The Lay of a Lost Bard


(The seventh of the Black Hole Ballads)
(With apologies to Scott)

The rain was wet, the wind was cold,
The master shivered as though cold;
His haggard look, once oh so gay,
Seemed to lament a better day.
His hat and coat hung by the door
Dripping water on the floow.
The last to teach that morn was he
Who demonstrated chemistry.
The times were changed, the summer gone,
And yet the spring had scarce begun.
King Sol, who should have shone so bright,
Afforded but a meagre light.
The master trembled as in fright,
But since exams were well in sight
He must perforce the weather spite,
And yell and shout, and rant, and boom
Above the tumult in the room,
Half filled with us and filled with gloom.
Amid the tumult and the din
He cleaned the board; said, “We’ll begin!”
And gazed outside with wistful eye –
No break in all that leaden sky!
With hesitating hand at last
The chalk o’ver battered blackboard passed,
Whose jerry frame and broken bar
Were witnesses to classroom war.
The students marked his weary pace,
His anxious mien and haggard face,
And raised their desks their books to get;
Dry work inside, though outside wet.
When blackboard grim was filled each side
And full the master gratified,
Then gan to rise his fallen pride;
And he commenced to talk anon
Of molecule and sulphion,
And of the dainty electron,
Till storm was past and tempest gone.
Time also gone, and minutes fled,
His hat he set upon his head,
Over his arm he threw his coat
And stepped out o’er the circling moat,
His duty done, his students taught,
A battle won, as fiercely fought.
The students could no longer bear
To stay in gloom classroom there,
So briskly rode home, two by two,
Their waiting dinners to pursue.

December, 1926