All quiet, the forest around Yale Bowl
Tremors, pregnant with meaning, the message
Fathomed by he who hearkens to silence.
For in silence sound is no mere chatter
But rather birth, advent, revelation.
With the bespecked rays of dawn, awake
Autumnal lark, take flight, and sing of man
Immortal, of worthy blood the image.
The man is seen in photographs, his face
Clean-shaven, chiseled, his eyes straight-forward,
His look intense and strong. But he is known
In memory by unreal loyalty,
By discipline, piety, duty. His
Society framed by inheritance,
His society he cherished like home,
And found the home of his blue-blood in Yale.
What a Yale was that Yale! Boola, boola
And all the rest. Those Elis resembled
The bulldog’s nobility, and Elis
On the field his ferocity. For theirs
Was a world worth a fight, their common cause
The protection of an inherited
Domesticity. And when the Elis
Marched on down the field, the blue-bloods triumphed.
But this man proved mortal, he unworthy
Of that higher glory. Abstract ideals
Enchanted: liberty, equality,
Fraternity, then culture overthrown.
Man, the creature of custom, stripped naked,
Reclined to ignominious repose,
Forsook the trust of his inheritance —
The blue-bloods bled themselves into the grave.
The glory returns only in moments
Echoing the past. Intimations of
An immortality in harmonic
Reverberation. The harmonic thrust
Alerts the forest, augurs a well-spring
Of hope. Out of darkness, a ray of light,
Of meaning, of promise, of purpose. The
Blood that was shed shall animate again.
The age of chivalry is gone, that of
Individuals upon us, and the
Enemy efficient beyond reform.
So much the rather thou, men of Yale, fight
Off the hordes of Harvard, the modern men
Conceived in mass, each individual
Liberated that they are all the same.
Retrieve the blood of thy patrimony.
The moment of glory cannot endow
Nobility. As our fathers lost it,
So will we, and much faster We are not
Worthy of the higher prize. Thus the lark
Alights, the forest fulfilled, its message
Delivered. But man is left unfulfilled.
For though we desire to be worthy,
So striving our draining blood fades from blue.
Peter Johnston is a junior in Saybrook College. His column runs on alternate Wednesdays.