On Entering HLS


With trembling hand, and nervous gait,And sweating brow, I contemplateThe horrors that will be in storeWhen I first cross the classroom door …For all I’ve heard of HLS -A ghastly Hell of strain and stress – Is briefing cases by the mile,In rough, unknowing, awkward style …Of midnight oil, burning brightly,Of haggard faces, sagging slightly,For I have heard there is no restFrom spending days chained to my deskAnd reading pages by the scoreOf words I never heard before;And always wishing, deep inside,I had the guts for prof-icide.Yet though the present’s filled with dread,I shudder when I look ahead,For all around, with toilworn looksAre those who carry two-year books.Their bodies, bent and broken, tellThe story that is known too well …These are the ones who tried to passThe end-terms, leading all their class.Yes, they are back, but grooves of strainAppear upon their tortured brain;And hardly daring to relax,They hurry to the row of stacks;They try to find why Black abstainsIn Pushcart vs. Railroad Trains;Or what defendants had to fearIn Whisky vs. Keg O’Beer.Yet all this class is strong and trueWhen third-year men come into view.By arduous grind, THEY passed again,These wrecks that are but shells of men;Their gaunt expressions can’t concealThe rigors of the past ordeal.But as they stagger slowly by,Their heads – though bruised – are raised on high … For they are of the chosen fewThat soon will have some job to do – That soon may work without a flawFor these are men WHO KNOW THE LAW;Perhaps the day may come for meWhen I – a third-year man will be.When after lying in the wellsAnd depths and faults of countless Hells,And working ’till my brain be raw -PERHAPS … I, too, MAY KNOW THE LAW!

-Clark A. Barrett ’53

Editor’s Note: This poem was originally published in the Oct. 4, 1950, edition of the RECORD. Its publication coincided with the matriculation of HLS’ first 12 female students.

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