A Poem by W. M. MacKeracher

Ever hail’d with delight when my memory strays
O’er the various scenes of my juvenile days,
Do you mind if I sing a poor song in your praise,
My jolly old classical master?

You were kind – over-lenient, ’twas rumor’d, to rule –
And so learn’d, though the blithest of all in the school,
‘Twas your pupil’s own fault if he left you a fool,
My jolly old classical master.

“Polumetis Odusseus” you brought back to life,
“Xanthos Menelaos” recalled to the strife:
You knew more about Homer than Homer’s own wife,
My jolly old classical master.

You could sever each classical Gordian knot,
Each “crux criticorum” explain on the spot;
We preferr’d your opinion to Liddell and Scott,
My jolly old classical master.

To you “Arma virumque,” “All Gaul” and the rest
Were a snap of the fingers, a plaything, a jest,
Even Horace mere English – you lik’d Horace best,
My jolly old classical master.

We esteemed you a marvel in Latin and Greek,
An Erasmus, a Bentley, a Person, a freak;
And for all sorts of knowledge we held you unique,
My jolly old classical master.

You brought forth from your treasury things new and old,
Philosophical gems, oratorical gold;
And how many a capital story you told,
My jolly old classical master!

Your devotion to learning, whole-hearted and pure,
Your fine critical relish of literature,
And your gay disposition, had charms to allure,
My jolly old classical master.

Here’s a health to you, sir, from a thousand old boys,
Who once plagu’d you with nonsense and tried you with noise,
But who learn’d from you, lov’d you, and wish you all joys,
My jolly old classical master.

May your mien be still jovial, your mind be still bright,
May your wit be still sprightly, your heart be still light,
And long, long may it be ere your spirit takes flight,
My jolly old classical master.