The Dukes of Duquesne

by Face

If any of you knew me in real life, you'd quickly learn that I have a little bit of an affinity for things that are old and interesting. In fact, that's my favorite section in Half Price Books - "Old and Interesting." This has also been a part of my Duquesne fandom in a manner which, luckily for me, touches some of my other interests... most especially music.

Did you know, by the way, that the Victory Song has a verse? I didn't until I found a copy published by Volkweins from the early 30s. Heck, I didn't even know that there was more than just the Alma Mater and the Victory Song until a few years ago.

More on that in another entry.

Anyway, I managed to find some old and obscure Duquesne fight songs through eBay, ones that fell out of use a long time ago. My favorite find is the one that I'm going to talk about today - the drinking song entitled "The Dukes of Duquesne." I think it's my favorite because during the time that I was at Duquesne, a common phrase to govern behavoir was that we had to keep things "Duquesneable."

The meaning of that should be clear.

I can't imagine something less Duquesnable than an official school drinking song. The lyrics are also FANTASTIC, some of my favorite statements about Duquesne pride. Read on after the jump.

Here's the refrain - it's kind of long as it repeats and there are separate words for the repeat. There are verses, which I will perhaps talk about another time. The refrain is where this song really shines.

Drink, drink, drink, to the stout heart drink, That's ever fighting to the end! 
Once again, to the Duquesne men To the story of the glory,
Drink, drink, drink, 'till the bottoms wink a ringing toast to old Duquesne!
Drink to their might, drink to their fight, And to their faith undying!
Stout men are they, tho' the sky is blue or gray, They are foes to fear, they are friends to cheer;
Lifting the chorus and shouting the refrain, Let us sing as we drink to Duquesne.

Down the field! Marching down the field, Beneath the banner of Duquesne;
Dukes are we and the world will see, there's no way to stop us while we're 
all together, no matter whether skies are blue or skies are gray
We'll march along, singing a song, Though ev'ry odd's against us,
We'll never stop till we're standing on the top Till the vict'ry's won, Till our work is done;
Onward forever, the Dukes are coming through, For the fame of the Red and the Blue!

If those last couple of lines don't just tug at your heartstrings - "Onward forever, the Dukes are coming through!" - you may not be a Duquesne fan!

The song, by Thomas J. Quigley, was written in 1935. Quigley, if you don't know, is the same man who wrote the Victory song that you hear at every Duquesne game. He graduated in the class of 1926 and also was a priest. I've always found it interesting that Duquesne, of all schools, had at one point an official drinking song - and that it was penned by a priest.

Duquesneable indeed.

This Father Quigley was, I believe, the namesake of Quigley Catholic High School in Beaver.

Obviously this song is very football oriented, but don't forget that in 1935, Duquesne was in the midst of an incredible run in football. Really, with the exception of a year or two, you can't call the 30s and the early 40s anything other than a rousing success for Duquesne Football. In 1935, the pride was swelling and understandably so.

By the way, if you're interested in hearing this one, there is a recording of the Greek Pride Vocal Ensemble singing a more "Duquesneable" version of this tune that replaces "drink" with "cheer," among other things. This was cut during the same sessions that brought out the recording of the fight song that you hear during Dukes broadcasts (on which I played the saxophone). Let me know and I'll put it up on soundcloud or something; I'm pretty sure that I still have it.

We'll be looking at some of these songs periodically throughout the summer. A few of them point to some of the more unique times in the history of the university, so stay tuned!