I MET an old and learned man,

And asked him "What is 'guff'?

I've looked the word-books through and through,

And only met rebuff."

"You simple youth, you artless boy,"

He thus to me rejoined,

"I know not what this word can mean,

It must be newly coined."

I met a staid professor man,

And prayed him "What is guff?"

Quoth he, "I know not, though I've heard

It mentioned, sure enough."

I met a callow Harvard lad

And him my question told;

He smiled a quizzing, knowing smile,

And forthwith answered bold, -

"If you should say professors mark

By any scheme that's fair,

Or swore that Sever Hall is filled

By aught but frozen air;

"If you should hint you understood

The Rules and Regulations,

Or thought that voluntary were

The present recitations;

"Or knew when your Forensics came,

Or, what is better still,

Declared you never were hard up,

Or owed a single bill, -

"Why then, my friend, to all these things,

Which are but silly stuff, -

I'd straightway bid you hold your tongue

And leave off giving GUFF."