"Fair Harvard" is the commencement hymn of Harvard University. Composed by the ReverendSamuel Gilman of the class of 1811 for the university's 200th anniversary in 1836, it bids the school an affectionate farewell. Of its four verses, the first and fourth are traditionally sung and the second and third omitted. Its first line, which originally read "..thy sons to thy Jubilee throng", saw a small revision between 1997 and 1998 for gender inclusivity.
The song's lyrics are as follows:
Fair Harvard! we join in thy Jubilee throng,
And with blessings surrender thee o'er
By these festival rites, from the age that is past,
To the age that is waiting before.
O relic and type of our ancestors' worth
That hast long kept their memory warm,
First flow'r of their wilderness! Star of their night!
Calm rising thro' change and thro' storm.
To thy bow'rs we were led in the bloom of our youth,
From the home of our infantile years,
When our fathers had warn'd, and our mothers had pray'd,
And our sisters had blest thro' their tears.
Thou then wert our parent, the nurse of our soul;
We were molded to manhood by thee,
Till freighted with treasure thoughts, friendships and hopes,
Thou didst launch us on Destiny's sea.
When as pilgrims we come to revisit thy halls,
To what kindlings the season gives birth!
Thy shades are more soothing, thy sunlight more dear,
Than descend on less privileged earth.
For the good and the great, in their beautiful prime,