Lines to an Old Friend

by AD Godley (in Lyra Frivola, 1899):

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            When we're daily called to arms by continual alarms,
                 And the journalist unceasingly dilates
            On the agitating fact that we're soon to be attacked
                 By the Germans, or the Russians, or the States:
            When the papers all are swelling with a patriotic rage,
                 And are hurling a defiance or a threat,
            Then I cool my martial ardour with the pacifying page
                 Of the Oxford University Gazette.

            When I hanker for a statement that is practical and dry
                 (Being sated with sensation in excess,
            With the vespertinal rumour and the matutinal lie
                 Which adorn the lucubrations of the Press),
            Then I turn me to the columns where there's nothing to attract,
                 Or the interest to waken and to whet,
            And I revel in a banquet of unmitigated fact
                 In the Oxford University Gazette.

            When the Laureate obedient to an editor's decree
                 Puts his verses in the columns of the Times;
            When the endless minor poet in an endless minor key
                 Gives the public his unnecessary rhymes;
            When you're weary of the poems which they constantly compose,
                 And endeavour their existence to forget,
            You may seek and find repose in the satisfying prose
                 Of the Oxford University Gazette.

            In that soporific journal you may stupefy the mind
                 With the influence narcotic which it draws
            From the Latest Information about Scholarships Combined
                 Or the contemplated changes in a clause:
            Place me somewhere that is far from the Standard and the Star,
                 From the fever and the literary fret,—
            And the harassed spirit's balm be the academic calm
                 Of the Oxford University Gazette!