A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Gentlemen of Oxford." by Norah M. Holland (1876-1925)
From: Spun-Yarn And Spindrift. by Norah M. Holland. London & Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918, pp. 95-96.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 95] 


THE sunny streets of Oxford
  Are lying still and bare,
No sound of voice or laughter
  Rings through the golden air;
And, chiming from her belfry,
  No longer Christchurch calls
The eager, boyish faces
  To gather in her halls.

The colleges are empty,
  Only the sun and wind
Make merry in the places
  The lads have left behind.
But, when the trooping shadows
  Have put the day to flight,
The Gentlemen of Oxford
  Come homing through the night.

From France they come, and Flanders,
  From Mons, and Marne and Aisne,
From Greece and from Gallipoli
  They come to her again;
From the North Sea's grey waters,
  From many a grave unknown,
The Gentlemen of Oxford
  Come back to claim their own.

[Page 96] 

The dark is full of laughter,
  Boy laughter, glad and young,
They tell the old-time stories,
  The old-time songs are sung;
They linger in her cloisters,
  They throng her dewy meads,
Till Isis hears their calling
  And laughs among her reeds.

But, when the east is whitening
  To greet the rising sun,
And slowly, over Carfax,
  The stars fade, one by one,
Then, when the dawn-wind whispers
  Along the Isis shore,
The Gentlemen of Oxford
  Must seek their graves once more.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom