Saturday, 17 February 2018

Quotations about 'Cambridge (and Oxford)', written in my commonplace book just after I went down

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[I collected them in the dear bygone time before the internet made finding quotations easy. I wonder where I found them. I suppose I just read a lot, much easier to do before the Internet and life began.]

Oxford to him a dearer name shall be
Than his own mother university.
Thebes did his green, unknowing youth engage,
He chooses Athens in his riper age.
John Dryden

But how I longed
As a boy for the groves and grooves of Academe.
Christopher Fry, Venus Observed




Oxford and Cambridge, the two eyes of the country.
Mr. Gladstone


But after all, what a man does at Cambridge is, in itself, nothing. If he makes a poor figure in life his having been Senior Wrangler is never mentioned but with derision. If he makes a distinguished figure his early honours merge in those of a later date.
Lord Macaulay


Cambridge is a bourgeois imitation of Oxford.
Terry Eagleton


But in case you should think my education was wasted.
I hasten to explain.
That having once been to the University of Oxford
You can never really again.
Believe anything that anyone says and that of course is an asset.
In a world like ours. Why bother to water a garden.
That is planted with paper flowers?
Louis MacNeice


When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame ;
Through all his veins the fever of renown
Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown.
Dr. Johnson


Four times, under our educational rules, the human pack is shuffled and cut – at eleven-plus, sixteen-plus, eighteen-plus and twenty-plus – and happy is he who comes top of the deck on each occasion, but and happy is he who comes top of the deck on each occasion, but especially the last. This is called Finals, the very name of which implies that nothing of importance can happen after it.
David Lodge, Changing Places


Undergraduates owe their happiness chiefly to the fact that they are no longer at school. The nonsense which was knocked out of them at school is all put gently back at Oxford or Cambridge.
Sir Max Beerbohm


A man unable to command himself in the Union will run very big dangers in an Insurgent Camp.
Arthur Hallam

People may say what they like but I detest the lower middle classes and they infest the Union.
Lord Robert Cecil (1883)


Whenever I forget the purposes of education, and cease to look upon classical and mathematical acquirements as the means of something better and nobler, may I become that pitiable being an old fellow of a college.
Lord Macaulay


The evils of Cambridge, from all that I have been able to learn, are evils which must be sought, and from such a depth of moral degradation I trust that the goodness of God, my own education, and the connections which I have formed will preserve me.
Lord Macaulay as an undergraduate writing to his Evangelical father Zachary

I went to Cambridge the other day - a dear little town. Why does one not hear more about it? Much nicer than modern Oxford.
Evelyn Waugh

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