gift and if by chance it be,
That more you need, why come then straight to me."
The others standing round then also came,
And tho' in less degree, they did the same.
Now forth from out the close-packed students' throng,
Stepped Wilson, bird of sweet unearthly song;
And thus his angel's voice did he upraise
In joyous song of sempiternal praise.
"Bright as the morning star, shining from off afar, Flashes your virtue.
All turns to gold you touch, and since you have so much, This cannot hurt you.
We thank yon generous host, we thank the "Evening Post," For all its kindness.
But let the morning "Times," go to far hotter climes, Gross in its blindness."
He stopped, and students staidly standing by,
In deep relief, heaved forth a long-drawn sigh,
Then fled this vision strange, from out my sight,
And now I dreamt of happenings of that night.
Now de la Mare, whose smile all else engrosses,
Became a cat, which proves Metempsychosis
And Johnstone, who with mirth and talk o'erflowed,
Became a rooster, strutted round and crowed.
Tom Seddon prowled around in sportive mood,
A live advertisement for Mellin's food.
Profs. Easterfield and Brown, tried well and hard,
To fashion creatures of the poultry yard.
Prof. Kirk, as ever, jolly and jocose,
Attached the tail upon the donkey's nose;
Whilst Prof. Mackenzie, stayed at home, and there,
Read Sweet-eat Saxon, in his great arm-chair.
S.S. Mackenzie too, in durance vile,
Remained at home; we missed his gracious smile.
Prof. G. von Z., who knows full many a tongue,
His classic knowledge to the wild winds flung.
For he in Boothby joyously did revel;
Appeared as Beauty, Whiteness, and the Devil.
Queer Quartley, as Dick Heldar got the prize,
And on the red-haired girl cast longing eyes.
While Pamela conversed with honest Tam,
Stout Bacon made essays to speak with Lamb.
Whilst Socrates held speech with Verdant Green,
Tom Sawyer met the Newcomes 'hind a screen.
To guess these names, a task to make one flinch,
Was done by Eva Myra Beryl Lynch.
Good G. von Z. read out the winners list,
And proved himself a sparkling humourist;
For that which Mac. compiled with ready wit,
By F. Smith in an artist's flourish writ,
Good G. von Z. improved as he thought fit.
To gallant Beere fair hockeyists gave a bag,
Which made that worthy use his pocket rag.
These visions passed away, I seemed to see,
Uniteds taken down by our 2B.
No self-respecting dream could bear this strain,
And with a start, I quickly woke again.
Bright shone the sun, from off its heavenly perch,
Below, good folk were on their way to church.
I sighed on looking back upon the dream,
To think, "Things are not sometimes what they seem."
Thou shalt be greater than the city that lies
Beneath thee; though the wave curve tender foam
Athwart her beach, thou hast a fairer home,
Where mountains watch thee with eternal eyes,
Within thy sanctuary men shall prize
The charm of Greece, the majesty of Rome,
And science through thy starry-circled dome
Shall trail her robe of unimagined dyes.
As thou hast gathered round thee all that brood
Of sacrifice for knowledge, who foresee
Regeneration, humbleness and faith
Won through the yoke of Pallas, thou wilt be
Memory for those who build thy walls, when Death
Had given them else forgotten solitude
Hubert Church.page 57
"Hech gather! Hech gather! hech gather aroun',
An' I'll fill a' your lugs wi' the exquisite soun'."
* An elegant expression, borrowed from a second-hand clothes' catalogue.