No. 109 | Did You Know?

 McDonogh Uniform Poem Has Lasting Impact

Eustace Glascock (1879) shared his poem 37 years after he graduated from McDonogh.

In 1916, Eustace Glascock (see Story No. 17) submitted a poem, The McDonogh Uniform, to the School newspaper, The Week. In doing so he said, “I see you’ve been giving us some verse lately. If you print this, leave my name off of it. It is shameful for a man of my years to not leave this species of amusement to the youngters.” He signed it, “An Old Boy.” His poem appeared in the school newspaper on October 28—without his byline.

His words were appreciated as one letter to the editor read: “Congratulations to “An Old Boy !” Some poet, he. How I should like to know him and shake his hand. Won’t you give us his name? Come, “Old Boy,” your name or your nom-de-plume. The subject is handled skilfully, Mr. Editor. Each verse points a moral. And with what ingeniousness is each moral woven with a symmetrical whole, the salient feature being cleverly veiled till the climax is reached in the last verse. But the best verse, to my mind, is the second. There’s more in that pun than appears on the surface. When you read that verse, old boys, —or new ones either, for that matter, —your effusions will be somewhat risible; but I imagine when that “Lyle-thread was being woven into the warp and woof with scrupulous care,” the effusions were rather of a lachrymose nature. But the fact is, Mr. Old Boy, that the McDonogh uniform would never have had its durability and excellent finish, had the Lyle-thread been’ left out.”

Glascock’s tribute to the uniform captured, in an extended metaphor, the literal and figurative meaning of the cloth that endeavored to wrap each McDonogh boy in honor. In the late 1920s, Hall Duncan, an Upper School teacher, was moved to create the McDonogh Seal (see Story No. 21) and incorporated six stars to represent the six values Glascock enshrined in stanza three of the poem—labor, patience, wisdom, love, honor, and truth.

When Memorial Court was dedicated in 1946, Eustace Glascock, then age 85, recited his poem to begin the ceremony. It continues to be part of the ceremony today, and the line “we give something more than we take” has become a school motto.

Learn more about McDonogh School's rich history by visiting the archives online.

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