The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934
On the Presentation of the Portraits of the First Four Professors of Victoria University College, Wellington, New Zealand.
What tribute can we render unto you
Who gave the riches of your scholar-lore,
The wisdom more to be desired than gold,
Poured out in liberal measure from your store
Of knowledge, and to eyes of youth unrolled
The map of life anew?
What sheaf of all your sowing shall we bring
As offering before your honoured chair?
Though thin our votive wreath from hands else bare,
Know this, our hearts are full, remembering.
You were for us the lambent, primal rays,
The quickening light of youth's awakening skies;
Prepotent in our red, expectant East:
And we beheld you with devoted eyes
Unveil new worlds, wherein you were the
Of mysteries, in the maze
Of arts and science: you our pioneer
Protagonists, the pilots through the reefs,
Where ran the surge and rip of disbeliefs,
Into the charted channels calm and clear.
But closer to our hearts than if your thrones
Had wholly been remote, Olympian—
You trod our ways, broke with us homely bread,
Gave us the friendly clasp of fellow-man,
Shared our poor hearth and fare ungarnishèd,
Spoke with warm human tones.
We had for you no charm of ancient hall
By Cam or Isis or the Northern Sea:
Nothing to proffer you but loyalty,
And youth's clear flame enkindling at your call.
Hail and farewell, Maclaurin! Thy canoe
Set out across dark waters of the West,
Untimely, for that brilliant, avid brain:
But unf or gotten in Hawaiki rest!
The Chieftains of thy heyday, they remain:
First he, the Master, who
Tells of the golden bough, the works and days;
And he who teaches our own English tongue;
And he who from slow-yielding Science wrung
Secrets. How shall we render you fit praise?
Now you grow old, and we you greeted first
Walk in the shadow of late afternoon.
And some are under alien skies afar;
Some see the palm-trees sway in the monsoon,
Some Himalayan snows, or Polar star
Where you were kindly nursed.
And term and term the fires of life succumb:
But still our hearts remember, with a leap,
The College on the Salamanca steep,
And you yet guarding the Palladium.
Let us then, ere the captains yield their place
When Time shall conquer in the last Assault,
Limn their loved faces for our College walls
In homage, and lest after-memory halt
Over a glance or mien some one recalls
In speech and would retrace.
But you shall not go from our memory,—
Dear eyes grown dim above the learned Page
And thou, too soon passed to the Anchorage—
Fame is not death but immortality.
Melbourne, 12th April, 1934.page break
Original by Courtesy of Miss F. G. Roberts.
Copy by Eileen Deste.
On The Old Clay Patch,9th September, 1905; the day the Tennis Club commenced excavating.