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32
The Romanes Lecture 1892

were in harmony with the actual standards of the nation of the time. And he holds that, if a particular organ of the national life were in default, and there is no censure, or attempt at amendment from without, we must, in justice, refer the blame not to the particular organ as such, but to the condition of the national life taken at large[1].

The well-known pair of admirable epigrams, by Dr. Trapp and Sir William Browne[2] respectively, which belong to the reign of George I, give not a fair, but not a wholly unfair, representation of the comparative position of the two Universities, in relation to the new political settlement, and the accompanying direction of the public mind. I had not intended to recite the text of these epigrams, as they may be so familiar to a large portion of this audience as to render such a recital commonplace. But as I gather that they are not well known to a portion, even if only a minority of those whom I have the honour to address, I will give the lines, and also the occasion which drew them forth.

It appears that King George I sent, at about the same time, a troop of cavalry to Oxford, and a gift of books to Cambridge University. Hereupon Dr. Trapp produced his capital epigram—

'The King, regarding with impartial eyes
The wants of both his Universities,

  1. Huber, Die englischen Universitäten, vol. ii. p. 430.
  2. Founder of the prize for epigrams: perhaps with some retrospect on his own performance.