An Epic

I found this in Loomis Havermeyer’s A History of Timothy Dwight College in Yale University 1935-1958, published in TD in 1959. The following document was written fifty years ago to establish a peace between TD and JE after TD “stole” one of JE’s fellows - future Yale President A. Whitney Griswold. In light of the current heated Tyng rivalry between JE and TD, I present this epic. Read it, remember what wise old A. Whitney Griswold decided, and go out and win the Tyng. Ashé! Celebrating the Establishment of a Firm and Lasting Peace between J.E. and T.D.

Sing, Muse, the strife of Edwards and Dwight

By Robert Dudley French

What strokes of cunning and what deeds of might, What subtle practice of the burglar’s art
Outraged the godly, broke the dove(y)’s heart, When graceless Jonathan, devoid of symothy, Ravished away the golden globe of Timothy.

While through the heav’ns the sultry stars of War Rowled o’er our heads for three grim years and more, On every hand, from York to Temple Street,
Yale echoed to the tramp of marching feet;
The Army’s mule, the Navy’s capricorn
Ruined our grass and left our carpets torn.
Proud Colleges, chief patrons of J. Press,
Now thronged with rookies clad in G. I. dress. Berkeley, where the Presidents and Bishops ate, Took off its mitre and locked up its plate;
Plush Davenport, the home of our élite,
Boasted a clothes-line strung from cleat to cleat;
And Pierson blushed to find that it could muster
Not one B.M.O.C. upon its roster.
The Saybrook System, marvel of the ages,
Fallen apart, decayed by easy stages;
While Branford, sacred haunt of classic studies, Erstwhile the house of learned fuddie-duddies,
Rose from the cellar of athletic fame
To cheer its Y-men after every game.
The Trumbull bulls, t’avenge the fair Europa,
(Chaste Muse, defend me from a grievous faux pas!) Preserved their virtue for a time — and then
Each service made them playmates for its men. Calhoun, the luckiest of the luckless crew,
Saw one rough year of war and then was through.

Two COLLEGES, selected as the BEST, Remained, the while, apart from all the rest,
Their grass untrodden by the marching throng, Their sleep unbroken by the bugle’s song –
Aloof, superior o’er rival colleges,
Civilian straight — and making no apologies.
Here the tweed jacket, loud and checked and bright, 

The neat bow tie, the shoes of dubious white
Still bloomed, till changing fashion drove them out, And every lad dressed like a roustabout.
Here ‘neath the Weather-vane, the two chief sexes Met safely chaperoned by both the Prexies;
And under Jonathan’s mild gaze from Heaven, The cocktail-shaker jingled after seven.
Science and art found here a safe retreat,
Music could spread abroad, both hot and sweet; And Truth, not rated as a branch of gunnery, Could dwell involiate as in a nunnery.

But lo! what seeds of evil breed within
The saintliest hearts, enticing them to sin!
That Seat of Good (in all its purer states),
Which boasts the Snake & Apple on its plates, Where hell-fire, brimstone, sulphur, and damnation Furnish the theme of luncheon conversation, Where all the Fellows and the Master urge on Bursary boys (taught in a school of sturgeon) T’pursue their duties with confiding hearts,
And Freshmen all are bachelors of arts, –
That College, haven of scholastic calm,
Home of the muses, wearer of the palm,
Stooped from its throne, by Lucifer dragged down, To lust for golden baubles in its crown.

One bauble chiefly: oft the wand’ring eyes
Of J.E. messengers would view the prize, Guaging the distance, danger, and alarum, While there it sat, the glitt’ring orbs terrarum. Say, Muse, how oft within Jett Thomas’ breast Temptation whispered, “Here’s an easy quest,” Before the Devil had him in his clutches, 

And he had orbs terrarum in his breeches!
Say, Muse, again how many dry Martinis,
How many canap&eactues and toasted weenies The upright Master of J.E. had taken
Before his native virtue was forsaken
And — sainted Jonathan forgot — he bagged The trophy while his host behind him lagged!

Alas! that Jonathan, grown dour and grim, Should spoil the trasure of his grandson Tim! One cure alone for sin so deep engrained, For Spiderean souls so darkly stained;

So — Happy New Year to the Boys of Dwight, Whose generous spirit tels them what is right:


When jealous neighbors backbite and conspire, Heap on their sinful heads the coals of fire.