36Or a little of both -- but it don't much matter;
37For whichever it was we must all of us cram
38The notes of the Prof. to pass our exam,
39Till we're utterly sick of the Dane called Ham-
40let who comes in the play that Bill Wrote.
Diploma Day Song (1893)
1] The Latin title may be translated "cold (re-served, repeated) cabbage kills the wretched student." Professor Hugo de Quehen (University College, Toronto; personal communication, March 2001) refers us to "Satire VII," lines 150-57, by Juvenal, whose attack on students the Canterbury poem redirects, topsy-turvy, into a merry rebuke of their own English teachers:
Declamare doces? o ferrea pectora Vetti, cum perimit saevos classis numerosa tyrannos. nam quaecumque sedens modo legerat, haec eadem stans perferet atque eadem cantabit versibus isdem; occidit miseros crambe repetita magistros. quis color et quod sit causae genus atque ubi summa quaestio, quae veniant diversa e parte sagittae, nosse volunt omnes, mercedem solvere nemo.
which may be rendered as
Or do you teach rhetoric? O Vettius! what iron bowels must you have when your troop of scholars slays the cruel tyrant: when each in turn stands up, and repeats what he has just been conning in his seat, reciting the self-same things in the self-same verses! Served up again and again, the cabbage is the death of the unhappy master! What complexion should be put on the case; within what category it falls; what is the crucial point; what hits will be made on the other side -- these are things which everyone wants to know, but for which no one is willing to pay.
See Juvenal and Perseus, revised edn., trans. G. G. Ramsay (London: William Heinemann, 1965): 148-51.
Parodying the nursery rhyme, "This is the house that Jack Built," first published in 1755 (The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes, ed. Iona and Peter Opie [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966]: 229-32), which begins:
This is the house that Jack built.
This is the malt That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the rat, That ate the malt That lay in the house that Jack built.
This is the cat, That killed the rat, That ate the malt That lay in the house that Jack built.