Dartmouth OEstrus Vol.1 No. 1

THE DARTMOUTH OESTRUS[1]

GAUDET TENTAMINE OESTRUS”[2] – Richards

VOL. I. DARTMOUTH COLLEGE (NORTH BULDING,) SEPT. 12, 1853 NO. 1.

Whenever a new constellation appears in the literary horizon, we look for some declaration of the motives which influence its appearance – of the principles which are to guide its course.  Yet there are times when all introductions are superfluous – when the importance and fame of the subject which calls forth the publication, eclipse all prologue, and at once prepares the mind of the reader for the consideration of the momentous questions presented for public examination.  Of this class is the present occasion – the present epoch in the history of Dartmouth College.  The aristocratic and tyrannical plans of “the powers that be” – the introduction of the detestable system of Ostracism of ancient Greece, and the odious, secret Star – chamber of the Stuarts, must be a sufficient apology for the appearance of the Dartmouth OEstrus.

“They who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.”  That seat of tyranny, which rejoices in the name of the “Faculty of Dartmouth College” is not invincible.  True to its motto “Gaudet tentamine OEstrus,” whenever any “flagrant injustice” is committed by the Faculty, the buzz of the OEstrus will be heard – its sting felt.

“Sed sapientibus verbum sat.”[3]

The OEstrus will be issued as often as the interests of the cause which it advocates, require.  We are confident that our means for obtaining information in every department of news cannot be surpassed.  By means of a trusty reporter we are enabled to obtain full and accurate reports of the doings of the “Star Chamber” in advance of the mail.

We shall be found at out office, North Building, during business hours – from 9 to 12 A. M., and from 2 to 5 P. M.  The attention of the faculty is respectfully called to our hours for receiving visitors, as we shall be under the necessity of refuting admittance at any other hours.

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IMPORTANT DECREE

Just as we were going to press, we obtained a copy of the resolutions in regard to initiations lately promulgated by the Faculty.  Much praise is due to our reporter for the dangers which he incurred, in order that we might lay before our readers a copy of this immortal document, which for the beauty of conception, ingenuity of thought and simplicity of expression, far exceeds any other ever before promulgated by this asinine body.  We ask our readers to examine for a moment the strength of the reason adduced, and especially the happy climax in which they are expressed.  The conclusions of this admirable “Resolutio Facullati’s,” we have listened to from the mouth of him “who spake as never spoke.”

Whereas, In the Providence of God, this mundane sphere was brought into existence.

Whereas, Man was created in the image of his maker, and sent forth to multiply and replenish the earth.

Whereas, By the disobedience of one man sin has come into the world.

Whereas, The past presents to our view the only firm foundation on which we can construct the future.

Whereas,  The ancient landmark of this college have ever served to guide the students in the paths of honor, virtue and fame, and preserve him from all those irregularities which tend to corrupt the mind of the youth, Fresh. from sweet influences of his retired cabin.

Whereas,  It is in accordance with the views of the Faculty, that those “young gentlemen,” who for the first time in their wondrous lives have trusted their precious bodies to the protecting care of the college walls, should ever be treated with that due deference and respect – that humanity with which it befits all to treat their superiors.   And

Whereas, It has come to the acknowledge of our most honorable body, that for several years a new and startling plan of introducing “young gentlemen” into the balls of Literary Societies, has been carried out – a form of introduction, which leaves impressions upon the mind of the initiated, not in accordance with the nobility of a freshman’s aims and purposes.   Therefore

Resolved,  That these practices, so grotesque, uncouth and unchristian in their character, so annoying to the “young gentlemen,” cannot be longer tolerated within our domain.

Resolved,  That if any student be seen or found aiding or abetting in any of the accustomed services of Initiation in the Literary Societies of this college, “his presence shall never more darken the halls of this institution.

Resolved, That Prex promulgate this decree in the college chapel with the customary prologue.

Resolved, That prof. Bully and Prof. Peanuts observe all marks of approbation or disapprobation among the students during the reading of the decree – nothing those engaged in these regularities and irregularities – that the former be advanced in standing, but the latter be subjects for discipline.

IN FACULTY, Sept. 5, 1853.

These resolves were unanimously passed to be executed.                                       PREX.

Attest, PROF. BULLY, Scribe.

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We had prepared an abstract of Dr. Richards’ discourse of Sabbath afternoon, Sept. 4, but through pressure of other matter we are compelled to forego the pleasure of inserting it, though it is one we would not “willingly let die.”  His words of weighty wisdom and advice coming as they do from one who so unremittingly and untiringly devotes himself to his spiritual tasks, can but have their due influence upon the lower classes and nuns.  The peroration was matchless; when, drawing himself up to his full height, his every feature animate with inspirations, his eye-balls starting from their sockets, his hair erect, and with a fierceness of gesture and rapidity of utterance that ever characterizes him, he poured forth a torrent of eloquence that drove Morpheus headlong from the house.  We could collect our scattered senses barely in time to catch a few sentences addressed to the Sophomores.  He says: – “Young gentlemen, when I was in Boston a friend of your beloved College gave me some money to go down to Plymouth with, for some spirit * * * * *” (the reminder of the sentence lost) – “let no one of you, for the year to come, lay your hands upon the person of a freshman, engage in no riotous or nocturnal act beware of the gaming table and take warning from the class that has gone before.  Let your motto ever be that of the College adorned with five ostrich feathers: ‘Gaudet, etc.’”  The Rev. Dr. may rest assured that the OEstrus will be the morals of the lower classes and repairing the waste places in college virtue.

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Prof. Peanuts received the title of d—-d at Burlington College, at the last commencement.

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Let the little big Freshman, whose gait swings so felicitously on its hinges, remember that Potter-y is fragile as well as glass.

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If the Sophs in church would watch the nuns[4] less and the minister more, their mutual benefit would be enhanced.

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Ajax, him of the red hair, informed us that his mind is pregnant with an idea which he intends to embody soon in a lecture to the Freshmen on the influence of the vegetarian diet in promoting mental vigor and beauty of body, with illustrations.  This will doubtless be interspersed with brilliant episodes upon the degeneracy of an age, as shown by the increase o its reformers and reporters.

REPORT OF FACULTY METTING, HELD AUGUST 1, 1853.

The publishers of the Dartmouth OEstrus are happy to have it in their power, to inform their readers that by incurring heavy expenses, in the shape of oyster and champagne suppers for the secretary of the Faculty, they are prepared to lay before their subscribers full and accurate reports of all Faculty meeting of importance.  The following is the first of the series:

AUGUST 1, 1853.

The Faculty met at the usual hour, at the President’s study.  The President said that he had matter of unusual importance to lay before the meeting.  A riot, unparalleled even in the history of the North Building – a place of whose former and present reputation he need say nothing to the Faculty, had taken place – a riot, such as made the very hairs of his wig stand on the end with affright.  He understood from common report that seven doors were smashed in pieces, and that more noise of every kind had been made than at any time since his son Nathan graduated.  He should like to hear from the Faculty what they had learned by spies or otherwise.

Prof. Bully[5] – I believe Brother Peanuts can say more of the matter than any other man from personal experience, as he passed by the North Building during the riot.  But there is no hesitation in my mind that they were all drunk, for I entered W—–‘s room next day by a false key, and found a bottle of ale there.

Prof. Peanuts[6] – Might there not be a question as to whether the bottle contained ale?

Bully – No sir, for I drank it.

Peanuts – It might be doubted whether I should not have some sympathy with those concerned in this riot, as it is well known that while in college, I frequently went about with my pockets full of —–

Bully – Yes! Yes! we know all that – go on – skip the part!

Peanuts – Well, then on the night of the riot I “passed by on the other side” and distinctly heard some one crying “damn,” so I think there can be no question that they were engaged in dissipation.

Bully – If you hadn’t been a coward you might have gone to the room and found out for certain.

Peanuts – I’m no more a coward than you.

BullyI a coward?  Didn’t I watch for Sophomores all the night the Freshman seats were painted?

Peanuts – You didn’t catch any of them – did you?

Bully – I got H—— and R—– sent off for it, and that answered the same purpose.

Prex – Gentlemen, cease this recrimination, do yourself no harm.  (They become reconciled, and Peanuts takes a chaw of Bully’s fine-cut.)

Prof. Bully – I hear that two of them tried to shoot each other;  I wish they had.  (Faculty groan in chorus – Eleleu!  Eleleu!)

Prof. Hubbard – I can contribute my mite to the testimony;  for the wife of my bosom was kept awake till three o’clock in the morning, and so was I;  and I consequently fell asleep in church next day.  Moreover it created a spirit of rebellion among the nuns, and one of them repeated some verses about “Mother Hubbard and her dog,” evidently referring to me, so that we were obliged to confine her for two days in the cellar of the nunnery, with nothing but bread and water.

Prex – Now gentlemen, what shall we do in regard to the matter?

Bully – Send ‘em off, of course – if we can’t make this story do, we can hatch up something else next term.  W— and S—- are always in some row or other, and making game of us, and R— and H—- were sent off  last spring;  as to C—–, I strongly suspect he blew a horn, and so did all the rest of them.

Prex – That’s reason enough – let them depart no hence – therefore you will please vote unanimously that they darken the doors of this college no more.  Is

there anything else to come before us?

Bully – Little’s and Ajax’s bill for private reporting hasn’t been paid.

Prex – They are good and faithful servants, et them be paid forthwith.  Let all further business be postponed, for I’m dry – let’s adjourn to the back room and see what Betsey can do for us.  (Exuent cmnes, singing “Old Grimes.”)

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CHRONICLES OF DARTMOUTH

CHAPTER I.

1.  Now in the latter days it came to pass, that they who were then Fresh. grew exceeding big.

2.  And there came one from the land of the South, whose name was Cenas.[7]

3.  Now this man thought more highly of himself than he ought to think; imagining in his heart, and saying and saying by his manner, “stand back, for I am better than thou.”

4.  And he found much favor in the eyes his brethren, as he was a loathing unto the rest, and their laughter all the day long.

5.  And he boasted exceedingly o all the tribe of Cenas, but chiefly of himself.

6.  Moreover, he spoke vauntingly and declared what his father had said unto him.

7.  “My son, take thou these carnal weapons; be strong and fear not; endure no contumely from the condemned Yankees,” – and he confirmed it with an oath.

8.  Now Cenas purposed in his mind to make the students sore afraid with these words.

9.  But when the report thereof came to their ears, they waxed wroth, and said one to another:

10. Lo, this stripling! how he maketh vain boastings; what shall we do unto him?

11. And they wist not what to do; howbeit, certain of them resolved within themselves to duck him by night.

12. And when they laid hands on him, he lifted up his voice and cried aloud.

13. But their ears were dull that they should not hear, and their hearts were hard that they should not have mercy.

14.  Wherefore they ducked him.

15.  And lo, it was good for the lad, for it repented him of his foolishness, so that he promised to do so more, forever.

———

CHAPTER II.

1.  Likewise there was another son of Belial, and his name was Bridgeman.[8]

2.  Now there was a strange woman unto whom his soul clave, and he went unto her by night.

3.  Then when it was noised abroad, there were some who arose from their beds and went up thither.

4.  Now while they tarried without the gate, they communed together; and one said,

5.  Come let us seize him, and thrust him out of the house and pump on him.

6.  Then another answered and said, Nay not so, brethren, lest by sudden cooling ye slay the youth.

7.  But the rather bind this Sampson, like as did the Philistines of old, and if his Delilah have not shorn him of his locks, we will do it.

8.  Whereat they were greatly rejoiced, and received his counsel.

9.  Wherefore they burst in the door and entered the room wherein they lay.

10. But the damsel cried aloud by reason of sore affright.

11. And they drew him forth and cut off the hair his head, which was an Absalom’s for plenty.

12. Now when these things came to the ears of the Lord, he was minded to put him away privily.

13. So he dismissed him; and as for Bridgeman, where is he? in the school of Doctors?

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Can any one inform us what became of those horns so snugly laid away in the North Building at the close of last term? Can it that the Rev. Prof. has “taken a horn?”[9]

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A certain Soph, should beware of smuggling contraband liquors into our sister state.

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Prof. Putnam, we think, manifests shocking ingratitude in not acknowledging the reception of that cradle, or even finding any use for it.[10]

NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS

POEMS by CENAS.  S. Woodward & Co., Keene, N.H.

The North is more subjective in its poetry, more grand, but also more gloomy than the South.  Its very Delos, not yet anchored, is a floating iceberg, and its streams of inspiration like its own mountain torrents tumbling over rock and crag, if they leave their fountain at all, are stiffened in their flow, and hang in bristling grandeur from the from the cliffs of its rugged Parnassus.  But the sunny South is the source and home of lyric poetry. – There Castalia’s waters wind their way, reflecting brightest beauty, and sparkling in the sunlight of love.  There the muses rear their foster children, and inspire them with the beautiful thoughts which have ever delighted the world; nor is the race yet extinct The pre-eminence which the south has ever enjoyed, bids fair to be sustained by the young bard whose name heads this article.  We have been favored with the perusal of his complete works, which are on the eve of publication, and we select as our subject a poem, which appeared in Keene paper, (the American News, of July 7th, 1853.) – Here it is entire, verbatim et literatim.

For the American News.

TO **** OF KEENE

——

Oh! come bright lassie, loved bird o the north;

Stay not afar where never flowers put forth;

Ah! why will ye wander in winter away?

Cold, cold is your climate – come, sweet lassie to-day.

The peach trees are budding, the roses in bloom,

The sunshine’s succeeding to coldness and gloom;

The busy bee buzzes – the humming bird flies –

The mock bird his song in his sweet bower tries.

Then give me, sweet lassie, oh! grant me awhile,

That eye with its light, and that lip with its smile;

Coe dwell with the bird and the bee and the flower,

The brightest, and sweetest in their own sunny bower.

The spring buds will blossom – the blithe birds will come,

The apple be fragrant as the peach or the plum

The Jessamine twine round the forest tall tree,

And all nature be blooming with beauty for thee.

Then come, loved lassie, bright bird of the north!

Till thy smile be reflected from heaven and earth,

And the hue of the morn and the even shall vie

With the glow of thy cheek, and the light in thy eye.

C.

Dartmouth College, June, 1853.

The invocation commences with anapoests, a joyful and inviting movement, but the solemn and measured iambic takes the next line, so mournful and beseeching, relating to Keene, that awful place, “where never flowers put forth,” and from which the damsel in summoned northward a degree of latitude, to enjoy the beauties of a southern June.  The “ye” in the third line, indicates that in the mirror of his soul’s depths, he saw another “bird” of the kind mentioned in the text – The scanning of the last line brings out with great prominence, that emphatic word of invitation.

The succeeding stanza contains many beauties of which we can only hint a few; such as the vanishing of slight anachronisms before the powerful imagination of the poet, to which whatever it contemplates is present; the charming diffidence of the “mock bird” rehearsing his plagiarized music; and above all that splendid instance of alliternative onomatophoe in the third line, before which the “clanging armor” of Hoer, the galloping steeds and measured of later ages are unheard.  Read it.  “The bu-z-zy bee buzez.”  How lifelike!  One almost seems to hear a mighty bumble-bee, bumping and buzzing in the golden bell o some sweet pumpkin blossom!  Again, in the fourth stanza, mark the enraptured tone of prophecy; the “divine afflatus” even makes its subject oblivious of the midsummer aspect of the second stanza, and as the shadow went back on the dial before Hezekiah, so this master-spirit bids the seasons to roll back in their annual circle, and they obey him.  But we fail to convey the ideas that impress out mind as we linger over such a production. – If “New Hampshire has never produced a poet,” at least she has had one within her boundaries, and put in her brick to help rear the mighty edifice of his mind structure that shall stand forever, and afterwards with its component bricks shall fill that hats of the rising generation.

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A division of the Sophomore Class is in contemplation.  It is thought that the distinguished Prof. Bumper will be appointed to the Mathematical Chair, while Ajax has high hopes of a tutorship.  They are both worthy sons of fame.  Their burning eloquence and patriotic zeal in the recent Scott campaign,[11] has entombed them in the hearts of many.  Prof. B.’s natural aptitude for the science of numbers and rigid adherence to text-book amply qualify him for the station.  We have engraving of each in preparation.

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There are certain member of the Junior Class, to whom our paternal spirit prompts us to give a word of caution.  Beware of the billiard table, the wine glass and tin horns!  Look at your vacant seats in be wise in time.

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We wonder if the Juniors would like to try their strength at foot ball with the Sophs, again.

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We are gratified to learn that Prof. Haskell,[12] Marshal of the late Junior Class, contemplates a discourse upon the want of refinement and taste among the students, as manifested by their failure to appreciate “dissolving views.”

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A Fact – Some months since, during a Yale vacation, Cenas partook of a champagne supper at Keene, N.H.  When called on for a toast, he himself proposed for himself, the following:

“Long live Cenas,

The Poet of his Class!”

Thank Heaven he didn’t hail for Dartmouth then.

DIED

In July last Mr. Matthew Maticks, belonging to the then Sophomore Class.  He had long been in a decline but was most assiduously attended by that celebrated physician, Dr. Bumper, who carried the invalid to ride daily, and after he was too far gone for this he took his emaciated patient in his arms, and bore him as a child in his bosom.  We have not room to speak of the funeral ceremonies, but we cannot forbear alluding to one circumstance which has since transpired.  It seems that grasping avarice and the sacrilegious spirit of modern science have at last invaded the precincts of the tomb! – The humble pile that stood above his ashes has been torn down and used in the foundation of the Observatory, and it is said that a certain penurious Prof. even sold the urn for “old iron!”[13]


[1]In Latin, “Oestrus” means “gad-fly” or “frenzy,” but it also can be interpreted as the readiness of a female mammal to mate.

[2] A Paraphrasing of The Dartmouth’s motto Gaudet Tentamine Virtues (“Virtue rejoices in temptation”).

[3] Latin: “A word for the wisemen (or those who know) is sufficient”

[4] “Nuns” was the nickname given to the students attending two girl-only schools that are located in Hanover at the time, and which were nicknamed “nunneries.” One was managed by Mrs. Faith Hubbard, the wife of Oliver Hubbard (AB, AM Yale, 1828; MD Charleston (SC) Med College, 1837; LL D Hamilton College, 1861; Honorary Degree Dartmouth, 1873), born 1809, who was the Hall Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, and Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacy from 1838 to 1866, and Liberian from 1851 to 1865. This fact, as well as Professor Hubbard’s presumed frugality, made him and his wife a common target for mockery by the writers of the OEstrus.

[5] Prof. Bully was probably the nickname of Professor Edwin David Sanborn (D Class of 1832, LL D 1879, U Vt 1859), born 1808 in Gilmanton, NH. Sanborn became a tutor in 1935, was an assistant professor for Greek and Latin 1835-1837, and a Professor of Latin 1835-1859. Sanborn was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of NH 1850, and Professor of Classic Literature in Washington University between 1859 and 1863. He returned to Dartmouth to become the Evans Professor of Oration and Bells Letters, 1863-1880; the Winkley Professor of Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature, 1880-1882; the College Liberian 1866-1874; and Emeritus Professor from 1882 until his death in 1885.

[6] Prof. Peanuts was probably the nickname of Professor Daniel James Noyas, a member of the same class as Sanborn (‘1832, Theological Seminary 1836, DD U Vt. 1853), born 1812 in Springfield, NH. Noyas was a College Tutor, 1836-1837, and became the Phillips Professor of Theology from 1849 to 1869; the Professor of Intellectual Philosophy and Political Economy 1869-1883; and an Emeritus Professor from 1883 until his death in December 1885 (a week before his friend Sanborn). Both nicknames, Bully and Peanuts, are mentioned in other Dartmouth satirical publications that pre-date The OEstrus: The Hawk (published April, 1844), and the Northern Light (published March, 1846).

[7] Blaise Carmick Cenas (D Class of 1856, left 1853), a member of Beta Psi, was born in New Orleans, 1836, the son of the first Postmaster of New Orleans, Blaise Cenas. Cents served as a 1st Lt., 11th La Infantry, CSA, and was shot in Murfreesboro, TN during the Battle of Stones River, Dec 31 1862. He is buried in his family tomb in New Orleans.

[8] Daniel Addison Bridgman (1832-1916, Dartmouth Class of 1856, left 1853; MD 1866, Dartmouth Medical School), seemed to have been expelled, as described in the OEstrus, due to his relationship with a girl.

[9] The OEstrus usually uses the term “Reverend Doctor” to describe, in an ironic sense, College Rev. John Richards (See OEstrus No. 2).

[10] Greek Professor John Newton Putnam (1822-1863, D Class 1843; Andover Theological Seminary, 1849), became a tutor in Dartmouth in 1849, and was elected Professor of Greek Language several months later. He died on the Steamer Alpha while returning from a trip to Europe in October 1863. Putnam was mocked for his relatively young age. The writers of the OEstrus also claimed that he had homosexual tendencies (presumably due to his focus on Greek studies).

[11] Probably refers to the infamous Dred Scott affair. In 1852, shortly before the OEstrus was published, the Supreme Court of Missouri declared that the emancipated slave Dred Scott was to be returned to his master. Considering the abolitionist tendencies of the student body, and most certainly of the anti-Lord OEstrus, the two aforementioned individuals probably supported the Court’s decision. The nickname “Professor Bumper” might refer to James Willis Patterson (1823-1893, D Class of 1848; LL D Iowa College 1868), Associate Professor of Mathematics 1854-1856, Professor of Mathematics 1856-1859, and Professor of Astronomy and Meteorology 1859-1865. Patterson was a Member of the US House of Representatives 1863-1867, and a US Senator 1867-1873. From 1880 to 1893 Patterson was the NH Superintendent of Public Instruction, and returned to Dartmouth thereafter to become the Willard Professor of Oratory until his death later that year.

[12] Probably refers to Franklin Aretas Haskell (1828-1864, D Class of 1854), Colonel and commander of the 36th Wisconsin Regiment, died in the Battle of Cold Harbour, June 3rd, 1864. Haskell published a famous account of the Battle of Gettysburg (see his wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_A._Haskell)

[13] “Mathew Maticks” is a pun referring to “Mathematics,” the standard textbook used for instructing math to Dartmouth students, written by Stephen Chase (1813-1851, D Class of 1832), who was Professor of Mathematics from 1838 until his death in 1851. Based on the College’s liberal arts curriculum, Dartmouth students finished their math requirements by the end of their second year, and it was a tradition in Dartmouth that every Sophomore class, after finishing their math requirements, would give Mathematics a proper burial, with a long elegy, written by a member of the class. Toward the end of the ceremony the book would be chopped to pieces and placed in a night pot, which would then be emptied into a shallow grave. Prof. Bumper, as I mentioned, probably referred to Prof. Patterson.

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