Treasure Island

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

(21 November 1863 – 12 May 1944 / England)


By E. A. P.
In the sad and sodden street,
To and fro,
Flit the fever-stricken feet
Of the freshers as they meet,
Come and go,
Ever buying, buying, buying
Where the shopmen stand supplying,
Vying, vying
All they know,
While the Autumn lies a-dying
Sad and low
As the price of summer suitings when the winter breezes blow,
Of the summer, summer suitings that are standing in a row
On the way to Jericho.
See the freshers as they row
To and fro,
Up and down the Lower River for an afternoon or so—
(For the deft manipulation
Of the never-resting oar,
Though it lead to approbation,
Will induce excoriation)—
They are infinitely sore,
Keeping time, time, time
In a sort of Runic rhyme
Up and down the way to Iffley in an afternoon or so;
(Which is slow).
Do they blow?
'Tis the wind and nothing more,
'Tis the wind that in Vacation has a tendency to go:
But the coach's objurgation and his tendency to 'score'
Will be sated—nevermore.
See the freshers in the street,
The elite!
Their apparel how unquestionably neat!
How delighted at a distance,
Inexpensively attired,
I have wondered with persistence
At their butterfly existence!
How admired!
And the payment—O, the payment!
It is tardy for the raiment:
Yet the haberdasher gloats as he sells,
And he tells,
'This is best
To be dress'd
Rather better than the rest,
To be noticeably drest,
To be swells,
To be swells, swells, swells, swells,
Swells, swells, swells,
To be simply and indisputably swells.'
See the freshers one or two,
Just a few,
Now on view,
Who are sensibly and innocently new;
How they cluster, cluster, cluster
Round the rugged walls of Worcester!
See them stand,
Book in hand,
In the garden ground of John's!
How they dote upon their Dons!
See in every man a Blue!
It is true
They are lamentably few;
But I spied
Yesternight upon the staircase just a pair of boots outside
Upon the floor,
Just a little pair of boots upon the stairs where I reside,
Lying there and nothing more;
And I swore
While these dainty twins continued sentry by the chamber door
That the hope their presence planted should be with me evermore,
Should desert me—nevermore.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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