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To The Reader Of ‘University Notes’

Ah yes, we know what you're saying,
As your eye glances over these Notes:
'What asses are these that are braying
With flat and unmusical throats?
Who writes such unspeakable patter?
Is it lunatics, idiots—or who?'
And you think there is 'something the matter.'
Well, we think so too.

We have sat, full of sickness and sorrow,
As the hours dragged heavily on,
Till the midnight has merged into morrow,
And the darkness is going or gone.
We are Editors. Give us the credit
Of meaning to do what we could;
But, since there is nothing to edit,
It isn't much good.

Once we shared the delightful delusion
That to edit was racy and rare,
But we suffered a sad disillusion,
And we found that our castles were air;
We had decked them with carvings and gildings,
We had filled them with laughter and fun,
But all of a sudden the buildings
Came down with a run.

Not a trace was there left of the carving,
And the gilding had vanished from sight;
But the 'column' for matter was starving,
And we had not to edit—but write.
So we set to and wrote. Can you wonder,
If the writing was feeble or dead?
We had started as editors—Thunder!
We were authors instead.

We'd mistaken our calling, election,
Vocation, department, and use;
We had thought that our task was selection,
And we found that we had to produce.
So we sigh for release from our labours,
We pray for a happy despatch,
We will take our last leave of our neighbours,
And then—Colney Hatch.

We are singing this dolorous ditty
As we part at the foot of the stairs;
We cannot but think it's a pity,
But what matter? there's nobody cares.
Our candle burns low in its socket,
There is nothing left but the wick;
And these Notes, that went up like a rocket,
Come down like the stick.

Ever to be the best. To lead
In whatsoever things are true;
Not stand among the halting crew,
The faint of heart, the feeble-kneed,
Who tarry for a certain sign
To make them follow with the rest—
Oh, let not their reproach be thine!
But ever be the best.

For want of this aspiring soul,
Great deeds on earth remain undone,
But, sharpened by the sight of one,
Many shall press toward the goal.
Thou running foremost of the throng,
The fire of striving in thy breast,
Shalt win, although the race be long,
And ever be the best.

And wilt thou question of the prize?
'Tis not of silver or of gold,
Nor in applauses manifold,
But hidden in the heart it lies:
To know that but for thee not one
Had run the race or sought the quest,
To know that thou hast ever done
And ever been the best.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:23 min read

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    "To The Reader Of ‘University Notes’" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/31072/to-the--reader-of-‘university-notes’>.

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