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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE CRIME

The Doctor's Secret

By D. R. Sr.

Mid the dusty stacks of Widener

Slumps a grubby graduate,

And he jots down a reminder

Of an unimportant date.

He has a nasty squint

From looking long at print,

Not stirring from his book till very late.

Now he fumbles with a key,

Mumbles, "Be a Ph.D.

By and by.

"By and by, by and by,

I shall have my Ph.D.

When I'm weary in the eye,

And I'm stiffened in the knee.

I shall have my Ph.D.

When I've learned my Q and P,

By and by.

"When Anglo-Saxon's stumbled through And Middle-English understood,

When Plowman Piers I can construe

And mention Gower's every mood,

When Beowulf I know

From helmet down to toe,

Why then, my mind can turn to other food.

"I shall study Shakespeare's plays,

And when he wrote them, to the hour.

And I shall wander through the maze

Of annotations, Shakespeare's dower.

With subdivisions fine.

I'll count each metric line,

And write an essay on the poet's power."

Perhaps his world is out of tune

A Ph. D.'s his only hoon,

Very soon.

"When I've read up all the sages

On Geoff Chaucer's final E,

When I've sifted through the ages

So that I can say "e.g.,"

I'll put down what I know,

Deliberate and slow,

And stretch it till I have two hundred pages.

"Who killed Kit Marlowe? I can state,

And even why he killed him, too.

Besides, I think I know the date.

(These are the secrets of a few.)

They examine me

For my Ph.D.

And on such answers they decide my fate."

Listen, doctors! To his sorrow,

His brow shall have another furrow,

By tomorrow.

"Tomorrow and tomorrow

I shall have my Ph.D.

I can't wear it on my marrow

As I do this golden key.

But now I've learned my Q and P,

I'll surely have them "doctor" me, Tomorrow.

"And then I'll teach myself to scoff

At all who don't agree with me.

I'll pounce upon each darling soph

And change his mark from C to D.

Fair Harvard then my call.

I'll run to Sever Hall

And soon exchange my "Dr." for a "Prof."

Oh Lord, who seest all below,

Were there some things he did not know.

Long ago?

"I'll seek for knowledge not to know

But so that I may publish it.

Pages from my pen will flow,

Making volumes bit by bit.

As for my classroom work,

I guess I'll have to shirk:

Of these two things, the one of them must go.

Did you hear the graduate sigh

As he made this prophesy,

Of by and by?

"By and by, by and by,

I shall have my Ph.D."

The graduate stopped; he raised his eye;

Asked, "Pray, what will become of me?

What's the use of 'Ph.D.'

When I've learned by Q and P?

By and by."

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