John Betjeman

A Hike on the Downs

"Yes, rub some soap upon your feet!
    We'll hike round Winchester for weeks—
Like ancient Britons—just we two—
    Or more perhaps like ancient Greeks.

"You take your pipe—that will impress
    Your strength on anyone who passes;
I'll take my Plautus (non purgatus)
    And both my pairs of horn-rimmed glasses.

"I've got my first, and now I know
    What life is and what life contains—
For, being just a first year man
You don't meet all the first-class brains.

"Objectively, our Common Room
    Is like a small Athenian State—
Except for Lewis: he's all right
    But do you think he's quite first rate?

Hampshire mentality is low,
    And that is why they stare at us.
Yes, here's the earthwork—but it's dark;
    We may as well return by bus.”