"The Student"

Marianne Moore

(from Part of a Novel, Part of a Poem, Part of a Play)

"In America everybody must have a degree," the French man
says, "but the French do not think that all can have it; they don't
   say everyone must go to college." We
   may feel as he says we do; five kinds of superiority

might be unattainable by all, but one degree is not too much.
In each school there is a pair of fruit-trees like that twin tree
   in every other school: tree-of-knowledge—
   tree-of-life—each with a label like that of the other college:

lux, or lux et veritas, Christo et ecclesiae, sapiet
felici, and if science confers immortality,
   these apple-trees should be for everyone.
   Oriental arbor vitae we say lightly. Yet you pardon

it as when one thinking of the navy does not know not to infer
dishonorable discharge from a D. D. It is a
   thoughtful pupil has two thoughts for the word
   valet; or for bachelor, child, damsel; though no one having heard

them used as terms of chivalry would make the medieval use of
them. Secluded from domestic strife, Jack Bookworm led a
   college life says Goldsmith. He might not say
   it of the student who shows interest in the stranger's resumé

by asking "when will your experiment be finished, Doctor Einstein?"
and is pleased when Doctor Einstein smiles and says politely
   "science is never finished." But we're not
   hypocrites, we're rustics. The football huddle in the vacant lot

is impersonating calculus and physics and military
books; and is gathering the data for genetics. If
   scholarship would profit by it, sixteenfoot
   men should be grown; it's for the football men to say. We must lean

on their experience. There is vitality in the world of sport.
If it is not the tree of knowledge, it's the tree of life.
   When Audubon adopted us he taught
   us how to dance. It was the great crab-flounder of Montana caught

and changed from that which creeps to that which is angelic. He taught us how
to turn as the airport wind-sock turns without an error;
   like Alligator, Downpour, Dynamite,
   and Wotan, gliding round the course in a fast neat school, with the white

of the eye showing; or as sea-lions keep going round and round the
pool. But there is more to learn—the difference between cow
   and zebu; lion, tiger; barred and brown
   owls; horned owls have one ear that opens up and one that opens down.

The golden eagle is the one with feathered legs. The penguin wing is
ancient, not degenerate. Swordfish are different from
   gars, if one may speak of gars when the big
   gamehunters are using the fastidious singular—say pig,

and that they have seen camelsparrow, tigerhorse, rat, mouse, butterfly,
snake, elephant, fruit-bat, et cet'ra. No fact of science—
   theology or biology—might
   not as well be known; one does not care to hold opinions that fright

could dislocate. Education augments our natural forces and
prompts us to extend the machinery of advantage
   to those who are without it. One fitted
   to be a scholar must have the heroic mind, Emerson said.

The student concentrates and does not like to fight; "gives his opinion
firmly and rests on it"—in the manner of the poet;
   is reclusive, and reserved; and has such
   ways, not because he has no feeling but because he has so much.

Boasting provokes jibes, and in this country we've no cause to boast; we are
as a nation perhaps, undergraduates not students.
   But anyone who studies will advance.
   Are we to grow up or not? They are not all college boys in France.

Moore, Marianne. "Part of a Novel, Part of a Poem, Part of a Play." New Collected Poems, Heather C. White, editor, p. 93.

transcribed from work cited (recommended);
can also be found, in a less convenient form, at (clearnet)

"Hours Continuing Long" (Calamus no. 9)

Walt Whitman

Hours continuing long, sore and heavy-hearted,
Hours of the dusk, when I withdraw to a lonesome
   and unfrequented spot, seating myself, leaning
   my face in my hands;
Hours sleepless, deep in the night, when I go forth,
   speeding swiftly the country roads, or through
   the city streets, or pacing miles and miles, sti-
   fling plaintive cries;
Hours discouraged, distracted—for the one I cannot
   content myself without, soon I saw him content
   himself without me;
Hours when I am forgotten, (O weeks and months are
   passing, but I believe I am never to forget!)
Sullen and suffering hours! (I am ashamed—but it
   is useless—I am what I am;)
Hours of my torment—I wonder if other men ever
   have the like, out of the like feelings?
Is there even one other like me—distracted—his
   friend, his lover, lost to him?
Is he too as I am now? Does he still rise in the morn-
   ing, dejected, thinking who is lost to him? and
   at night, awaking, think who is lost?
Does he too harbor his friendship silent and endless?
   harbor his anguish and passion?
Does some stray reminder, or the casual mention of a
   name, bring the fit back upon him, taciturn and
Does he see himself reflected in me? In these hours,
   does he see the face of his hours reflected?

"Hours Continuing Long" was removed from later editions of Leaves of Grass

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