Summer Song

The Summer Term! What tales are told
By greybeards of the days of old –
That fabulous age of golden leisure
When Duty pushed the punt for Pleasure!
When Indolence was highest merit
A few fell short, but most came near it.
Bump Suppers, Eights Week, the Commem.
They tell – and Schools? A fig for them!

From those brave days how changed are we
By grave Responsibility!
See how the undergraduate runs
To join the queue for cakes or buns.
Into the battle he has sprung
To fill the mouths of guests, or young,
While freshmen vanish in the Radder
Pursued by infant cries of ‘Dadda.’
From quest of lodgings by the day
Dispirited he turns away,
Or brightens, hearing ‘Just yourself?
I’ve a cupboard with a roomy shelf.’

And yet, in spite of rationing
Summer continues to follow Spring.
Elms, chestnuts, beeches, all are seen
In new and still-uncouponed green.
The cuckoo chants his ancient tune-O
Unchecked by thoughts of Schools or Uno.
And Nature shouts, as shout she should –
‘It’s By Authority, and good!’

So floreat this Summer Term
Enjoyed by man, bird, beast and worm
And Oxford be herself and true
With summer blossoms old and new.

Oxford satires