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RUGBY CROPPING OUT.
Is it, Mr. Editor, peculiar to me, or do all Old Rugbeians continually find themselves coming across Rugby? Wherever I go, Rugby crops out, as I suppose the geologists would say. In the most unexpected places, doing the most unexpected things, writing the most unexpected books, old Rugby schoolfellows are for ever appearing. I am conscious of breathing much more of a Rugby atmosphere than when ten years ago I was myself at Rugby. Perhaps this is not unnatural. Then one was longing for greater freedom, and no first lessons, and no copies, and no callings over, and no small annoyances of fifty kinds which now are quite forgotten. And so Rugby, while one is there, is only half Rugby. But now one only remembers the little School-house study, and the dear old friends, and Tait (who was our Dr. Arnold), and the fifth form room, and the grubs at Sally's, and the rambles over the " COWslip meads of Coton," and to the old Bilton Hall with its memories of Addison and its grand old portraits of Charles the Second's beauties. And therefore it is pleasant enough to come across the men and the books, that call back all A A
these pleasant thoughts of pleasant times. I have quite a library of Rugby books. There is George Melly's "Life of a Fag," good, as it seems to me,—but then, he was a "Priceite," and I was at the School House, so that I can only praise it with reserve. I see the " Priceite " cloven foot on every page, and deplore the ignorance he shows of the superiority of the old School House. Never mind! we too of the School House have our laureate in "Tom Brown," one of the bravest, most English books ever written, as I take it. And here too is "The Book of Rugby," which is wonderfully recondite and marvellously minute, ‚—a perfect model of a book for a publishing society of Archæologists. And here is a gap where "Oakfield” ought to be, but I sent my copy to the Boston of New England, as soon as I had read it; and now I see these Bostonians have reprinted “Oakfield" for themselves, and certainly it was a book not unworthy of the most noblehearted city of the United States.
But there are other books, which remind one of old Rugby besides those, which tell us directly of it. Take Bishop Cotton's sermons, or Dr. Vaughan's sermons; in both of them there is a whiff of Rugby thought and Rugby training, like the faint scent that hangs round an old Bible, where a leaf of the woodruff has been pressed. And then there are books-certainly with but little of Rugby in them, but still written by Rugby men, and in their success reflecting something of credit on the old place. That "Guy Livingstone," that we have all read so greedily and abused so righteously, its author got the Rugby Prize Poem in his day, the prize poem of 1845, "The Marriage of Marie Antoinette with the Dauphin." There are poems of his too in the "Rugby Miscellany."
Was not "The Last of the Sea Kings" his?-And then we are well represented in the press. We have our men
on the "Saturday Review," in the "Examiner," in several of the Quarterlies, and in "Fraser." What Rugbeian has not read "Hodson of Hodson's Horse," in the February number of "Regina"?
But after all (as Miss Martineau once said to us) "books are a very small part of life," and it is in the world of working men that we like to look for Rugby. And Rugby holds her own. In the Church she numbers men like Tait, and Cotton, and Vaughan, and Stanley. In Parliament we have another Stanley, the arbiter of India, and several other men who are rising to high position and high renown. In the battle-field,-that window so lately put up to those who fell in the Crimea tells us what brave hearts once joined us in our school games, who now lie stricken down in that terrible game of war. No Old Rugbeian but must have known some one or other of them, and many, I think, must still recall the gentle kindly face of George Curtois, who fell as the last shots of the enemy dropped on our lines at Inkerman. Nor does India tell less honourably for Rugby than did the Crimea. Hodson of Hodson's Horse takes rank only second to Havelock himself.
But peace too has its victories, and here again Rugby has something of which to boast. Those street fountains, which give refreshment to thousands in each of our large towns, which are doing more for the cause of temperance than all the Maine Liquor Laws ever passed-these are owing to an old Rugby boy, the brother of that "Priceite" who wrote about the fag.
And lastly, I find Rugby cropping out in certain mis
cellaneous methods, which are not altogether to be overlooked. Here is a Rugby School-Inspector, working away with an energy that even Arnold would have applauded. Here is certainly an irregular proceeding on the part of a Rugbeian-here is the Vice-Principal of the Collegio Pio at Rome, a grave and shaven priest, whom some of us remember as a kind-hearted and merry boy. Here an Old Rugbeian comes to light as the celebrated "Dowb." Here, fresh from the press, is an anonymous volume of very high church poems, and among them is, I see, a contribution to our old Miscellany.
But, Mr. Editor, my subject grows upon me, and if I do not exercise an immediate self-control, I shall be fairly carried off my legs. You will observe that I have said nothing of Rugby at the University, nor of Rugby abroad (though it was a Rugbeian who first of men ascended Monte Rosa) nor of Rugby in India, for this is a chapter of itself, and has already been treated of in the Calcutta Review, or some such print. Meanwhile goodbye to thee, old Rugby, and may we all, old Rugbeians and present Rugbeians, do something to keep up the honour of the dear old School.
The lark has taken her distant flight
To a milder, softer clime :
The nightingale does not charm the night
With her mellow, mournful chime.
The rose has hidden her blushing head,
And the desolate crag is bare instead
Stands rooted alone the pine.
There he stands with snow as a diadem crowned,
While the bear and the wild-wolf snarl around
High up on a cliff does he hold his sway
While the great sea-eagle tears her prey
Beneath, in the lonely fiord.
And he fears no thing, does the gallant pine,
But is merry, when all the winds combine
To battle against the storm,
You may hear him speak: 'tis a murmur hoarse
But his song is swelled to a hurricane-force
When the sky is black, and the storm is high,
Then he lifts his glorious voice,
And a thousand brothers afar reply,
Oh! a noble tree is the pine tree then,
Who beneath his branches stand.