The day was ended, and a crowd of boys
Raced throught the corridor and upwards shot
To top-most dormitories, chattering loud,
Of the great fray, while some thrir bolsters scan,
With anxious eye lest an un-noticed rent
Insidious lurking in the seamy sides,
Might in the thick of battle on their heads
Scatter the feathers, others quickly strip
To shirts and trousers; stand expectant all,
The sides are chosen and "the signal given",
Rush on the warriors. Then began the din,
The noise of bolsters falling on the floor.
The heavy thud when some well-planted blow
Hath brought the strong opponent to his knees
Now high above the strife was heard the sound
Of earthen pitcher loosened from the stand
And crashing to the earth.The sharper ring
Of myriad glasses breaking, swelled the hymn
Of glorious war. Confusion at its height
Raves through the rooms; rattle the windows all,
Fills all the air with dust. The shadowy forms
Loom through the mist, dealing Titanic blows.
Hero meets hero, and the gathering war
Swells like some sea whose murmurs heard at night
Far in the distance, grinding heavy stones,
Menace the air.
How can I sing of Victory and Defeat ?
How can I tell of Battle's awful scenes ?
How least of all of vengeance dire and deep ?
Vengeance for sleep disturbed and graceless noise,
That echoing loud aroused a master's ire,
The heavy stripes, the long-drawn gasping sob,
Repentant vows wrung from the chastened soul,
The victim's anguish, and the after-glow.
Let others tell: I only sing the fray.