We engineers love song and tradition, such as Barrett’s Privateers. One of our most beloved songs is called Lady Godiva’s Hymn. Lady Godiva, wife of the Earl of Coventry, is considered the ‘patron saint’ of engineers. Her song can be heard wherever North American engineering students congregate, although exact lyrics vary from place to place.
Lady Godiva earned her place in history because of a brave act which occurred in Coventry, England. Her husband Leofric ruled over both Coventry and Mercia. He imposed harsh taxes on the citizens there, making life quite difficult. Hearing of her kind nature, the villagers pleaded with Godiva to speak to her husband on their behalf and lower the tax rates.
When she asked her husband to be merciful to the poor villagers, he agreed to reduce taxes on one condition: Godiva must ride through the town square on a horse, at high noon, without clothing. He believed this act was so ridiculous that she would not consider it and the discussion would be closed.
Godiva was a brave woman and decided to make the ride. Prior to going out, she spoke to the villagers and asked them to shutter their windows and stay inside in order that she may preserve her modesty. All but one complied with her request. The culprit was a tailor named Tom, from whom we get the phrase ‘peeping Tom’
The Duke was so surprised by her actions he kept his word and lowered the taxes. The people of Coventry honour her to this day. Lady Godiva possessed the traits we hope all engineers do. She was selfless and brave, and stood up for the oppressed despite her position of privilege.
The lyrics to Godiva’s Hymn can be found below. Don’t be shy to make up your own verses as new ones are always being written. Check out this video of engineers singing Godiva from a school right across the street.
We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers
We can, we can, we can, we can demolish forty beers
So come, so come, so come, so come, so come along with us
For we don’t give a damn for any old man who don’t give a damn for us
Godiva was a lady who through Coventry did ride
To show to all the villagers her lovely bare white hide
The most observant man of all, an Engineer of course
Was the only one to notice that Godiva rode a horse
“I’ve come a long, long way,” she said, “and I will go as far”
“With the man who takes me from my horse and leads me to a bar”
The men who took her from her steed and stood her to a beer
Were a bleary-eyed Surveyor and a drunken Engineer!
Venus is a statue made entirely of stone
There is not a fig leaf on her, she’s as naked as a bone
On noticing her arms were broke an Engineer discoursed
“The damn thing’s busted concrete, it should be reinforced!”
A maiden and an Engineer were sitting in a park
The Engineer was busy doing research after dark
His scientific method was a marvel to observe
While his right hand wrote the figures down, his left hand traced the curves
My father was a miner in the northern Malamute
My mother was a mistress in a house of ill repute
They kicked me out at an early age and neither shed a tear
Saying “Get out of here you son of a bitch and join the Engineers!”
An artsie and an Engineer once found a gallon can
Said the artsie, “Match me drink for drink, to prove that you’re a man”
They took three drinks, the artsie fell, his face was turning green
But the Engineer drank on and said, “It’s only gasoline!
On reading Kama Sutra, they tried position nine
For proving masculinity it truly was divine
But then one night the girl rebelled and kicked him on his rear
For he was a feeble artsie and she an Engineer
My mother pedals opium, my fathers on the dole
My sister used to walk the streets but now she’s on parole
My brother runs a restaurant with bedrooms in the rear
But they won’t even speak to me ’cause I’m an Engineer