Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Carolus Spencer Chaplin
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With baggy trousers, twinkling cane
And bowler hat that doesn’t fit
There bursts upon the Oxford scene
Charles Spencer Chaplin, Hon. D. Litt.

Carved heads and painted symbols all
Stare open-mouthed in shocked surprise ―
Expecting in this solemn hall
The golden flash of custard pies?

Who are these, rich in learning’s fame,
Assembled here?  Your dupes, your debtors
With classic eloquence acclaim
The wittiest silent Man of Letters.


Charlie Chaplin received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Oxford University on 27 June 1962.

Oxford Times, 11 May 1962
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983