Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1926

Ode on a Man

page 11

Ode on a Man

Sing, sacred Muses! Praise with one accord
The meek Bond-servant of the mighty Board.
Begin, sweet echoes of the Sacred Nine,
(Unless your charge exceeds a cent a line),
And sweep the reverent lyre with pensive look;
If it's in tune,
All's well; if not, I'll tell you pretty soon,
And chant the praises of the babbling Brook.

Begin then, ruddy Pope, whose blatant cries
Much lack the grace thy pompous name implies.
With colour less conspicuous than thine,
Paint us his portrait for the Sacred Nine.
Picture, with words impetuous yet not rash,
His portly waistcoat and his limp moustache,
The massive keys that dangle at his side,
And the small smile of unassuming pride.

Next, with a blast of trumpets,Campbell, come!
Proclaiming to the loud, triumphant drum.
The hero's might, in sharp and well-clipp'd phrase,
The wisdom of his economic ways;
He'd ne'er attempt, though power dimmed his eyes,
To raise the students' fee to twice the size.

But hush! Be still! A mightier Muse draws nigh.
Stand back, and mind your eye!
Hence with excuse and vain denial coy.
All ready? Shout aloud, "Malfroy! Malfroy!"
Hark while his glorious tongue sublimely wags;
Far better Oxford bleat than Oxford bags!
Hear him describe in long and sonorous roll
The hero's longing for a higher Goal,
How he excels among the common Pack,
A hero far more Forward than he's Back.

This ended, enter Nicholls! Warbling Bird—
The often-seen and still-more-often heard.
Hark while this cheery cockerel, minus wings,
Ruffles his homely plume and loudly sings.
Crow of the "Don'ts!" that "mark the hero's tone!—
Chief records on his daily gramophone;
His kindly hand that oft at evening hath
Removed thy person from the public path;
Or how he quelled thy late uproarious noise,
Hinting that bed's the place for little boys.

Enough! A greater Muse commands the knee,
Bent on reform, shod with authority.
His henchmen cry (excuse the flagrant pun),
"If ought's to do. it's certain to be Dunn."
With which-still punning-others disagree:

page 12

"If you would be a fool, it's done you'll be."
He sinks his head upon his solemn breast,
And mumbling with an undertaker's zest,
He merely tells the hero, once for all,
That, should he e'er attend a College Ball,
No commendation shall be his, unless—
He'll please refrain from wearing evening dress.

But what unearthly din assails the ear?
An earthquake's coming!
It's already here!
What blows of hand on hand!
What stamp of heel! Is it the clash of iron?No; it's Steele!
No need for fear or panic-stricken screech. Be seated!
He's delivering a speech.
Give ear awhile to his impressive rage.
Shout, fiery Muse! Great Stamper of the Stage!
In thundering tones the hero's self may hear,
Describe his long, illustrious career;
His fame so filled his foes with mortal dread,
That none ere smote his much-respected head.
But what is this? What shouts the common crowd?
"Turn out the Muse! His voice is much too loud! "
They howl him down; with anger in his eyes,
"I cannot even hear myself!" he cries;
To which the crowd, devoid of feeling touch,
Replies in concert, "You're not missing much! "
Desist, Great Bard, before, their rage increases;
Depart in peace, or else depart in pieces.

But, hush! What mystic sounds have sweetly met?
Two Muses sing, with harmony sublime.
They're not come on together to save time;
Nay, 'tis the Great Duet.
Hark, while a paean of triumph each effuses,
The David and Goliath of my Muses—
Great Ivory, like some oak in monstrous boots—
Dainty de Montalk sporting round his roots.
Come, Giant! For a moment take the floor
And praise him, with a most stupendous roar,
To whom I give this metaphoric carrot—
He never quotes the poets like a parrot.
Now, while the thunder for a space is stayed,
de Montalk, leave thy comrade's sheltering shade,
And from thy mouth, with self-assertive mirth,
Give treble witness of the hero's worth.
Though pleased to offer fatherly advice,
He never made a public sacrifice!
Nor would he, though ambition seared his eyes,
Make up in clamour any lack in size.

And last with ponderous stride comes footing slow
That curious Muse whom all the world doth know:,
The younger James, who (to be quite complete)
Is best distinguished by his size in feet.

page 13

With strange inflexion and extended hand,
He proves the hero, takes a solid stand
For freedom, and the student's right to think
What he desires, and wherewith he shall drink.
Then growing, with his shouting, dry of mouth,
He cries with ecstasy,
Born of deep delving in philosophy,
"O for a beaker full of the warm South! "
Great James, who dost in rhetoric excel,
Thou hast a head which, like the Sabbath bell
That weekly just at eventide is rung,
Has in it nothing else beside the tongue.

Then sing, ye Muses! Praise with one accord
The meek Bond-servant of the mighty Board.
With lyre and saxophone let one and all
Assemble in the hall,
And praise the Man before his very door.
Take parts and raise an undiscordant roar.
Campbell can wield the baton for a start,
And Pope, of course, will take the solo part.
Malfroy and James-the cornet and trombone,
And Dunn can be the Steady Undertone.
The Great Duet can sing, if sing they must,
Nicholls can be the Noise, and Steele the Dust.
All ready? Raise your loud, melodious shout!
His door uncloses. Ha! He's coming out!
What, is his look a look of love, or hate?
Fly, mighty Muses, fly! It's ten past eight!