04 March 2008

Mother of Men - Brian Hooker

Lots on my mind lately... went thumbing through my copy of Songs of Yale, bequeathed to me by that other highly traditional group of which I'm a member (147 years and counting).

We don't sing this song anymore... symptom of a much larger problem, methinks.

"Mother of Men, grown strong in giving
Honor to them thy lights have led;
Rich in the toil of thousands living,
Proud of the deeds of thousands dead.

We who have felt thy pow'r and known thee,
We in whose work thy gifts avail,
High in our hearts, enshrined, enthrone thee,
Mother of Men, Old Yale.

Spirit of Youth, alive, unchanging,
Under whose feet the years are cast,
Heir to an ageless empire, ranging
Over the future and the past;

Thee, whom our fathers loved before us,
Thee, whom our sons unborn shall hail,
Praise we today in sturdy chorus,
Mother of Men, Old Yale."

2 comments:

Dara said...

It's actually not that much fun when sung; I've heard it.

ayreq said...

I love the song, but the words, written in the early 1900s,i don't fit today's more enlightened society. Since more U.S. Presidents have graduated from Yale than from any other university, we change it to "Mother of Presidents", but that ruins that scansion and punch of the ending. Also, it still has a bit of a sexist twinge given that all U.S. Presidents have been male. (Do you think it will be President Hillary or President Michelle next?)

The "ageless empire" bit doesn't work well any more either, and although "fathers" can easily be changed to "parents", I can't figure out an easy fix for "sons".

Other than that, the song has real power.