Collegia – Ode 2: Darling George


(Apologies to Samuel T. Coleridge)

THERE is our George! He looks so old,
In truth you’d find it hard to say
How he could ever have been young,
He looks so old and grey.
More crafty than a third-year man
He sits erect upon the form;
No ‘tache has he but bristly points,
And is a mass of knocking joints!
Not wretched or forlorn,
But with long hair is overgrown.

He was like someone’s lamb unshorn
Until one day a barber’s shop
Lured him inside; he had that morn
A melancholy crop;
And not a student now could ever
Could after darling George shout “Beaver!”
Up from his bench the old chap gets,
Slowly and sure, with gaunt bowed head,
And takes the knife to cut the bread;
At darling George they cry aloud,
So harshly you would think them bent
With plain and manifest intent
To humble George the proud!

At all times of the day and night
This darling youth to and fro goes,
And he is known to everyman,
And every man him knows;
Oft ‘mongst the books will he repose
And lets his voice in anger rise;
But when he’s put out in the hall
To lean or lie, to stand or fall,
He to the shut door cries,
“O Library, oh list to me!
Oh, woes is me! O misery!”

No more I wot; I wish I did;
For I would tell it all to you;
But what’s to come of this poor child,
No one will ever know:
If he was here long, long ago,
There’s no one that will ever tell,
Except the stones, and they are mute:
If he will be alive or dead
When each of us his narrow bed
Lies cold within, I cannot say!
There’s one stern thing that’s taken root
In all our minds, that come one day
Our Georgie will be doing time
In a much warmer fiery clime!

1. 11. 1927