The Whiffenpoof Song

3To the dear old Temple Bar we love so well,
5With their glasses raised on high,
6And the magic of their singing casts its spell,
7Yes, the magic of their singing
8of the songs we love so well,
10We shall serenade our Louis
11While life and voice shall last,
12Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest.
14Baa! Baa! Baa!
15We're little black sheep who have gone astray:
16Baa! Baa! Baa!
17Gentlemen songsters off on a spree,
18Dancing and singing eternally;
19Pray have mercy on such as we:
20Baa! Baa! Baa!


1] The lyrics were co-authored with George Pomeroy.
Mory's: Mory's Temple Bar, 306 York Street, New Haven, Connecticut, a private club near Yale University for its associates, where the Whiffenpoofs regularly met. Back to Line
2] Louis: Louis Linder, owner of Mory's. Back to Line
4] Whiffenpoofs: a cappella singing group at Yale University, 1909-. Rev. James M. Howard, Yale Class of 1909, writes: "It was Goat Fowler who suggested we call ourselves The Whiffenpoofs. He had been tickled by the patter of one of the characters in a Victor Herbert musical comedy called 'Little Nemo' whichrecently been running on Broadway. In a scene in which there was great boasting of terrific exploitsin big game hunting and fishing, comedian Joseph Cawthorn told a fantastic tale of how he hadcaught a Whiffenpoof fish. It seems that Cawthorn had coined the word some years before when heand a fellow actor were amusing themselves by making up nonsense verses. One they particularlyliked began: 'A drivaling grilyal yandled its flail, One day by a Whiffenpoof's grave.' Cawthornrecalled the verse in making up his patter for 'Little Nemo' and put it into his act" ("An Authentic Account of the Founding of the Whiffenpoofs"). Back to Line
9] Songs: George Wither's "Shall I, wasting in despair, / Die because a woman's fair?" and Marion Crawford's "Kathleen Mavourneen." Back to Line
13] The last eight lines are adapted from Rudyard Kipling's "Gentlemen-Rankers." Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Meade Minnigerode and George S. Pomeroy, "Whiffenpoof Song," The New Yale Song-Book: A Collection of Songs in Use by The Glee Club and Students of Yale University, ed. G. Frank Goodale (New York: G. Shirmer, 1918): 118-19.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: