Fall 2020: A Shakespearean Tragedy

Since we’ve gone back to the era of plague, we must find comfort in Shakespeare to mourn the tragedy that hath befallen ye olde Penn’s fall semester. Henry V, eat your heart out.

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A classroom for a screen, teachers to talk

And students to behold the lagging Zoom!

Then should the warlike midterms, like themselves,

Assume the port of Mars; and at their heels,

Leash’d in like hounds, should fatigue or COVID,

Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,

The flat unmoved spirits that have dared

On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth

So great a tuition: can a video hold

The lecture halls of Penn? or may we cram

Within this online Fall the very vibes

That did affright the air on Locust Walk?

O, pardon! since a crooked admin may

Attest in Gutmann’s fees of millions;

And let us, cash cows to her great account,

On your imaginary forces work.

Suppose within the girdle of these calls

Are now confined all sorry seminars,

Whose planned breakouts and discussion points

The perilous straggling wifi parts asunder:

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;

Into a teaching team divide one man,

And make synchronously suffer;

Think when we talk of campus, that you see it

Printing our proud shoes i’ the receiving floors;

For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our Fall,

Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,

Turning the expenditure of student loans

Into a Zoom call: for the which supply,

Admit on Canvas to the syllabi;

Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,

Gently to hear, kindly to judge, Penn’s play.

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