Tuesday, May 9, 2017


        When McDonogh was a military school, all of us boys had to memorize a poem entitled "The McDonogh Uniform," written by Eustace S. Glascock, Class of 1879. I hadn't recited it for many, many years, but having just been back for my 75th class reunion, I decided, on a nostalgic whim, to see if I could recall the words to all seven stanzas. To my pleasant surpise I was able to do so, before looking at the framed copy of the poem I was given for being the oldest returning alum. Here's the poem as I remembered it:
My graduation picture, copied from
  The McDonoogh Legacy of 1942

THE MCDONOGH UNIFORM                                                                                                  .  ,
A McDonogh suit for your son to wear?
Ah, Madam, they’re not for sale.
And he who dons must never doff—
as a Nun who takes the veil.

‘Tis a matter of years to make the fit;
and the cloth is rich and rare,
with “Lyle thread” running through warp and woof,
and woven with scrupulous care.

With labor and patience, with wisdom and love,
every thread is drawn to its place.
 ‘Tis dyed in the colors of honor and truth,
 with industry’s infinite grace.

The dirt and grime of strife and of toil
Image result for mcdonogh school  PHOTOS
The Allan Building, built in 1929, was named for 
McDonogh's first Headmaster, Col. William Allan.

only brighten its marvelous hue;
But the shiftless shame of an idle life
will rot it through and through,

Measures we take, but not with the tape,
for we tailor to fit a man’s soul
with a garment to wear thro’ life’s arduous race,
and bring him in safe and the goal

Our trademark is woven into every suit.
‘Tis a vow that each wearer must make
how low or how high in the world he may be:
“We give something more than we take.”

Yet we have no weaver of magical skill.
Our tailor’s no fairyland elf.
We’ve merely discovered that to wear such a suit
the wearer must make it himself.

Eustace S. Glascock, 1879


  1. Thanks, as always, for your posts! Glad we were able to figure out the photo issue. I see a bit of both Seth and me in that young man's face...

  2. I don't know Andrew, but I definitely see Seth in your face! Loved reading the poem.

  3. Dr. Armstrong, I am a PhD student working on a dissertation about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I've talked with Gary Demarest, Donn Moomaw, and Geoff Stoner thus far, and I would love to talk with you about your work with the organization. Is there an email address that I can reach you at? My email address is paul[dot]putz[at]gmail.

  4. Heart Warming - I was one of the guys that could never remember poems or my Spanish - but I always had the goose bumps when I read the McD Uniform written in 1879 - that is right 1879 and we are still comforted by it essence - Dudley

  5. Thank you for your comment, Dudley. My father died in March, just a couple of weeks shy of his 95th birthday. To the end he was a loyal and proud alum who credited his McDonogh schooling as having had a profound and lasting impact on his life.

  6. The recent controversy over the name of the School I used to love caused me to google this. Thanks for publishing it. Perhaps Mr. Farace and the history department should require this poem (written by an orphan scholarship student) to be studied to realize how John McDonogh's ideals helped those first boys.

    1. Thanks for your comment on my father's post. He loved McDonogh School and was a loyal alum to he end of his nearly 95 years.