at Randolph-Macon Woman's College

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"I Shall Not Pass"

by Meredith Minter, class of 1984

Once upon a time, in December 1975, the editor-in-chief of The Sundial received a letter. A single glance dispelled hopes of the New York Sun. It had obviously been written by an eight-year-old named Virginia. Indeed, on closer examination, it wasn't a letter at all. It was a poem, anonymously authored, and reprinted from the newspaper of the University of Illinois. It had been submitted by a professor, Dr. Chatterton.

The editor, delighted by the submission, printed it on that week's editorial page. Since few articles, in or out of The Sundial, have conveyed more clearly the spirit of this joyful (?) season, it seems fitting to print it again here.

I Shall Not Pass

And it came to pass,
Early in the Morning toward the last day of the semester.
There arose a great multitude smiting their books and wailing,
And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth,
For the day of judgment was at hand.

And they were sore afraid, for they had left undone
Those things which they ought to have done,
And they had done
Those things which they ought not to have done
And there was no help for it.

And there were many abiding in the dorm
Who had kept watch over their books by night,
But it availed them naught.

But some there were who rose peacefully,
For they had prepared themselves the way
And made straight paths of knowledge.
And these were known as the
Wise Burners of the Midnight Oil
And to others they were known as Curve Raisers.

And the multitude arose, and ate a hearty breakfast.
And they came to the appointed place
And their hearts were heavy within them,
And they had come to pass,
But some to pass out.

And some of them repented of their riotous living
And bemoaned their Fate,
But they had not a prayer.

And at the last there came among them
One known as the Professor; and they feared exceedingly.
He was of the diabolical smile
And passed papers among them and went away.
And many and varied were the answers that were given.
For some of his teachings had fallen upon fertile minds.
Others had fallen among the fallows.
While others had fallen flat.

And some there were who wrote for one hour; others for two;
But some turned away sorrowful, and many of these
Offered a little Bull
In hopes of pacifying the Professor.

And these were the ones who had not a prayer.
And when they finished, they gathered up their belongings
And went their way quietly, each in her own direction,
And vowing each unto herself in this manner:
"I shall not pass this way again."

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"The Past Master"
Meredith Minter
Class of 1984
The Sundial
Vol. 66, no. 12
December 11, 1981

This article was taken from "The Past Master," a column written by Meredith Minter Dixon, class of 1984, for the Randolph-Macon Woman's College student newspaper, The Sundial. It is published here with her permission.

Please contact Ms. Dixon if you have comments or questions about her article.

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And More . . .
large button   The Past Master, additional articles about our history
large button   Facts and Fancies about our college's early classes
large button   Images taken from student drawings in our earliest yearbooks

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Frances E. Webb
Reference Librarian
Lipscomb Library
Randolph College
2500 Rivermont Avenue
Lynchburg, Virginia 24503

small button   page last revised March 28, 2008   small button

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site graphics adapted by Frances E. Webb
from a drawing by Evelyn Dornin for the 1901 edition of the Helianthus

With thanks to
Kusum Singh, class of 2004
Andrea Yassemedis, class of 1999

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