Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Greetings, Friends!

(with apologies to Roger Angell)

Fair readers, hail! Now here’s a teaser:

Who is this Mustachioed geezer

Mocking Clio’s pretensions and throes

Atop a tower of fustian prose?

Here’s AHB III, Huzzah! Hooray!

To drop some names this holiday

And hoist high one of the finest Mescals

To toast you folks in Ivy-decked halls.

Felicitations my friends and my enemies too,

From Flyover Country, yea, and ol’ Princeton, boo!

Come bump the chest and dap a fist

With the egos both large and small on my list

(Each of them in private wondering,

If they will be subject to Ambrose’s thundering)

And wish them and their couplets well

On this retrieval of Noël.

At Stanford may you have a Richard White Christmas!

And to Julie Greene good luck with the Isthmus!

Let Joe Pulitzer descend, like Santa Claus,

On Harvard’s fair Drew Gilpin Faust,

And holiday cheer, please make amends,

To bitter, gun-clinging R. Sean Wilentz,

Three Cheers to Historians for Obama,

To Kazin and Luker, and, yes, Simon Schama,

To Jacqueline Jones and Annette Gordon-Reed,

Whose books on the South we can’t fail to heed,

A toast of champagne to the bard of Champlain

And prizewinners Silver and Nancy MacLean,

Bottoms up Shenkman and fine HNN

And Historiann may you not be bullied again,

For Cliopatria, Acephalous, and all history blogs,

A round of high-octane, free-range egg nogs,

And in the spirit of Ms. Hillary

All hail Laurel, Elaine, and Kathy B,

Executives all, breaking history’s glass ceiling

To take over Clio’s back room dealing.

Holiday cheer amidst a recession,

Whose only beneficiaries chronicle the Depression,

Notwithstanding gloom and crash,

Niall Ferguson’s hauling in even more cash,

Those New Deal books now ubiquitous,

Leaving librarians a big bill to foot for us.

As deans and provosts wield their axes,

We pray that dear Clio not wanes but waxes.

If no one minds, let’s pause to cheer

Our friends George Chauncey and Richard Godbeer,

And folks whose names you knew we’d know,

Like Mrinalini Sinha and Glenda Gilmo’,

And Grafton, ol’ Tony, no Soprano he,

And Rauchway and Kelman at UC-D.

David Bell, comment ça va?

Et J. P. Daughton—connais pas?

Joyeux Noelle, Lynn Hunt et Joan Scott,

And Susan Pedersen who covets their spot,

From PBS all praise to Ellen Fitzpatrick,

With Peniel Joseph, they’re two thirds of a hat-trick,

Fetch lattes, Muse, from your bar

For Bryant Simon and Cemal Kafadar.

We’ve mistletoe, in hopes of a kiss,

From, hmm, I’ll be mum (it's political correctness).

And myrrh (spell-checked) to make the Day

For Steve Pincus, Linda Colley, and old J.G.A.

Come Christmas, gang, we know that St. Nick

Will lavish footballs on Richard McCormick;

Then drop requested toys and games

On Geoff Eley and Harold James,

Plus lumps of coal from deepest pile

For all of our students who history revile,

And candy canes enough to rain

On the campanile out there in New Spain,

With gladsome tunes for Vanderbilt,

And Rice and Texas and places still gilt,

And make the lofty welkin ring

O’er Rutgers, Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins,

And lissome late selections then

For Brandeis and Harvard and Michigan;

And, lads, ere you cease this yowling,

Alleluia from USC to Dowling!

Foregathered round the verdant pine

With kith and kids of yours and mine.

We’ll swill cocktails at the AHA,

Brightening corridors all too dreary and gray,

To clink a glass with colleagues there,

Like Melvyn Leffler and William Blair.

We’ll plan a flowing New Year’s with

Daniel Lord Smail and Pamela Smith:

In gala gear, in party skirts,

We’ll greet Alan Brinkley and Nicholas Dirks,

And similars of known renown,

Like Ramon Gutierrez and Peter Brown.

By wintry lawn we’ll dance till dawn,

With Chandra Manning and Stephen Hahn,

We’ve reached home port, this year is done;

Let’s trade it for a milder one.

Christmas again, for what it’s worth:

Godspeed, good friends, and peace on earth.

As always yr humble svt, Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce, III.