The Rime of the Ancyent Lecturere

December 24, 2004

Take heed, 'tis a wretched don who dare sticketh his head above th' parapet, laments Steve Hawley (with apologies to Coleridge)

1 It is an Ancyent Lecturere
And he teacheth one till three
"By thy grey ponytail old man,
Why stoppst' thy referee?"

He holds him and begs "Pray am I
Included in th' RAE?"
"Hold off, unhand me grey-haired loon,"
Eftsoons his hand drops he.

2 He holds him with his bloodshot eye,
Th' Professor stunned stood still
And listens as a student new.
The Lecturere has his will.

3 "The term was start, and being smart,
Merrily we did teach.
Kristeva, Merleau-Ponty, Barthes,
All culture in our reach.

But then subject review did blow,
Twas tyrannous and strong,
Our aims, objectives, outcomes clear,
Yet word count overlong.

4 But cometh light touch audit new,
And it grew wondrous cold.
With health and safety risk assess
-Ments, papers manifold.

The Prof depressed, he beat his breast
Yet he cannot choose to hear.
And thus rants on that Ancyent manThe red-eyed Lecturere.

"At length did cross my desk, some dross,
An essay so misspelt,
That when I read that arrant tosh,
My despair was heartfelt."

5 "God save thee Ancyent Lecturere
From the fiends that plague thee thus.
Why lookst' thou so?". "That folio,
I failed it. Ludicrous!"

6 "The fruits of academe they blew,
But no research did follow,
Nor any publications new,
Came to the Lecturere's hollo!

7 "And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe,
For all averred, a scanty third!
(Th' external thought it so),
'Ah wretch said they, the failed essay,
That made th' research to flow.'"

8 Day after day, day after day,
He stuck, no thoughts in motion,
As idle as a reader stuck,
With no thoughts of promotion.

Students, students everywhere,
Exam boards ne'er did shrink.
Students, students everywhere,
Nor any time to think.

9 "I fear thee Ancyent Lecturere,
Thy ideas at low ebb,
And thou hath published little since,
(And that was on the web)."

"And now farewell for is the time,
The RAE is nigh,
Comes the assessment exercise,
And you don't qualify.

10 The Lecturere whose eye is dim
Whose beard with age is hoar
Is gone, and now the don depressed
Turns from the scholar's door.

11 He went like one that hath been stunned,
Just one star, how forlorn,
A sadder and a wiser don
He rose the morrow morn.


1 The Ancient Lecturere meeteth the Faculty Research Manager and detaineth him
2 The Research Professor is spellbound by the eye of the old academic and constrained to hear his tale
3 The Lecturere tells how the semester starteth with a fine Mission Statement adhereth to by one and all
4 The land of ice, and of fearful bureaucracy where no living thing was to be seen
5 The Ancyent Lecturere unhospitably faileth the not very well presented Essay of Good Omen
6 But then findeth that his research output is in the doldrums
7 His colleagues cry out against the Ancyent Lecturere for failing the not terribly good Dissertation of Good Luck
8 And the undermarked presentation begins to be avenged
9 The Head of Applied Research hath criticisms of the Ancyent Lecturere's output
10 The Research Professor pondereth the university's motto, "Learn and Serve"
11 But prefereth the British School of Motoring motto, "We won't fail you"

Steve Hawley is professor of fine art, Manchester Metropolitan University. He wonders whether he could emphasise the above's research merits and quote it in the RAE.


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