THE CLEANSING OF CRABTREE
Sir, I have sadly concluded that, after the purity of the scholarship which we enjoyed in the first flush of Crabtree studies, we have in more recent times been subjected to a growing coarseness, a salacious crudity, a shameful degree of innuendo and double entendre, unworthy either of our revered poet or of the College in which his portrait reposes. Let us once more raise the standard of morality, in Literature as well as life. It is for this reason, as well as for its subject-matter, that I have chosen as a title for tonight’s offering The Cleansing of Crabtree. And I intend to live up to this title. Any entendre in this oration is guaranteed single. Of course I have had to face the problem which has faced other Crabtree Orators-where does one go in the Quest for Crabtree, the search for authentic evidence about a man who, with really sublime modesty, covered his tracks so well, and allowed others, from Wordsworth down to Joseph Blacket, to take credit for his productions?