Soham Grammarians - December 1974 Dinner

speakers Mr E Armitage, Mr AE Lawrance:
guest of honour Mr JB Browning, author of SGS history

... from the menu card - 'The Pilgrims' (by V.G.W.) ...

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A Doctor of Physics did lead the way,
That fro the tyme he made his first assay
To teachen boyes he lovéd epigrammes.
And weighéd al things up in milligrammes.
Wel lovéd he a cup of tee, I wot,
And drank it in his studie hot.
A wondrous chariot he sometime drove;
Albe his fiercest ooth was but by Jove
Yet stil the sticke ful sound and sure he layde,
Thogh of his port as meek as is a mayde.
With hym ther was yongé Art Mastere,
Comely he was and eke a lusty lover,
With lokkes curled, as they were layde in presse;
Ful twentye yeer of age he was, I gesse;
And nevere, was a scowl upon his face,
In hope to standen in his lady's grace.

Singin ther came of madrigalés gay
To cheer them onward on theyr weery way
A Music Mastere, and much biloved was he,
And wel-yskilled in Bach and Debussee;
And as he played he was so en bon point
Perspiréd he as he hadde been anoynt.
He yaf nat of that text a pulléd hen,
That seth that techers beth nat hooly men;
A manly man, to been an abbot able;
His weapon was a legge of broken table.
A Houskeepere was ther, she was nat talle,
Much moneye for her food, she took from alle.
In al the scole, ne techer nas ther noon
That fro the dinner bifor her soldé goon;
And if ther dide, certeyn, so wrooth was she,
That she was out of allé charitee.
The hair upon her heed war was whyt of hewe;
And strangé beestés haddé she in stewe.
Upon an ancient steed she boldly went
That rattled alweye and was sore ydent.
A Clerk of Oxenford ther was also,
That studied Historye longé since ygo.
As leené was his hors as is a rake,
And he nas nat ryghte fat, I underrtake.
But looked hollow and also sobrely;
His mastere's gowne ful thredbare semed to mee.
As sharpé was his nose as is a mous;
He woldé teche e'en in his owené house.
To his scolers gave he many a note;
And wel could he play ballé at the Moat.
Tendynge to moral vertu was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
With him ther was a Plowman on the rode,
That had ylaid of dunge ful many a lode;
A trewé workere, and a good was he.
Livynge in pees and parfit charitee.
And wel he toght his boyes to sowe and repe,
Yet wist he nat his frute they woldé kepe.
With him a certeyn Maths Mastere ther been,
And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
He was a hearty varlet yet a kynde,
A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde;
And eek he haddé heer as yellow as wax.
But smothe it hung, as dooth a strike of flax.
Ther was a Mastere of the Frensshé tonge,
Ful big he was of brawne and eek of lung;
And ofte he gave the penalties for sinne,
In arguments alwey he woldé winne.
He shouted threats that were both deep and dire;
Al children were affrayéd of his yre.
With us ther was an Alchemist,

And wooingly hespake, I wist,
And of his diete moderate was he,
For it was of no superfluittée.
His termés been so clerkly and ful queynt;
He blewe the bunsen til his herté feynt.
A man of many tonges ther was called Foster,
Ful fit was he to say his Paternoster.
He knew the Customs men at every haven;
Much heavy Dutie was he thus ysaven
Ryghte ferse he was, ful riche of excellence
Discreet also, and of grete reverence.
Nowhere so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he seméd bisier than he was.
A Carpenteere ther was (a Joiner mene nat I)
Who begged a ride from Tayler passing by,
His bootés claspéd faire and fetisly;
His resons spak he ful impressively.
Forsoothe he was a worthy man withalle;
Ful streit he was and somdel talle.
Of his appearance shall I saye namoore
Lest ye, as I, of this sholde been ybore.
And to ye pilgrims, see my gay intent -
I kan no more, my little wit is spent.

The artist was Ken Vail and VGW was Victor Watson (the above was originally
published in the Soham Grammarian, Summer 1955 issue - source Ken Vail)