The Heisman


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,


Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some defendor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
                     Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Kellen Moore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Kellen Moore--
                     Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis some defendor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late defendor entreating entrance at my chamber door;
                     This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Defensive End," said I, "or SAM Linebacker, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door--
                     Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no voter ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Kellen Moore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Kellen Moore!"--
                     Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my #sour within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
                     'Tis the internet and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Tyrann of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Woodson just above my chamber door--
                     Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then the ebony back beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Tyrann wandering from the Cajun shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
                     Quoth the Tyrann, "Sophomore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly corner to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing cornerback above his chamber door--
Defense or offense upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                     With such name as "Sophomore."

But the Tyrann, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a receiver then he jammed and covered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered: "Other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Suh have flown before."
                     Then the bird said "Sophomore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                     Of 'Sopho--Sophomore.'"

But the Tyrann still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous back of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous back of yore
                     Meant in croaking "Sophomore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the cornerback whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
                     He shall press, ah, Sophomore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Kellen Moore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Kellen Moore!"
                     Quoth the Tyrann, "Sophomore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if cornerback or D-End!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this bayou land enchanted--
On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Baton Rouge?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
                     Quoth the Tyrann, "Sophomore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if cornerback or D-End!
By that BCS that bends above us--by that Heisman we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant New Orleans,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Kellen Moore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Kellen Moore."
                     Quoth the Tyrann, "Sophomore."

"Be that our sign of parting, cornerback or linebacker!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into Death Valley and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no interception as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my quarterbacks unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy pick six from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
                     Quoth the Tyrann, "Sophomore."

And the Tyrann, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Woodson just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                     Shall be lifted--Sophomore!

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