Colonial Preference (Poem by William Hodgson Ellis)

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Colonial Preference
By William Hodgson Ellis


Macgregor, always spick and span,
Was quite the military man.
He never walked about the town
Arrayed in sober cap and gown,
But blazed in scarlet, gold and steel,
And clanked a sabre at his heel.
He took no pride in his degree,
In F.C.S. and F.I.C.,
But wrote with joy akin to tears
C.D., Canadian Engineers!
Macgregor had been often sent
His country's arms to represent,
To Chatham, Woolwich, Aldershot,
Or anywhere, it mattered not.
He always followed, never weary,
“Quo fas et gloria duxere.”
At length, because they thought him yearning
To represent his Country's learning,
Toronto Universitee,
Knowing how ready he would be
Alike in “bello” and in “pace,”
Despatched him to the I.C.A.C.
He packed his trappings Academical,
And sailed to join the Congress Chemical,
Which met that year in London reeky,
To study “la chimie appliquée.”
Watching the vessel's fall and rise,
'Twas thus he did soliloquise — 
“I may not wear my sword and spurs,
But one glad thought my bosom stirs,
'Tis this that I shall surely be
Presented to His Majesty!
It may be when he sees my face
He will reward me with a place
With my deserts commensurate
The Secretary, say, of State
For War, or give me Chief Command
Of all his troops on sea and land!”
Arrived in town, his journey done,
He took a cab to Kensington,
Sir William Ramsay, honest man,
With kindly words to greet him ran.
“Put on,” he cried, “your cleanest shirt
And free your hands and face from dirt,
To-morrow you shall go with me
To meet His Gracious Majesty!”
When they alighted from the train
They met the Lord High Chamberlain
Who scanned each name with anxious care
Lest some who ought not should be there.
“Here's Stinkemout from Buda Pesth,
And Sneezetoff, and all the rest,
Ezra P. Binks from Idaho,
But here's a name I do not know
‘Dr. Macgregor from Toronto,'
That's something that I've not got onto!”
Sir William cried “The College where
My friend Macgregor holds a chair
Is in Toronto, Canada.”
“Ah!” said the Chamberlain, “Ahah!
But that's another coloured horse.
Your friend, to say it gives me pain,
Will have to toddle back again!
The King, the invitation states,
Receives the Foreign Delegates.
Remove this person from the list
He's nothing but a Colonist.”
A prophet, says the Holy Book,
Must not at home for honour look,
The greater here includes the lesser,
For “Prophet” therefore read “Professor.”

1912

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