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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

The Student Vagabond


Over three long centuries ago, in the year 1590, there gathered in a little cathedral town, overlooking the rippling blue expanse that is the Mediterranean, a little group of most learned men. From France and Germany, and from Rome and Mycenae they had come to this, the little seaport of Pisa.

Banners and flags floated in the offshore breeze from the walls of the buildings which formed its University. Beyond, and nearer the sea, lay a brown-stone edifice handsome in its simplicity, dedicated to the Christian Church. Beside this building a most peculiar structure leaned. Round in shape, and encircled with columns, it was the leaning belfry that had brought more fame to Pisa than its prowess as a seaport or the renown of its University. About the base of this leaning tower a gathering of men had formed, who, straining their eyes, were gazing toward the topmost row of columns. Silence fell upon the waiting circle. Far above a bearded man in flowing dress held up his hand, stilled the crowd, then spoke in learned Latin. He stopped, murmuring remarks rose from the group then fell again in silence. He raised both hands toward the sky, a moments wait, and then, two objects fell from his steady fingers. The size of one was many times the other, and yet, as they sped past the pillared balconies, the waiting men below observed their speed to be the same, then with resounding thud, they fell simultaneously to the soft grass below, landing as one object. The outspoken comments of the gathering rose to loud clamor at this feat of nature. Should a heavy body fall faster than a light one? The man in the balcony leaning perilously above, waited, then turned and descended the winding steps. The intellect of the man Galileo had proved a fact of science.

Today the Vagabond will go to hear further of this scientist from Dr. Jones in Emerson H at 10 o'clock.

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