This Blessed Plot, This Earth, This Realm, This Harvard~Part Three

All the world’s a school,
And all the men and women merely students;
They have their passes and their failures, too.
And one mind in its time takes many classes,
Its concentrations being seven. Literature
Comes first, a storybook upon a mother’s lap.
Then Mathematics, measuring the day,
Numbering friends and adding up the inches.
Chemistry next comes, with love reactions
And drugs that speed the heart. Then Social Studies,
Where Economics, History, Anthropology,
And Government combine to make adults.
Next is Biology, when reproduction
Might make us kids and parents both, between,
And, oh, the bodies change. The sixth, not chosen,
Instead is a requirement for us.
It’s Earth and Planetary Sciences,
And whether we shall save our global home,
This borrowed wonder. The last field of all,
That ends this strange eventful course of study:
Philosophy, or Folklore and Mythology,
When final graduation brings reunion.
The janitor comes in, turns out the lights,
Ends dreams, ends tests, ends thoughts, ends everything.

~Alison Carey

For her twenty-fifth reunion last year, playwright Alison Carey ’82 devised this variant of the famous speech from act II, scene 7, of As You Like It as part of a trilogy of Harvard-specific adaptations of Shakespearean excerpts. Classmate Courtney B. Vance performed the entire work at the Class of 1982 Entertainment Night, on the evening of Commencement day.

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