Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This article is part of my column, Last Century Today. The college was on spring break this week in 1918, so in lieu of Book and Key meeting minutes, here is their installation song, sung during the initiation of new members.
Our work now is over; ye seven draw nigh
And follow where leadeth the garnet on high.
Without o’er the campus spreads midnight’s deep gloom,
While here with full hearts ye your late vows assume.
The Praeces is waiting on you to bestow
The archives and vestments whose purpose ye know,
Your care ‘tis guard them while this year ensues,
Then pass to the seven whom ye duly choose.
The BOOK–sacred symbol of knowledge profound
Where treasures of heavenly wisdom abound,
Wherein hath been written that precept of old
To all mankind known as the precept of gold.
The KEY—hopeful symbol to all who desire
Deep knowledge to gain, and who truly aspire
To have that which opens to students sincere
The world’s hidden secrets which study makes clear.
In token that they their new duties accept,
And that all their vows will be faithfully kept,
The new chosen seven their vigil will keep
While all their companions are wrapt in deep sleep.
Approach then the altar, and view there displayed
The symbols whereon each his true vow hath made,
And be there invested with cap and with gown
Which we to your keeping now duly lay down.