Dr Hunt: 'But surely in this poetry it is the pure stress on the antithetical feeling of negative emotion that comes across so strongly?!'

Verses on the Arrival of Dr. Hunt

Occasioned by Reading a Maxim in Rochefoucauld

We often forgive those who bore us,
but we cannot forgive those who find us boring.
(no. 304)

And here we have La Rochefoucauld,
Spouting what he seems to know;
Possessing truth is hard to fake
But learning does not tutor make.
When I took the choice to teach
I knew most students out-of-reach,
And thought to take it on the chin,
If mass respect I failed to win -
I'd still have my subject, my love, my wish,
Least hated of all: English.
I know why students study verse,
Looking 'round it might've been worse:
They might have had to study law,
In terms of hours studying more,
English here asks only six,
Our dear students barely mix,
And as a result. you can be fairly sure,
Most third years have never met before.
Perhaps this explains their general scrupulosity,
(That or lack of general curiosity).
So what's an academic meant to do,
When the seminar's long and nothing's new?
We stroke our beards or twist our hair,
Our attention neither here nor there.
We stare out windows or ignore,
The unloaded drivel we deplore:
"Between these poems, I feel a link:
They are, I think, both done in ink!"
Well thank you, Sherlock, thanks a lot,
A very useful comment. Not.
"Hold on Doc., another idea..."
(Come on Hunt, suppress that cheer)
"...what if Satan is the hero?"
(Level of my interest: zero).
For his next trick, he'll try and explain
Why Hamlet bottles again and again.
Still more exciting, let me hear
Why Cordelia dies at the end of Lear.

At best it only serves to appall
That some think the literary world so small.
What about Auden, Cummings or Cowley,
Byronic lust, or Yeatsian fury?
Where are Melville, Barker, Shaw?
Why will no one fight me anymore?
All I ask is a verbal clash.
And some little bastard's brains to bash...
"Gosh! Sorry... sorry, what did you say?
I have to confess, I was miles away!
Enough distraction, enough digress!
Back to Marvell and his Coy Mistress."
That man Coleridge did serve to show it,
That every student is no poet,
And thinking this draws a sigh,
I just think it unnatural so few try.
As an undergrad myself, I wanted to be Swift;
Academics, then as now, seemed such a gift
I couldn't resist: the eyebrow, the voice or heavy frown,
I was half-asking to be sent down.
Here that's something you just don't get;
Don't they know? Their lives aren't lived yet!
They're resigned to a job in the city or a bank,
With sterling and York Notes to thank.
Lit. students should be concerned with fun,
Maybe more Jim, less Blake, Morrison.
Still. What matter what l said before?
They think that I'm an ageing bore -
That I just write and read and think,
But l could teach them how to drink.
I've even been known to have a dance,
And with a girly take a chance!
Yes, I've still got my ol' student flair
It remains (unlike mv hair)
For it is true I look twice my age:
The price of pent-up literary rage.
But come on Hunt, look up. take heart
At least you don't teach history of art

Dr. Hunt