Collegia – Ode 43: After Tea-time


(Apologies to Southey)

It was a winter evening.
My morrow’s work was done,
And I before my window drear
Bewailed the setting sun;
And by me sported on the bed
My study mate, Arthur Kinrade.

He saw me take the Cushags out
And hunt a certain page
Where I remembered well a text
Of a glad by-gone age.
He came to ask what I had found
That cause my smile to grow full round.

He pointed out a little note
Upon the second line;
I sadly shook my bended head,
And said, “That is not mine,
“Some other fellow’s score,” said I,
“Who helped us in our victory.”

“I found them in the cupboard
Where more were lying about;
And when I came to Coll this term,
I’d thought to take them out,
To read them all again,” said I,
“And most of all, our victory.”

“Now tell me what ‘twas all about,”
My study-mate he cries,
And there he sits and looks at me
With wonder-waiting eyes;
“Now tell me all about the score,
And what you got ‘em all out for.”

“It was at Castletown,” I cried,
“We put the team to rout;
But what we got ‘em all out for,
I could not well make out.
But everybody said,” quoth I,
“It was a famous victory.

“Our Captain was Jim Colling then,
His bowling wasn’t much;
His fielding was a hopeless mess;
His batting was called such;
But with his bag and swollen head
Our team to victory he led.

“With bat and ball the whole team round
Was put to childish shame;
Their stumps we broke, their men we hit,
The batsmen went and came;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

“They say it was a rousing sight
After the game was won;
For many men were cheering there
Beneath the sweltering sun;
But thing like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise did the Don Webster win,
And so did Douglas Berry!”
“Why, ‘twas a very noble game!”
Quoth he. I answered, “Very!
“For you must know,” said I, “that’s why
It was a famous victory.

“And everybody praised the team
That this great game did win.”
“But is it true,” said Arthur then,
“They only played eight men?”
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said I,
“But ‘twas a famous victory!”

25. 5. 1928