The Fourth of July

The following is an excerpt from “The Spirit of Dartmouth” by Richard Hovey, a member of that college’s class of 1885. While the poem is in the main an ode to that particular school, it is also a reminder that, even as we look towards the future, we must remember our past.

While we recognize that many things have changed since Hovey’s time—many for the better—the Spirit he describes remains today, the fourth of July.

Betsy Ross and the American flag.

Betsy Ross and the American flag.

This is the lesson she teaches,
Our Dartmouth we love so well,
To begin the strife with the dawn of life
And to strive to its latest knell;
To have part in the deeds that are doing,
To bear the heaviest brunt,
And if we are o’erwhelmed, there are others,
But we die with our eyes to the front.

And wheresoever we struggle,
In factory, mine or mart,
In the grip of the learned professions,
Each pledged to his separate part
There still shall rise to our nostrils
The scent of those pine tree days,
And we hear the tones of the college bell
Come drifting through the haze.

They may cover the campus with buildings,
They may gather the rich man’s gold,
They may try to abolish all hazing,
They may preach till the world is old,
They may chop and change and alter
Our ways for newer ones,
But the spirit of Dartmouth will last for aye
In the bosom of us, her sons.


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