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(article) Desultory Reflections--No. II. The College Campus
(serial) The North Carolina University Magazine, I, No. IV: 159-161 3 p.
Thomas Loring at the office of the Independent
Call number VC378 UQm 1844 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
LC Subject Headings:
As the full, rich, sonorous tones of the bell, is the first thing which attracts the attention of a stranger approaching the Hill; so the Campus is the first thing which elicits his admiration, after he has actually arrived. We suppose it obtained this appellation from the celebrated 'Campus Martius,' of ancient Rome, where the denizens of that Imperial city were wont to congregate when matters of grave import demanded their consideration, and where her orators and statesmen were accustomed to harangue listening multitudes upon the affairs of the common-wealth. But the name is not the only thing wherein these renowned localities resemble each other. As the one has often rung with the melifluous tones of Tully, the copious and sparkling diction of Hortensius; so the other has echoed "sentiments as they flowed from the lips of youthful and fervid eloquence" that would have done no discredit even to the great Cicero himself. As the one has often waited along upon its breezes the martial strains of the drum and fife--of course the Romans had the drum and fife, for how could men fight without the aid of music; so the other has resounded with the soul-stirring blasts of trumpets, stage-horns, and octave flutes. As the one was made the parade ground for Cæsar and his victorious legions to exercise themselves in military tactics; so the other is doomed annually to echo to the warlike tread of high-heeled boots, and, exhibit to the best possible advantage a new black broad cloth coat, made according to the approved taste of Broadway exquisites.
For the benefit of those who have never graced this classic spot with their noble presence, we will give a small description of the Campus.--It is an area of ground containing about four acres; it is enclosed on the North and South sides by a rock wall of singular strength and beauty, whose solid materials promise to defy the ravages of both time and weather; the Eastern side is bounded by a rail fence, and flanked by a group of neat white buildings, denominated the "Steward's Hall,' which from contrast, renders still more lovely this enchanting spot; on the Western side is another faint attempt at a stone wall, which seems to have become ashamed of its impudent obtrusiveness, and shrunk back in despair of rivaling the peculiar elegance which characterizes those on the North and South sides. The Campus is ornamented with a variety
of trees of the noblest order; giant old oaks, the pride of American forests, decorate this seat of Learning; here and there may be descried a venerable hickory, which claims the right of being ranked side by side with the oak; and one spot more highly honored than the rest, boasts a lordly old poplar, whose lofty head towering high above all others proudly proclaims its pre-eminence We were preparing a few cantos; and in truth had already written the first; to commemorate this monarch of the grove, when a reckless editor rendered our poem a work of supererogation, by inserting in the first number of this Magazine a miserable doggerel dedicated to the very 'Auld Patriarch' himself; thus anticipating our purpose, and robbing the readers of this periodical of a most delicious treat.
We despite the spirit of innovation which is stalking abroad through the land. We despise the new-fangled notions of taste. When we were matriculated, the College grove presented one of the most delightful prospects we ever saw; trees were as thick as they are in forests of the West, before the daring pioneer has laid his axe to the root; during the summer when the leaves are in fall maturity, the dense foliage cast a shade as dark, gloomy, and romantic, as that of the valley of the Mississippi. But alas! "how changed the scene," in four short years this beautiful place has been purloined of many of its most magnificent decorations. In vain did we cry out against such wilful destruction of life; we supplicated, we remonstrated, we threatened; our prayers were unheard, our opposition over ruled, and our menaces scorned. With a mind determined upon murder, a dignified Tutor strutted about, dooming this and that tree to death, and soon the country, for miles around, resounded with the thrilling cry of the wounded and dying. An idea got into the heads of the Faculty--by the way its a wonder it did'nt run them all crazy--that the appearance of the place might be greatly improved by removing about half the trees; alledging as a reason, that they obstructed a view of the College buildings, from the gaze of stage-coach passengers. And this--the ruination of the Campus--is the "grand improvement which has been effected" and "the grander ones which are in contemplation," with which they have so successfully humbugged the Legislature--the guardians of the institution--and the good people of North Carolina, for ten years.
Annually this place is graced with the wealth, the beauty, and the talent of the State. And will not you, gentle reader, make one of the attractions at our next Commencement? If you are a lady, we can offer
irresistible arguments why you should be present; if a gentleman you will need no incentives. If a lady, we promise you a beau who will answer your loftiest expectations. The reflective and dignified senior is at your service; the gay and gallant junior would esteem it the highest of honors to be favored with your company in a stroll through the Campus, through the Literary Halls, and to the Chapel; the erudite Sophomore will discourse learnedly to you, on the beauty of the classics, and talk loudly of the sublimities of Calculus and Astronomy; and the susceptible Freshmen, with a pair of exceedingly high heeled boots pressing his corns just sufficiently to remind him that he has on a pair of boots, will make love, quote Byron and Shakspeare, and talk of stars in the middle of the day. From a crowd of such fascinating youths, you will doubtless be at a loss to make a choice, but if you'll allow an interference on our part, we would modestly prefer the claims of Seniors. Not because we are a Senior ourself, but because, oh! because, ah! ----. But should none of these tickle your fancy we have at your command a few straggling Irregulars, who can do a little at almost any thing. If you prefer a white ribbon to a blue--fifty are instantly soliciting the honor of your hand; if a blue--a hundred would go into ecstasies at an approving smile. Should you condescend so far as to make yourself agreeable, gold badges will be showered upon you with the most extravagant profusion:
Lives there a woman with soul so dead
Who to herself hath not yet said
I'll come, I'll come, I'll come.
As to the gentlemen--the young ones we mean--it matters very little whether they come or not; we have a plenty already, to entertain five hundred ladies, better than they have ever been before; so we will not be pressing upon them "to favor us with the honor of their company, the 6th of June."
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