James Clerk Maxwell

(13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879 / Edinburgh, Scotland)

Valedictory Address To The D--N - Poem by James Clerk Maxwell

John Alexander Frere, John,
When we were first acquent,
You lectured us as Freshmen
In the holy term of Lent;
But now you’re gettin’ bald, John,
Your end is drawing near,
And I think we’d better say "Goodbye,
John Alexander Frere."

John Alexander Frere, John,
How swiftly Time has flown!
The weeks that you refused us
Are now no more your own;
Tho’ Time was in your hand, John,
You lingered out the year,
That Grace might more abound unto
John Alexander Frere.

There’s young Monro of Trinity,
And Hunter bold of Queen’s,
Who spurn the chapel system,
And "vex the souls of Deans."
But all their petty squabbles
More ludicrous appear,
When we muse on thy departed form,
John Alexander Frere.

There’s many better man, John.
That scorns the scoffing crew,
But keeps with fond affection
The notes he got from you—
"Why he was out of College,
Till two o’clock or near,
The Senior Dean requests to know,
Yours truly, J. A. Frere."

John Alexander Frere, John,
I wonder what you mean
By mixing up your name so
With me, and with "The Dean."
Another Don may dean us,
But ne’er again, we fear,
Shall we receive such notes as yours,
John Alexander Frere.

The Lecture Room no more, John,
Shall hear thy drowsy tone,
No more shall men in Chapel
Bow down before thy throne.
But Shillington with meekness,
The oracle shall hear,
That set St. Mary's all to sleep—
John Alexander Frere.

Then once before we part, John,
Let all be clean forgot,
Our scandalous inventions,
[Thy note-lets, prized or not].
For under all conventions,
The small man lived sincere,
The kernel of the Senior Dean,
John Alexander Frere.


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Read poems about / on: sleep, fear, time



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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