The M.A. Degree

Original Text: 
R. F. Murray, The Scarlet Gown: Being Verses by a St. Andrews Man, 2nd edn., intro. by Andrew Lang (Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1909): 58-59. LE M9837sc Robarts Library
2When first it gleamed upon my sight,
3A scholarly distinction, sent
4To be a student's ornament.
5The hood was rich beyond compare,
6The gown was a unique affair.
7By this, by that my mind was drawn
8Then, in my academic dawn;
9A dancing shape, an image gay
10Before me then was my M.A.
11I saw it upon nearer view,
12A glory, yet a bother too,
13For I perceived that I should be
14Involved in much Philosophy
15(A branch in which I could but meet
16Works that were neither light nor sweet);
17In Mathematics, not too good
18For human nature's daily food
19And Classics, rendered in the styles
21And now I own, with some small spleen,
22A most confounded ass I've been;
23The glory seems an empty breath,
24And I am nearly bored to death
25With Reason, Consciousness, and Will,
26And other things beyond my skill,
27Discussed in books all darkly planned
28And more in number than the sand.
29Yet that M.A. still haunts my sight,
30With something of its former light.


1] good-natured take-off on William Wordsworth's "She was a Phantom of Delight." Back to Line
20] Kelly, Bohn, and Dr. Giles: Walter K. Kelly, translator of Catullus, Tibullus, and the Vigil of Venus; H.G. Bohn, the publisher; and Rev. J. A. Giles, translator of Latin chronicles. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: