In last week’s Post, I included a poem from a book, Divots for Dubs. The book can be found in only four libraries in the U.S. Last Monday, I received a book in the mail called Golf Songs and Recitations that I bought from a book seller in England. No libraries carry this book!
What I actually bought was a 1988 reproduction of the original which had been published first in 1886 and then printed again in 1895. This very small (6 1/2″ x 4″) 32 page “book” was written by David Jackson, then Captain of the Leven Thistle Golf Club. In the book’s Introduction, Jackson says he composed the songs and verses in the book because he had,
heard very few Songs in honour of the Game, and [he] … often thought it a pity that such a popular recreation should be so little celebrated by the Poets.
The first poem in the book is called “Ode to Golf.” In it Jackson describes his love of golf in words that still resonate more than 120 years later. I am including the complete poem since I don’t believe you will find it any where else on the web or in any other book. I think you will enjoy it.
ODE TO GOLF
Oh, Golf, thou art a pleasure dear,
That cheers us on from year to year;
That soothes the heart, and cools the brain,
When stirred with grief, or seared with pain.
Whene’er the wintry snows are over,
Around the Greens we fondly hover;
All blythe of heart as busy bees,
We swing our Clubs, and seek our tees,
The smiling sea, the sunny sky,
The song of larks that heavenward fly,
The flowers that spring to meet the eye
Proclaim the Golfing season nigh.
To Swing, then Drive, To Putt, and Hole,
To some may seem absurd and droll;
To me it is a joy, a pride—
Worth twenty other games beside.
Where is the rival to the game
Of royal and of ancient fame;
Or what is such a cheery houff
As just a friendly match at Gouff?
And when at last, in good old age,
No more at Matches we’ll engage,
We’ll turn to memory’s page and fain
We’ll fight our battles ower again;
And leave to youth the active sport,
The miss, the drive, the miles, the short,
The sclaff, the foozle, the weel sent hame,
The ups and downs of this dear game.
Then fill a bumper, fill it high,
Hurrah for Golf, may Golf ne’er die,
But still from age to age increase—
A game of friendship, love, and peace!