Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/Of T. G.
V. Of T. G.
Ode on a retrospect of Eton College.
Ye bigot spires, ye Tory towers,
That crown the watery lea,
Where grateful science still adores
A happy usher once I strayed
Beneath your lofty elm trees' shade,
With mind untouched by guilt or woe:
But mad ambition made me stray
Beyond the round of work and play
Wherein we ought to go.
My office was to teach the young
Idea how to shoot:
But, ah! I joined with eager tongue
I ventured humbly to suggest
That all things were not for the best
Among the Irish peasantry:
And finding all the world abuse
My simple unpretending views,
I thought I'd go and see.
I boldly left the College bounds:
Across the sea I went,
To probe the economic grounds
Of Irish discontent.
My constant goings to and fro
Excited some alarm; and so
Policemen girded up their loins,
And, from his innocent pursuits,—
Morose unsympathetic brutes,—
They snatched a fearful Joynes.
Escaped, I speedily returned
To teach the boys again:
But ah, my spirit inly burned
To think on Ireland's pain.
Such wrongs must out: and then, you see,
My own adventures might not be
Uninteresting to my friends:
I therefore ventured to prepare
A little book, designed with care,
To serve these humble ends.
Our stern head-master spoke to me
Severely:—" You appear
"(Horresco referens) to be
"A party pamphleteer.
"If you must write, let Caesar's page
"Or Virgil's poetry engage
"Your all too numerous leisure hours:
"But now annihilate and quash
"This impious philanthropic bosh:
"Or quit these antique towers."
It seems that he who dares to write
Is all unfit to teach:
And literary fame is quite
Beyond an usher's reach.
I dared imprisonment in vain:
The little bantling of my brain
I am compelled to sacrifice.
The moral, after all, is this:—
That here, where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
Pall Mall Gazette, Nov. 17, 1882.