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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

OUR COLORS.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

WITH whom the idea of a "Collegiate spectrum" first originated could hardly be ascertained now; but it seems the most natural thing in the world for a college, like other associations of men, to choose a color or colors to be the symbol of its individuality and of a friendly rivalry with other colleges. The custom has been undoubtedly borrowed from the English Universities, and was probably at once adopted by all our prominent colleges, as soon as one of them had set the example. And is it not about time that it should be definitely settled what rays of the spectrum shall represent us? We do not know who selected our color, but we ought to know just what hue it is which is to be our emblem. A more brilliant general selection could hardly have been made for us, - a fact very notable at regattas; for besides the distingue appearance of our crews, we have the advantage of being able to follow their courses accurately in a race, long before the others can be told apart.

It is probable that we have had a representative color much longer than since 1859; and as the sanguinary magenta has come into existence since that date, it is reasonable to suppose that our former color was, what is now often attributed to us, crimson. On the respective merits of crimson and magenta we may not enlarge now; for how could our paper, named to represent our distinctive outward manifestation, designate itself by the uneuphonious name of "The Crimson"! It would be infinitely worse than "The Dark Blue." So, as the point is settled that the color is to be Magenta, let us have none other. Let our crew make the slight change which would be necessary in their handkerchiefs, from dark crimson to true magenta; and if our Freshmen represent Harvard, let the cherry be discarded. The fraction of the community even in our very midst which recognizes a magenta, pure and simple, is not amazingly large. It is very agreeable to receive pretty remarks from lady friends about the magenta; it is far from exhilarating to overhear afterwards their candid opinion of what they take to be magenta. But who can blame them for wishing to disguise their real sentiments on light solferino or a mongrel pink? It is amusing on Regatta days to observe the variety of shades donned by Harvard's friends. They range from a delicate pink to a crimson so dark as to be almost maroon. If some one of our sister colleges with a similar color - and there are such - should make her appearance on the river as a powerful rival, would there not ensue "confusion worse confounded"?

How many luckless Harvard men are there who have promenaded that seemingly endless street in Springfield in the almost hopeless search for a bit of magenta ribbon! "None," "Not any," "Don't keep it," were the answers from those scores of dry-goods stores. Can any good come out of Springfield? In the best-looking store of all, in answer to inquiries, some pink ribbon was produced, some scarlet, some maroon, some purple braid! and finally, - last hair which broke, etc., - "Would n't some of this red tape do?" Were we the victims of a prodigious joke? We made our speedy exit.

Let our hue (and cry) be, "No Solferino!"

HOC.

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