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The song used by the boating team of Eton school in England. It was written by an Eton master William Cory in 1865 (at that time his name was William Johnson). The music was attributed to A.D.E.W.. For a GIF image of the music see www.web-helper.net/PDMusic/E/images/btse0003.gif

Jolly boating weather
And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather,
Shade off the trees,
Swing, swing, together,
With you bodies between your knees.

Skirting past the rushes,
Ruffling o'er the weeds
Where the lock stream gushes
Where the cygnet feeds.
Let us see how the wine-glass flushes
At supper on Boveney meads.

Harrow may be more clever,
Rugby may make more row,
But we'll row, row forever,
Steady from stroke to bow,
And nothing in life shall sever
The chain that is round us now.

Others will fill our places,
Dressed in the old light blue;
We'll recollect our races,
We'll to the flag be true,
And youth will be still in our faces,
When we cheer for an Eton crew.

Twenty years hence this weather
Will tempt us from office stools.
We may be slow on the feather,
And seem to the boys old fools,
But we'll still swing together,
And swear by the best of schools.

The Eton Boating Song is not simply, or even primarily, the song of the school's rowers. It is, for the mass of Etonians and Old Etonians, the unofficial school song (Carmen Etonensis being the official one).

In my last year at Eton I and three others were invited to dine with a group the existence of which is unknown to all but the four chosen each year. This organisation has no name, because it is not spoken of. The place of meeting is in a rather out of the way part of the grounds; I had certainly never seen the building. That night were sung special verses of the Boating Song, quite unknown to me, or to the world. I did not, of course, record them. Borges would say that somehow their very existence corrupts reality itself.

The most important purpose of the Boating Song is to allow one to hum the tune, while punting, when Keble men come past in their unsteady way. This is crass, obnoxious and so on, but, when done with true self-knowledge, great fun.

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