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"Yard by Yard": Line by Line and Through the Years by Dustin Griffin `65

Summary: 1
"Yard by Yard": Line by Line and Through the Years
by Dustin Griffin `65
"Yard by Yard" is one of the best-loved "Songs of Williams," the college's "fight song,"
regularly sung at football and basketball games and at alumni meetings. But many alums only
know the chorus : "Yard by yard we'll fight our way. . ." Most probably realize that there's also
a "verse" (originally, "Come, all ye sons of Williams, sing. . .") but would be surprised to hear
that the song has a second "verse." And almost nobody knows its history. Every twenty years or
so somebody looks back to rediscover the song's origins, and tries to straighten out the
complicated story of its creation. The last time was in the 1970s, when one of the composers,
Hamilton Wood `09, during an oral history interview preserved in the college archives,
commented on his part in writing the song. Perhaps we're overdue for another look, if only to
reflect on the martial language of the song, to discover that "Yard by Yard" has roots that go
back earlier than its official beginnings in 1909, and to remark the song's recent history in the
days since co-education.
A marching song
The complete lyrics of the song are worth repeating, since even those who can sing the
song may be a little unsure of all the words. Here, in its original version, is the first verse:
Come, all ye sons of Williams, sing,
As we march on the field,


Source: Aalberts, Daniel P. - Department of Physics, Williams College


Collections: Physics