The Poetry Corner

The Lady Margaret 5th Boat

By Edward Woodley Bowling

May, 1863. 1. BOYCOTT, W. 2. FERGUSON, R. S. 3. BOWLING, E. W. 4. SMITH, JASON. 5. PALEY, G. A. 6. GORST, P. F. 7. SECKER, J. H. 8. FISHER, J. Steerer - BUSHELL, W. D. Eight B.A.'s stout from town came out M.A. degrees to take, And made a vow from stroke to bow a bump or two to make. Weary were they and jaded with the din of London town, And they felt a tender longing for their long-lost cap and gown. So they sought the old Loganus: well pleased, I trow, was he, The manly forms he knew so well once more again to see: And they cried - "O old Loganus, can'st thou find us e'er a boat, In which our heavy carcases may o'er the waters float?" Then laughed aloud Loganus - a bitter jest lov'd he - And he cried "Such heavy mariners I ne'er before did see; I have a fast commodious barge, drawn by a wellfed steed, 'Twill scarcely bear your weight, I fear: for never have I see'd Eight men so stout wish to go out a rowing in a 'height;' Why, gentlemen, a man of war would sink beneath your weight." Thus spake the old Loganus, and he laughed both long and loud, And when the eight men heard his words, they stood abashed and cowed; For they knew not that he loved them, and that, sharply tho' he spoke, The old man loved them kindly, tho' he also loved his joke: For Loganus is a Trojan, and tho' hoary be his head, He loveth Margareta, and the ancient Johnian red. So he brought them out an eight-oar'd tub, and oars both light and strong, And bade them be courageous, and row their ship along. Then in jumped Casa Minor, the Captain of our crew, And the gallant son-of Fergus in a "blazer" bright and new; And Thomas o Kulindon [*] full proudly grasped his oar, And Iason o Chalkourgos [*], who weighs enough for "four;" For if Jason and Medea had sailed with him for cargo, To the bottom of the Euxine would have sunk the good ship Argo. Then Pallidulus Bargaeus, the mightiest of our crew, Than whom no better oarsman ever wore the Cambridge blue. And at number six sat Peter, whom Putney's waters know; Number seven was young Josephus, the ever-sleepless Joe; Number eight was John Piscator, at his oar a wondrous dab, Who, tho' all his life a fisher, yet has never caught a crab; Last of all the martial Modius, having laid his good sword by, Seized the rudder-strings, and uttered an invigorating cry: "Are you ready all?Row, Two, a stroke!Eyes front, and sit at ease! Quick March!I meant to say, Row on! and mind the time all, please." Then sped the gallant vessel, like an arrow from a bow, And the men stood wondering on the banks to see the "Old'uns" row; And Father Camus raised his head, and smiled upon the crew, For their swing, and time, and feather, and their forms, full well he knew. They rowed past Barnwell's silvery pool, past Charon's gloomy bark, And nearly came to grief beneath the railway rafters dark: But down the willow-fringed Long Reach so fearful was their pace, That joyous was each Johnian, and pale each foeman's face. They rowed round Ditton corner, and past the pleasant Plough, Nor listened to the wild appeal for beer that came from bow; They rowed round Grassy Corner, and its fairy forms divine, But from the boat there wandered not an eye of all the nine; They rowed round First-Post Corner, the Little Bridge they passed, And calmly took their station two places from the last. Off went the gun! with one accord the sluggish Cam they smote, And were bumped in fifty seconds by the Second Jesus Boat. (1863).