MPHS Alma Mater


The Mount Pleasant High School Alma Mater is actually a song named "Far Above Cayuga's Waters". Cornell University also uses this as their alma mater. The lyrics were composed circa 1870 by roommates Archibald Croswell Weeks, 1872, and Wilmot Moses Smith, 1874, and set to the tune of "Annie Lisle", a popular 1857 ballad by H. S. Thompson about a heroine dying of tuberculosis.

This song is the one of the better known alma maters in the United States. In a novel, Betty Smith called it "the saddest and oldest of all college songs." Edward Abbey, in One Life at a Time, Please, mentions a campfire sing in which he contributed "the only Ivy League song that occurred to me: 'Far Above Cayuga's Waters.'"

The tune has been adopted since by dozens of universities, colleges, and high schools worldwide. Professor George Penny (University of Kansas) wrote his school's alma mater by changing a few words from Cornell's song ("Far above the golden valley...").Other colleges and universities that have borrowed the song include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Acadia University, Erskine College, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the University of Missouri, the University of Georgia, the College of William and Mary, Lewis & Clark College, the University of Alabama, Wofford College, Indiana University, Birmingham-Southern College, the American University of Beirut, Lehigh University, Moravian College, Xavier University, Vanderbilt University, and even the fictional Plainfield Teacher's College. (source - Wikipedia)


Original Lyrics to Far Above Cayuga's Waters:
Refrain:
Lift the chorus, speed it onward,
Loud her praises tell.
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Hail, all hail, Cornell!
Far Above the busy humming
Of the bustling town;
Reared against the arch of Heaven,
Looks she proudly down.

Far Above Cayuga's Waters
With its waves of blue,
Stands our noble Alma Mater
Glorious to view.
Refrain
Sentry-like o'er lake and valley towers her regal form,
Watch and ward forever keeping, braving time and storm.
So through clouds of doubt and darkness gleams her beacon light,
Fault and error clear revealing, blazing forth the right.
Refrain
To the glory of her founder rise her stately walls.
May her sons pay equal tribute whene'er duty calls.
When the moments, swiftly fleeting, ages roll between,
Many yet unborn shall hail her: Alma Mater, Queen!
Refrain
In the music of the waters as they glide along,
In the murmur of the breezes with their whispered song,
In the tuneful chorus blending with each pealing bell,
One refrain seems oft repeated: Hail, all hail, Cornell!
Refrain
Here, by flood and foaming torrent, gorge and rocky dell,
Pledge we faith and homage ever to our loved Cornell.
May time ne'er efface the memory of her natal day,
And her name and fame be honored far and wide alway! Refrain