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The Vulture and the Husbandman

By Louisa CarolineN.B. -- A Vulture is a rapacious and obscene bird, whichdestroys its prey by plucking it limb from limb with its powerfulbeak and talons.A Husbandman is a man in a low position of life, who supportshimself by the use of the plough. -- (Johnson's Dictionary).
  The rain was raining cheerfully,
  As if it had been May;
  The Senate-House appeared inside
  Unusually gay;
  And this was strange, because it was
  A Viva-voce day.
  The men were sitting sulkily,
  Their paper work was done;
  They wanted much to go away
  To ride or row or run;
  "It's very rude," they said, "to keep
  Us here, and spoil our fun."

  The papers they had finished lay
  In piles of blue and white.
  They answered every thing they could,
  And wrote with all their might,
  But, though they wrote it all by rote,
  They did not write it right.

  The Vulture and the Husbandman
  Beside these piles did stand,
  They wept like anything to see
  The work they had in hand.
  "If this were only finished up,"
  Said they, "it would be grand!"

  "If seven D's or seven C's
  We give to all the crowd,
  Do you suppose," the Vulture said,
  "That we could get them ploughed?"
  "I think so," said the Husbandman,
  "But pray don't talk so loud."

  "O undergraduates, come up,"
  The Vulture did beseech,
  "And let us see if you can learn
  As well as we can teach;
  We cannot do with more than two
  To have a word with each."

  Two Undergraduates came up,
  And slowly took a seat,
  They knit their brows, and bit their thumbs,
  As if they found them sweet,
  And this was odd, because you know
  Thumbs are not good to eat.

  "The time has come," the Vulture said,
  "To talk of many things,
  Of Accidence and Adjectives,
  And names of Jewish kings,
  How many notes a sackbut has,
  And whether shawms have strings."

  "Please, Sir," the Undergraduates said,
  Turning a little blue,
  "We did not know that was the sort
  Of thing we had to do."
  "We thank you much," the Vulture said,
  "Send up another two."

  Two more came up, and then two more,
  And more, and more and more;
  And some looked upwards at the roof,
  Some down upon the floor,
  But none were any wiser than
  The pair that went before.

  "I weep for you," the Vulture said,
  "I deeply sympathise!"
  With sobs and tears he gave them all
  D's of the largest size,
  While at the Husbandman he winked
  One of his streaming eyes.

  "I think," observed the Husbandman,
  "We're getting on too quick.
  Are we not putting down the D's
  A little bit too thick?"
  The Vulture said with much disgust
  "Their answers make me sick."

  "Now, Undergraduates," he cried,
  Our fun is nearly done,
  "Will anybody else come up?"
  But answer came there none;
  And this was scarcely odd, because
  They'd ploughed them every one!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:30 min read

Arthur Clement Hilton

Arthur Clement Hilton was an Anglican priest, and an English poet who wrote nonsense verse. He attended Marlborough College and St. John's College, Cambridge. He graduated in 1873 from Wells Theological Seminary, and was ordained a deacon in 1874 and a priest in 1875. He earned a M.A. from Cambridge in 1876. He died suddenly in 1877. more…

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