Ten Thousand Men of Harvard

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"Ten Thousand Men of Harvard" is the most-frequently performed of Harvard University's numerous fight songs. It was written by A. Putnam, class of 1918.[1] Harvard College freshmen become acquainted with this song early in their college careers, as the Harvard marching band traditionally marches through Harvard Yard and performs this song one night early each fall. It is also among the songs performed by the Harvard Glee Club at its annual Football Concerts with Yale.

The song is the fight song of choice for the Harvard Football team. Each incoming class of players is required to memorize and perform the song to the upperclassmen. The football team sings the song in unison after each win, and following victory in The Game the song is sung on the 50-yard line.

The Harvard University Band generally plays the song after every score by the Harvard football team, after every goal scored by the Harvard men's ice hockey team, as well as at the beginning and end of every period of a Harvard men's ice hockey game.

The "Latin" verse, written in 1953[2] and subsequently adopted by the Harvard Marching Band, is dog Latin (a pun), as "illegitimum non carborundum" loosely means, "don't let the bastards grind you down."

As typically performed by the Harvard University Band, the second and third verses are, respectively, another dog Latin verse with lewd lyrics (always covered up by loud drumming), and just the syllable "la" over and over again.

"Ten Thousand Men of Harvard"

Ten Thousand Men of Harvard want victory today
For they know that ov'r old Eli
Fair Harvard holds sway.
So then we'll conquer all old Eli's men,
And when the game ends we'll sing again:
Ten thousand men of Harvard gained vict'ry today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Illegitimum Non Carborundum". Harvard University Band: Sights and Sounds. Harvard University Band. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  2. ^ Primus V (November–December 2012). "Ipso facto!". Harvard Magazine. Harvard Magazine, Inc. 115 (2): 60.