Once More: Class of '29

Condiscipulis, Coœtaneis, Harvardianis, A micis.

“ WILL I come?” That is pleasant! I beg to inquire
If the gun that I carry has ever missed fire ?
And which was the muster-roll — mention but one —
That missed your old comrade who carries the gun ?
You see me as always, my hand on the lock,
The cap on the nipple, the hammer full cock.
It is rusty, some tell me ; I heed not the scoff;
It is battered and bruised, but it always goes off !
— “ Is it loaded ? ” I ’ll bet you ! what does n’t it hold ?
Rammed full to the muzzle with memories untold ;
Why, it scares me to fire, lest the pieces should fly
Like the cannons that burst on the Fourth of July!
One charge is a remnant of College-day dreams
(Its wadding is made of forensics and themes);
Ah, visions of fame ! what a flash in the pan
As the trigger was pulled by each clever young man !
And Love ! Bless my stars, what a cartridge is there !
With a wadding of rose-leaves and ribbons and hair, —
All crammed in one verse to go off at a shot !
— Were there ever such sweethearts ? Of course there were not ?!
And next, — what a load ! it will split the old gun, —
Three fingers, — four fingers, — five fingers of fun !
Come tell me, gray sages, for mischief and noise
Was there ever a lot like us fellows, The Boys ?
Bump ! bump ! down the staircase the cannon-ball goes, —
Aha, Old Professor ! Look out for your toes !
Don’t think, my poor Tutor, to sleep in your bed,—
Two “ Boys ” — ’twenty-niners — room over your head!
Remember the nights when the tar-barrel blazed !
From red “Massachusetts” the war-cry was raised;
And “ Hollis ” and “ Stoughton ” re-echoed the call,
Till P—poked his head out of Holworthy Hall !
Old P—, as we called him, — at fifty or so, —
Not exactly a bud, but not quite in full blow ;
In ripening manhood, suppose we should say,
Just nearing his prime, as we Boys are to-day !
O, say, can you look through the vista of age
To the time when old Morse drove the regular stage ?
When Lyon told tales of the long-vanished years,
And Lenox crept round with the rings in his ears ?
And dost thou, my brother, remember indeed
The days of our dealings with Willard and Read ?
When " Dolly ” was kicking and running away,
And punch came up smoking on Fillebrown’s tray ?
But where are the Tutors, my brother, O, tell! —
And where the Professors, remembered so well ?
The sturdy old Grecian of Holworthy Hall,
And Latin and Logic, and Hebrew and all ?
“ — They are dead, the old fellows ” (we called them so then,
Though we since have found out they were lusty young men).
— They are dead, do you tell me ? — but how do you know ?
You’ve filled once too often. I doubt if it’s so.
I ’m thinking. I ’m thinking. Is this ’sixty-eight ?
It’s not quite so clear. It admits of debate.
I may have been dreaming. I rather incline
To think — yes, I’m certain — it is ’twenty-nine!
“ By George ! ” — as friend Sales is accustomed to cry, —
You tell me they ’re dead, but I know it ’s a lie !
Is Jackson not President?—What was’t you said?
It can’t be ; you ’re joking; what,— all of ’em dead?
Jim, — Harry, — Fred, — Isaac, — all gone from, our side ? —
They could n’t have left us, — no, not if they tried.
— Look, — there’s our old Præses, — he can’t find his text ;
— See, — P—rubs his leg, as he growls out, “The Next!”
I told you ’t was nonsense. Joe, give us a song !
Go harness up “ Dolly,” and fetch her along ! —
Dead ! Dead ! You false graybeard, I swear they are not!
Hurrah for Old Hickory!—O, I forgot!
Well, one we have with us (how could he contrive
To deal with us youngsters and still to survive ?)
Who wore for our guidance authority’s robe, —
No wonder he took to the study of Job !
— And now as my load was uncommonly large,
Let me taper it off with a classical charge ;
When that has gone off, I shall drop my old gun,
And then stand at ease, for my service is done.
Bibamus ad Classem vocatamThe Boys
Et eorum Tutorem cui nomen est " Noyes”
Et floreant, valeant, vigeant tam,
Non Peircius ipse enumeret quam !