Songs of The Ohio State University

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Listen To My Tale of Woe

Up at a college called the O. S. U.,
Listen to my tale of woe.
A nice little pass on an exam grew,
Kept by the profs for anyone who
That exam could get through,
Listen to my tale of woe,
There came one day a freshman or two,
Listen to my tale of woe,
To where that pass on the exam grew,
In sight, but out of reach, as so many of them do,
Too true, too true,
Listen to my tale of woe.

Chorus

A hard trial for them too,
Those Freshman bold of emerald blue,
Who strove for a pass that hung in view,
And didn't get through,
Listen to my tale of woe.

Now what on earth did those Freshmen do?
Listen to my tale of woe,
But mount upon ponies and grasshoppers, too,
To get that pass from where it grew,
'Neath the eyes of teachers wise,
Listen to my tale of woe,
But soon their action they began to rue,
Listen to my tale of woe,
For those Freshmen their ponies couldn't subdue,
An so the little beasts their riders threw,
Into the stew,--
Listen to my tale of woe.

Repeat Chorus

The moral of the story will now ensue,
Listen to my tale of woe,
Attend it well, because it may apply to you,
For exams still flourish at the O. S. U.,
They do, that's true,--
Listen to my tale of woe,
When striving for a pass, whatever you do,
Listen to my tale of woe,
Don't trust to a pony you can't subdue,
Lest your fate be that of a Freshmen who
Were flunked. WAHOO!
Listen to my tale of woe.

Repeat Chorus


Listen To My Tale Of Woe deals with two themes, Freshmen and cheating. Here is a ballad of a group of Freshmen who try to cheat on the exam, are caught by their professor and subsequently are flunked on their exam. This song was published in The Lantern om January 21, 1891 and written by Frank S. Kershaw. It was performed by The Ohio State University Men's Glee Club. It is unknown if this song was being performed or sung in 1904, the year Songs of the Scarlet and Gray was published. If nothing else, this song serves as a warning about cheating and the consequences if one gets caught. So, for those who think cheating is a recent development, just think the problem spans at least three centuries!

On 5 June, 1895, C. L. Shuck wrote a variant of Listen to My Tale of Woe which was published in The Lantern. However, the version above was the official version of the song in use at Ohio State and was subsequently published in Songs of the Scarlet and Gray.

Photo: 1893 Lecture Hall, Courtesy of The Ohio State University Archives


Please e-mail any comments, problems or suggestions to nmetro@sgsosu.net

Webmaster: Nick Metrowsky
The Ohio State University, BA, History, 1979
Life Member The Ohio State University Alumni Association
Life Member of The Ohio State University President's Club
Annual Member of The Ohio State University Varsity "O" Association

Last Updated: 18 September, 2015


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