Monthly Archives: January 1985

Are They Really Playing Our Song?

“When it’s time to change,

You’ve got to rearrange,

Who you are and

 What you’re gonna be.”

–Silver Platters

If there’s one thing I learned from the Brady Bunch, it’s that boys are boys, and girls are girls;  one can never be the other.  But at Princeton, “where the men are men, and the women are too,” such maxims don’t hold.  Where else could the chorus of the college song read,

In praise of “Old Nassau,” my boys,

Hurrah!  Hurrah!  Hurrah!

Her sons will give, while they shall live

Three cheers for “Old Nassau.”

Since 1969, people who are neither “boys” nor “sons” have been attending this University.  Now they constitute about 35% of the population.  The Chairman of the Daily Princetonian, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Nassau Weekly, and the President of the Honor Committee would probably be offended if one referred to them in the masculine.  Women are here at Princeton, I believe, and it looks as though they are here to stay.  It’s time for the good ol’ boys of “Old Nassau” to come to terms with the fact that they now have sisters.

In  March, 1859, the Nassau Literary Magazine published “Old Nassau”, the winner of their first song-writing contest.  The words were written by Harlan Page Peck of the class of 1862, who intended it to be sung to “Old Lang Syne.”  The music was soon rewritten by Karl A. Langlotz, a professor of music and German.  Though not meant to be the definitive college song, it became so popular that it was sung at all gatherings of Princeton students and alumni.

Today, 125 years later, the song is out of date, and it is time to find a new one.  Not only will we be acknowledging the rights of women to be included in the college song, but we will be fulfilling the wishes of the first sponsors of the song,  the editors of the Nassau Literary Magazine:

PRIZE SONG.–We are gratified to present our readers this new feature in College literature, not only on account of its own merits, for it is weaned and will take care of itself, but because we hope it will not be left by future editors to wend a lonely way through life, and its gray hairs be brought in sorrow to the grave through want of a companion.  Let others follow it, and then the time will soon come when “Old Nassau’s” sons–would that there were daughters too–roused to healthy rivalry, will emulate and provoke each other to noble strife.– Editor’s Table, Nassau Literary Magazine, March 1859. (Emphasis added.)

We have been negligent in providing “Old Nassau” with a successor.  It is past its prime, and should be put to rest.  I therefore challenge the poets/composers of Princeton to write the song that will reflect the present nature of the University and lead us all in praise of “Old Nassau”.  I envision it going something like this,

It’s the story, of a place named Princeton,

Where the ivy climbs up every stony wall.

And the bell rings nice and loud, on the hour,

On top of Nassau Hall.

It’s the story, of a pack of Tigers,

Who are cleaning up in every sport they know.

They like teamwork, playing well together,

Yet they don’t let it show.

There was one time, when the students were too mellow,

And they needed something much more than a punch.

Write a song to somehow make them angry,

And that’s the way they’ll learn to love the “Princeton Crunch.”

The “Princeton Crunch!”  The “Princeton Crunch!”

That’s the way we will sing the “Princeton Crunch.”