The poet Matthew Arnold called Oxford the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ in his poem ‘Thyrsis’ written in 1865. He describes the view of Oxford from Boars Hill: –
‘And that city with her dreaming spires, she needs not June for beauty’s heightening’.
A century and a half later and many of the good folk of Oxford are more concerned with ‘dreaming’ sportsmen. At the home of Oxford United an aura of disappointment pervades as the football season draws to a close with no prospect of going down, but, crucially little prospect of going up. And at their shared stadium, the news is even worse for London Welsh RFC – yes, they do play in Oxford – as they lie five points adrift at the foot of the Aviva Premiership with only four games to play. Oh, those shattered dreams!
But what have we here on Easter Sunday? Why, the annual Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race and dreams perhaps rekindled for the sports lovers of Oxford.
And, of course, Matthew Arnold was right. Oxford is that beautiful city of dreaming spires. Come and see for yourselves.