THE readers of the Crimson may be interested in two sonnets on the seal of Harvard College, by Dr. Holmes, which were read at the Harvard Club dinner in New York. In an explanatory note, Dr. Holmes tells us that the original seal of the College was "a shield, with three open books, bearing the word Veritas." This motto was afterwards changed, probably during the presidency of Increase Mather, a strong Congregationalist, to "Christo et Ecclesiae." The object of the sonnets is best shown by their author's own remarks:-
"The Harvard College of to-day wants no narrower, or more exclusive motto than truth - truth which embraces all that is highest and purest in the precepts of all teachers, human or divine; all that is best in the creeds of all churches, whatever their name, but allows no lines of circumvallation to be drawn round its sacred citadel under the alleged authority of any record or of any organization. This is what I mean to express in these two squares of metrical lines, wrought in the painful prolixity of the sonnet, a form of verse which suggests a slow minuet of rhythms stepping in measured cadences over a mosaic pavement of rhymes, and which not rarely combines a minimum of thought with a maximum of labor."
These are the sonnets:-