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Raymondus Oxoniensis

by Danny "Don Juan" Henrey

When first the college rolls received his name,
The young Paretzky quit his ease for fame;
Through all his veins the fever of renown
Burns from the strong contagion of the gown;
Yet ’neath Bodley’s dome rarely was he glimpsed—
‘Libraries are for bookworms, nerds and wimps!’
Quoth he: lectures he cut, three at a time,
To ply his punting pole upon the slime
And stinking murk of Cherwell’s oozy flow;
That is the place where gallant postgrads go,
Who would Don Juan his am’rous exploits match:
So Heather, Gilly, Joy ... in varied batch
He comely maidens wooed with ugsome verse,
And speeches which the night before’d rehears’d;
Thus sylvan glades with nymphly cries are rent—
Sighing, Ray views his prey’s hotfoot détente...
Our hero soon (as eggs in pickling jar)
His level found; a set that was by far
The louchest of the louche, who nightly downed
A score (or more) brews mellow and nut-brown
In lowly pubs, and festered in their beds
Scribbling doggerel, till with muzzy heads
They rose at last, as Trin’ty’s noontide chimes
Sung out reproaches solemn for their crimes,
Mixing with the exhalations sweet of youth,
That ’pon time’s loom treads Oxford’s path to truth;
(Though I but think this poetical cant —
In ages past was there no deodorant).
One night ’midst black tie revels fast and loose,
When swiftly, dark and fulsome flowed the juice,
The cry went up, ‘Our kingdom for a boat!
For ’tis a fine and noble life afloat!’
So, in the grey and bitter light of dawn,
Out lurched upon the flow an ugly swan:
Sat cygnets eight of rough and pettish mien,
And one fair dove alluringly within;
In seat number two Raymond plied his blade
With Raymondian gusto unallayed
By rowing craft: no matter — the whole crew
In ’quatic skills were bloody awful too...
Yet great their pleasure was, as day is long —
Near as great as those the river chuckling throng’d;
Penned Raymond too a rowing ode of note,
’Pon which the O.U. Byron Soc. did dote,
And crowned him with a verdant laurel wreath,
That stands in pedigree one place beneath
A first-class hons. degree (or so they claimed...)
Thus Raymond won the happiest sort of fame,
Which of delight and friendship is compos’d,
Enjoyed in sunny hours of sweet repose;
Yet Fortune daintily its moment chose,
As homeward bound our good friend did depart,
To keep his date with Cupid’s tender dart.
And to this day, I hear, he prospers yet,
As Karen’s dear and loving house-trained pet:
E’en fathered he a son, when not a-court,
‘For nook,’ quoth he, ‘is far my fav’rite sport!’
His sprog he bounces hearty ’pon his knee,
Then lulls to sleep with tales of Trinity.