History of the song
Although the oldest public school in Sri Lanka, Royal College lacked a school song for a very long time. In the third term of 1927, Principal Maj. H.L. Reed composed the song ‘School of our fathers’ which was later revised musically by S. Schmid. The school song was then performed at the Meaden shield, a competition which the Royal choir has won for eight successive years. The song was found to be a ‘hit tune’ amongst the audience as well as the students. The credit for the brilliant performance behind this song goes to Mrs. H.L. Reed who was assisted by R.C. Edwards. The song made its public debut on 13th July 1928.
In 1968, a shorter version of the song was composed in Sinhala.
A college song provides inspiration, a fervor and attachment to one’s college. To the old boys its nostalgia, to the young ones, the college song is something for every conceivable occasion. Thus, this song has come down the generations of Royalists and is cherished today for the values it represents.
School of Our Fathers – Maj. H.L. Reed
Thy spirit first to life awoke
In eighteen hundred and thirty five
Beneath the sway of Marsh and Boake
Thenceforth did lanka’s learning thrive
School where our fathers learnt the way before us
Learnt of books and learnt of men, through thee we’ll do the same
True to our watchword “Disce Aut Discede”
We will learn of books and men, and learn to play the game
Within thy shade our fathers trod
The path that leads to man’s estate;
They have repaid the debt they owed;
They kept thy fame inviolate.
And we their loyal sons now bear
The torch, with hearts as sound as oak;
Our lusty throats now raise a cheer
For Hartley, Harward, Marsh and Boake.