Collegia – Ode 1: Westminster


(Apologies to John Masefield)

OH, Westminster’s a fine coll,
And all its sights are rare;
And here the chaps are sporting,
And here’s the student’s lair;
And busily goes the world here,
And learnèd grows the mind,
And Westminster, I think me,
I’ll sadly leave behind!

Then hey for the dames and the dances,
The baths and the sport and the food;
And to feel the healthy spirit
That every fellow should.
Early to rise in the morning,
In the wintry cold and murk;
In the warmth and cheer of the libr’ry
To sit and think and to work.

Oh, W.’s chaps are fine chaps,
Arrayed in neat attire,
And W.’s rooms are rare rooms,
But cold without a fire;
And scantily clinks the gold there,
But wakefully blinks the eye;
And Westminster I’ll never
Be glad to hurry by.

Oh, hey for lectures and sweetmeats,
The tuckshop’s aid invoke,
A-strolling in the Cloisters,
Eight minutes for a smoke;
Then lectures in an ice-box,
And freezing in a chair,
Then out again in freedom
To the frosty London air.

Oh, W.’s tunes are new tunes,
And W.’s books are wise,
And W.’s plays are rare plays,
And fine in all our eyes;
But sadly fares the knave there,
And wickedly fares the cheat;
And W.’s chairs are easy,
And W.’s sweets are sweet.

So, hey for the grand old College,
The start of long thousand careers;
We’ll give this venerable College
The best of three hearty cheers,
Ere we leave for the coming vacation,
And the talking by the fire
In the hearty land where we were bred,
Our lands of hearts’ desire.

30. 10. 1927