George Allan England: The Harvard Years

Illustrations: Three Short Works

by George Allan England

The November, 1901 issue of The Harvard Illustrated Magazine presents a bit of a problem in the reprinting of England’s Harvard writings. On pages 49 and 50, under the title “Illustrations,” are 4 short works—two poems and two vignettes—and based on some outright speculation in two cases, we supect that three of these compositions were written by England.

The first of these short pieces is a poem entitled, “The Philosopher,” and England’s full name appears below the last line, so this can definitely be credited as his work. The following vignette, which is untitled, is credited simply to “E., ’02,” leading us to believe that it might be by England due to the initial and the “ ’02.,” which was England’s date of graduation at the time of publication. A second vignette, “A Bit of Past History,” follows and is credited simply to “ ’02.,” but is written in a heavy dialect: a stylistic trait England used throughout his professional career (see Sessions and the Steam Coal and The Battle of Woolly Fields for examples), ergo there is a very good chance that England wrote this piece as well. Lastly, a poem, “Troilets,” is credited to “B. ’00” and, due to the initial and graduation date, is most likely the work of someone else.

Although the Table of Contents lists no author for the pieces included in “Illustrations,” we feel that there is enough circumstantial evidence to include them in a reprinting of England’s Harvard work. Due to the short length of the two vignettes, we’ve also decided to veer away from our usual editorial stance and reprint the poem mentioned above—a light-hearted verse done in the style of the Cavalier poets of earlier times—just to give the reader a sample of England’s handling of verse.

“Illustrations” originally appeared in the November, 1901 issue of The Harvard Illustrated Magazine. The creator of the illustrations is unknown.

Bob Gay
July, 2015
Introduction © 2015 by Bob Gay

“At lovers’ perjuries they say Jove laughs.”
—Romeo and Juliet.
The Maid I loved but yesternight—
This morn, no more I love her.
Go where I will, soft eyes and lips
I know I shall discover.
I’m called untrue, and fickle, too:
Injustice! ... I remember
I loved one girl three solid weeks,
And that, but last December.
My passion but the fiercer burns
Because it burns the quicker.
No wonder that a flame will last,
If it just feebly flicker.
So, love I many while I may,
For youth won’t always tarry.
At twenty-three,
Engaging be,
At thirty-seven—Marry! . . .
George Allan England.

I sit in my room and read, and read, and read; I learn that we are all degenerate brutes, that our society is wholly bad, and that the world is rotten to its heart and I believe it all, for here it is in books, set down, facts, tables, figures, proof on proof.

Then I go out into the street, or, riding over yonder to the city, stand outside in the keen lashing wind as we go posting over the long clean bridge, and I see strong, fine, virile men and healthy pretty women with red blood in them, on foot, on horse, driving or wheeling by, all sweeping past as in a panorama. Then my blood too beats red within me; I cry exultingly, "It is a lie!” and I forget the carping, canting books that I have read.



“I was porter in Holyoke.” said old Michael, “whin thet Mishter Blaikies was livin’ there. Oi’ll tell yer ’story 'bout thim. They wuz great b’ys, Oi till yer, thim fellers—shporty kinder, but clean lookin’ and free-handed. One night in Feb’ry they as’t me up to hilp’m out ’n little mather of theirs, they said; so Oi wint up. The room was full of shtudints—pale-faced, hard-wurrkin’ shtudints with rid vists, an’ canes that they pounded on the desk with. The furn’cher was piled ’round to sit on, an’ there wuz shtandin’ room only.

“There chanced to be no procther in the buildin’ at that toime an’ there wa’n’t no danger of thim gitt’n’ caught in their little matter of business. They had a couple of covered cages in opp’site corners an’ in each cage, as the older Misther Blaikie showed me, a fight’n’ cock.

" ‘Moike,’ says the younger Misther Blaikie, ‘d’ ye see thim birrds?’

“ ‘Oi do thot.’ says Oi, ‘Oi do.’

“ ‘Take ’em out, Moike,’ says he.

“Oi did so, an’ a divil of a toime Oi had holdin’ em, too.

“ ‘Gintlemin,’ says he, git’n' upon a box, ‘are the bets all made?’

“ ‘They are,’ says the elder Mr. Blaikie.

“ ‘Are the combitints ready?’ says the other.

“ ‘They are. sir,’ says I; ‘more than ready.’

“ ‘Thin let thim go,’ says he, ‘an’ may the best birrd win.’

‘‘Will, sir, there was a foight ter make ye wape, sir—ac’chally wape. It lasted about foive minutes. Whin it was all over, Oi discrately withdrew.

“About tin o’clock Oi heard Mr. Blaikie, the younger, yell. ‘Moike, O Moike.’

“ ‘Yis, says Oi.’

“ ‘Come up.’ says he. ‘We’ve got a partic’l’arly fine brand of beer,’ says he, ‘an’ we don’t want ye ter let it go ter waste, Moike.’

“ ‘An’ Oi did not.’ ”


A group of pillows
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