Oxford! What change indeed is here!
Where are the sweets of yesteryear?
The groaning board with dainties laid,
The pots of Oxford Marmalade?
The marts of clothing rich and rare,
Gents’ Natty Suitings everywhere?
Behold instead these garments old
Which late the mouldering trunk did hold,
The relics of a life disrupted
Too oft by moth and rust corrupted,
Behold the shivering threadbare band,
A milk-jug in each palsied hand.
Largesse! Largesse! Each clutches, see,
His pinch of sugar, bread and tea.
And last come those who, less robust,
Have been by sea, air, desert dust,
Softened, unfitted for the strife
And hardships of civilian life.
But up, my soul! No more repine!
Materialism in every line!
Shall Oxford’s lovely visage pale
Because we’re short of cakes and ale?
No! Learning’s lamp shall burn as bright
Howe’er we hoard the electric light.
The heart’s warm currents none shall stem
Though grates lie cold till 4 p.m.
And Oxford, thriftier than of yore,
Shall see days richer than before.
Though cows are niggard (well one knows),
The Milk of Human Kindness flows.