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A letter from an alum in tribute to D.W. Robertson, professor of English

July 9, 2004

I was an English major in the Class of 1975. I had the good fortune to have Robertson as a lecturer my junior year. I hope you like this little poem about him.

Stephen James Carolan ’'75
Irvington, N.Y.

A Preface to Chaucer Robertson was the greatest professor I had.
He'd march chest out into the medieval lecture hall
With its leaded windows like he owned it...
In a light blue suit and white shoes
Like a wacky outrageous salesman.
Once, he came in, settled his papers on the lectern,
And cast his blue stare on a perfect-student girl
In the front row. She smiled then fidgeted then looked around.
He laughed. Everyone laughed. Such fun!
He stopped laughing. Everyone stopped, astonished.
He laughed even more loudly than before,
Booming like cannon fire of "The Ode to Joy,"
As though he outweighed all of us.
He gave everyone A's so in the back rows
Was half the football team-huge, happy and muttering.
On the first day of spring, he read
"The Miller's Tale" and-for once in my four years-
Townspeople came in to crowd the hall.
"Te he," he falsettoed. "Quod she," in his rolling bass,
"And clapt the window to," as the licentious maiden farts
In the face of her unruly husband.
Of course Robertson got his standing ovation.
I have not met another man so brave.

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