**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The University Feud
by [?]

[NFootnote 45: “The Row at the Oxford Arms” (to quote its alternative title) is a squib on the contest at Oxford, in 1841-42, for the Professorship of Poetry. The candidates, it will be remembered, were Isaac Williams and Mr. (afterwards Archdeacon) Garbett. The struggle was the more intense that it was openly acknowledged to be a trial of strength between the adherents of the “Oxford Movement” and the Evangelical Party.]

As latterly I chanced to pass
A Public House, from which, alas!
The Arms of Oxford dangle!
My ear was startled by a din,
That made me tremble in my skin,
A dreadful hubbub from within,
Of voices in a wrangle–

Voices loud, and voices high,
With now and then a party-cry,
Such as used in times gone by
To scare the British border;
When foes from North and South of Tweed–
Neighbors–and of Christian creed–
Met in hate to fight and bleed,
Upsetting Social Order.

Surprised, I turn’d me to the crowd,
Attracted by that tumult loud,
And ask’d a gazer, beetle-brow’d,
The cause of such disquiet.
When lo! the solemn-looking man,
First shook his head on Burleigh’s plan,
And then, with fluent tongue, began
His version of the riot:

A row!–why yes,–a pretty row, you might hear from this to Garmany,
And what is worse, it’s all got up among the Sons of Harmony,
The more’s the shame for them as used to be in time and tune,
And all unite in chorus like the singing-birds in June!
Ah! many a pleasant chant I’ve heard in passing here along,
When Swiveller was President a-knocking down a song;
But Dick’s resign’d the post, you see, and all them shouts and hollers
Is ’cause two other candidates, some sort of larned scholars,
Are squabbling to be Chairman of the Glorious Apollers!

Lord knows their names, I’m sure I don’t, no more than any yokel,
But I never heard of either as connected with the vocal;
Nay, some do say, although of course the public rumor varies,
They’ve no more warble in ’em than a pair of hen canaries;
Though that might pass if they were dabs at t’other sort of thing,
For a man may make a song, you know, although he cannot sing;
But lork! it’s many folk’s belief they’re only good at prosing,
For Catnach swears he never saw a verse of their composing;
And when a piece of poetry has stood its public trials,
If pop’lar, it gets printed off at once in Seven Dials,
And then about all sorts of streets, by every little monkey,
It’s chanted like the “Dog’s Meat Man,” or “If I had a Donkey.”
Whereas, as Mr. Catnach says, and not a bad judge neither,
No ballad–worth a ha’penny–has ever come from either,
And him as writ “Jim Crow,” he says, and got such lots of dollars,
Would make a better Chairman for the Glorious Apollers.
Howsomever that’s the meaning of the squabble that arouses
This neighborhood, and quite disturbs all decent Heads of Houses,
Who want to have their dinners and their parties, as is reason,
In Christian peace and charity according to the season.
But from Number Thirty-Nine–since this electioneering job,
Ay, as far as Number Ninety, there’s an everlasting mob;
Till the thing is quite a nuisance, for no creature passes by,
But he gets a card, a pamphlet, or a summut in his eye;
And a pretty noise there is!–what with canvassers and spouters,
For in course each side is furnish’d with its backers and its touters;
And surely among the Clergy to such pitches it is carried,
You can hardly find a Parson to get buried or get married;
Or supposing any accident that suddenly alarms,
If you’re dying for a surgeon, you must fetch him from the “Arms”;
While the Schoolmasters and Tooters are neglecting of their scholars,
To write about a Chairman for the Glorious Apollers.