PLATFORM 
I PIECES 

FOR SEVENTH YEAR PUPILS 



HENRY GAINES HAWN 




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Book. r .£^2 



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CGEXRIGHT DEPOSIT. 



PLATFORM PIECES 



COMPILED AND ANNOTATED 
FOR THE SEVENTH GRADE 



BY 
HENRY GAINES HAWN 

PRESIDENT OF THE HAWN SCHOOL OF THE SPEECH ARTS, CARNEGIE 
HALL, NEW YORK CITY; DRAMATIC INSTRUCTOR, CORNELL UNIVERSITY 
MASQUE; SPECIAL LECTURER, BROOKLYN INSTITUTE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; 
EX-PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL SPEECH ARTS ASSOCIATION; EX-PRESI- 
DENT OF THE NEW YORK STATE ASSOCIATION OF ELOCUTIONISTS; FORMER 
INSTRUCTOR OF ELOCUTION, POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 
AUTHOR OF ^DICTION FOR SINGERS AND COMPOSERS" 



D. C. HEATH AND CO., PUBLISHERS 

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO 



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COPYRIGHT, 191 7, BY 
D. C. HEATH AND COMPANY 

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APR 18 1317 


©CI.A4S2017 


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PREFACE 

This volume aims to justify its title. The selections are 
made with reference to their fitness for platform presentation. 

Two vital questions arise in making compilations for children: 
first, how near to the child's mentality shall the literature 
approach; second, to what extent shall it be what is known 
popularly as " good literature." As an answer to the first 
question the author holds that the only wise thing here, as in all 
departments of education, is to keep a little in advance of the 
young mind — to give it something to which it must climb. 
The second query must be answered by the emphatic statement 
that a piece of writing, expressed in good English, which por- 
trays with approximate truthfulness any phase of life is "good 
literature," even though its author be unknown to fame. 

The question as to the wisdom of using dialect selections in 
schoolroom exercises is a much mooted one. Generally speaking, 
pure English is to be preferred; but a judicious use of dialect 
selections brings about a co-ordination between speech and the 
mental ear and corrects much bad usage in the normal speech, 
by enabling the pupil to hear, for the first time, his own distor- 
tions in phonetics. These dialect selections are also true to life 
and therefore have a distinct artistic value, and, moreover, 
they lend variety to the program. 

The suggestions for the interpretation of the selections in this 
book are not rules, to be invariably followed. Rather it is in- 
tended that the teacher be true to his own conception, and 
that the student, likewise, be permitted and even encouraged 
to use his own mind. These suggestions will show the impor- 
tance of getting a conception of the selection as a whole before 



iv PREFACE 

attempting to give the selection. It may be stated that the 
detailed hints on delivery are consistent with the present writer's 
understanding of each selection. 

The simple yet comprehensive outline, in the last chapter, of 
the laws of oral and other physical expression of thought is 
offered with the assurance that, if these laws are obeyed, the 
resulting interpretation will be artistic — at least in form. 

The principles of expression must be understood as a whole, 
not memorized nor tabulated, but thoroughly sensed; and, 
except in the rare case of a student of actually defective speech, 
no special exercise should be practiced to acquire any one 
element. Even enunciation so practiced tends to produce 
offensive affectation. 

With a closing word of endorsement of the renewed interest 
— at present almost at flood tide — in the drama and in pag- 
eantry, the author trusts that neither will be allowed to sup- 
plant the good old custom of memorizing and delivering 
individual gems of thought by the individual student. 

HENRY GAINES HAWN 

NEW YORK CITY, 

March 31, 1917. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Author's Preface iii 

I. NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 

The Quest Eudora S. Bumstead .... i 

The Boat Race Thomas Hughes 2 

A Greyport Legend F. Bret Harte 5 

Dora Alfred Tennyson 7 

The Man Without a Country . . Edward Everett Hale .... 12 

David Shaw, Hero James Buckham 14 

The Prairie Fire C.W. Hall 15 

The Monster Cannon Victor Hugo 18 

The Glove and the Lions .... Leigh Hunt 20 

The Pied Piper of Hamelin . . . Robert Browning 21 

n. HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 

Lanty Leary Samuel Lover 29 

Courtshd? of Larry O'Dee . . . W. W. Fink 30 

Applying the Sermon T. Augustin Daly 31 

Katie's Answer ......... Anonymous 32 

An Idyl of Humble Life Mary Elizabeth Blake .... 34 

Finnigin to Flannigin Strickland W. Gillilan .... 35 

Chills and Fever T. De Witt Talmage 37 

He Cannot Read His Tombstone 

When He's Dead Anonymous 39 

The Cheerful Hostess Belle Marshall Locke .... 40 

The Handy Man Anonymous 42 

The Inventor's Wlfe E.T. Corbett 43 

The Eagle Screams Anonymous 46 

Judge Twiddler's Cow Max Adler 47 

My Familiar John G. Saxe 49 

Ego et Echo John G. Saxe 51 

The India-Rubber Tree William B. MacHarg .... 53 

The Boy's Clothes T. Augustin Daly 55 

The Captain's Story Charles Dickens 56 

Gossip Ben King 58 

My Besettin' Sin Edwin Leibfreed 60 

The Miller of Dee Eva L. Ogden 62 



vi CONTENTS 



in. PATHETIC SELECTIONS 

While the Years are Going By . Anonymous 66 

"One, Two, Three!" Henry Cuyler Bunner .... 67 

The Gamin Victor Hugo 68 

Poor Little Joe David L. Proudfit 70 

A Vision of the Past Robert Ingersoll 73 

Before Sedan Austin Dobson 74 

The Song of the Camp Bayard Taylor 75 

The Man of the Musket . . . . H. S. Taylor 77 

"Lee's Miserables" Anonymous 78 

The Conquered Banner .... Abram Joseph Ryan 80 

The Loss of the Arctic Henry Ward Beecher .... 81 

Women and Children First! . . . Wex Jones 85 

A Derelict Anonymous 84 

Deathbed of Benedict Arnold . George Lippard 85 

The Patriot Robert Browning 88 

The Message Adelaide Anne Proctor .... 90 

Good-Bye Anonymous 92 

IV. HISTORICAL 'AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 

Recessional Rudyard Kipling 93 

Alfred the Great to his Men . James Sheridan Knowles ... 94 

Cardinal Wolsey William Shakespeare .... 95 

Mary Queen of Scots Henry Glassford Bell .... 96 

The Relief of Lucknow .... Robert Lowell 101 

Defense of Hofer, the Tyrolese 

Patriot 104 

How They Brought the Good News 

from Ghent to Aix Robert Browning 106 

Incident of the French Camp . . Robert Browning 108 

Two Steps to a Throne Anonymous no 

The Reign of Napoleon Alphonse de Lamartine ... 112 

Genius of Washington E. P. Whipple 113 

Cesar Rodney's Ride Elbridge Streeter Brooks ... 114 

The Battle of Bunker Hill . . Anonymous 116 

Stonewall Jackson Moses D. Hoge 120 

Keenan's Charge George P. Lathrop 121 

John Burns of Gettysburg . . . Anonymous 125 

The Battle of Mission Rh>ge . . Bayard Taylor 128 

The Grand Advance Frank H. Gassaway 130 

The Little Western Man . . . . E. C. James 132 

The Blue and the Gray .... Francis Miles Finch 133 

The Death of Lincoln Elihu Burritt 135 

Lincoln: The Man of the People Edwin Markham 136 



CONTENTS 



Vll 



The Return of Regulus .... Elijah Kellogg 137 

Patriotism Hannah More 139 

Pericles to the People Elijah Kellogg 140 

Appeal to the Romans Edward Bulwer Lytton .... 142 

Victor Hugo Anonymous 143 

Three Days in the Life of Colum- 
bus J. F. Casimir Delavigne . . . 144 



V. NATURE SELECTIONS 



The Vision of Sir Launfal 

The Sandpiper 

The Old Gray Squirrel . 
The Weed's Counsel . . 
To a Waterfowl .... 
A Fancy from Fontanelle 
The Chambered Nautilus 
Each in His Own Tongue 



James Russell Lowell . 

Celia Thaxter 

Alfred Noyes .... 
Bliss Carman .... 
William Cullen Bryant 
Austin Dobson .... 
Oliver Wendell Holmes . 
William Herbert Carruth 



147 
148 
149 
iSi 
154 
i5S 
156 
157 



VI. ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 



Let in the Light 

Love of Knowledge 

The Power of Feeling over In- 
tellect 

Opinions Stronger than Armies . 

The Nature of True Eloquence. 

The New Patriotism 

Our Lot as Americans 

Americanizing the Foreigner . . 

The Coming Struggle 

Britannia to Columbia 

The Tendencies of Self-Govern- 
ment 

The Duty of Citizenship .... 

Fair Play for Woman 

Our Country 

The Average Man 

The Model American Farmer . . 

Country Life 

The Thinker 

The Wires 

Leather Leggins 

The Workingmen 

Knights of Labor 

The Narrowness of Specialties . 



Arthur Jones 159 

Sydney Smith 160 

Anonymous 161 

L. A. Ostrander 163 

Daniel Webster 164 

Richard Watson Gilder .... 165 

William Henry Seward ... 167 

William E. Pulsifer .... 168 

Anonymous 169 

Alfred Austin 173 

Lyman Abbott 174 

Wendell Phillips 176 

George W. Curtis 178 

John Greenleaf Whittier ... 180 

Anonymous 182 

John T. Hoffman 183 

Robert Green Ingersoll .... 184 

Berton Braley 185 

Marion Couthouy Smith ... 186 

Berton Braley 187 

George S. Boutwell 189 

Terence V. Powderly .... 190 

Edward Bulwer Lytton .... 192 



viii CONTENTS 

The Power of a Name Anonymous 193 

Our Fallen Heroes Chauncey M. Depew .... 194 

The Victories of Peace .... Charles Sumner 196 

Enemies Joseph Dana Miller .... 197 

Heroic Courage Phillips Brooks 198 

Heroism Chauncey M. Depew .... 199 

VH. ETHICAL SELECTIONS 

The Law Anonymous 201 

Labor Thomas Carlyle 202 

Work Henry Van Dyke 203 

The Nobility of Labor Orville Dewey 203 

Opportunity John J. Ingalls 204 

Thoughts for Young Men . . . Horace Mann 205 

Opportunity Edmund Rowland Sill .... 206 

Opportunity Paul Kester 206 

Opportunity George W. Gray 208 

The Fortunate Isles Joaquin Miller 209 

The Demands of Genius Anonymous 210 

The Heights Ella Wheeler Wilcox 211 

Work Marion Wilcox 212 

Art and Heart Anonymous 213 

Who is the Richest Man? . . . . S. H. Palfrey 214 

The Heritage James Russell Lowell .... 216 

The King's Picture Ellen B. Bostwick 218 

Orient Yourself Horace Mann 219 

Life is What We Make It. . . . Anonymous 220 

The House by the Side of the 

Road Samuel Walter Foss 221 

The Man Who Fails Alfred J. Water house .... 223 

Hullo! Samuel Walter Foss 225 

Service Anonymous 226 

Direction Richard Realf 227 

A Pin Ella Wheeler Wilcox 228 

The Sin of Omission Margaret E. Sangster .... 230 

The Lost Day S. E. Kiser 231 

Bad Prayers Bronson Alcott 232 

A Smile and a Frown Emma C. Dowd 233 

The Good Word Wilbur D. Nesbit 234 

The Value of a Smile Wilbur D. Nesbit 235 

The Good Time Coming Gerald Massey 236 

Await the Issue Thomas Carlyle 237 

For A' That, and A' That .... Robert Burns 239 

The Spoiled World Gerald Massey 240 

The Balance of Good Anonymous 241 



CONTENTS ix 

Progress Anonymous 242 

The Good Old Times Anonymous. 243 

A Hundred Years from Now . . Mary A . Ford 244 

The Builders Henry Wadsworth Longfellow . 245 

Clear the Way Charles Mackay 247 

A Little Work George Du Maurier 248 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 

Introductory 249 

The Science of Speech 249 

The Art of Speech . 259 

The Phonetics of Speech 260 

Some Matters of Basic Importance in Interpretation ... 271 



PLATFORM PIECES 



I. — NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 

THE QUEST 

EUDORA S. BlJMSTEAD 

Suggestions: This is a straightforward recitation which may be given 
by either a boy or girl. The speaker must direct the thought to the 
audience except during the impersonations of the boy and the mother. 

There once was a restless boy 

Who dwelt in a home by the sea, 
Where the water danced for joy, 

And the wind was glad and free, 
But he said: "Good mother, oh, let me go! 
For the dullest place in the world, I know, 

Is this little brown house, 

This old brown house, 
Under the apple tree. 

"I will travel east and west; 

The loveliest homes I'll see, 
And when I have found the best, 

Dear mother, I'll come for thee. 
I'll come for thee in a year and a day, 
And joyfully then we'll haste away 

From this little brown house, 

This old brown house, 
Under the apple tree." 



2 PLATFORM PIECES 

So he traveled here and there, 

But never content was he, 
Though he saw in lands most fair 

The costliest homes there be 
He something missed from the sea or sky, 
Till he turned again with a wistful sigh 

To the little brown house, 

The old brown house, 
Under the apple tree. 

Then the mother saw and smiled, 

While her heart grew glad and free. 
"Hast thou chosen a home, my child? 

Ah, where shall we dwell?" quoth she. 
And he said, "Sweet mother, from east to west, 
The loveliest home, and the dearest and best 

Is a little brown house, 

An old brown house, 
Under an apple tree." 

THE BOAT RACE 

(From Tom Brown at Oxford) 

Thomas Hughes 

Suggestions: The first paragraph should be delivered rather slowly 
and quietly, with suggestions of two impersonations. After this first 
paragraph, however, a rapid tempo must be employed throughout the 
selection. Even the passages descriptive of the crowds on the bank and 
of the thoughts in Tom Brown's mind must be rendered in the same 
rapid tempo as the portions narrating the race itself. 

The crew had just finished their early dinner. Hark! the 
first gun! The St. Ambrose crew fingered their oars, put a 
last dash of grease on their rowlocks, and settled their feet 
against the stretchers. "Shall we push her off?" asked 
"bow." "No, I can give you another minute," said the cox- 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 3 

swain, who was sitting, watch in hand, in the stern; "only 
be smart when I give the word. Eight seconds more only. 
Look out for the flash. Remember, all eyes on the boat!" 

There it comes, at last — the flash of the starting gun. 
Long before the sound of the report can roll up the river the 
whole pent-up life and energy, which has been held in leash 
for the last six minutes, is loose, and breaks away with a 
bound and a dash which he who has felt it will remember for 
his life, — but the like of which will he ever feel again? The 
starting ropes drop from the coxswain's hands, the oars flash 
into the water, and gleam on the feather, the spray flies from 
them, — and the boats leap forward. 

The crowds on the bank scatter and rush along, each keep- 
ing as near as it may be to its own boat. Some of the men 
on the towing path — some on the very edge of, often in, the 
water — some slightly in advance, as if they could help to 
drag their boat forward — some behind, where they can see 
the pulling better — but all at full speed, in wild excitement, 
and shouting at the top of their voices to those to whom the 
honor of the college is laid. "Well pulled, all!" "Pick her 
up there, five!" "You're gaining, every stroke!" "Time in 
the bows!" "Bravo, St. Ambrose!" On they rushed by the 
side of the boats, jostling one another, stumbling, struggling, 
and panting along. 

For the first ten strokes Tom Brown was in too great fear 
of making a mistake to feel or hear or see. His whole soul 
was glued to the back of the man before him, his one thought 
to keep time, and get his strength into the stroke. But as 
the crew settled down into the well-known long sweep, con- 
sciousness returned. While every muscle in his body was 
straining, and his chest heaved, and his heart leaped, every 
nerve seemed to be gathering new life and his senses to wake 
into unwonted acuteness. He caught the scent of the wild 
thyme in the air, and found room in his brain to wonder how 
it could have got there, as he had never seen the plant near 



4 PLATFORM PIECES 

the river nor smelt it before. Though his eye never wandered 
from the back of the man in front of him, he seemed to see 
all things at once; and amid the Babel of voices, and the 
dash and pulse of the stroke, and the laboring of his own 
breathing he heard a voice coming to him again and again, 
and clear as if there had been no other sound in the air, 
"Steady, two! steady! well pulled! steady, steady!" 

The voice seemed to give him strength and keep him to his 
work. And what work it was! He had had many a hard 
pull in the last six wee£s, but "never aught like this." But it 
can't last forever; men's muscles are not steel, or their lungs 
bull's hide; and hearts can't go on pumping a hundred miles 
an hour long without bursting. The St. Ambrose boat is well 
away from the boat behind. There is a great gap between the 
accompanying crowds. And now, as they near the Gut, she 
hangs for a moment or two in hand, though the roar from the 
banks grows louder and louder, and Tom is already aware that 
the St. Ambrose crowd is melting into the one ahead of them. 

"We must be close to Exeter!" The thought flashes into 
him and into the rest of the crew at the same moment. For, 
all at once, the strain seems taken off their arms again. There 
is no more drag. She springs to the stroke as she did at the 
start; and the coxswain's face, which had darkened for a few 
seconds, lightens up again. "You're gaining! you're gaining!" 
now and then he mutters to the captain, who responds with a 
look, keeping his breath for other matters. Isn't he grand, the 
captain, as he comes forward like lightning, stroke after stroke, 
his back flat, his teeth set, his whole frame working from the 
hips with the steadiness of a machine? As the space still nar- 
rows, the eyes of the fiery little coxswain flash with excitement. 

The two crowds are mingled now, and no mistake; and the 
shouts come all in a heap over the water. "Now, St. Am- 
brose, six strokes more!" "Now, Exeter, you're gaining! pick 
her up!" "Mind the Gut, Exeter!" "Bravo, St. Ambrose!" 
The water rushes by, still eddying from the strokes of the 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 5 

boat ahead. Tom fancies now he can hear the voice of their 
coxswain. In another moment both boats are in the Gut, 
and a storm of shouts reaches them from the crowd. "Well 
steered, well steered, St. Ambrose!" is the cry. Then the 
coxswain, motionless as a statue till now, lifts his right hand 
and whirls the tassel round his head: "Give it her now, boys; 
six strokes and we are into them!" 

And while a mighty sound of shouts, murmurs, and music 
went up into the evening sky, the coxswain shook the tiller 
ropes again, the captain shouted, "Now then, pick her up!" 
and the St. Ambrose boat shot up between the swarming 
banks at racing pace to her landing-place, the lion of the 
evening. 

A GREYPORT LEGEND 1 
F. Bret Harte 

Suggestions: This piece of poetic narrative should be given animatedly, 
to suggest, by quick gestures, as well, the excitement and the crowd. 
The last two stanzas should be set off from the story proper in the rest 
of the poem by a long pause and by changing the position of the body. 

They ran through the streets of the seaport town; 

They peered from the decks of the ships where they lay. 
The cold sea-fog that came whitening down 

Was never so cold and white as they; 
"Ho, Starbuck and Pinckney and Tenterden! 
Run for your shallops, gather your men, 

Scatter your boats on the lower bay." 

Good cause for fear! In the thick midday 

The hulk that lay by the rotting pier, 
Filled with the children in happy play, 

Parted its moorings and drifted clear — ■ 

1 Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company, publishers of 
"The Complete Poems of Francis Bret Harte." 



PLATFORM PIECES 

Drifted clear beyond reach or call; 
Thirteen children there were in all — 
All adrift in the lower bay! 

Said a hard-faced skipper, "God help us all! 

She will not float till turning tide! 
Said his wife, "My darling will hear my call, 

Whether in sea or in Heaven she bide;" 
And she lifted a quavering voice and high, 
Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry, 

Till they shuddered and wondered at her side. 

The fog drove down on each laboring crew, 
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore; 

There was not a sound but the breath they drew, 
And the lap of water and creak of oar; 

And they felt the breath of the downs' fresh bloom 

O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone, 
But not from the lips that had gone before. 

They come no more. But they tell the tale, 
That when fogs are thick on the harbor reef, 

The mackerel fishers slacken sail, 

For the signal they know will bring relief; 

For the voices of children, still at play 

In a phantom hulk that drifts alway 
Through channels whose waters never fail. 

It is but a foolish shipman's tale, 

A theme for the poet's idle page; 
But still, when the mists of Doubt prevail, 

And we lie becalmed by the shores of Age, 
We hear from the misty troubled shore 
The voice of the children gone before, 

Drawing the soul to its anchorage. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 7 

DORA 

Alfred Tennyson 

Suggestions: This selection is a story with touches of impersonation. 
The characters should be clearly differentiated. 

With Farmer Allan at the farm abode 

William and Dora. William was his son, 

And she his niece. He often look'd at them, 

And often thought, "I'll make them man and wife." 

Now Dora felt her uncle's will in all, 

And yearn'd towards William; but the youth, because 

He had been always with her in the house, 

Thought not of Dora. 

Then there came a day 
When Allan call'd his son, and said, "My son, 
I married late, but I would wish to see 
My grandchild on my knees before I die: 
And I have set my heart upon a match. 
Now therefore look to Dora; she is well 
To look to; thrifty too beyond her age. 
She is my brother's daughter: he and I 
Had once hard words, and parted, and he died 
In foreign lands; but for his sake I bred 
His daughter, Dora; take her for your wife; 
For I wished this marriage, night and day, 
For many years." But William answer'd short: 
"I cannot marry Dora; by my life, 
I will not marry Dora." Then the old man 
Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said, 
"You will not, boy! you dare to answer thus! 
But in my time a father's word was law 
And so shall it be now for me. Look to it: 
Consider, William: take a month to think, 
And let me have an answer to my wish, 



PLATFORM PIECES 

Or, by the Lord that made me, you shall pack, 
And never more darken my doors again. " 
But William answered madly; bit his lips, 
And broke away. The more he looked at her 
The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh; 
But Dora bore them meekly. Then before 
The month was out he left his father's house, 
And hired himself to work within the fields; 
And hah in love, half spite, he wooed and wed 
A laborer's daughter, Mary Morrison. 

Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan call'd 
His niece and said, "My girl, I love you well; 
But if you speak with him that was my son, 
Or change a word with her he calls his wife, 
My home is none of yours. My will is law." 
And Dora promised, being meek. She thought, 
"It cannot be; my uncle's mind will change!" 

And days went on, and there was born a boy 
To William; then distresses came on him; 
And day by day he passed his father's gate, 
Heart-broken, and his father helped him not. 
But Dora stored what little she could save, 
And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know 
Who sent it; till at last a fever seized 
On William, and in harvest-time he died. 

Then Dora went to Mary. Mary sat 
And looked with tears upon her boy, and thought 
Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said, 
"I have obeyed my uncle until now, 
And I have sinned, for it was all through me 
This evil came on William at the first. 
But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone, 
And for your sake, — the woman that he chose — 
And for this orphan, I am come to you. 
You know there has not been for these five years 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 

So full a harvest: let me take the boy, 

And I will set him in my uncle's eye 

Among the wheat; that when his heart is glad 

Of the full harvest, he may see the boy, 

And bless him for the sake of him that's gone." 

And Dora took the child, and went her way 
Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound 
That was unsown, where many poppies grew. 
Far off, the farmer came into the field 
And spied her not; but none of all his men 
Dare tell him Dora waited with the child; 
And Dora would have risen and gone to him, 
But her heart failed her; and the reapers reaped, 
And the sun fell, and all the land was dark. 

But when the morrow came, she rose and took 
The child once more, and sat upon the mound; 
And made a little wreath of all the flowers 
That grew about, and tied it round his hat, 
To make him pleasing in her uncle's eye. 
Then, when the farmer passed into the field, 
He spied her, and he left his men at work, 
And came and said, "Where were you yesterday? 
Whose child is that? What are you doing here?" 
So Dora cast her eyes upon the ground, 
And answer'd softly, "This is William's child!" 
"And did I not," said Allan, "did I not 
Forbid you, Dora?" Dora said again, 
"Do with me as you will, but take the child, 
And bless him for the sake of him that's gone!" 
And Allan said, "I see it is a trick 
Got up betwixt you and the woman there. 
I must be taught my duty, and by you! 
You knew my word was law, and yet you dared 
To slight it. Well — for I will take the boy; 
But go you hence, and never see me more." 



io PLATFORM PIECES 

So saying, he took the boy, that cried aloud 
And struggled hard. The wreath of flowers fell 
At Dora's feet. She bowed upon her hands, 
And the boy's cry came to her from the field, 
More and more distant. She bowed down her head, 
Remembering the day when first she came, 
And all the things that had been. She bowed down 
And wept in secret; and the reapers reaped, 
And the sun fell, and all the land was dark. 

Then Dora went to Mary's house, and stood 
Upon the threshold. Mary saw the boy 
Was not with Dora. She broke out in praise 
To God, that helped her in her widowhood. 
And Dora said, "My uncle took the boy; 
But, Mary, let me live and work with you; 
He says that he will never see me more." 
Then answered Mary, "This shall never be, 
That thou shouldst take my trouble on thyself; 
And, now I think, he shall not have the boy. 
For he will teach him hardness, and to slight 
His mother; therefore thou and I will go, 
And I will have my boy, and bring him home; 
And I will beg of him to take thee back; 
But if he will not take thee back again, 
Then thou and I will live within one house, 
And work for William's child until he grows 
Of age to help us." 

So the women kiss'd 
Each other, and set out, and reached the farm. 
The door was off the latch; they peeped, and saw 
The boy set up betwixt his grandsire's knees, 
Who thrust him in the hollow of his arms, 
And clapped him on the hands and on the cheeks, 
Like one that loved him; and the lad stretched out 
And babbled for the golden seal that hung 
From Allan's watch, and sparkled by the fire. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS n 

Then they came in; but when the boy beheld 
His mother, he cried out to come to her; 
And Allan sat him down, and Mary said, 

"Oh, father — if you let me call you so — 
I never came a-begging for myself, 
Or William, or this child; but now I come 
For Dora: take her back; she loves you well. 
Oh, sir! when William died, he died at peace 
With all men; for I asked him, and he said 
He could not ever rue his marrying me. 
I had been a patient wife; but, sir, he said 
That he was wrong to cross his father thus: 
'God bless him!' he said, 'and may he never know 
The troubles I have gone through!' Then he turned 
His face and passed — unhappy that I am! 
But now, sir, let me have my boy, for you 
Will make him hard, and he will learn to slight 
His father's memory; and take Dora back, 
And let all this be as it was before." 

So Mary said, and Dora hid her face 
By Mary. There was silence in the room; 
And all at once the old man burst in sobs; 
"I've been to blame — to blame. I have killed my son. 
I've killed him — but I loved him — my dear son! 
May God forgive me! — I have been to blame, 
Kiss me, my children." 

Then they clung about 
The old man's neck, and kissed him many times. 
And all the man was broken with remorse; 
And all his love came back a hundred fold; 
And for three hours he sobb'd o'er William's child, 
Thinking of William. 

So these four abode 
Within one house together; and as years 
Went forward, Mary took another mate; 
But Dora lived unmarried till her death. 



12 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY 

Edward Everett Hale 

Suggestions: This narrative selection in the first person must be given 
as if by one who had taken part in the experience, unfolding the story 
simply, and using slight suggestions of impersonation of the characters 
talking. 

[Philip Nolan, a young officer of the United States Army, because of 
intimacy with Aaron Burr is banished from his country by a court martial 
and condemned to live upon a government vessel, where he is never 
allowed to hear the name of his country.] 

I first came to understand anything about "the man 
without a country" one day when we overhauled a dirty 
little schooner which had slaves on board. An officer was 
sent to take charge of her, and, after a few minutes, he sent 
back his boat to ask that someone might be sent him who 
could talk Portuguese. But none of the officers did; and 
just as the captain was sending forward to ask if any of 
the people could, Nolan stepped out and said he should be 
glad to interpret, if the captain wished, as he understood the 
language. The captain thanked him, fitted out another boat 
with him, and in this boat it was my luck to go. 

There were not a great many of the negroes; most of them 
were out of the hold and swarming all round the dirty deck, 
with a central throng surrounding Vaughan. "Tell them 
they are free, Nolan," said Vaughan; "and tell them that I 
will take them all to Cape Palmas." 

Cape Palmas was practically as far from the homes of most 
of them as New Orleans or Rio Janeiro was; that is, they 
would be eternally separated from home there. And their 
interpreters, as we could understand, instantly said, "Ah, non 
Palmas." The drops stood on poor Nolan's white forehead, 
as he hushed the men down, and said: 

"He says, 'Not Palmas.' He says, 'Take us home, take 
us to our own country, take us to our own house, take us to 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 13 

our own pickaninnies and our own women.' He says he has 
an old father and mother who will die if they do not see 
him. And this one says," choked out Nolan, "that he has 
not heard a word from his home in six months." 

Even the negroes stopped howling, as they saw Nolan's 
agony, and Vaughan's almost equal agony of sympathy. As 
quick as he could get words, Vaughan said: 

"Tell them, yes, yes, yes; tell them they shall go to the 
Mountains of the Moon, if they will." 

And after some fashion Nolan said so. And then they all 
fell to kissing him again. 

But he could not stand it long; and getting Vaughan to 
say he might go back, he beckoned me down into our boat. 
As we lay back in the sternsheets and the men gave way, he 
said to me: "Youngster, let that show you what it is to be 
without a family, without a home, and without a country. 
And if you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing 
that shall put a bar between you and your family, your home, 
and your country, pray God in his mercy to take you that 
instant home to his own heaven. Think of your home, boy; 
write and send, and talk about it. Let it be nearer and 
nearer to your thought, the farther you have to travel from it; 
and rush back to it when you are free, as that poor black slave 
is doing now. And for your country, boy," and the words 
rattled in his throat, "and for that flag," and he pointed to 
the ship, "never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids 
you, though the service carry you through a thousand terrors. 
No matter what happens to you, no matter who flatters you 
or who abuses you, never look at another flag, never let a 
night pass but you pray God to bless that flag. Remember, 
that behind all these men you have to do with, — behind 
officers, and government, and people even — there is the 
Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to Her 
as you belong to your own mother." 



14 PLATFORM PIECES 

DAVID SHAW, HERO 

James Buckham 

Suggestions: The recitation of this narrative should begin quietly and 
develop great force and speed. 

The savior, and not the slayer, he is the braver man. 

So far my text, but the story? Thus, then, it runs: From 

Spokane 
Rolled out the overland mail train, late by an hour; in the 

cab 
David Shaw, at your service, dressed in his blouse of drab, 
Grimed by the smoke and the cinders. "Feed her well, Jim," 

he said; 
Jim was his fireman. "Seattle sharp on time!" So they 

sped; 
Dust from the wheels upflying; smoke rolling out behind; 
The long train thundering, swaying; the roar of the cloven 

wind; 
Shaw with his hand on the lever, looking out straight ahead. 
How she did rock, old Six-forty! How like a storm they 

sped! 
Leavenworth: thirty minutes gained in the thrilling race. 
Now for the hills; keener lookout, or a letting down of the 

pace. 
Hardly a pound of the steam less! David Shaw straightened 

back, 
Hand like steel on the lever, face like flint to the track. 

Look! Look there! Down the mountain, right ahead of the 

train, 
Acres of sand and forest sliding down to the plain! 
What to do? Why, jump, Dave! Take the chance, while you 

can. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 15 

The train is doomed; save your own life! Think of the 

children, man! 
Well, what did he, this hero, face to face with grim death? 
Grasped the throttle, reversed it, shrieked "Down brakes!" in 

a breath. 
Stood to his post, without flinching, clear-headed, open-eyed, 
Till the train stood still with a shudder, and he went down 

with the slide. 

Saved? Yes, saved! Ninety people snatched from an awful 

grave, 
One life under the sand, there. All that he had, he gave. 
Man, to the last inch! Hero? Noblest of heroes, yea! 
Worthy the shaft and the tablet, worthy the song and the bay! 



THE PRAIRIE FIRE 
C. W. Hall 

Suggestions: This selection should be given almost as a prose narrative, 
the rhyme and meter not too apparent, with the animation and dramatic 
action accelerated throughout. 

Over the undulate prairie 

I rode as the day was done; 
The west was aglow — but to northward 

A glare like the rising sun — 
Seen through the eddying sea-mists, 

Broke on the darkening night, 
And a cloud of smoky blackness 

Shut out the star's dim light. 



I felt the sweep of the norther, 
But a deeper, deadlier chill 

Struck to my heart for an instant 
With its presage of death and ill. 



16 PLATFORM PIECES 

Then I drew the cinchas tighter 
And looked to stirrup and rein, 

As the northern glare grew brighter 
And the gusts gained strength amain. 

Then, as we hurried southward, 

Brighter, nearer and higher, 
Like lambent serpents heavenward 

Writhed up each naming spire, 
Leaping across the trenches 

Where the grass was thin and dry, 
Rolling in fiery surges 

Where the reeds stood rank and high. 

A drifting whirl of cinders, 

A chorus of blinding smoke, 
A roaring sea of fire — 

Across the plains it broke! 
From the pools the wild fowl darted 

To circle the lurid sky; 
From his lair the scared deer started 

And swept like a phantom by. 

On toward the distant river 

Wasted by weeks of drouth, 
Like a shaft from the Sungod's quiver 

We sped toward the murky south. 
To halt was death; and far distant 

Lay life and safety and rest; 
The air grew hot and each instant 

The foam fell on counter and breast. 

Nearer each moment the fire swept, 
Thicker the red sparks fell; 

Higher the roaring flames leapt 
With the blast of that fiery hell. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 17 

I felt that we soon must stifle 

In the reek of that merciless hail, 
And I dropped my heavy rifle 

In the midst of the narrow trail. 

But bravely my trusty courser 

Kept on in his headlong flight — 
Though his labored breath grew hoarser — 

Till the river gleamed in sight; 
A plunge through the thickest border 

Of withered grass and reed, 
And the waters of the river 

Laved the heaving flanks of my steed. 

Up to the brink of the river 

Swept the waves of that fiery sea, 
With pulses and limbs aquiver 

I could neither stand nor flee! 
I saw the flames tower heavenward 

With dim eyes and failing breath; 
Then all around was darkness — 

A faintness and gloom like death! 

When I woke the flames were racing 

Far westward o'er bluff and hill; 
My faithful steed was grazing 

On the banks of one guardian rill; 
And I offered thanks to Heaven, 

Where the stars shone clear and bright, 
For the safety and mercy given 

To us on that fearful night. 



18 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE MONSTER CANNON 
Victor Hugo 

Suggestions: This selection from "Ninety-Three" requires some pref- 
atory remarks. Let the student extemporize, telling a short story from 
his own imagination to lead up directly to the opening sentence. Through 
the dramatic part of the story, the speaker should convey the idea of 
actual terror. 

They heard a noise unlike anything usually heard. The cry 
and the noise came from inside the vessel. One of the carron- 
ades of the battery, a twenty-four pounder, had become 
detached. 

This, perhaps, is the most formidable of ocean events. 
Nothing more terrible can happen to a war vessel, at sea and 
under full sail. 

A cannon which breaks its moorings becomes abruptly some 
indescribable supernatural beast. 

What is to be done? A tempest ceases, a cyclone passes, a 
wind goes down, a broken mast is replaced, a leak is stopped, 
a fire put out; but what shall be done with this enormous 
brute of bronze? . . . 

All of a sudden, in that kind of unapproachable circuit 
wherein the escaped cannon bounded, a man appeared, with 
an iron bar in his hand. It was the author of the catastrophe, 
the chief gunner, guilty of negligence and the cause of the 
accident, the master of the carronade. 

Then a wild exploit commenced, a Titanic spectacle, the 
combat of the gun with the gunner, the battle of matter and 
intelligence, the duel of the animate and the inanimate; on 
one side force, on the other a soul. 

A soul! a strange thing! one would have thought the cannon 
had one also, but a soul of hate and rage. This sightless thing 
seemed to have eyes. The monster appeared to watch the 
man. There was cunning in this mass. It chose its moment. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 19 

It was a kind of gigantic insect of iron, having the will of a 
demon. At times this colossal grasshopper would strike the 
low ceiling of the battery, then fall back on its four wheels like 
a tiger on its four paws, and commence again to dart upon 
the man. He, supple, agile, adroit, writhed like an adder in 
guarding against all these lightning-like movements. 

Such things cannot last long. The cannon seemed to say 
all at once: "Come! there must be an end to this!" and it 
stopped. 

The man had taken refuge at the foot of the ladder, a few 
steps from an old man who was present. The gunner held his 
handspike at rest. The cannon seemed to perceive him, and 
without taking the trouble to turn round, fell back on the 
man with the promptness of an axe-stroke. The man, if 
driven against the side, was lost. All the crew gave a cry. 

But the old passenger, till then immovable, sprang forward, 
more rapidly than all those wild rapidities. He had seized a 
bale of false assignats, and, at the risk of being crushed, 
he had succeeded in throwing it between the wheels of the 
cannon. 

The bale had the effect of a plug. A pebble stops a bulk; 
a branch of a tree diverts an avalanche. The cannon stum- 
bled. The gunner in his turn, taking advantage of this terrible 
juncture, plunged his iron bar between the spokes of one of 
the hind wheels. The cannon stopped. The man, using his 
bar as a lever, made it rock. The heavy mass turned over 
with the noise of a bell tumbling down, and the man, rushing 
headlong, attached the slipknot of the gun tackle to the 
bronze neck of the conquered monster. 

It was finished. The man had vanquished. The ant had 
subdued the mastodon; the pigmy had made a prisoner of the 
thunderbolt. 



20 PLATFORM PIECES 



THE GLOVE AND THE LIONS 
Leigh Hunt 

Suggestions: This selection is to be given as narrative with touches 
of impersonation through the description as well as when the characters 
talk. 

King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport, 
And one day, as his lions strove, sat looking on the court: 
The nobles filled the benches round, the ladies by their side, 
And 'mongst them Count de Lorge, with one he hoped to make 

his bride: 
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show, 
Valor and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts 

below. 

Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws; 
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went 

with their paws; 
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled one on 

another, 
Till all the pit, with sand and mane, was in a thund'rous 

smother; 
The bloody foam above the bars came whizzing through the 

air; 
Said Francis then, "Good gentlemen, we're better here than 

there!" 

De Lorge's love o'erheard the king, a beauteous lively 

dame, 
With smiling lips, and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed 

the same: 
She thought, "The Count, my lover, is as brave as brave can 

be; 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 21 

He surely would do desperate things to show his love of 

me! 
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the chance is wondrous 

fine; 
I'll drop my glove to prove his love; great glory will be 

mine!" 

She dropped her glove to prove his love; then looked on him 

and smiled; 
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild: 
The leap was quick; return was quick; he soon regained his 

place; 
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's 

face! . . . 

"In truth!" cried Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from 

where he sat: 
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that!" 



THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN 
Robert Browning 

Suggestions: This poem has been shortened a little; the form here 
given is best for the platform. The speaker should start in simple narra- 
tive style and very quietly, with impersonations later of the mayor and 
the piper. He should suggest in the first a fat, slow-witted, pompous 
character, but make the piper poetic and rather young. 

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, 
By famous Hanover city; 

The River Weser, deep and wide, 

Washes its wall on the southern side; 

A pleasanter spot you never spied; 
But, when begins my ditty, 



22 PLATFORM PIECES 

Almost five hundred years ago, 
To see the townsfolk suffer so 
From vermin was a pity. 
Rats! 

They fought the dogs, and killed the cats, 

And bit the babies in the cradles, 
And ate the cheeses out of the vats, 

And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, 
Split open the kegs of salted sprats, 
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, 
And even spoiled the women's chats, 

By drowning their speaking 

With shrieking and squeaking 
In fifty different sharps and flats. 

At last the people in a body 

To the Town Hall came flocking: 
"'Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy; 

And as for our Corporation — shocking 
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine 
For dolts that can't or won't determine 
What's best to rid us of our vermin! 
You hope, because you're old and obese, 
To find in the furry civic robe ease? 
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking 
To find the remedy we're lacking, 
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!" 
At this the Mayor and Corporation 
Quaked with a mighty consternation. 

An hour they sat in council, 

At length the Mayor broke silence: 

"For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell; 
I wish I were a mile hence! 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 23 

It's easy to bid one rack one's brain — 

I'm sure my poor head aches again 

I've scratched it so, and all in vain, 

Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!" 
Just as he said this, what should hap 
At the Chamber door but a gentle tap? 
"Bless us," cried the Mayor, "what's that? . . . 
Only a scraping of shoes on the mat? 
Anything like the sound of a rat 
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!" 
"Come in!" — the Mayor cried, looking bigger; 
And in did come the strangest figure. 
His queer long coat from heel to head 
Was half of yellow and half of red; 
And he himself was tall and thin, 
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin, 
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin, 
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin, 
But lips where smiles went out and in — 
There was no guessing his kith and kin! 
And nobody could enough admire 
The tall man and his quaint attire: 
Quoth one: "It's as my great-grandsire, 
Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone, 
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone." 



He advanced to the council-table: 

And, "Please your honor," said he, "I'm able, 
By means of a secret charm, to draw 
All creatures living beneath the sun, 
That creep, or swim, or fly, or run, 
After me so as you never saw! 
And I chiefly use my charm 
On creatures that do people harm, 



24 PLATFORM PIECES 

The mole, and toad, and newt, and viper; 
And people call me the Pied Piper." 

(And here they noticed round his neck 

A scarf of red and yellow stripe, 

To match with his coat of the selfsame check, 

And at the scarf's end hung a pipe; 

And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying 

As if impatient to be playing 

Upon this pipe, as low it dangled 

Over his vesture so old-fangled.) 

"Yet," said he, "poor Piper as I am, 

In Tartary I freed the Cham, 

Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats; 

I eased in Asia the Nizam 

Of a monstrous brood of vampire bats; 

And, as for what your brain bewilders, 

If I can rid your town of rats 

Will you give me a thousand guilders?" 

"One? fifty thousand!" — was the exclamation 

Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation. 



Into the street the Piper stepped, 

Smiling first a little smile, 
As if he knew what magic slept 

In his quiet pipe the while; 
Then, like a musical adept, 
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled, 
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled 
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled; 
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered, 
You heard as if an army muttered; 
And the muttering grew to a grumbling; 
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling; 
And out of the house the rats came tumbling. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 25 

Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats, 
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats, 
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers, 

Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, 
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers, 

Families by tens and dozens, 
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives — 
Followed the Piper for their lives. 
From street to street he piped advancing, 
And step for step they followed dancing, 
Until they came to the River Weser 
Wherein all plunged and perished. . . . 

You should have heard the Hamelin people 
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple; 

"Go," cried the Mayor, "and get long poles! 

Poke out the nests and block up the holes! 

Consult with carpenters and builders, 

And leave in our town not even a trace 

Of the rats!" — when suddenly up the face 

Of the Piper perked in the market place, 
With a "First, if you please, my thousand guilders!" 

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue; 

So did the Corporation too. . . . 

"Besides," quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink, 

"Our business was done at the river's brink; 

We saw with our eyes the vermin sink, 

And what's dead can't come to life, I think. 

So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink 

From the duty of giving you something to drink, 

And a matter of money to put in your poke; 

But, as for the guilders, what we spoke 

Of them, as you very well know, was in joke. 

Besides, our losses have made us thrifty; 

A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!" 



26 PLATFORM PIECES 

The Piper's face fell, and he cried, 
"No trifling! I can't wait! beside, 
I've promised to visit by dinner-time 
Bagdad, and accepted the prime 
Of the Head Cook's pottage, all he's rich in, 
For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen, 
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor. 
With him I proved no bargain-driver; 
With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver! 
And folks who put me in a passion 
May find me pipe to another fashion." 
"How?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I'll brook 
Being worse treated than a Cook? . . . 
You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst, 
Blow your pipe there till you burst!" 



Once more he stepped into the street, 

And to his lips again 
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane; 

And ere he blew three notes (such sweet 
Soft notes as yet musicians cunning 

Never gave the enraptured air) 
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling 
Of merry crowds jostling, at pitching and hustling, 
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering, 
Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering, 
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering, 
Out came the children running. 
All the little boys and girls, 
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls, 
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls, 

Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after 

The wonderful music with shouting and laughter. 



NARRATIVE SELECTIONS 27 

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood 

As if they were changed into blocks of wood 

Unable to move a step, or cry 

To the children merrily skipping by — 

And could only follow with the eye 

That joyous crowd at the Piper's back. 

But how the Mayor was on the rack, 

And the wretched Council's bosoms beat, 

As the Piper turned from the High street 

To where the Weser rolled its waters 

Right in the way of their sons and daughters! 

However he turned from south to west, 

And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed, 

And after him the children pressed; 

Great was the joy in every breast. 

"He never can cross that mighty top! 

He's forced to let the piping drop, 
And we shall see our children stop!" 
Wjien lo, as they reached the mountain's side, 
A wondrous portal opened wide, 
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed; 
And the Piper advanced and the children followed, 
And when all were in to the very last, 
The door in the mountain side shut fast. 



Did I say all? No! one was lame, 

And could not dance the whole of the way; 

And in after years, if you would blame 

His sadness, he was used to say: 

"It's dull in our town since my playmates left; 
I can't forget that I'm bereft 
Of all the pleasant sights they see, 
Which the Piper also promised me;" . . . 



28 PLATFORM PIECES 

The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South 
To offer the Piper by word of mouth, 
Wherever it was men's lot to find him, 
Silver and gold to his heart's content, 
If he'd only return the way he went, 
And bring the children behind him. 
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavor, 
And Piper and dancers were gone forever, . . . 

They wrote the story on a column, 
And on the great church window painted 
The same, to make the world acquainted 
How their children were stolen away; 
And there it stands to this very day. 



II.— HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 

LANTY LEARY 

Samuel Lover 

Suggestions: This selection includes narrative and two impersonations. 
The speaker should give the narrative part in his own voice and manner, 
but differentiate clearly the two speakers. 

Lanty was in love, you see, 

With lovely, lively Rosie Carey, 
But her father can't agree 

To give the girl to Lanty Leary. 
"Up to fun, away we'll run," 

Says she. "My father's so conthrairy, 
Won't you follow me? won't you follow me?" 

"Faith, I will!" says Lanty Leary. 

But her father died one day 

(I hear 'twas not from drinking wather); 
House and land and cash, they say, 

He left by will to Rose, his daughther; 
House and land and cash to seize. 

Away she cut so light and airy: 
"Won't you follow me? won't you follow me?" 

"Faith, I will!" says Lanty Leary. 

Rose herself was taken bad, 

The fayver worse each day was growin'. 
"Lanty dear," says she, "'tis sad; 

To th' other world I'm surely goin'; 
You can't survive my loss, I know, 

Not long remain in Tipperary: 
Won't you follow me? won't you follow me?" 

"Faith, I won't!" says Lanty Leary. 
29 



30 PLATFORM PIECES 

COURTSHIP OF LARRY O'DEE 
W. W. Fink 

Suggestions: This is a narrative poem, with two impersonations; 
which must be clearly indicated. Use much modulation and a light tone 
of the voice for the widow; a rougher tone, slower tempo, and little or 
no modulation for the man. 

Now the Widow McGee 

And Larry O'Dee 
Had two little cottages, out on the green, 
With just enough room for two pig pens between. 
The widow was young, and the widow was fair, 
With the brightest of eyes and the brownest of hair, 
And it frequently chanced, when she came in the morn, 
With the swill for her pig, Larry came with the corn, 
And some of the ears that he tossed from his hand 
In the pen of the widow were certain to land. 

One morning said he: 

"Och! Misthress McGee, 
It's a waste of good lumber, this running two rigs, 
Wid a fancy partition bet wane our two pigs!" 
"Indade, sure it is!" answered Widow McGee, 
With the sweetest of smiles upon Larry O'Dee. 
"And thin it looks kind o' hard-hearted and mane 
Kapin' two fri'ndly pigs so exsaidin'ly near, 
That whiniver one grunts thin the other can hear, 
And yit kape a cruel partition betwane!" 

"Shwate Widow McGee," 

Answered Larry O'Dee, 
"If ye fale in yer heart we are mane to the pigs, 
Ain't we mane to oursilves to be runnin' two rigs? 
Och! it made me heart ache whin I paped through the cracks 
Of me shanty, last March, at yez shwingin' yer ax, 






HUMOUROUS SELECTIONS 31 

An* a-bobbin' yer head, an' a-shtompin' yer fate, 
Wid yer purrty white hands jist as red as a bate, 
A-sphlittin' yer kindlin'-wood out in the shtorm, 
Whin one little shtove it would kape us both warm." 

"Now, piggy," said she, 

"Larry's courtin' o' me, 
Wid his dilicate, tinder allusion to you; 
So now yez musht tell me jusht what I musht do. 
For, if I'm to say yes, shtir the shwill wid yer shnout; 
But if I'm to say no, yez musht kape yer nose out. . . . 
Now, Larry, for shame! to be bribin' a pig 
By a-tossin' a handful of corn in its shwig!" 
"Me darlint, the piggy says yes! " answered he; 
And that was the courtship of Larry O'Dee. 



APPLYING THE SERMON 1 
T. Augustin Daly 

Suggestions: As full impersonation is here required, only a girl should 
attempt to recite this selection. The Irish dialect might be exaggerated 
to advantage, by rolling the r's perceptibly and substituting short i's for 
short e's, and oi for long i. The speaker must convey, if possible, her 
perfect confidence that the sermon could not apply to herself. 

"Oh! the pastor'd a sermon was splendid this mornin'," 

Said Nora O'Hare, 
"But there's some in the parish that must have had warnin' 

An' worshipped elsewhere; 
But wherever they were, if their ears wasn't burnin', 

Troth, then, it is quare! 

"'There are women,' sez he, 'an' they're here in this parish, 

An' plentiful, too, 
Wid their noses so high an' their manners so airish, 

But virtues so few 

1 From the Philadelphia "Evening Ledger." 



32 PLATFORM PIECES 

'Tis a wonder they can't see how much they resemble 

The proud Pharisee, 
Ye would think they'd look into their own souls an' tremble 

Such sinners to be. 
Not at all! They believe themselves better than others, 

An' give themselves airs 
Till the pride o' them strangles all virtues and smothers 

The good o' their prayers.' 

"That's the way he wint at them, an', faith it was splendid — 

But wasted, I fear, 
Wid the most o' the women for whom 'twas intended, 

Not there for to hear. 
An' thinks I to meself, walkin' home, what a pity 

That Mary Ann Hayes 
An' Cordelia McCann should be out o' the city 

This day of all days. 

"But, indeed, 'twas a glorious sermon this mornin'," 

Said Nora O'Hare. 
"Though I'm sorry that some o' the parish had warnin' 

An' worshipped elsewhere; 
But wherever they were, if their ears wasn't burnin', 

Troth, then, it is quare!" 

KATIE'S ANSWER 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be given as if told to an intimate 
friend by a man who imitates Katie's speech in a loving way. 

Och, Katie's a rogue, it is thrue, 
But her eyes, like the sky, are so blue 

An' her dimples so shwate, 

An' her ankles so nate, 
She dazed and she bothered me too. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 33 

Till one mornin' we wint for a ride; 
Whin demure as a bride, by my side 

The darlint she sat, 

Wid the wickedest hat 
'Neath a purty girl's chin ever tied. 

An' my heart, arrah thin how it bate; 

For my Kate looked so temptin' an' shwate 

Wid cheeks like the roses, 

An' all the red posies 
That grow in her garden so nate. 

But I sat just as mute as the dead 
Till she said, wid a toss of her head, 

"If I'd known that to-day 

Ye'd have nothing to say, 
I'd have gone with my cousin instead." 

Thin I felt myself grow very bold; 
For I knew she'd not scold if I told 

Of the love in my heart, 

That would never depart, 
Though I lived to be wrinkled and old. 

An' I said: "If I dared to do so, 
I'd let go of the baste an' I'd throw 

Both arms round your waist 

An' be stalin' a taste 
Of thim lips that are coaxing me so." 

Thin she blushed a more illigant red, 
As she said, widout raisin' her head, 

An' her eyes lookin' down 

Neath her lashes so brown, 
"Would ye like me to drive, Misther Ted?" 



34 PLATFORM PIECES 



AN IDYL OF HUMBLE LIFE 
Mary Elizabeth Blake 

Suggestions: This selection should be given by a girl, as full impersona- 
tion of the Irish woman in voice, attitude, and gesture. The speaker 
may emphasize the dialect as much as she likes. 

They may talk of their horses and houses, 

The pictures that hang on the wall, 
The fine sparklin' rings on their fingers, 

The servants that come at their call, 
The swish of their silks an' their satins, 

Roast beef an' plum pudding each day — 
Faith! I envy no woman her riches 

When Dennis comes home to his tay! 

It's true, when he goes in the morning, 

With the children to dress and to comb 
For the school, an' the place to make decent 

In the four little rooms here at home — 
With scrubbing an' mending an' making, 

An' dinner to get by the way, 
There isn't much time to be idle 

Till Dennis comes home to his tay. 

But then we're as neat an' as tidy 

As if we had money galore; 
The stove like a cat's eye is shining — 

You could eat your three meals on the floor; 
The bit of a plant in the window 

Is as fresh as a morning in May; 
An' the children go wild with their nonsense 

When Dennis comes home to his tay. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 35 

The kettle is singing a welcome, 

There's a good bit of beef in the pot, 
The table-cloth's clean — for I wash it — 

The dish of potatoes is hot; 
We're healthy, an' happy, an' hearty — 

So thank God for His mercies I say, 
For it's we that have cause to be thankful 

When Dennis comes home to his tay. 

For then with his pipe in the corner 

He can sit down as well as the best, 
With his bit of man's gossip to give me, 

While I have my minute to rest 
An' to tell him the news of the neighbors 

While the children go on with their play; 
O, I envy no woman her riches 

When Dennis comes home to his tay. 



FINNIGIN TO FLANNIGIN 
Strickland W. Gillilan 

Suggestions: The speaker must keep this selection a comic Irish im- 
personation. This he can do effectively if, in addition to the Irish dialect 
throughout, he uses awkward, emphatic gestures, across the body, instead 
of away from it, using the index finger only, the other fingers being 
doubled up in the palm. 

Stjperintindint wuz Flannigin; 
Boss av the siction was Finnigin; 
Whiniver the kyars got offen the thrack 
An' muddle up things t' th' divil an' back, 
Finnigin writ to Flannigin, 
Afther the wrick wuz all on agin; 
That is, this Finnigin 
Repoorted to Flannigin. 



36 PLATFORM PIECES 

Whin Finnigin furst writ to Flannigin, 
He writed tin pages — did Finnigin. 
An' he tould jist how the smash occurred; 
Full minny a tajus, blunderin' wurrd 
Did Finnigin write to Flannigin 
Afther the cars had gone on agin. 
That wuz how Finnigin 
Repoorted to Flannigin. 

Now Flannigin knowed more than Finnigin — 
He'd more idjucation — had Flannigin; 
An' it wore'm clane and complately out 
To tell what Finnigin writ about 
In his writin' to Muster Flannigin. 
So he writed back to Finnigin; 
"Don't do such a sin agin; 
Make 'em brief, Finnigin!" 

Whin Finnigin got this from Flannigin 

He blushed rosy red — did Finnigin; 

An' he said: "I'll gamble a whole month's pa-ay 

That it will be manny and manny a da-ay 

Befoore Sup'rintindint, that's Flannigin, 

Gits a whack at this very same sin agin, 

From Finnigin to Flannigin 

Repoorts won't be long agin." 

Wan da-ay on the siction av Finnigin, 

On the road sup'rintinded by Flannigin, 

A rail give way on a bit av a curve 

An' some kyars wint off as they made the swerve, 

"There's nobody hurted," sez Finnigin, 

"But repoorts must be made to Flannigin." 

An' he winked at McGoorigin, 

As married a Finnigin. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 37 

He wuz thinkin' thin, wuz Finnigin, 

As minny a railroader's bin agin, 

An' the shmoky oF lamp wuz burnin' bright 

In Finnigin's shanty all that night — 

Bilin' down his repoort wuz Finnigin! 

An' he writed this here: "Muster Flannigin: 

Off agin, on agin, 

Gone agin. — Finnigin. " 



CHILLS AND FEVER 
T. De Witt Talmage 

Suggestions: Much merriment is occasioned by this selection if it is 
given in all seriousness, — not oratorically, of course, but very earnestly. 

. . . There has somehow arisen a strong prejudice against 
the above phase of country life, and no one has appeared as 
its champion. It is slung down among diseases, and de- 
nounced as though nothing might be said in its favor. For 
some inexplicable reason people say nothing of it till they have 
sold their place. 

We estimate as among the most interesting periods of our 
life the season when we were attacked by it. If there were 
any advantages to be derived, we certainly derived them. It 
was a matter of some doubt whether we had the chills or the 
chills had us; but one warm summer afternoon it was decided 
in our favor. If the people who are longing for a new sensa- 
tion would only try this! It is a different feeling from that 
which a man has on any other occasion. Is it not strange 
that there is so much practical ignorance on this subject when 
the chills may be so easily taken? You need go no long 
journey to obtain them. Just wheel your arm chair to the 
piazza some June night, or walk along the marsh at dusk, or 
ride out on a damp evening without an overcoat, and you 



38 PLATFORM PIECES 

have them as thoroughly as many a man who has gone to 
greater expense. Nay, some places are so well adapted to 
them that without any use of means at all you may win the 
prize. Chills and fever are entirely unselfish. If a man gets 
the quinsy sore throat, or a boil on his back, he is apt to 
monopolize the entire entertainment; but in the case of which 
I speak, your family may join you. If the one shakes, they 
may all shake. 

You begin, without any apparent reason, to feel very tired, 
awfully tired. You become seriously aware that you have a 
great many bones, and are convinced that your limbs have a 
great superfluity of ossification. You begin to yawn till any 
chicken with the gapes would think you were caricaturing the 
diseases of the barnyard. You stretch, without any seeming 
idea as to what you are putting out your hands for. You 
button up one button of your coat. You walk round the 
house and then fasten two buttons. You walk upstairs, and 
fasten all the buttons. You lie down on the clean white 
spread, boots and all. Your wife, after criticizing your taste 
in going to bed with boots on, puts on you all the blankets 
she can find; and you shout, "More cover!" She hunts up 
all the shawls, and piles them up in a woolen pyramid. She 
gets out two or three old dresses, and puts them on; and you 
cry, "Give us more cover!" Considerably frightened, she 
lays on the top of the pile her best dresses. She puts on the 
top of this the children's clothes, and then gives solidity to 
the mass by adding two pillows; and through your chattering 
teeth you exclaim, "More cover!" You feel that you are 
making the Arctic expedition in search of John Franklin, and 
that the friendly Esquimaux are rubbing you down with a 
couple of small icebergs. Your tongue is a hailstone, and 
your nose an icicle. 

Suddenly the climate changes from Arctic to Torrid. Your 
wife lifts the two pillows; but still you are too hot, and your 
wife takes off the layer of children's clothes. You want fans. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 39 

You have an oven in your head, three cooking stoves under 
your diaphragm; and if one earns bread by the sweat of his 
brow, you have shed enough perspiration to buy out several 
bakeries. You chew ice and squeeze lemons and then lie four 
hours in silence, meditating on the pleasure of life in the 
country, with fine river prospect. 

But chills and fever would not be well vindicated did we 
not say that they always make business lively. Not only is 
the patient very active at times, but there is lively work 
for druggists, doctors and, after a while, for enterprising 
undertakers. 

All these wants make lively markets. When you have 
nothing else to take your attention, you have the buzzing in 
your ear that comes from large doses of quinine. This noise 
is like a council of bees, and has a poetic and rhythmic effect 
in reminding you of that delightful refrain, "How doth the 
busy bee improve each shining hour!" 

Oh, that all the world lived in the country and that every 
house had a river front! 



HE CANNOT READ HIS TOMBSTONE WHEN 
HE'S DEAD 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should say this poem to the audience, 
quietly throughout, but with touches of great earnestness. 

If with pleasure you are viewing any work a man is doing, 

If you like him, or you love him, tell him now. 
Don't withhold your approbation till the parson makes 
oration, 
And he lies with snowy lilies o'er his brow; 
For no matter how you shout it he won't really care about 
it; 
He won't know how many teardrops you have shed; 



40 PLATFORM PIECES 

If you think some praise is due him, now's the time to slip it 
to him, 
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead. 

More than fame and more than money is the comment kind 
and sunny 
And the hearty, warm approval of a friend, 
For it gives to life a savor and it makes you stronger, 
braver, 
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end; 
If he earns your praise, bestow it; if you like him, let him 
know it; 
Let the words of true encouragement be said; 
Do not wait till life is over and he's underneath the clover, 
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead. 



THE CHEERFUL HOSTESS 
Belle Marshall Locke 

Suggestions: This selection is suitable for recitation by a girl only, 
since it requires full impersonation. This is a travesty and must not be 
made a burlesque. Tone and manner throughout should be those of a 
drawling, whining, cheerless, ambitionless woman, whose movements are 
very slow, and who remains seated much of the time, getting up only 
when showing Mr. Singleton to his bedroom. Much merriment is added 
to the recitation if the hostess sniffles at intervals. 

Come right in, Mr. Sickleton, and take a seat. You look 
ready to drap. Ye hain't er-goin' to faint, air ye? Yer 
powerful pale; here, fan yerself wid this pa'mleaf fan — wait 
'till I blow the dust off — there! That fan hain't been used 
sence my grandson died. I fanned him with it 'till the very 
last. 

I told Miss Judkins when I heard you wuz comin' here to 
preach, that I'd ask ye ter stay all night, 'cause I knew how 
kind er miserable you wu,z. "Not sick! only jest a little 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 41 

nervous!" Don't tell me that, Job Sickleton! Didn't I 
know yer father and grandfather before ye? And didn't they 
both die o' consumption? 

But then, it don't matter how soon you die, bein' you're a 
minister. You're allers prepared. As I said ter Miss Gabbles: 
" Don't let me hear 'nother word 'bout Job Sickleton! Ef he 
hain't as smart as Mr. Hustles, 'tain't cause he don't try!" 

You don't look very comfortable; that chair ain't very easy. 
I've threatened ter sell that chair or give it away more'n once. 
But I dew kinder hate tew part with it, it reminds me so of 
Belinda and her suffering! 

Speakin' of Belinda, I hear yer kinder steppin' up ter her 
cousin, Hope Meekins. "You dew admire the gal?" Don't 
you do it, Job Sickleton — that gal comes from a extravagant 
family! An' more'n that, her grandma wuz a ravin' lunatic. 
I noticed a wild look in Hope's eyes, an' besides, bein' ez 
you're got consumption probably, yew hadn't oughter git 
married. Suppose you sh'd die and leave Hope with a hull 
family of lee tie consumptives! 

"Want tew retire," dew ye? Well, walk right up this way. 
This room hain't ben used sence Ebenezer died! He drapped 
right down in a fit on that rug where you're a-standin', an' 
never spoke a word arter. 

My first husban' died a settin' right in that chair there by 
the winder. I left him a-readin' an' went tew the kitchen tew 
make a pan o' biscuits; when I cum back, he jist sot there, 
dead! O my! but this is a troublous world, tew be sure. 

Aunt Tabitha, she died right there on that sofy. Some- 
times et seems ez ef I cud see them starin' black eyes o' hern, 
when I look thet way, an' most hear her groan! 

Thar wuz a crazy woman hung herself right in that closet. 
My darter she cum a-runnin' downstairs in the dead o' the 
night and said she heerd her groan. But 'twas only the wind 
in them pine trees; they make a dretful lonesome sound. 

Pa, he died right there in that bed where you're goin' ter 



42 PLATFORM PIECES 

sleep ternight. Yes, this room's full o' tender 'sociations. It's 
jes like a family lot, tew me, jes' like a family lot — an' they 
hain't many folks ez I'd let sleep here, I kin tell you! 

Well, good-night, Mr. Sickleton — I hope you'll sleep well. 
Ef you hear any noise, don't be scared. Dead folks can't dew 
no harm tew nobody! Good-night. 



THE HANDY MAN 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should use a drawling, "country" tone of 
voice and manner in giving this recitation. 

Bill Simms was quite a handy man at any sort of trick; 
Could tinker up a balky watch or fix a windmill quick. 
Could whittle fancy ornaments or doctor up a calf, 
Or shoe a horse with lightnin' speed or run a phonograph. 
An artist, too, with chalk or brush quite wonderful was he. 
The only thing Bill couldn't draw was just a salary. 

Bill Simms could make a dandy churn that surely did the work; 
Could build an automobile that would run without a jerk; 
Could make a set of bobsleighs that would run as slick as 

grease; 
Could cut a pair of trousers that would always hold their 

crease. 
But one thing that Bill couldn't make at all, to save his life — 
He couldn't make a livin' fer himself and kids and wife. 

Bill Simms could play the violin and almost any horn, 
Could imitate each bird or beast that ever had been born. 
The folks kept him so busy doin' odd jobs and all sich, 
He had no time to settle down in order to get rich. 
His neighbors all asked favors and he never turned one down; 
And Bill spends his declinin' years in livin' on the town. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 43 

THE INVENTOR'S WIFE 

E. T. CORBETT 

Suggestions: This selection should be given as a full impersonation of 
an angry country woman who has just had a quarrel with her husband. 
The speaker, who must be a girl, should give this with ever increasing 
irritation and with mockery. 

It's easy to talk of the patience of Job. Humph! Job had 
nothing to try him; 

Ef he'd been married to 'Bijah Brown, folks wouldn't have 
dared come nigh him. 

Trials indeed! Now, I'll tell you what — ef you want to be 
sick of your life, 

Jest come and change places with me a spell, for I'm an in- 
ventor's wife. 

And such inventions! I'm never sure, when I take up my 

coffee-pot, 
That 'Bijah hain't been "improvin"' it, and it mayn't go off 

like a shot. 
Why, didn't he make me a cradle once that would keep itself 

a-rockin', 
And didn't it pitch the baby out, and wasn't his head bruised 

shockin'? 

And there was his "patent peeler," too, a wonderful thing, I'll 

say, 
But it had one fault — it never stopped till the apple was 

peeled away. 
As for locks, and clocks, and mowin'-machines, and reapers, 

and all such trash, 
Why, 'Bijah's invented heaps of them, but they don't bring in 

no cash! 



44 PLATFORM PIECES 

Law! that don't worry him — not at all; he's the aggrava- 

tin'est man; 
He'll set in his little workshop there, and whistle and 

think and plan, 
Inventin' a jew's-harp to go by steam, or a new-fangled 

powder-horn, 
While the children's goin' barefoot to school, and the weeds is 

chokin' our corn. 

When 'Bijah and me kep' company, he wasn't like this, you 

know; 
Our folks all thought he was dreadful smart — but that was 

years ago. 
He was handsome as any pictur' then, and he had such a glib, 

bright way, 
I never thought that a time would come when I'd rue my 

weddin' day. 

But when I've been forced to chop the wood, and 'tend to the 

farm beside, 
An' look at 'Bijah a-settin' there, I've jest dropped down and 

cried. 
We lost the hull of our turnip-crop, while he was inventin' a 

gun, 
But I counted it one of my mercies when it bust before 'twas 

done. 
So he turned it into a "burglar-alarm." It ought to give 

thieves a fright — 
'Twould scare an honest man out of his wits, ef he set it off at 

night. 

Sometimes I wonder if 'Bijah's crazy; he does such curious 

things. 
Have I told you about his bedstead yit? 'Twas full of wheels 

and springs; 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 45 

It had a key to wind it up, and a clock-face at the head; 
And all you did was to turn them hands, and at any hour you 

said, 
That bed got up and shook itself, and bounced you on the 

floor, 
And then shet up, jist like a box, so you couldn't sleep any 

more. 

Wa'al, 'Bijah he fixed it all complete, and he sot it at half-past 

five, 
But he hadn't more'n got into it, when — dear me! sakes 

alive! 
Them wheels began to whiz and whirr! I heard a fearful 

snap, 
And there was that bedstead with 'Bijah inside shet up jest 

like a trap! 

'I screamed, of course, but twa'nt no use. Then I worked that 

hull long night 
A-tryin' to open the pesky thing. At last I got in a fright; 
I couldn't hear his voice inside, and I thought he might be 

dyin', 
So I took a crow-bar and smashed it in. There was 'Bijah 

peacefully lyin', 
Inventin' a way to git out ag'in. That was all very well to 

say, 
But I don't believe he'd have found it out if I'd left him in all 

day. 

Now, since I've told you my story, do you wonder I'm tired of 

life, 
Or think it strange I often wish I warn't an inventor's 

wife? 



46 PLATFORM PIECES 



THE EAGLE SCREAMS 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This selection is most effective if given while impersonat- 
ing "Uncle Sam" as a New England farmer whose voice is raucous and 
whose gestures are awkward. 

I am the American Eagle, 
And my wings flap together. 
Likewise, I roost high, 
And I eat bananas raw. 
Rome may sit on her 
Seven hills and howl, 
But she cannot 
Sit on me! 

Will she please put that 
In her organ and grind it? 

I am mostly a bird of peace, 
And I was born without teeth, 
But I've got talons 
That reach from the storm- 
Beaten coasts of the Atlantic 
To the golden shores of the 
Placid Pacific, 

And I use the Rocky Mountains 
As whetstones to sharpen them on. 

I never cackle till I 

Lay an egg; 

And I point with pride 

To the eggs I've laid 

In the last hundred years or so. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 47 

I'm game from 
The point of my beak 
To the star-spangled tip 
Of my tail feathers, 
And when I begin 
To scratch gravel, 
Mind your eye! 

I'm the cock of the walk, 
And the hen bird of the 
Goddess of Liberty, 
The only gallinaceous 
E Pluribus Unum 
On record. 

I'm an Eagle from Eagleville, 

With a scream on me that makes 

Thunder sound like 

Dropping cotton 

On a still morning, 

And my present address is 

Hail Columbia, 

U. S. A.! ! 

See? 



JUDGE TWIDDLER'S COW 
Max Adler 

Suggestions: This selection is to be said conversationally until Mr. 
Biles begins talking, when full impersonation is demanded of the speaker 
to the end. This impersonation should suggest a drawling countryman, 
in great earnest, who assumes much learning which is inconsistent with 
his poor grammar. 

For several months previous to last summer Judge Twid- 
dler's family obtained milk from Mr. Biles, the most prominent 
milk-dealer in the village. The prevailing impression among 



48 PLATFORM PIECES 

the Twiddlers was that Mr. Biles supplied an exceedingly thin 
and watery fluid; and one day, when the Judge stepped over 
to pay his quarterly bill, he determined to make complaint. 
He found Mr. Biles in the yard, mending the valve of his 
pump; and when the Judge made a jocular remark to the 
effect that the dairy must be in a bad way when the pump 
was out of order, Mr. Biles, rising with his hammer in his 
hand, said: 

"Oh, I ain't going to deny that we water the milk; I don't 
mind the joking about it. But all I say is, that when people 
say we do it for mercenary motives, they slander the profes- 
sion. No, sir; when I put water in the milk I do it out of 
kindness for the people who drink it. Now s'pos'n a cow is 
bilious or something, and makes her milk unwholesome; I 
give it a dash or two of water, and up it comes to the usual 
level. 

"Water's the only thing that'll do it. Or, s'pos'n that cow 
eats a p'ison vine in the woods, am I going to let my innocent 
customers be killed by it for the sake of saving a little labor 
at the pump? No, sir; I slush in a few quarts of water, 
neutralize the p'ison, and then she is as right as a trivet. 

"But you take the best milk that ever was, and it ain't fit 
for the human stomach as it comes from the cow. It has too 
much caseine in it. Prof. Huxley says that millions of poor, 
ignorant men and women are murdered every year, by loading 
down weak stomachs with caseine. It sucks up the gastric 
juice, he says, and gets daubed all around over the membranes 
until the pores are choked, and then the first thing you know 
the man suddenly curls all up and dies. I tell you, sir, that 
that humble pump, with the castiron handle, is the only 
thing that stands betwixt you and sudden death. And besides 
that, you know how kinder flat raw milk tastes — kinder 
insipid and mean. Now, Prof. Huxley, he says that there is 
only one thing that will vivify milk and make it luxurious to 
the palate, and that is water. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 49 

"Give it a few jerks under the pump, and it comes out 
sparkling and delicious, like nectar. What makes cows drink 
so much water? Instinct, sir; instinct. Something whispers 
to 'em that if they don't sluice in a little water that caseine '11 
make 'em giddy and eat 'em up. Now, what's the odds 
whether I put in the water or the cow does? He's only a poor 
brute beast, and might often drink too little; but when I go 
at it, I bring the mighty human intellect to bear on the sub- 
ject; I am guided by reason, and I can water that milk so's 
it'll have the greatest possible effect. 

"Now, there's chalk. I know some people have an idea 
that it's wrong to fix up your milk with chalk. But that's 
only mere blind bigotry. What is chalk? A substance pro- 
vided by beneficent Nature for healing the ills of the human 
body. A cow don't eat chalk because it's not needed by her. 
Poor uneducated animal, she can't grasp these higher prob- 
lems, and she goes on nibbling sour-grass and other things, 
and filling her milk with acid, which destroys human mem- 
branes and induces colic. Then science comes to the rescue. 

"Professor Huxley tells us that chalk cures acidity. Conse- 
quently, I get some chalk, stir it in my cans and save the 
membranes of my customers without charging them a cent 
for it — actually give it away; and yet they talk about us 
milkmen 's if we was buccaneers and enemies of the race!" 



MY FAMILIAR 
John G. Saxe 

Suggestions: This selection may be said as if the speaker were, at the 
moment, going through this experience with the bore. 

Again I hear that creaking step! — 

He's rapping at the door! — 
Too well I know the boding sound 

That ushers in a bore. 



50 PLATFORM PIECES 

I do not tremble when I meet 
The stoutest of my foes, 
But heaven defend me from the friend 
Who comes — but never goes! 

He drops into my easy-chair 

And asks about the news; 
He peers into my manuscript, 

And gives his candid views; 
He tells me where he likes the line, 

And where he's forced to grieve; 
He takes the strangest liberties — 

But never takes his leave! 

He reads my daily paper through 

Before I've seen a word; 
He scans the lyric (that I wrote) 

And thinks it quite absurd; 
He calmly smokes my last cigar, 

And coolly asks for more; 
He opens everything he sees — 

Except the entry door! 

He talks about his fragile health, 

And tells me of the pains 
He suffers from a score of ills 

Of which he ne'er complains, 
And how he struggled once with death 

To keep the fiend at bay; 
On themes like these away he goes — 

But never goes away! 

He tells me of the carping words 
Some shallow critic wrote, 

And every precious paragraph 
Familiarly can quote; 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 51 

He thinks the writer did me wrong; 

He'd like to run him through! 
He says a thousand pleasant things — 

But never says "Adieu!" 

Whene'er he comes, that dreadful man, 

Disguise it as I may, 
I know that, like an autumn rain, 

He'll last throughout the day. 
In vain I speak of urgent tasks, 

In vain I scowl and pout; 
A frown is no extinguisher — 

It does not put him out! 

I mean to take the knocker off, 

Put crape upon the door, 
Or hint to John that I am gone 

To stay a month or more. 
I do not tremble when I meet 

The stoutest of my foes, 
But heaven defend me from the friend 

Who never, never goes! 



EGO ET ECHO 
John G. Saxe 

Suggestions: This selection depends for its effectiveness entirely upon 
the speaker's ability to use his voice cleverly and skilfully, for the echo 
must be an exact reproduction in tone of the expressions it repeats. The 
speaker should assume a listening attitude when giving the echo, seeming 
to hear the sound from a long distance. 

I asked of Echo, t'other day, 

(Whose words are few and often funny), 

What to a novice she could say 
Of courtship, love, and matrimony? 
Quoth Echo, plainly: "Matter-o '-money!" 



52 PLATFORM PIECES 

Whom should I marry? Should it be 
A dashing damsel, gay and pert, — 

A pattern of inconstancy; 
Or selfish, mercenary flirt? 
Quoth Echo, sharply: "Nary flirt!" 

What if aweary of the strife 
That long has lured the dear deceiver, 

She promised to amend her life, 
And sin no more, can I believe her? 
Quoth Echo, very promptly: "Leave her!" 

But if some maiden with a heart, 
On me should venture to bestow it, 

Pray, should I act the wiser part 
To take the treasure, or forego it? 
Quoth Echo, with decision: "Go it!" 

Suppose a billet-doux (in rhyme), 
As warm as if Catullus penned it, 

Declare her beauty so sublime 
That Cytherea's can't transcend it, 
Quoth Echo, very clearly: "Send it!" 

But what if, seemingly afraid 
To bind her fate in Hymen's fetter, 

She vow she means to die a maid — 
In answer to my loving letter? 
Quoth Echo, rather coolly: "Let her!" 

What if, in spite of her disdain, 
I find my heart entwined about 

With Cupid's dear, delicious chain, 
So closely that I can't get out? 
Quoth Echo, laughingly: "Get out!" 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 53 

But if some maid with beauty blest, 
As pure and fair as heaven can make her, 

Will share my labor and my rest, 
Till envious death shall overtake her? 
Quoth Echo (sotto voce): "Take her!' , 



THE INDIA-RUBBER TREE 
William B. MacHarg 

Suggestions: The first stanza of this poem is clearly a prefacing word 
of explanation. The speaker should say this standing, then, seating him- 
self, should begin the impersonation in the second stanza which con- 
tinues through the poem. 

This yarn was told to a pea-jacket boy, 

On a wide breakwater walk, 
By a short old salt with auburn hair, 
And a most engaging, experienced air, 

And a tendency to talk. 

"Now, a-settin' right here on this empty cask, 

A-talkin' this way with you, 
It'd seem kind o' queer, it seems to me, 
If you was to say, 'Your Majestee,' 

An' give me a bow or two. 

Yet I oncet was a king (said the sailor man); 

I don't look it now (said he); 
But I oncet was a king of a savage race 
In a sort of exceedin' bewilderin' place 

In the middle of Afrikee. 

I had hundreds of servants a-standin' around, 

Withouten a thing to do 
But jest keep fandin' of me with fands, 
An* just continual obey the commands 

I continual told 'em to. 



54 PLATFORM PIECES 

But I give 'em a too benif'cent rule, 

Peace bein' my only port, 
An' a enemy come when the night was dark 
A-sailin' along in their boats of bark, 

An' a-cuttin' my kingdom short. 

They walloped them peaceful soldiers of mine 

Like they didn't amount to a thing; 
An' when there weren't any more to be found, 
Why then they started a-lookin' around, 
A-seekin' the peaceful king. 

An' that peaceful king he was me, you know, 

An' as scared as scared as could be; 
An' a single soldier of dusky 'ue, 
As painted his features white and blue, 
Was all that was left with me. 

Together we flees through the forest thick, 
An' we flees 'crost the burning sand; 

But a-gainin' be'ind us all the w'ile, 

An' a-comin' closer with every mile, 
Is a bloodstained African band. 

I couldn't see no way out of that mess, 

Not one way out could I see; 
But that peaceful soldier of dusky 'ue, 
Though there weren't much else he was fit to do, 

Knowed the country better'n me. 

An' after a time we comes to a place 

Where trees was a-growin' 'round, 
With their tops a-pointin' up to the sky 
Maybe several feet, maybe not so high, 

An' their roots stuck into the ground. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 55 

An' in one of them trees is a little hole, 

It might be as big as a pea: 
An' the soldier puts his finger inside, 
An' he stretches it out till it's two feet wide — 

It's a Injia-rubber tree! 

An' in we climbs, an' the tree snapped shut, 

An' the heathens they rage and shout; 
But there we're safe as a bug in a rug, 
An' just as contented, an' just as snug, 

With a little hole to look out. 

An' so I escapes them savage troops 

In a way I'm proud to boast, 
An' comes back home in the Adam M'Cue; 
But that peaceful soldier of dusky 'ue 

Keeps store on the Guinea coast." 



THE BOY'S CLOTHES 1 
T. Augustin Daly 

Suggestions: This poem calls for full impersonation of the pouting, 
disgruntled boy. Note the sudden change of thought and manner in the 
last four lines. 

Mom always makes me mad clean through 

The way she buys my clothin'. 
She always picks out things fur you 

That fills yer soul with loathin'. 
It's happened time an' time again 

When I want somethin' sporty 
She sets her mind on somethin' plain, 

"Real cheap at seven-forty." 

1 From The Philadelphia "Evening Ledger." 



56 PLATFORM PIECES 

I try a suit that fits me right — 

A fit there ain't no doubt of — 
An' blamed if she don't say: "Too tight! 

Too easy to grow out of." 
She sez I'm jist "a little brute" 

An' drive her to distraction, 
But she ain't never bought a suit 

That's gave me satisfaction. 

I may be bad, but, Jiminee! 

I ain't a-goin' to bear it. 
I guess I know the suit fur me, 

Since I'm the one to wear it. 
I kicked so hard to-day, O! my! 

You bet I jist raised thunder, 
An' she went home an' told Pop I 

Wuz "gittin' quite beyond her." 
Then Pop he sez a word, sez he, 

That filled my soul with laughter. 
He sez he's going along o' me 

To buy my clo'es hereafter. 



THE CAPTAIN'S STORY 

Charles Dickens 

Suggestions: This selection should be given colloquially, but in the 
manner of a serious story. The mock heroic may be suggested when the 
nine young men plunge in. An added touch of humor is given the selec- 
tion if a short pause is made just before "and they lived happily ever 
afterwards." 

Now, there is a story, once told me by a friend of mine, 
which seems to my mind to have a certain application. My 
friend was an American sea captain, and therefore it is quite 
unnecessary to say his story was quite true. He was captain 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 57 

and part owner of a large American merchant liner. On a 
certain voyage out, in exquisite summer weather, he had for 
cabin passengers one beautiful young lady and ten more or 
less beautiful young gentlemen. Light winds or dead calms 
prevailing, the voyage was slow. They had made half their 
distance when the ten young gentlemen were all madly in love 
with the beautiful young lady. They had all proposed to her, 
and bloodshed among the rivals seemed imminent, pending the 
young lady's decision. In this extremity the beautiful young 
lady confided in my friend the captain, who gave her discreet 
advice. He said, 

"If your affections are disengaged, take that one of the 
young men whom you like the best, and settle the question.' ' 

To this the beautiful young lady made reply, 

"I can't do that, because I like them all equally well." 

My friend, who was a man of resource, hit upon this ingen- 
ious expedient; said he, 

"To-morrow morning, when lunch is announced, do you 
plunge boldly overboard, head foremost. I will be alongside in 
a boat to rescue you and take the one of the ten who rushes 
to your rescue, and then you can afterwards have him." 

The beautiful young lady highly approved, and did accord- 
ingly. But, after she plunged in, nine out of the ten more or 
less beautiful young gentlemen plunged in after her; and 
the tenth remained and shed tears, looking over the side of the 
vessel. They were all picked up and restored, dripping, to the 
deck. The beautiful young lady, upon seeing them, said, 

"What am I to do? See what a plight they are in. How 
can I possibly choose, because every one of them is equally 
wet?" 

Then said my friend the captain, acting under a sudden 
inspiration, 

"Take the dry one." 

I am sorry to say that she did so, and they lived happy ever 
afterwards. 



58 PLATFORM PIECES 

GOSSIP * 
Ben King 

Suggestions: This is a good example of the kind of selection which 
allows many different interpretations. It is a sketch approaching bur- 
lesque of a woman gossiping, and requires full impersonation. Clearly 
this woman may be of any age. The best treatment would seem to be 
the impersonation of a toothless old woman of an excitable, nervous 
temperament. The effect of toothlessness may be produced by covering 
the lower teeth with the lip held tightly and then forcing the attempt 
at clear articulation. All of the poem must be spoken to an imaginary 
person at the right of the speaker, who is seated throughout. Rock 
back and forth on the refrain "so her folks and hiz'n," and so on. Use 
decided index finger gesture (gesture of emphasis), sometimes tapping the 
palm of the left hand with the index finger of the right, as if counting 
off the items of gossip. The manner should grow more and more em- 
phatic and eager as the gossip is revealed, with marked facial expression 
throughout. 

He maird her 'cause she had money and some 
Property left from 'er husband's income; 
But both of the families was awfully stirred, 
An' said the worst things 'at the town ever heard. 

En her folks an' hiz'n, 

Er hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never spoke to each other, 

From what I can learn. 

His folks begun it an' jest said 'at she 

Was the worst actin' thing they ever did see; 

An' ought to be ashamed fer bein' so bold, 

'Cause her husband he hadn't had time to get cold. 

En her folks an' hiz'n, 

Er hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never spoke to each other, 

From what I can learn. 

1 Used by courtesy of Forbes & Company, Chicago, Illinois. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 59 

Her folks they all set up 'at he was no good, 

An' if 'twasn't for her — well, he'd have to saw wood. 

Then all of her kin, every blasted relation, 

Said she'd lowered herself in their estimation. 

So her folks an' hiz'n, 

Er hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never spoke to each other, 

From what I can learn. 

The sisters, they told — this is 'tween you and I — 
'At they thought she wanted her husband to die: 
An' they whispered around — but don't you lisp a word — 
The awfullest things that a soul ever heard. 

So her folks an' hiz'n, 

Er hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never spoke to each other, 

From what I can learn. 

They said that a travelin' man er a drummer, 
Who stopped at the hotel a long time last summer, 
That he — no it wasn't that now — let me see — 
That she — er something like that, seems to me. 

Well, her folks an' hiz'n, 

Er hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never spoke to each other, 

From what I can learn. 

I hear 'at the families keep up the old fight, 
A-roastin' each other from mornin' till night; 
But the young maird couple they've moved to the city, 
Where gossip don't go; but I think it a pity 

That her folks an' hiz'n, 

An' hiz'n an' her'n, 

Never speak to each other, 

From what I can learn. 



60 PLATFORM PIECES 

MY BESETTIN' SIN 1 

Edwin Leibfreed 

Suggestions: This selection should be given as a full impersonation 
of a negro girl talking to her mistress, with all the power of mimicry 
which the negro race possesses. 

I kin 'splain you what's de trouble, 
Why I is so late agin: 
I was dancin' twell de mo , nin , , 
Down at 'Liza's, whaih I bin. 
It was jes an ev'nin' comp'ny; 
Nevah knowed twell I got in, 
Wen I foun' de folks a-dancin' — 
Lan'! Dat's my besettin' sin. 

Mistah Johnsing played de riddle — 

You should hear dat man, Miss Clay! 

Ain't nobody in dis country 

Dat kin show him how to play — 

He jes' made t'ings fa'ly trimble; 

An' I wasn't mo' dan in, 

Wen I noticed I was dancin' — 

Laws! My oV besettin' sin. 

Now I knows you must be tiahed 
Waitin' up fo' me so late; 
But ef you'd a bin daih, mistis, 
You'd a had de selfsame fate. 
I kin see dem crisscross nggers 
Wif de swingin' pardners in, 
Wen my feet commenced a-rlirtin' 
Wif my ol' besettin' sin. 

1 Used by permission of the author. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 61 

Goodness gracious! Don't I knows it? 
Ain't I tried my level best? 
'Tain't no use to do no talkin' 
Wen you feels like one possessed. 
I's done prayed about dis mattah 
Ev'ry blessed time I kin; 
But dey's somet'ing keeps a-sayin', 
Now, dat's yo > besettin' sin. 

Bless my soul! Dat ain't no comfo't. 

Dat's as foolish as my feet. 

I don' want to heah dat mentioned 

Wen I takes my shinin' seat. 

What I wants to know right hyeah is, 

In dis vale whaih I has bin, 

Ef music's right, who's 'spons'ble 

Fo' my one besettin' sin? 

Ef I evah gits to Heaven — 

'Spect you think my chance is slim — 

I won't promise you fo' suttain 

Dat as long as I've a limb, 

An' dey's music playin' sweetly, 

Dat I won't go waltzin' in. 

Fo' de Lawd'll have to 'scuse me; 

Dat's my one besettin' sin. 



62 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE MILLER OF DEE 
Eva L. Ogden 

Suggestions: This serio-comic recitation calls for much contrast. The 
first speaker impersonated should imply that the miller's mission is of 
very serious import, and each succeeding character, by manner and tone, 
should add to the impression that some awful mystery is at hand. The 
miller's last speech should be made with the utmost nonchalance. 

The moon was afloat, 

Like a golden boat 
On the sea-blue depths of the sky, 

When the miller of Dee, 

With his children three, 
On his fat, red horse, rode by. 

"Whither away, O miller of Dee? 

Whither away so late?" 
Asked the tollman old, with cough and sneeze, 
As he passed the big toll gate. 

But the miller answered him never a word, 

Never a word spake he. 
He paid his toll, and he spurred his horse, 

And rode on with his children three. 

"He's afraid to tell!" quoth the old tollman, 

"He's ashamed to tell!" quoth he. 
"But I'll follow you up and find out where 

You are going, O Miller of Dee!" 

The moon was afloat, 

Like a golden boat 
Nearing the shore of the sky, 

When, with cough and wheeze, 

And hands on his knees, 
The old tollman passed by. 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 63 

"Whither away, O tollman old? 
Whither away so fast?" 

Cried the milkmaid who stood at the farm-yard bars 
When the tollman old crept past. 



The tollman answered her never a word; 

Never a word spake he. 
Scant breath had he at the best to chase 

After the miller of Dee. 

"He won't tell where!" 
Said the milkmaid fair, 
"But I'll find out!" cried she, 
And away from the farm, 
With her pail on her arm, 
She followed the miller of Dee. 

The parson stood in his cap and gown, 

Under the old oak tree. 
"And whither away with your pail of milk, 

My pretty milkmaid?" said he; 
But she hurried on with her brimming pail, 

And never a word spake she. 

"She won't tell where!" the parson cried; 
"It's my duty to know," said he; 
And he followed the maid who followed the man 
Who followed the miller of Dee. 

After the parson came his wife, 

The sexton he came next, 
After the sexton the constable came, 

Troubled and sore perplexed. 



64 PLATFORM PIECES 

After the constable, two ragged boys, 

To see what the fun would be; 
And a little black dog, with only one eye, 
Was the last of the nine who, with groan and sigh, 

Followed the miller of Dee. 



Night had anchored the moon, 
Not a moment too soon, 

Under the lee of the sky; 
For the wind it blew, 
And the rain fell, too, 

And the river of Dee ran high. 

He forded the river, he climbed the hill, 

He and his children three; 
But wherever he went they followed him still, 

That wicked miller of Dee! 

Just as the clock struck the hour of twelve, 

The miller reached home again; 
And when he dismounted and turned — behold! 
Those who had followed him over the wold 

Came up in the pouring rain. 

Splashed and spattered from head to foot, 

Muddy and wet and draggled, 
Over the hill and up to the mill, 

That wet company straggled. 

They all stopped short; and then out spake 

The parson, and thus spake he: 
"What do you mean by your conduct to-night, 

You wretched miller of Dee?" 



HUMOROUS SELECTIONS 65 

"I went for a ride, a nice cool ride, 

I and my children three; 
For I took them along, as I always do," 

Answered the miller of Dee. 

"But you, my friends, I would like to know, 
Why you followed me all the way? 
They looked at each other — "We were out for a walk, 
A nice cool walk!" said they. 



III.— PATHETIC SELECTIONS 

WHILE THE YEARS ARE GOING BY 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This selection should be given to the audience as a sermon 
in a spirit of cheer. 

There are lonely hearts to cherish 

While the years are going by; 
There are weary souls who perish, 

While the years are going by; 
If a smile we can renew, 
As our journey we pursue, 
Oh, the good that we may do, 
While the years are going by! 

There's no time for idle scorning, 

While the years are going by; 
Let your face be like the morning, 

While the years are going by; 
Oh, the world is full of sighs, 
Full of sad and weeping eyes; 
Help your fallen brothers rise, 

While the years are going by. 

All the loving links that bind us 

While the years are going by; 
One by one we leave behind us, 

While the years are going by; 
But the seeds of good we sow, 
Both in shade and shine will grow, 
And will keep our hearts aglow, 

While the years are going by. 
66 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 67 

"ONE, TWO, THREE!" 
Henry Cuyler Bunner 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this poem with great tender- 
ness throughout, and as if he were an on-looker. He should set off the 
last stanza from the rest of the poem by changing the position of his 
body. 

It was an old, old lady, 

And a boy that was half -past three; 
And the way that they played together 

Was beautiful to see. 

She couldn't go running and jumping, 

And the boy, no more could he; 
For he was a thin little fellow, 

With a thin little twisted knee. 

They sat in the yellow sunlight, 

Out under the maple- tree; 
And the game that they played I'll tell you, 

Just as it was told to me. 

It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing, 
Though you'd never have known it to be — 

With an old, old, old, old lady, 
And a boy with a twisted knee. 

The boy would bend his face down 

On his one little sound right knee, 
And he'd guess where she was hiding, 

In guesses One, Two, Three! 

"You are in the china-closet!" 

He would cry, and laugh with glee — 
It wasn't the china-closet; 

But he still had Two and Three. 



68 PLATFORM PIECES 

"You are up in papa's big bedroom, 
In the chest with the queer old key!" 

And she said: "You are warm and warmer; 
But you're not quite right," said she. 

"It can't be the little cupboard 
Where mamma's things used to be — 

So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!" 
And he found her with his Three. 

Then she covered her face with her fingers, 
That were wrinkled and white and wee, 

And she guessed where the boy was hiding, 
With a One and a Two and a Three. 

And they never had stirred from their places, 

Right under the maple-tree — 
This old, old, old, old lady, 

And the boy with the lame little knee — 
This dear, dear, dear old lady, 

And the boy who was half-past three. 



THE GAMIN 
Victor Hugo 

Suggestions: This selection from "Les Miserables" is to be given as 
narrative with a touch of the dramatic. The speaker should begin quietly, 
re-visualizing the scene, and suggesting the singing of the boy rather 
than actually doing it. 

Paris has a child; the forest has a bird. The bird is called 
a sparrow; the child is called the gamin. His origin is from 
the rabble. 

The most terrible embodiment of the rabble is the barri- 
cade, and the most terrible of barricades was that of Fau- 
bourg St. Antoine. The street was deserted as far as could be 
seen. Every door and window was closed; in the background 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 69 

rose a wall built of paving stones, making the street a cul-de- 
sac. Nobody could be seen; nothing could be heard; not a 
cry, not a sound, not a breath. A sepulchre! From time to 
time, if anybody ventured to cross the street, the sharp, low 
whistling of a bullet was heard, and the passer fell dead or 
wounded. For the space of two days this barricade had re- 
sisted the troops of Paris, and now its ammunition was gone. 

During a lull in the firing, a gamin, named Gavroche, took 
a basket, went out into the street by an opening, and began 
to gather up the full cartridge boxes of the National Guards 
who had been killed in front of the barricade. By successive 
advances he reached a point where the fog from the firing 
became transparent, so that the sharpshooters of the line, 
drawn up and on the alert, suddenly discovered something 
moving in the smoke. 

Just as Gavroche was relieving a Grenadier of his cartridges 
a ball struck the body. "They are killing my dead for me," 
said the gamin. A second ball splintered the pavement behind 
him. A third upset his basket. 

Gavroche rose up straight on his feet, his hair in the wind, 
his hands upon his hips, his eyes fixed upon the National 
Guard, who were firing; and he sang: 

" They are ugly at Narterre — 
'Tis the fault of Voltaire; 
And beasts at Palaeseau — 
'Tis the fault of Rousseau." 

Then he picked up his basket, put into it the cartridges 
which had fallen out, without losing a single one; and advanc- 
ing towards the fusilade, began to empty another cartridge box. 
Then a fourth ball just missed him again; Gavroche sang: 

" I am only a scribe — 
'Tis the fault of Voltaire; 
My life one of woe — 
'Tis the fault of Rousseau." 



70 PLATFORM PIECES 

The sight was appalling and fascinating. Gavroche fired at, 
mocked the firing and answered each discharge with a couplet. 
The National Guards laughed as they aimed at him. He lay 
down, then rose up; hid himself in a doorway, then sprang 
out; escaped, returned. The insurgents, breathless with 
anxiety, followed him with their eyes; the barricade was 
trembling; he was singing. It was not a child, it was not a 
man; it was a strange, fairy gamin, playing hide and seek 
with Death. Every time the face of the grim spectre ap- 
proached, the gamin snapped his fingers. 

One bullet, however, better aimed or more treacherous than 
the others, reached the will-o'-the-wisp child. They saw 
Gavroche totter, then fall. The whole barricade gave a cry. 
But the gamin had fallen only to rise again. A long stream of 
blood rolled down his face. He raised both arms in the air, 
looked in the direction whence the shot came and began to sing: 

" I am buried in earth — 
'Tis the fault — " 

He did not finish. A second ball from the same marksman 
cut him short. This time he fell with his face upon the pave- 
ment and did not stir again. That little great soul had taken 
flight. 

POOR LITTLE JOE 
David L. Proudfit 

Suggestions: This selection, which requires full impersonation through- 
out, should be given only by a young person who has the dramatic instinct, 
natural or cultivated, and who possesses the power to keep the lines 
earnestly pathetic. The speaker should concentrate all the attention upon 
Joey who lies on a hospital cot before him. The speaker should be 
cautioned that the expression, "My God!", in the last line, is difficult 
to give without seeming to be profane. 

Prop yer eyes wide open, Joey, 

Fur I've brought you sumpin' great! 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 

Apples? No; a heap sight better! 

Don't you take no int'rest? Wait! 
Flowers, Joe! ... I know'd you'd like 'em. 

Ain't them scrumptious? Ain't them high? 
Tears, my boy? Wot's them for, Joey? 

There, poor little Joe! Don't cry. 

I was skippin' past a winder 

Where a bang-up lady sot, 
All amongst a lot of bushes, 

Each one climbin' from a pot. 
Every bush had flowers on it. 

Pretty? Mebbe not! Oh, no! 
Wish you could 'a seen 'em growin', 

It was sich a stunnin' show. 

Well, I thought of you, poor feller, 

Lyin' here so sick and weak, 
Never knowin' any comfort, 

And I puts on lots of cheek. 
"Missus," says I, "if you please, mum, 

Could I ax you for a rose? 
For my little brother, missus, 

Never see'd one, I suppose." 

Then I told her all about you: 

How I bringed you up, poor Joe! 
(Lackin' women folks to do it). 

Such an imp you was, you know, 
Till you got that awful tumble, 

Jist as I had broke yer in 
(Hard work, too) to earn yer livin' 

Blackin' boots for honest tin. 

How that tumble crippled of you, 
So's you couldn't hyper much. 



7i 



72 PLATFORM PIECES 

Joe, it hurted when I seen you 
Fur the first time with yer crutch. 

"But," says I, "he's laid up now, mum, 
'Pears to weaken every day." 

Joe, she up and went to cuttin' — 
That's the how of this bokay. 

Say! It seems to me, ole feller, 

You is quite yerself to-night — 
Kind o' chirk! It's been a fortnit 

Sence yer eyes has been so bright. 
Better? Well, I'm glad to hear it! 

Yes, they're mighty pretty, Joe. 
Stnellin' of 'em's made you happy? 

Well, I thought it would, you know! 

Never seen the country, did you? 

Flowers growin' everywhere! 
Some time when you're better, Joey, 

Mebbe I kin take you there. 
Flowers in heaven? 'M — I s'pose so; 

Don't know much about it, though — 
Ain't as fly as wot I might be 

On them topics, little Joe. 

But I've seen it hinted somewheres, 

That in heaven's golden gates 
Things is everlastin' cheerful: 

B'lieve that's wot the Bible states. 
Likewise there folks don't git hungry; 

So good people, when they dies, 
Finds themselves well fixed forever. 

Joe, my boy, what ails yer eyes? 

Thought they looked a little sing'ler. 
Oh, no! don't you have no fear — 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 73 

Heaven was made for such as you is. 

Joe, wot makes you look so queer? 
Here! Wake up! Oh, don't look that way! 

Joe, my boy, hold up yer head! 
Here's yer flowers! You dropped 'em, Joey! 

Oh, my God, can Joe be dead? 



A VISION OF THE PAST 

Robert Ingersoll 

Suggestions: This selection is a model of construction, which requires 
a corresponding development in the manner of delivery. The speaker 
should visualize (re-live and make present) all allusions in the text, using 
distinct enunciation. 

The past rises before us like a dream. Again we are in the 
great struggle. We hear the sounds of preparation — the 
music of the boisterous drums — the silver voices of heroic 
bugles. We hear the appeals of orators; we see the pale cheeks 
of women, and the flushed faces of men; we see all the dead 
whose dust we have covered with flowers. We lose sight of 
them no more. 

We are with them when they enlist in the great army of 
freedom. We see them part from those they love. Some are 
walking for the last time in the quiet woody places with the 
maidens they adore. We hear the whispers and the sweet 
vows of eternal love as they lingeringly part forever. Others 
are bending over cradles kissing babies that are asleep. Some 
are receiving the blessings of old men. Some are parting who 
hold them and press them to their hearts again and again, 
and say nothing; and some are talking with wives, and trying 
with brave words spoken in the old tones to drive from their 
hearts the awful fear. We see them part. We see the wife 
standing in the door with the babe in her arms — standing 
in the sunlight sobbing; at the turn of the road a hand waves 



74 PLATFORM PIECES 

— she answers by holding high in her loving arms the child. 
He is gone and forever. 

We see them all as they march proudly away, under the 
flaunting flags, keeping time to the wild music of war — 
marching down the streets of the great cities, through the 
towns, and across the prairies, to do and to die for the eternal 
right. We go with them, one and all. We are by their side 
on all the gory fields, in all the hospitals of pain, on all the 
weary marches. We stand guard with them in the wild storm 
and under the quiet stars. We see them pierced with balls 
and torn by shells in the trenches by the forts and in the whirl- 
wind of the charge, where men become iron with nerves of steel. 
We are at home when the news reaches us that they are dead. 
We see the maiden in the shadow of her first sorrow. We 
see the silvered head of the old man bowed with the last grief. 

Those heroes are dead. They sleep under the solemn pines, 
the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing 
vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless 
alike of the sunshine or of storm, each in his windowless place 
of rest. Earth may run red with other wars — they are at 
peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of the conflict, they 
found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for the 
soldiers living and dead: Cheers for the living, tears for the dead. 



BEFORE SEDAN 
Austin Dobson 

Suggestions: This little poem must be enacted as a scene from a 
drama. The speaker is accompanied by at least one other soldier. They 
discover the body of a slain comrade. This poem requires a word of 
introduction to give it atmosphere, something like this, "Suppose with 
me that, after a great battle, we find a dead man clutching a letter in his 
hand" — 

Here, in this leafy place, quiet he lies, cold, with his sight- 
less face turned to the skies; 'tis but another dead; all you 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 75 

can say is said. Carry his body hence, — kings must have 
slaves; kings climb to eminence over men's graves: so this 
man's eye is dim; throw the earth over him. What was the 
white you touched, there, at his side? Paper his hand had 
clutched tight ere he died; message or wish, may be: smooth 
the folds out and see. Hardly the worst of us here could 
have smiled! only the tremulous words of a child; — prattle, 
that has for stops just a few ruddy drops. Look: She is sad 
to miss, morning and night, his — her dead father's — kiss; 
tries to be bright, good to mamma, and sweet. That is all. 
" Marguerite." Ah, if beside the dead slumbered the pain! 
Ah, if the hearts that bled slept with the slain! If the grief 
died; — but no; — death will not have it so. 



THE SONG OF THE CAMP 
Bayard Taylor 

Suggestions: This poem is largely narration and description, with 
touches of impersonation only where the narrator seems to be back in 
the scene once more. 

"Give us a song," the soldiers cried, 

The outer trenches guarding, 
When the heated guns of the camps allied 

Grew weary of bombarding. 

The dark Redan, in silent scoff, 

Lay grim and threatening under; 
And the tawny mound of the Malakoff 

No longer belched its thunder. 

There was a pause. A guardsman said, 

"We storm the forts to-morrow; 
Sing while we may, another day 

Will bring enough of sorrow." 



76 PLATFORM PIECES 

They lay along the battery's side, 
Below the smoking cannon; 

Brave hearts from Severn and from Clyde, 
And from the banks of Shannon. 

They sang of love, and not of fame, 
Forgot was Britain's glory; 

Each heart recalled a different name, 
But all sang "Annie Laurie." 

Voice after voice caught up the song, 

Until its tender passion 
Rose like an anthem, rich and strong, 

Their battle eve confession. . . . 

Beyond the darkening ocean burned 
The bloody sunset's embers, 

While the Crimean valleys learned 
How English love remembers. 

And once again a fire of hell 
Rained on the Russian quarters, 

With scream of shot and burst of shell 
And bellowing of the mortars! 

And Irish Norah's eyes are dim 
For a singer dumb and gory; 

And English Mary mourns for him 
Who sang of Annie Laurie. 

Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest, 
Your truth and valor wearing. 

The bravest are the tenderest, 
The loving are the daring. 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 77 

THE MAN OF THE MUSKET 

H. S. Taylor 

Suggestions: The speaker should recite the first part of this poem to 
his audience, but in describing the man with the musket, he should seem 
to apostrophize him; that is, to be with him in the past or to be 
appealing to him in spirit. 

They are building as Babel was built, to the sky, 

With clash and confusion of speech; 
They are piling up monuments massive and high 

To lift a few names out of reach. 
And the passionate, green-laureled god of the great, 

In a whimsical riddle of stone, 
Has chosen a few from the Field and the State 

To sit on the steps of his throne. 

But I — I will pass from this rage of renown, 

This ant-hill commotion and strife, 
Pass by where the marbles and bronzes look down, 

With their fast frozen gestures of life, 
On, out to the nameless who He 'neath the gloom 

Of the pitying cypress and pine; 
Your man is the man of the sword and the plume, 

But the man of the musket is mine. 

I knew him! By all that is noble I knew 

This commonplace hero I name! 
I've camped with him, marched with him, fought with him too, 

In the swirl of the fierce battle-flame! 
Laughed with him, cried with him, taken a part 

Of his canteen and blanket, and known 
That the throb of his chivalrous prairie boy's heart 

Was an answering stroke of my own! 



78 PLATFORM PIECES 

I knew him, I tell you! And also I knew 

When he fell on the battle-swept ridge, 
That the poor battered body that lay there in blue 

Was only a plank in the bridge 
Over which some should pass to a fame 

That shall shine when the high stars shall shine! 
Your hero is known by an echoing name, 

But the man of the musket is mine. 

I knew him! All through him the good and the bad 

Ran together, and equally free; 
But I judge as I trust God has judged the poor lad, 

For death made him noble to me. 
In the cyclone of war, in the battle's eclipse 

Life shook out its lingering sands, 
And he died with the names that he loved on his lips 

His musket still grasped in his hands! 
Up close to the flag my soldier went down 

In the salient front of the line: 
You may take for your heroes the men of renown, 

But the man of the musket is mine! 



"LEE'S MISERABLES" 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This selection is to be given as a somewhat oratorical 
narrative. 

They call themselves " Lee's Miserables." The name had a 
somewhat curious origin. Victor Hugo's novel, Les Miserables, 
had been translated and published by a house in Richmond. 
The soldiers, in the great dearth of reading matter, had seized 
upon it, and so by a strange chance the tragic story of the 
great French writer had become known to the soldiers in the 
trenches. Little familiar with the Gallic pronunciation, they 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 79 

called the book " Lees Miser ablest Then another step was 
taken. The worn veterans of the army laughed at their miseries 
and called themselves " Lee's Miserables." And truly they 
were the wretched. A little grease and corn bread, the grease 
rancid and the bread musty — this was the food of the army. 
Thousands had no blankets, no jackets, no shoes. Gaunt forms 
in ragged old shirts and torn trousers clutched their muskets. 
Day after day, week after week, month after month they were 
there, in the trenches, at the grim work; and some fiat of 
Destiny seemed to have chained them there to battle forever. 
Silence had fled from the trenches. The crash of musketry 
and the bellow of artillery seemed never to cease. The men 
were rocked to sleep by it. They slept on, though mortar 
shells rose, described their flaming courses, and bursting, 
rained fragments of death-dealing iron upon them. To many 
that was their last sleep. The iron tore them in their tanned 
blankets. They rose gasping, streaming with blood, then 
staggered and fell. When you passed by you saw something 
lying on the ground, covered with an old blanket. It was one 
of " Lee's Miserables," killed last night and gone to answer 
before his Master. 

The trenches! Ah, the trenches! Where a historic army 
guarded the capital of a historic nation — the nation of Virginia. 
And how they guarded it! In the bright day and dark, they 
stood by their posts unmoved. When you saw the gaunt faces 
contract and the tears flow, it was because some letter had 
come, saying that their wives and children were starving. 

Army of Northern Virginia! Old soldiers of Lee! You 
meant to follow your commander to the last. You did not 
shrink in the final hour, the hour of supreme trial. Did they, 
or did they not, fight to the end? Answer, Wilderness, 
Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor — every spot around Petersburg 
where they closed in death grapple with the unwearied enemy! 
Answer, bleak spring of '65, trouble days of the great retreat, 
when, hunted down and driven to bay like wild animals, they 



80 PLATFORM PIECES 

fought from Five Forks to Appomattox Court House, fought 
staggering, starving, falling; but defiant to the last! 

Bearded men were seen crying on the ninth of April, '65. 
But it was surrender which wrung their hearts and brought 
tears to their eyes. Grant's cannon had only made "Lee's 
Miserables" cheer and laugh. 



THE CONQUERED BANNER 
Abram Joseph Ryan 

Suggestions: The speaker should explain that this beautiful poem was 
addressed to the flag of the Confederacy during our Civil War; he might 
well add that this author, who wrote so sadly and sometimes so bitterly 
at the time of the Civil War, lived to find his sorrow and resentment 
softened into loving gratitude to the North for its aid during the epidemic 
of yellow fever in the South in 1878, which he expressed in a very- 
beautiful poem called " Reunited." The speaker should apostrophize the 
Confederate flag; that is, speak as if the flag were directly before him. 

Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary, 
Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary; 

Furl it, fold it — it is best; 
For there's not a man to wave it, 
And there's not a sword to save it, 
And there's not one left to lave it 
In the blood which heroes gave it, 
And its foes now scorn and brave it; 

Furl it, hide it — let it rest! 

Take the Banner down! 'tis tattered; 
Broken is its staff and shattered, 
And the valiant hosts are scattered 

Over whom it floated high. 
Oh, 'tis hard for us to fold it, 
Hard to think there's none to hold it, 
Hard that those who once unrolled it 

Now must furl it with a sigh! . . . 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 81 

Furl it! For the hands that grasped it, 
And the hearts that fondly clasped it, 

Cold and dead are lying low; 
And the Banner — it is trailing, 
While around it sounds the wailing 

Of its people in their woe; . . . 

Furl that Banner! True, 'tis gory, 
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory, 
And 'twill live in song and story 

Though its folds are in the dust! 
For its fame on brightest pages, 
Penned by poets and by sages, 
Shall go sounding down the ages — 

Furl its folds though now we must! 

* 

Furl that Banner, softly, slowly; 
Treat it gently — it is holy, 

For it droops above the dead; 
Touch it not — unfold it never; 
Let it droop there, furled forever — 

For its people's hopes are fled. 



THE LOSS OF THE ARCTIC 
Henry Ward Beecher 

Suggestions: The first two paragraphs of this selection should be 
given simply and colloquially, the third spiritedly, until the expression, 
"They shall never emerge"; with which the tragic note is struck. The 
fifth paragraph should be given with great force and animation; the last 
paragraph very slowly and solemnly. 

It was Autumn. Hundreds had wended their way from 
pilgrimages; from Rome, and its treasures of dead art and its 
glory of living nature; from the side of the Switzer's Moun- 
tains; from the capitals of various nations. All of them were 



82 PLATFORM PIECES 

saying in their hearts, we will wait until the September gales 
have done with their equinoctial fury, and then we will embark. 
We will slide across the appeased ocean, and, in the gorgeous 
month of October, we will greet our longed-for native land. 
And so the throng streamed along from Berlin, from Paris, 
from the Orient, converging upon London, still hastening 
towards the welcome ship. Never had the Arctic borne such 
a host of passengers. 

The hour was come. The signal ball fell at Greenwich. 
It was noon at Liverpool. The anchors were weighed. The 
great hull swayed to the current. The national colors 
streamed abroad as if instinct with life and national sympathy. 
The bell strikes; the wheel revolves; the signal gun beats its 
echoes along the shore, and the Arctic glides joyfully forth 
from the Mersey and begins her homeward run. The pilot 
stood at the wheel, and none saw him. Death sat upon the 
prow, and no eye beheld him. Whoever stood at the wheel in 
all that voyage, Death was the pilot, and none knew it. He 
never revealed his presence nor whispered his errand. 

And so hope was effulgent, and lithe gayety disported itself, 
and joy was with every guest. "Home is not far away," they 
said; and every morning it was still one night nearer home! 
Eight days had passed. They beheld the fog-bank of New- 
foundland. Boldly they plunged in, and its pliant wreaths 
wrapped them about. . . . They shall never emerge. The last 
sunlight has flashed from that deck. The last voyage is done 
to ship and passengers. 

At a league's distance, unconscious, and at nearer approach, 
unwarned, within line, and bearing right toward each other, 
unseen, emerging from the gray mist, the ill-omened Vesta 
dealt her deadly stroke to the Arctic. The death-blow was 
scarcely felt along the mighty hull. She neither reeled nor 
shivered. Neither commander nor officer deemed that they 
had suffered harm. Prompt upon humanity, the brave Luce 
ordered away his boat with the first officer to inquire if the 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 83 

stranger had suffered harm. As Gourley went over the ship's 
side — oh, that some good angel had called to the brave 
commander in the words of Paul on a like occasion: "Except 
these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved!" 

They departed, and with them the hope of the ship; for 
now the waters, gaining upon the hold and rising upon the 
fires, revealed the mortal wound below. Then each subordi- 
nate officer lost all presence of mind, his courage, his honor. 
In a wild scramble, that ignoble mob of firemen, engineers, 
waiters and crew rushed for the boats, and abandoned the 
helpless passengers to the mercy of the deep. Four hours 
there were from the catastrophe of collision to the catastrophe 
of sinking. 

Oh, what a burial was there! Not as when one is borne 
from his home, among weeping friends, and gently carried to 
the green fields and laid peacefully beneath the turf and the 
flowers. No priest stood to pronounce a burial service. It 
was an ocean grave. The mists alone shrouded the burial 
place. No spade prepared the grave, nor sexton filled the 
hallowed earth. Down, down they sank, and the quick 
returning waters smoothed out every ripple and left the sea 
as if it had not been. 



WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST! 1 
Wex Jones 

Suggestions: Let the speaker tell in his own words that this poem refers 
to the loss of the Titanic, and the heroism displayed by the men pas- 
sengers. 

Haul down our flag from the flaunting peak; let it droop from 

the half-high mast, 
While we bow our heads in sorrow for the thousand souls that 

have passed. 

1 From the New York "American. 5 " 



84 PLATFORM PIECES 

Our ship of pride is a thing of naught; she lies in the soundless 

deep. 
Out of reach of berg or hurricane, her thousand brave men 

sleep. 
The sea hath taken her toll again, and a heavy toll she takes; 
And the sailor drowns, and far away, the heart of the woman 

breaks. 
We bow our heads in sorrow, but the creed in which we were 

nursed 
Makes our pulses speed that the cry of our creed was "Women 

and Children First!" 

Gone is the Titan that spurned the sea; gone are her thousand 

souls. 
Over the steel and over the bones the fathomless ocean rolls. 
A league overhead drifts the icy death, enwrapped in its Judas 

mist, 
Accomplice of traitor currents, it drifts as the currents list; 
And the smooth sea smiles as her ally lurks where the lordliest 

prizes are, 
And laughs at the shock and the shuddering plunge — and the 

fragment of floating spar. 
Curse the fawning sea, with her half-bared fangs! Let her do 

her treacherous worst — 
She can't conquer the breed that dies by the creed of, 

"Women and Children First!" 



A DERELICT 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be delivered very quietly, with a long 
pause between the two stanzas. 

Across the shadowed sea at twilight hour, 
A ship comes stealing in the wake of day, 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 85 

No sail-clad masts above her low hull tower, 
No captain's voice, no sailors to obey, — 
A derelict — nothing more. . . . 

Across life's twilight sea a ship comes sailing 
A shattered wreck it drifts upon the stream 
About its seamed sides lost hopes are trailing 
Ambition gone, and blighted each fair dream, — 
A derelict — nothing more. 



DEATHBED OF BENEDICT ARNOLD 
George Lippard 

Suggestions: This selection is a medley of quiet and dramatic descrip- 
tion, oratory and real drama, in giving which the speaker must glide 
smoothly from one form of delivery to another. 

Fifty years ago, in a rude garret, near the loneliest suburbs 
of the city of London, lay a dying man. He was but half 
dressed, though his legs were concealed in long military boots. 
An aged minister stood beside the rough couch. The form 
was that of a strong man grown old through care more than 
age. There was a face that you might look upon but once, 
and yet wear it in your memory forever. 

Let us bend over the bed, and look upon that face. A bold 
forehead seamed by one deep wrinkle visible between the 
brows; long locks of dark hair, sprinkled with gray; lips 
firmly set, yet quivering, as though they had a life separate 
from the life of the man; and then, two large eyes, — vivid, 
burning, unnatural in their steady glare. Ay, there was some- 
thing terrible in that face, something so full of unnatural 
loneliness, unspeakable despair, that the aged minister started 
back in horror. But look! those strong arms are clutching at 
the vacant air; the death-sweat stands in drops on that bold 
brow — the man is dying. Throb — throb — throb — beats 
the deathwatch in the shattered wall. 



86 PLATFORM PIECES 

"Would you die in the faith of the Christian?" faltered the 
preacher, as he knelt there on the damp floor. 

The white lips of the death-stricken man trembled, but 
made no sound. Then, with the strong agony of death upon 
him, he rose into a sitting posture. For the first time he 
spoke. 

"Christian!" he echoed in that deep tone which thrilled the 
preacher to the heart. "Will that faith give me back my 
honor? Come with me, old man, come with me, far over the 
waters. Ha! we are there! This is my native town. Yonder 
is the church in which I knelt in childhood; yonder the green 
on which I sported when a boy. But another flag waves 
yonder, in place of the flag that waved when I was a child. 

"And listen, old man, were I to pass along the streets, as 
I passed when but a child, the very babes in their cradles 
would raise their tiny hands, and curse me! The graves in 
yonder churchyard would shrink from my footsteps; and 
yonder flag would rain a baptism of blood upon my head!" 

That was an awful deathbed. The minister had watched 
"the last night" with a hundred convicts in their cells, but 
had never beheld a scene so terrible as this. Suddenly the 
dying man arose; he tottered along the floor. With those 
white fingers, whose nails were blue with the death-chill, he 
threw open a valise. He drew from thence a faded coat of 
blue, faced with silver, and the wreck of a battle-flag. 

"Look ye, priest! This faded coat is spotted with my 
blood!" he cried, as old memories seemed stirring at his heart. 
"This coat I wore, when I first heard the news of Lexington; 
this coat I wore, when I planted the banner of the stars on 
Ticonderoga; that bullet-hole was pierced in the fight of 
Quebec; and now, I am a — let me whisper it in your ear!" 
He hissed that single burning word into the minister's ear. 
"Now help me, priest! help me to put on this coat of blue; 
for you see" — and a ghastly smile came over his face — 
"there is no one here to wipe the cold drops from my brow: 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 87 

no wife, no child. I must meet Death alone; but I will meet 
him, as I have met him in battle, without a fear!" 

While he stood arraying his limbs in that worm-eaten coat 
of blue and silver, the good minister spoke to him of faith in 
Jesus — yes, of that great faith, which pierces the clouds of 
human guilt, and rolls them back from the face of God. 

"Faith!" echoed that strange man, who stood there, erect, 
with the death-chill on his brow, " Faith! Can it give me back 
my honor? Look ye, priest! there, over the waves, sits George 
Washington, telling to his comrades the pleasant story of the 
eight years' war; there, in his royal halls, sits George of 
England, bewailing, in his idiotic voice, the loss of his colonies! 
And here am I, — I who was the first to raise the flag of 
freedom, the first to strike a blow against that king — here am 
I, dying! oh, dying like a dog!" 

The awe-stricken preacher started back from the look of 
the dying man, while throb — throb — throb — beats the 
deathwatch in the shattered wall. 

"Hush! silence along the lines there!" he muttered, in that 
wild, absent tone, as though speaking to the dead; "silence 
along the lines! not a word — not a word, on peril of your 
lives! Hark you, Montgomery! we will meet in the centre of 
the town; we will meet there in victory, or die! — Hist! 
silence, my men — not a whisper, as we move up those steep 
rocks! Now on, my boys — now on! Men of the wilderness, 
we will gain the town! Now up with the banner of the stars 

— up with the flag of freedom, though the night is dark, and 
the snow falls! Now! now, one more blow, and Quebec is 
ours!" 

And look! his eye grows glassy. With that word on his 
lips, he stands there — ah! what a hideous picture of despair; 
erect, livid, ghastly: there for a moment, and then he falls 

— he is dead! Ah, look at that proud form, thrown cold and 
stiff upon the damp floor. In that glassy eye there lingers, 
even yet, a horrible energy, a sublimity of despair. Who is 



88 PLATFORM PIECES 

this strange man lying here alone, in this rude garret; this 
man, who, in all his crimes, still treasured up that blue uni- 
form, that faded flag? Who is this being of horrible remorse, 
— this man, whose memories seem to link something with 
heaven, and more with hell? 

Let us look at that parchment and flag. The aged minister 
unrolls that faded flag; it is a blue banner gleaming with 
thirteen stars. He unrolls that parchment: it is a colonel's 
commission in the Continental army addressed to Benedict 
Arnold! And there, in that rude hut, while the deathwatch 
throbbed like a heart in the shattered wall; there, unknown, 
unwept, in all the bitterness of desolation, lay the corse of the 
patriot and the traitor. 

Oh that our own true Washington had been there, to sever 
that good right arm from the corse; and, while the dishonored 
body rotted into dust, to bring home that noble arm, and 
embalm it among the holiest memories of the past! For that 
right arm struck many a gallant blow for freedom: yonder at 
Ticonderoga, at Quebec, Champlain, and Saratoga — that arm, 
yonder, beneath the snow-white mountains, in the deep silence 
of the river of the dead, first raised into light the Banner of 
the Stars. 

THE PATRIOT 

Robert Browning 

Suggestions: This selection calls for full impersonation. The poet calls 
it "an old story," meaning thereby that the fate of many a patriot is 
reflected in this picture of a man being led to execution. The speaker 
should assume the attitude of a man with his arms tied tightly behind him. 
The words must be delivered with great bitterness, as if in soliloquy. 

It was roses, roses, all the way, 

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad: 

The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway, 
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had, 

A year ago on this very day. 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 89 

The air broke into a mist with bells, 
The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries. 

Had I said, " Good Folk, mere noise repels — 
But give me your sun from yonder skies!" 

They had answered "And afterward, what else?" 

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun 

To give it my loving friends to keep! 
Naught man could do, have I left undone: 

And you see my harvest, what I reap 
This very day, now a year is run. 

There's nobody on the house-tops now — 

Just a palsied few at the windows set; 
For the best of the sight is, all allow, 

At the Shambles' Gate — or, better yet, 
By the very scaffold's foot, I trow. . 

I go in the rain, and, more than needs, 

A rope cuts both my wrists behind; 
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds, 

For they fling, whoever has a mind, 
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds. 

Thus I entered, and thus I go! 

In triumphs, people have dropped down dead. 
"Paid by the world, what dost thou owe 

Me?" — God might question; now instead, 
'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so. 



9 o PLATFORM PIECES 

THE MESSAGE 

Adelaide Anne Procter 

Suggestions: For a great many years this selection has been given to 
almost every student at the beginning of his course in interpretative study. 
It is, perhaps, more artistic if delivered without gesture, but that is a 
matter of taste; for purposes of drill in conveying the extremes of emo- 
tion, it is the finest thing imaginable. In almost every stanza there is the 
contrast between hope and despair, which may be expressed in voice, 
attitude, and gesture. The speaker must be careful not to make the 
message too obvious; for the clotcd, the lark, etc., he should suggest dis- 
tance, by means of eye and hand. The final word "wait" should be given 
with something more than mere resignation, since it has within it the 
assurance of reunion with the loved one. 

I had a message to send her, 
To her whom my soul loved best, 
But I had my task to finish, 
And she had gone home to rest. 

To rest in that far, bright heaven, 
Oh, so far away from here! 
It was vain to speak to my darling, 
For I knew she could not hear. 

I had a message to send her, 
So tender and true and sweet, 
That I longed for an angel to bear it, 
And lay it down at her feet. 

I placed it one summer's evening 
On a cloudlet's fleecy breast, 
But it faded in golden splendor, 
And died in the crimson West. 

I gave it the lark next morning, 
And I watched it soar and soar, 



PATHETIC SELECTIONS 91 

But its pinions grew faint and weary, 
And it fluttered to earth once more. 

To the heart of a rose I told it, 
And its perfume, rich and rare, 
Grew faint on the ambient ether, 
Was lost on the balmy air. 

Then I placed it on a censer, 
And I watched the incense rise, 
But the clouds of rolling silver 
Could not reach the fair, blue skies. 

Then I cried in my passionate longing 
"Has the earth no angel friend, 
Who will carry my love the message, 
That my heart desires to send? " 

Then I heard a strain of music, 
So mighty, so pure, so clear, 
That my very sorrow was silent, 
And my soul stood still to hear. 

It rose in harmonious rushing 
Of mingled voices and strings, 
And I tenderly laid my message 
On the music's out-stretched wings. 

And I heard it float farther and farther, 
In sounds more perfect than speech, 
Farther than sight can follow, 
Farther than soul can reach. 

And I know that at last my message 
Has passed through the golden gate, 
So, my heart is no longer restless, 
And I am content to wait. 



9 2 PLATFORM PIECES 

GOOD-BYE 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This is an excellent little poem with which to close a pro- 
gram. It requires much delicacy in interpretation and fine contrasts in 
emotion throughout, so as to avoid the sentimental. 

We say it for an hour, or for years, 
Say it smiling, say it choked with tears, 
Say it coldly, say it with a kiss — 
And yet we have no other word than this, 
Good-bye. 

We have no dearer word for our heart's friend; 
For him who journeys to the world's far end, 
And sears our soul with going; thus we say, 
As unto him who steps but o'er the way, 
Good-bye. 

Alike to those we love and those we hate, 
We say no more at parting. At life's gate, 
To him who passes out beyond earth's sight, 
We cry, as to the wanderer for a night, 
Good-bye. 



IV. — HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL 
SELECTIONS 

RECESSIONAL 

Rudyard Kipling 

Suggestions: This poem should be recited as if actually prayed, with 
no reference to the audience. 

God of our fathers, known of old — 

Lord of our far-flung battle-line — 
Beneath whose awful hand we hold 

Dominion over palm and pine — 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget; 

The tumult and the shouting dies — 
The Captains and the Kings depart — 

Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice, 
An humble and a contrite heart, 

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 

Lest we forget — lest we forget; 

Far-called our navies melt away — 
On dune and headland sinks the fire — 

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday 
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre; 

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, 

Lest we forget — lest we forget; 

If, drunk with sight of power we loose 

Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe — 

93 



94 PLATFORM PIECES 

Such boasting as the Gentiles use 

Or lesser breeds without the Law — 
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet, 
Lest we forget — lest we forget. 

For heathen heart that puts her trust 
In reeking tube and iron shard — 

All valiant dust that builds on dust, 
And guarding calls not Thee to guard 

For frantic boast and foolish word, 

Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord. 

Amen. 



ALFRED THE GREAT TO HIS MEN 

James Sheridan Knowles 

Suggestions: The speaker should begin this poem abruptly and em- 
phatically, just as if he were ending and had reached the climax of a speech 
which he has been delivering for a half hour past. He should address his 
audience as if they were listening to him in some public forum. 

My friends, this country must be free! That land 

Is never lost that has a son to right her, — 

And here are troops of sons, and loyal ones! 

Strong in her children should a mother be; 

Shall ours be helpless, that has sons like these? 

God save our native land, whoever pays 

The ransom that redeems her ! Now, what wait we? — 

For Alfred's word to move upon the foe? 

Upon him, then! Now think ye on the things 

You most do love! Husbands and fathers, on 

Your wives and children; lovers, on your beloved; 

And all, upon your country! When you use 

Your weapons, think on the beseeching eyes, 

To whet them, could have lent you tears for water! 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 95 

O, now be men, or never! From your hearths 

Thrust the unbidden feet, that from their nooks 

Drove forth your aged sires — your wives and babes! 

The couches, your fair-handed daughters used 

To spread, let not the vaunting stranger press, 

Weary from spoiling you! Your roofs, that hear 

The wanton riot of the intruding guest, 

That mocks their masters, — clear them for the sake 

Of the manhood to which all that's precious clings, 

Else perishes. The land that bore you — O! 

Do honor to her! Let her glory in 

Your breeding! Rescue her! Revenge her, — or 

Ne'er call her mother more! Come on, my friends! 

And, where you take your stand upon the field, 

However you advance, resolve on this, — 

That a foot you'll ne'er recede, while from the tongues 

Of age, and womanhood, and infancy, the helplessness whose 

safety in you lies 
Invokes you to be strong! Come on! Come on! 
I'll bring you to the foe! And when you meet him, 
Strike hard! Strike home! Strike while a dying blow 
Is in an arm! Strike till you're free, or fall! 



CARDINAL WOLSEY 

William Shakespeare 

Suggestions: Let the speaker say something like the following, as 
introduction to this selection: "This bit from Shakespeare is a speech of 
Griffith, one of the characters in 'Henry the Eighth,' to Queen Catherine 
in defence of Cardinal Wolsey." Ignoring the audience, the speaker 
should address himself to the Queen, whose presence he should suggest as 
definitely as possible. 

Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues 
We write in water. May it please your highness 
To hear me speak his good now? 



96 PLATFORM PIECES 

This cardinal, 
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly 
Was fashioned to much honor. From his cradle, 
He was a scholar, and a ripe good one; 
Exceeding wise, fair spoken, and persuading: 
Lofty and sour to them that loved him not, 
But to those men that sought him, sweet as summer. 
And though he were unsatisfied in getting, 
(Which was a sin,) yet in bestowing, madam, 
He was most princely. Ever witness for him 
Those twins of learning, that he raised in you, 
Ipswich, and Oxford! one of which fell with him. 
Unwilling to outlive the good that did it; 
The other, though unfinished, yet so famous, 
So excellent in art, and still so rising, 
That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue. 
His overthrow heaped happiness upon him; 
For then, and not till then, he felt himself, 
And found the blessedness of being little: 
And to add greater honors to his age 
Than man could give him, he died, fearing God. 



MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS 
Henry Glassford Bell 

Suggestions: This may be given by seven students, each reciting one 
of the scenes, somewhat like a relay race, as it is not impersonation, but 
narrative. The speaker may preface each section by saying "The scene 
was changed"; she must in each case seem to have the picture actually 
before her. 

I looked far back into other years, and lo! in bright array, 
I saw as in a dream, the forms of ages passed away. 
It was a stately convent with its old and lofty walls, 
And gardens with their broad, green walks, where soft the 
footstep falls; 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 97 

And o'er the antique dial stone a creeping shadow passed, 
And all around the noonday sun a drowsy radiance cast; 
No sound of busy life was heard, save from the cloister dim, 
The tinkling of the silver bell, or the sisters' holy hymn. 
And there five noble maidens sat beneath the orchard trees, 
In that first budding spring of youth when all its prospects 

please, 
And little recked they when they sang or knelt at vesper 

prayers, 
For Scotland knew no prouder names, held none more dear 

than theirs, 
And little e'en the loveliest thought, before the holy shrine, 
Of royal blood and true descent from the ancient Stuart 

fine; 
Calmly her happy days flew on, uncounted in their flight; 
And as they flew they left behind a long continuing light. 

The scene was changed. . . . 

It was the court, the gay court of Bourbon, 

And 'neath a thousand silver lamps a thousand courtiers 

throng, 
And proudly kindles Henri's eye, well pleased, I ween, to see 
The land assemble all its wealth of grace and chivalry; 
But fairer far than all the rest who bask on fortune's tide, 
Effulgent in the light of youth is she, the new-made bride; 
The homage of a thousand hearts, the fond deep love of 

one, 
The hopes that dance around a fife whose charms are but 

begun; 
They lighten up her chestnut eye, they mantle o'er her cheek, 
They sparkle on her open brow and high-souled joy bespeak, 
Yet, who shall blame, if scarce that day with all its brilliant 

hours, 
She thought of that quiet convent's calm, its sunshine and its 

flowers? 



98 PLATFORM PIECES 

The scene was changed. . . . 

It was a barque that slowly held its way, 

And o'er its lee the coast of France in the light of evening 

lay, 
And on its deck a lady sat who gazed with tearful eyes, 
Upon the fast receding hills, that dim and distant rise, 
No marvel that the lady wept, there was no land or earth 
That she loved like that dear land, although she owed it not 

her birth; 
It was her mother's land, the land of childhood and of friends, 
The land where she had found for all her grief amends, 
The land where her dead husband slept, the land where she 

had known 
The tranquil convent's hush'd repose, and the splendors of a 

throne. 
No marvel that the lady wept, it was the land of France, 
The chosen home of chivalry, the garden of romance. 
One gaze again — one long, last gaze — "Adieu, fair France, to 

thee!" — 
The breeze comes forth, she is alone on the unconscious sea. 

The scene was changed. . . . 

It was an eve of raw and surly mood, 

And in a turret chamber high of ancient Holy rood, 

Sat Mary, listening to the rain and sighing with the winds 

That seemed to suit the stormy state of men's uncertain 

minds; 
The touch of care has blanched her cheek, her smile is sadder 

now, 
The weight of royalty has pressed too heavy on that brow. 
She thought of all her blighted hopes, the dreams of youth's 

brief day, 
And summoned Rizzio with his lute, and bade the minstrel 

play 
The songs she loved in early days, the songs of gay Navarre, 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 99 

The songs that erst perchance were sung by the gallant Chaste- 
lard; 

They half beguiled her of her cares, they soothed her into 
smiles, 

They won her thoughts from bigot zeal and fierce domestic 
broils, 

But hark! the tramp of armed men, the Douglas battle cry, 

They come, they come, and lo! the scowl in Ruthven's hollow 
eye, 

And swords are drawn and daggers gleam, 

And tears and words are vain; 

The ruffian's steel is in his heart — the faithful Rizzio slain! 

Then Mary Stuart dashed aside the tears that trickling 
fell, 

"Now for my father's arm!" she said. "My woman's heart, 
farewell!" 

The scene was changed. . . . 

It was a lake with one small lonely isle; 

And there, within the prison walls of its baronial pile, 

Stern men stood menacing their queen, till she should stoop to 

sign 
The trait'rous scroll that snatched the crown "from her ances- 
tral line, 
"My lords, my lords!" the captive cried, "Were I but once 

more free, 
With ten good knights on yonder shore, to aid my cause and 

me, 
This parchment would I scatter wide to every breeze that 

blows, 
And once more reign a Stuart queen, o'er my remorseless 

foes!" 
A red spot burned upon her cheek; streamed her rich tresses 

down; 
She wrote the words, she stood erect, a queen without a, crown. 



ioo PLATFORM PIECES 

The scene was changed. . . . 

A Royal host a royal banner bore, 

And the faithful of the land stood 'round their smiling queen 

once more, 
She staid her steed upon a hill, she saw them marching by, 
She heard their shouts, she read success in every flashing eye. 
The tumult of the strife begins, it roars, it dies away; 
And Mary's troops, and banners now, and courtiers, where are 

they? 
Scattered and strewn and flying far, defenceless and undone; 
Alas! to think what she has lost, and all that guilt has won! 
But away, away, thy gallant steed must act no laggard's part, 
Yet vain his speed, for thou dost bear the arrow in thy 

heart. 

The scene was changed. . . . 

Beside the block a sullen headsman stood, 

And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that soon must drip 

with blood, 
With slow and steady steps there came a lady through the 

hall, 
And breathless silence chained the lips and touched the hearts 

of all; 
I knew that queenly form again, though blighted was its 

bloom, 
I saw that grief had decked it out, an offering for the tomb; 
I knew those ringlets, almost gray, once threads of living 

gold, 
I knew that bounding grace of step, that symmetry of mould, 
E'en now I see her far away in that calm convent's isle, 
I hear her chant her vesper hymn, I mark her holy smile, 
E'en now I see her bursting forth upon her bridal morn, 
A new star in the firmament to light and glory born; 
Alas! the change; she placed her foot upon & triple throne; 
And on the scaffold now she stands, beside the block — alone. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 101 

The little dog that licks her hand is last of all the crowd 
Who sunned themselves beneath her glance, and round her 

footsteps bowed; 
Her neck is bared, the blow is struck, the soul has passed 

away, 
The bright, the beautiful, is now a bleeding piece of clay; 
The dog is moaning piteously, and as it gurgles o'er, 
Laps the warm blood that trickling runs unheeded to the 

floor, 
The blood of beauty, wealth and power, the heart-blood of a 

queen, 
The noblest of the Stuart race, the fairest Earth has seen, 
Lapped by a dog; go, think of it, in silence and alone, 
Then weigh against a grain of sand the splendors of a throne! 



THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW 

Robert Lowell 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this poem as if he were a sur- 
vivor re-living the whole scene. It may be well to give the following intro- 
ductory words: 

The garrison of Lucknow, with the women and children, was shut up 
in the old Residency during the mutiny of 1857. A vast horde of armed 
Sepoys tried in vain to capture it. Even the women joined in the 
defence, fighting for life and honor. The foe was kept at bay for eighty- 
seven days until, at last, the siege was lifted. 

Oh! that last day in Lucknow fort; 

We knew that it was the last, 
That the enemy's mines had crept surely in, 

And the end was coming fast. 

To yield to that foe meant worse than death, 
And the men and we all worked on; 

It was one day more of smoke and roar, 
And then it would all be done. 



102 PLATFORM PIECES 

There was one of us, a corporal's wife, 

A fair young gentle thing, 
Wasted with fever in the siege, 

And her mind was wandering. 

She lay on the ground, in her Scottish plaid, 

And I took her head on my knee; 
"When my father comes hame frae the pleugh," she said, 

"Oh! please then waken me." 

She slept like a child on her father's floor, 

In the flecking of woodbine shade, 
When the house dog sprawls by the half open door, 

And the mother's wheel is stayed. 

It was smoke and roar and powder stench, 

And hopeless waiting for death; 
But the soldier's wife, like a full tired child, 

Seemed scarce to draw her breath. 

I sank to sleep and I had my dream 

Of an English village lane 
And wall and garden — till a sudden scream 

Brought me back to the rear again. 

There Jessie Brown stood listening, 

And then a broad gladness broke 
All over her face, and she took my hand, 

And drew me near and spoke: 

"The Highlanders! O dinna ye hear 

The slogan far awa'? 
The McGregor's? Ah! I ken it weel; 

It is the grandest of them a'. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 103 

"God bless the bonny Highlanders; 

We're saved! we're saved!" she cried; 
And fell on her knees, and thanks to God 

Poured forth like a full flood tide. 



Along the battery line her cry 

Had fallen among the men; 
And they started; for they were there to die, 

Was life so near them then? 

They listened, for life, and the rattling fire 

Far off, and the far-off roar 
Were all, — and the colonel shook his head, 

And they turned to their guns once more. 

Then Jessie said, "The slogan's dune, 

But can ye no hear them, noo? 
The Campbells are comin'! It's nae a dream, 

Our succors hae broken through!" 

We heard the roar and the rattle afar, 
But the pipers we could not hear; 

So the men plied their work of hopeless war, 
And knew that the end was near. 

It was not long ere it must be heard, 

A shrilling, ceaseless sound; 
It was no noise of the strife afar, 

Or the sappers under ground. 

It was the pipe of the Highlanders, 
And now they played "Auld Lang Syne;" 

It came to our men like the voice of God; 
And they shouted along the line. 



104 PLATFORM PIECES 

And they wept and shook each other's hands 
And the women sobbed in a crowd; 

And every one knelt down where we stood, 
And we all thanked God aloud. 

That happy day, when we welcomed them in 

Our men put Jessie first; 
And the general took her hand; and cheers 

From the men like a volley burst. 

And the pipers' ribbons and tartan streamed, 
Marching round and round our line; 

And our joyful cheers were broken with tears, 
As the pipers played "Auld Lang Syne." 



DEFENSE OF HOFER, THE TYROLESE 
PATRIOT 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this in oratorical style, not to 
the audience, but to an imaginary tribunal. A word of explanation is 
necessary, — something like this: "Hofer was a Tyrolese patriot captured 
and executed by Napoleon; at his trial he spoke as follows:" 

You ask what I have to say in my defense? — you, who 
glory in the name of France, who wander through the world to 
exalt the land of your birth. You demand how I could dare 
to arm myself against the invaders of my native rocks! Do 
you confine the love of home to yourselves? Do you punish in 
others the actions which you dignify among yourselves? Those 
stars which glitter on your breasts, are they the recompense of 
servitude? 

I see the smile of contempt which curls your lips. You say: 
"This brute! he is a ruffian, a beggar!" "That patched 
jacket! that ragged cap! that rusty belt! Shall barbarians 
such as he close the pass against us, shower rocks on our 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 105 

heads, and single out our leaders with unfailing aim? We 
must subdue these groveling mountaineers, who know not the 
joys and brilliance of life, creeping amidst eternal snows, and 
snatching with greedy hand their stinted ear of corn." 

Yet, poor as we are, we never envied our neighbors their 
smiling sun, their gilded palaces. We never strayed from our 
peaceful huts to blast the happiness of those who had not 
injured us. The traveler who visited our valleys met every 
hand outstretched to welcome him. For him every hearth 
blazed. Too happy for ambition, we were not jealous of his 
wealth, and listened with delight to his tale of distant lands. 

Frenchmen, you have wives and children. When you return 
to your beautiful cities, amidst the roar of trumpets, the smiles 
of the lovely and the shouts of the multitude, they will ask: 

"Where have you roamed? What have you achieved? 
What have you brought back to us?" 

When laughing children climb your knees, will you tell them: 

"We have pierced the barren crags; we have entered the 
naked cottage and leveled it to the ground; we found no 
treasures but honest hearts, and we broke them because they 
throbbed with love for their wild homes. Clasp this old 
firelock in your little hands. It was snatched from a peasant 
of Tyrol, who died in a vain effort to stem our torrent of 
invasion!" 

Oh, Frenchmen! seated by your firesides, will you boast to 
generous and happy wives that you extinguished the last 
ember that lighted our gloom? 

What is death to me? I have not reveled in pleasures 
wrung from innocence or want. Rough and discolored as these 
hands are, they are pure. We have rushed to the sacrifice, 
and the offering has been in vain for us. But our children will 
burst these fetters. The blood of virtue was never shed in 
vain, and Freedom can never die. I have heard that you 
killed your King once because he enslaved you; yet now you 
crouch before a single man,, who bids you trample on all who 



106 PLATFORM PIECES 

abjure his yoke; and who shoots you if you have courage to 
disobey. Do you think that, when I am dead, no other Hofer 
shall breathe? Dream you that, if to-day you prostrate 
Hofer in the dust, to-morrow Hofer is no more? 

In the distance I see Liberty which I shall not taste. Be- 
hind, I see my slaughtered countrymen, my orphans, my 
desolate fields. But a star rises before my aching sight, which 
points to Justice that shall come. 



HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS 

FROM GHENT TO AIX 

Robert Browning 

Suggestions: The action begins on the first word, and is kept up with- 
out a moment's interruption throughout to the next to last stanza. All 
the lines of seemingly quiet description are to be given in the same rapid 
tempo, as if a part of the mad haste, as if they were mental impressions 
flashing through the mind of the rider. The last stanza should be set 
off from the poem and given very quietly. This poem is a valuable 
schoolroom exercise if given in relays; that is, different students take up 
the race at each stanza, being careful to allow no interruption and no 
break. This exercise provides excellent stimulus to mental alertness. 

I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he; 

I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; 

"Good speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew; 

"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through; 

Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, 

And into the midnight we galloped abreast. 

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace 
Neck by neck, stride for stride, never changing our place; 
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight, 
Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right, 
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit — 
Nor galloped less steadily Roland, a whit. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 107 

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near 

Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear; 

At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see; 

At Duffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be; 

And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime, 

So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!" 

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, 
And against him the cattle stood black every one, 
To stare through the mist at us galloping past, 
And I saw my stout galloper Roland, at last, 
With resolute shoulders, each butting away 
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray; 

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back 
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track; 
And one eye's black intelligence, — ever that glance 
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance; 
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon 
His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on. 

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur! 
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her, 
We'll remember at Aix" — for one heard the quick wheeze 
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees, 
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, 
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank. 

So we were left galloping, Joris and I, 

Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky, 

The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh, 

'Neath our feet broke the brittle, bright stubble like chaff; 

Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white, 

And "Gallop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight!" 



108 PLATFORM PIECES 

"How they'll greet us!" — and all in a moment his roan 
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone; 
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight 
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate, 
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim, 
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim. 

Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let fall, 

Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, 

Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, 

Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer; 

Clapped my hands, laughed and sang — any noise, bad or 

good — 
Till at length into Aix, Roland galloped and stood. 

And all I remember is, friends flocking round 

As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground, 

And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine, 

As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine, 

Which (the burgesses voted by common consent,) 

Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent. 



INCIDENT OF THE FRENCH CAMP 
Robert Browning 

Suggestions: This is a tense little drama, requiring impersonation of 
both the young soldier and Napoleon. 

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon: 

A mile or so away 
On a little mound, Napoleon 

Stood on our storming-day; 
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how, 

Legs wide, arms locked behind, 
As if to balance the prone brow 

Oppressive with its mind. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 109 

Just as perhaps he mused, "My plans 

That soar, to earth may fall, 
Let once my army-leader Lannes 

Waver at yonder wall," — 
Out 'twixt the battery-smoke there flew 

A rider, bound on bound, 
Full-galloping; nor bridle drew 

Until he reached the mound. 

Then off there flung in smiling joy, 

And held himself erect 
By just his horse's mane, a boy: 

You hardly could suspect — 
(So tight he kept his lips compressed, 

Scarce any blood came thro') 
You looked twice ere you saw his breast 

Was all but shot in two. 

"Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace, 

We've got you Ratisbon! 
The marshal's in the market-place, 

And you'll be there anon 
To see your flag-bird flap his vans 

Where I, to heart's desire, 
Perched him!" The chief's eye flashed; his plans 

Soared up again like fire. 

The chief's eye flashed; but presently 

Softened itself, as sheathes 
A film the mother eagle's eye 

When her bruised eaglet breathes: 
"You're wounded!" "Nay," his soldier's pride 

Touched to the quick, he said: 
"I'm killed, sire!" And, his chief beside, 

Smiling, the boy fell dead. 



no PLATFORM PIECES 

TWO STEPS TO A THRONE 
Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should be careful to give the quoted speech 
in this selection very simply, and to use fervor only occasionally. 

The avenues which lead to power are as diverse as those to 
wealth. Washington came to the first place in the nation 
through lofty patriotism and steadfast devotion to principle. 
William of Orange seized the sceptre of England, not alone by 
conquest, but through prudent statesmanship as well. Napo- 
leon caught the gleam of the Imperial crown through the 
smoke of battle, and his way to it was across bloody fields. 
But how different from any of these was the course pursued 
by Napoleon III? Too weak for a conqueror, too ambitious 
for a patriot, he made his way to power by dint of coolest 
calculation and consummate audacity. From the time he 
entered Paris to the moment of his surrender at Sedan, he 
maintained his power and preserved his royalty through 
strategy and diplomacy without parallel. 

His first step to supremacy was the coup oVetat in '48, when 
from his seat in the Assembly he rose to the Presidency. 
At this time he was hardly known outside the larger cities. 
How could he hope to gain the votes of the peasantry against 
such a rival as Cavaignac? This was the problem; but, with 
somewhat of the Corsican's determination within him, he re- 
solved to solve it. A keen observer of human nature, he well 
knew the secret springs that move the French people. He 
felt the magic power of his name — a name which had rallied 
the legions of '96 — and to him it should be the open sesame 
before the gates of power. 

On the day of the election there was a strange sight in 
France. From the valley of the Garonne to the sunny hills of 
Lorraine, from the Pyrenees to the Rhine, from the Alps to 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS in 

the sea, a million peasants hastened to vote, as they thought, 
for the great Emperor whom St. Helena had given up at last. 
Old soldiers were there with whitened locks and trembling 
limbs; soldiers who had fought at Jena, scaled the Alps, and 
charged at Waterloo. 

"See! it is 'the sun of Austerlitz,' " said they on that bright 
and cloudless morning. "Vote for the Little Corporal." 

They voted for a name; but a name that made Louis 
Napoleon President of France. He had taken one step to a 
throne. 

But the presidential house did not satisfy the new occupant. 
He cast longing eyes towards the Tuileries, and dreamed of 
the time when he should cull the flowers in the royal gardens, 
and pace the gilded chambers of the Bourbons. The dream 
became a hope, the hope an expectation, the expectation a 
steady determination. While the Legitimists, the Fusionists, 
the Orleanists wrangled in the Assembly, while party strife 
ran high, and party spirit plotted against him, silently, subtly, 
surely was he marching on to the accomplishment of his great 
design. Prejudices had to be overcome, and he overcame 
them. Strong supporters must be found, and he found them. 
A new ministry must be formed, and he secured it without a 
struggle. On the night of December second, '51, his plan was 
complete. All dangerous representatives and generals were in 
prison, the place of the Assembly occupied, and troops sta- 
tioned throughout Paris. In a secluded chamber of an unfre- 
quented street, the steady click, click, click of a printing press 
kept pace with the moments all through that night; and when 
the morning broke, from that dingy chamber went forth the 
proclamation that Louis Napoleon was now Emperor of 
France. The news spread, the people resisted; but the Em- 
peror was prepared. Placards were posted calling to arms; 
but the Emperor was firm. Crowds of excited citizens 
gathered, blood flowed; but the Emperor was unmoved. He 
had taken his second step to the throne of France, and the 



H2 PLATFORM PIECES 

prize was his. Happy for him had he been content; but that 
dread fate which seems linked to the name Napoleon, urged 
him on to more bold and dangerous plans; and not until the 
disastrous day of Sedan did he realize how brilliant had been 
his rise, how inglorious his fall. 



THE REIGN OF NAPOLEON 

Alphonse de Lamartine 

Suggestions: This selection is a straightforward oration, to be de- 
livered with simplicity and force and with attention to the marked con- 
trasts in the thought, which demand corresponding appropriate contrasts 
in voice. 

The reign of Napoleon may be defined as the old world 
reconstructed by a new man. He covered over with glory the 
threadbare centuries. He was the first among soldiers, but 
not among statesmen. He was open to the past, but blind to 
the future. If this judgment be found too harsh, a mere 
glance will serve to convince one of its justice. Men are 
judged not by their fortune, but by their work. He had in 
his hand the greatest force Providence ever placed in the 
hand of a mortal to create a civilization or a nationality. 
What has he left? Nothing but a conquered country and an 
immortal name. 

The world demanded a renovator. He made himself its 
conqueror. France was looking forward to the genius of 
reform, and he gave her despotism, discipline, and a uniform 
for each institution. Impiety covered all the official pomp of 
his creed. Instead of seeking religion in liberty, he was eight 
centuries out of the way in parodying the role of Charlemagne, 
without having either the strong faith or the heroic sincerity 
of this Constantine of Gaul and Germany. To the need of 
equality of rights, he replied with the creation of a military 
nobility; to the need of free thought, with the censure and 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 113 

monopoly of the press. Intelligence languished. Letters 
became degraded, the arts became servile, and ideas died. 
Victory alone could restrain the explosion of the independence 
of the people and the human spirit. The day when victory 
should cease to gild this yoke of the universe, it would appear 
what it was: the glory of one, the humiliation of all; a 
reproach to the dignity of the people, a call to the revolt of a 
continent. 

GENIUS OF WASHINGTON 
E. P. Whipple 

Suggestions: In giving this oratorical selection, the speaker should 
maintain a dignified position and speak directly to his audience. 

This illustrious man, at once the world's admiration and 
enigma, we are taught by a fine instinct to venerate and, by 
a wrong opinion, to misjudge. How many times have we 
been told that Washington was not a man of genius, but a 
person of excellent common sense, of admirable judgment, of 
rare virtues! Now, the sooner this bundle of mediocre talents 
and moral qualities, which its contrivers have the audacity to 
call George Washington, is hissed out of existence, the better 
it will be for the cause of talents and for the cause of morals. 
Contempt of this is the beginning of wisdom. 

He had no genius, it seems! Oh no! Genius, we must 
suppose, is the peculiar and shining attribute of some orator 
whose tongue can spout patriotic speeches, or of some versifier 
whose muse can "Hail, Columbia!" but not of the man who 
supported States on his arm, and carried America in his brain. 
The madcap Charles Townsend, the motion of whose pyro- 
technic mind is like the whiz of a hundred rockets, is a man 
of genius; but George Washington, raised up above the level 
of even eminent statesmen, and with a nature moving with 
the still and orderly celerity of a planet round its sun, dwindles 
in comparison into a kind of angelic dunce. What is genius? 



H4 PLATFORM PIECES 

Is it worth anything? Is splendid folly the measure of its 
inspiration? Is not wisdom its base and summit? 

By what definition do you award the name to the author of 
an epic, and deny it to the creator of a country? By what 
principle is it to be lavished upon him who sculptures in 
perishing marble the image of possible excellence, and withheld 
from him who built up in himself a transcendent character, 
indestructible as the obligations of duty and beautiful as her 
rewards? He belongs to that rare class of men, rare as Homers 
and Miltons, rare as Platos and Newtons, who have impressed 
their characters upon nations, without pampering national 
vices; the men in whom strength and judgment seem identical 
with volition; the men whose vital expression is not in words, 
but in deeds; the men whose sublime ideas issue necessarily in 
sublime acts, not in sublime art. 

Such men have natures broad enough to include all the 
facts of a people's practical life, and deep enough to discern 
the spiritual laws which animate and govern those facts. 



CESAR RODNEY'S RIDE 1 

Elbridge Streeter Brooks 

Suggestions: This poem, although largely narrative, requires full 
impersonation in the direct quotations. The race begins with the words 
"He is up," and should be given with ever accelerating tempo up to the 
close of the twelfth stanza. 

In that soft mid-land where the breezes bear 
The north and south on the genial air, 
Through the country of Kent, on affairs of state, 
Rode Caesar Rodney, the delegate. 

Burly and big, and bold and bluff, 

In his three-cornered hat and his suit of snuff, 

1 Used by permission of the Century Company, publishers. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 115 

A foe to King George and the English state 
Was Caesar Rodney, the delegate. 

Into Dover village he rode apace, 
And his kinsfolk knew, from his anxious face, 
It was matter grave that had brought him there, 
To the counties three upon Delaware. 

"Money and men we must have," he said, 
"Or the Congress fails and our cause is dead. 
Give us both and the king shall not work his will — 
We are men, since the blood of Bunker Hill!" 

Comes a rider swift on a panting bay: 
"Hollo Rodney, ho! you must save the day, 
For the Congress halts at a deed so great, 
And your vote alone may decide its fate!" 

Answered Rodney then: "I will ride with speed; 
It is Liberty's stress; it is Freedom's need. 
When stands it?" "To-night. Not a moment spare, 
But ride like the wind, from the Delaware." . . . 

He is up; he is off! and the black horse flies 
On the northward road ere the "Godspeed!" dies; 
It is gallop and spur, as the leagues they clear, 
And the clustering milestones move a-rear. 

It is two of the clock; and the fleet hoofs fling 
The Fieldsboro' dust with a clang and cling. 
It is three; and he gallops with slack rein where 
The road winds down to the Delaware. 

Four; and he spurs into Newcastle town. 
From his panting steed he gets him down — 
"A fresh one, quick; not a moment's wait!" 
And off speeds Rodney, the delegate. 



n6 PLATFORM PIECES 

It is five; and the beams of the western sun 
Tinge the spires of Wilmington, gold and dun; 
Six; and the dust of the Chester street 
Flies back in a cloud from his courser's feet. 

It is seven; the horse-boat, broad of beam, 
At the Schuylkill ferry crawls over the stream — 
And at seven-fifteen by the Rittenhouse clock 
He flings his rein to the tavern Jock. . . . 

The Congress is met; the debate's begun, 
And Liberty lags for the vote of one — 
When into the Hall, not a moment late, 
Walks Caesar Rodney, the delegate. 

Not a moment late! and that half-day's ride 
Forwards the world with a mighty stride: — 
For the Act was passed, ere the midnight stroke 
O'er the Quaker City its echoes woke. 

At Tyranny's feet was the gauntlet flung; 
"We are free!" all the bells through the colonies rung. 
And the sons of the free may recall with pride 
The day of Delegate Rodney's ride. 



THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This selection calls for both quiet and heroic description. 
The speaker should seem to have been an eyewitness. The commands 
should be given in true military manner, with force and abruptness. 

It was a starry night in June, the air was soft and still, 
When the minutemen from Cambridge came, and gathered on 
the hill; 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 117 

Beneath us lay the sleeping town, around us frowned the fleet, 
But the pulse of freemen, not of slaves, within our bosoms 

beat; 
And every heart rose high with hope, as fearlessly we said, 
"We will be numbered with the free, or numbered with the 

dead!" 

"Bring out the line to mark the trench, and stretch it on the 

sward!" 
The trench is marked, the tools are brought, we utter not a 

word, 
But stack our guns, then fall to work with mattock and with 

spade, 
A thousand men with sinewy arms, and not a sound is made; 
So still were we, the stars beneath, that scarce a whisper fell; 
We heard the Red-coat's musket click, and heard him cry, 

"All's well!" 

See how the morn is breaking! the red is in the sky! 

The mist is creeping from the stream that floats in silence by; 

The Lively 1 s hull looms through the fog, and they our works 

have spied, 
For the ruddy flash and round shot part in thunder from her 

side; 
And the Falcon and the Cerberus makes every bosom thrill, 
With gun and shell, and drum and bell, and boatswain's 

whistle shrill; 
But deep and wider grows the trench, as spade and mattock ply, 
For we have to cope with fearful odds, and the time is drawing 

nigh! 

Up with the pine-tree banner! Our gallant Prescott stands 
Amid the plunging shells and shot, and plants it with his hands; 
Up with the shout! for Putnam comes upon his reeking bay, 
With bloody spur and foaming bit, in haste to join the fray. 



n8 PLATFORM PIECES 

But thou whose soul is glowing in the summer of thy years, 
Unvanquishable Warren, thou, the youngest of thy peers, 
Wert born and bred, and shaped and made, to act a patriot's 

part, 
And dear to us thy presence is as heart's blood to the heart. 

Hark! from the town a trumpet! The barges at the wharf 
Are crowded with the living freight; and now they're pushing 

off 
With clash and glitter, trump and drum, in all its bright array, 
Behold the splendid sacrifice move slowly o'er the bay! 
And still and still the barges fill, and still across the deep, 
Like thunder clouds along the sky, the hostile transports sweep. 

And now they're forming at the Point; and now the lines 

advance: 
We see beneath the sultry sun their polished bayonets glance; 
We hear anear the throbbing drum, the bugle-challenge ring; 
Quick bursts and loud the flashing cloud and rolls from wing 

to wing; 
But on the height our bulwark stands, tremendous in its 

gloom — 
As sullen as a tropic sky, and silent as a tomb. 

And so we waited till we saw, at scarce ten rifles' length, 
The old vindictive Saxon spite, in all its stubborn strength; 
When sudden, flash on flash, around the jagged rampart burst 
From every gun that livid light upon the foe accursed. 
Then quailed a monarch's might before a freeborn people's ire; 
Then drank the sward the veteran's life, where swept the 
yeoman's fire. 

Then, staggered by the shot, we saw their serried columns reel, 
And fall, as falls the bearded rye beneath the reaper's steel; 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 119 

And then arose a mighty shout that might have waked the 

dead — 
"Hurrah! they run! the field is won! Hurrah! the foe is fled!" 
And every man hath dropped his gun to clutch a neighbor's 

hand, 
As his heart kept praying all the while for home and native 

land. 



Thrice on that day we stood the shock of thrice a thousand 

foes, 
And thrice that day within our lines the shout of victory rose; 
And though our swift fire slackened then, and, reddening in the 

skies, 
We saw from Charlestown's roofs and walls the flamy columns 

rise, 
Yet while we had a cartridge left, we still maintained the fight, 
Nor gained the foe one foot of ground upon that blood-stained 

height. 

What though for us no laurels bloom, and o'er the nameless 

brave 
No sculptured trophy, scroll, nor hatch records a warrior 

grave! 
What though the day to us was lost — upon that deathless 

page 
The everlasting charter stands for every land and age! 

For man hath broke his felon bonds, and cast them in the dust, 
And claimed his heritage divine, and justified the trust; 
While through his rifted prison-bars the hues of freedom pour 
O'er every nation, race and clime, on every sea and shore, 
Such glories as the patriarch viewed, when, mid the darkest 

skies, 
He saw above a ruined world the Bow of Promise rise. 



120 PLATFORM PIECES 



STONEWALL JACKSON 

Moses D. Hoge 

Suggestions: This selection is narrative rather than oratorical, and 
should therefore be given simply. 

The day after the first battle of Manassas, and before the 
history of that victory had reached Lexington in authentic 
form, a crowd had gathered around the post office, awaiting 
with intensest interest the opening of the mail. In its distribu- 
tion, the first letter was handed to the Rev. Dr. White. 
Recognizing at a glance the well-known superscription, the 
Doctor exclaimed to those around him, "Now we shall know 
all the facts." . . . 

The letter was from General Jackson; but instead of a war 
bulletin, it was a simple note, inclosing a check for a colored 
Sunday school, with an apology for his delay in not sending it 
before. Not a word about the conflict which had electrified a 
nation! Not an allusion to the splendid part he had taken in 
it; not a reference to himself, beyond the fact that it had 
been to him a fatiguing day's service! And yet that was the 
day, ever memorable in his history, when he received the name 
of " Stonewall" Jackson. 

When his brigade of twenty-six hundred men had for hours 
withstood the iron tempest which broke upon it; when the 
Confederate right had been overwhelmed in the rush of resist- 
less numbers, General Bee rode up to Jackson, and, with 
despairing bitterness, exclaimed: 

" General, they are beating us back." 

"Then," said Jackson, calm and curt, "we will give them 
the bayonet." 

Bee seemed to catch the inspiration of his determined will; 
and galloping back to the broken fragments of his over-taxed 
command, he exclaimed: 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 121 

"There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall. Rally behind 
the Virginians!" 

From that time Jackson's was known as the Stonewall 
Brigade — a name henceforth immortal, for the christening 
was baptized in the blood of its author; and that wall of 
brave hearts was, on every battle field, a steadfast bulwark of 
their country. 

In the State where all that is mortal of this great hero sleeps 
there is a natural bridge of rock, whose massive arch, fashioned 
in grandeur by the hand of God, springs lightly towards the 
sky, spanning a chasm into whose awful depths the beholder 
looks down bewildered and awestruck. But its grandeur is 
not diminished because tender vines clamber over its gigantic 
piers, and sweet-scented flowers nestle in its crevices. Nor is 
the granite strength of Jackson's character weakened because 
in. every throb of his heart there was a pulsation ineffably and 
exquisitely tender. The hum of bees, the fragrance of clover 
fields, the tender streaks of dawn, the dewy brightness of early 
spring, the mellow glories of matured autumn, all by turns 
charmed and tranquillized him. The eye that flashed amid 
the smoke of battle grew soft in contemplating the beauty of a 
flower. The ear that thrilled with the thunder of the cannon- 
ade drank in with innocent delight the song of birds and the 
prattle of children's voices. 



KEENAN'S CHARGE 
George P. Lathrop 

Suggestions: This poem makes a most effective recitation, popular with 
boys, since it contains both description and impersonation. The speaker 
should try to give the military commands realistically, by prolonging the 
first words of each command on a monotone, almost as if chanting, and 
then giving the final word abruptly, almost explosively. 

The sun had set; 

The leaves with dew were wet; 



122 PLATFORM PIECES 

Down fell a bloody dusk 

On the woods, that second of May, 

Where Stonewall's corps, like a beast of prey, 

Tore through, with angry tusk. 

"They've trapped us, boys!" 
Rose from our flank a voice. 
With a rush of steel and smoke 
On came the rebels straight, 
Eager as love and wild as hate: 
And our line reeled and broke; 

Broke and fled. 

No one stayed — but the dead! 

With curses, shrieks, and cries, 

Horses and wagons and men 

Tumbled back through the shuddering glen, 

And above us the fading skies. 

There's one hope, still, — 
Those batteries parked on the hill! 
"Battery, wheel!" (mid the roar) 
"Pass pieces; fix prolonge to fire 
Retiring. Trot!" In the panic dire 
A bugle rings "Trot" — and no more. 

The horses plunged, 

The cannon lurched and lunged, 

To join the hopeless rout. 

But suddenly rode a form 

Calmly in front of the human storm, 

With a stern, commanding shout: 

"Align those guns!" 

(We knew it was Pleasanton's.) 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 123 

The cannoneers bent to obey, 

And worked with a will, at his word: 

And the black guns moved as if they had heard. 

But ah, the dread delay! 



To wait is crime; 

u O God, for ten minutes' time!' , 

The general looked around. 

There Keenan sat, like a stone, 

With his three hundred horse alone — 

Less shaken than the ground. 

"Major, your men?" — 

"Are soldiers, General." "Then 

Charge, Major! Do your best; 

Hold the enemy back, at all cost, 

Till my guns are placed; — else the army is lost. 

You die to save the rest!" 



By the shrouded gleam of the western skies, 

Brave Keenan looked in Pleasanton's eyes 

For an instant, — clear and cool and still; 

Then, with a smile, he said: "I will." 

"Cavalry, charge!" Not a man of them shrank. 

Their sharp, full cheer, from rank on rank, 

Rose joyously, with a willing breath, 

Rose like a greeting hail to death. 

Then forward they sprang and spurred and clashed; 

Shouted the officers, crimson-sashed; 

Rode well the men, each brave as his fellow, 

In their faded coats of the blue and yellow; 

And above in the air, with an instinct true, 

Like a bird of war their pennon flew. 



124 PLATFORM PIECES 

With clank of scabbards and thunder of steeds, 
And blades that shine like sunlit reeds, 
And strong, brown faces bravely pale 
For fear their proud attempt shall fail, 
Three hundred Pennsylvanians close 
On twice ten thousand gallant foes. 

Line after line the troopers came 

To the edge of the wood that was ringed with flame; 

Rode in and sabered and shot — and fell; 

Nor came one back his wounds to tell. 

And full in the midst rose Keenan, tall 

In the gloom, like a martyr awaiting his fall, 

While the circle-strokes of his saber, swung 
Round his head like a halo there, luminous hung. 
Line after line, ay, whole platoons, 
Struck dead in their saddles, of brave dragoons 
By the maddened horses were onward borne, 
And into the vortex flung, trampled and torn; 
As Keenan fought with his men, side by side. 
So they rode, till there were no more to ride. 

But over them, lying there, shattered and mute, 
What deep echo rolls? — 'Tis a death-salute 
From the cannon in place; for, heroes, you braved 
Your fate not in vain: the army was saved! 

Over them now — year following year — 

Over their graves, the pine-cones fall, 

And the whip-poor-will chants his specter-call; 

But they stir not again; they raise no cheer: 

They have ceased. But their glory shall never cease, 

Nor their light be quenched in the light of peace. 

The rush of their charge is resounding still 

That saved the army at Chancellorsville. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 125 

JOHN BURNS OF GETTYSBURG 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be given as a piece of animated nar- 
rative, with only one or two touches of impersonation. 

Have you heard the story the gossips tell 

Of John Burns of Gettysburg? —No? Ah, well! 

Brief is the glory that hero earns, 

Briefer the story of poor John Burns; 

He was the fellow who won renown — 

The only man who didn't back down 

When the rebels rode through his native town 

But held his own in the fight next day, 

When all his townsfolk ran away. 

That was in July, sixty-three — 

The very day that General Lee, 

The flower of Southern chivalry, 

Baffled and beaten, backward reeled 

From a stubborn Meade and a barren field. 

I might tell how, but the day before, 
John Burns stood at his cottage-door, 
Looking down the village street, 
Where, in the shade of his peaceful vine, 
He heard the low of his gathered kine, 
And felt their breath, with incense sweet; 
Or I might say, when the sunset burned 
The old farm gable, he thought it turned 
The milk that fell in a babbling flood 
Into the milk-pail, red as blood; 
Or how he fancied the hum of bees 
Were bullets buzzing among the trees. 
But all such fanciful thoughts as these 
Were strange to a practical man like Burns, 
Who minded only his own concerns, 



126 PLATFORM PIECES 

Troubled no more by fancies fine 

Than one of his calm-eyed, long-tailed kine - 

Quite old-fashioned and matter-of-fact, 

Slow to argue, but quick to act. 

That was the reason, as some folks say, 

He fought so well on that terrible day. 

And it was terrible. On the right 

Raged for hours the heavy fight; 

Thundered the battery's double bass — 

Difficult music for men to face; 

While on the left — where now the graves 

Undulate like the living waves 

That all the day unceasing swept 

Up to the pits the rebels kept — 

Round-shot plowed the upland glades, 

Sown with bullets, reaped with blades; 

Shattered fences here and there 

Tossed their splinters in the air; 

The very trees were stripped and bare; 

The barns that once held yellow grain 

Were heaped with harvests of the slain; 

The cattle bellowed on the plain, 

The turkeys screamed with might and main, 

And brooding barn-fowl left their rest 

With strange shells bursting in each nest. 

Just where the tide of battle turns, 
Erect and lonely, stood old John Burns; 
How do you think the man was dressed? 
He wore an ancient, long buff vest, 
Yellow as saffron — but his best; 
And buttoned over his manly breast 
Was a bright blue coat with a rolling collar, 
And large gilt buttons — size of a dollar — 
With tails that country-folk called "s waller." 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 127 

He wore a broad-brimmed, bell-crowned hat, 
White as the locks on which it sat. 
Never had such a sight been seen 
For forty years on the village-green, 
Since John Burns was a country beau, 
And went to the "quilting" long ago. 

Close at his elbows, all that day, 

Veterans of the Peninsula, 

Sunburnt and bearded, charged away, 

And striplings, downy of lip and chin — 

Clerks that the Home Guard mustered in — 

Glanced, as they passed, at the hat he wore, 

Then at the rifle his right hand bore, 

And hailed him from their youthful lore, 

With scraps of a slangy repertoire: 

"How are you, White Hat?" "Put her through!" 

"Your head's level!" and, "Bully for you!" 

Called him "Daddy" — and begged he'd disclose 

The name of the tailor who made his clothes, 

And what was the value he set on those; 

While Burns, unmindful of jeer and scoff, 

Stood there picking the rebels off — 

With his long, brown rifle and bell-crown hat, 

And the swallow-tails they were laughing at. 

'Twas but a moment, for that respect 

Which clothes all courage their voices checked; 

And something the wildest could understand 

Spake in the old man's strong right hand, 

And his corded throat, and the lurking frown 

Of his eyebrows, under his old bell-crown; 

Until as they gazed, there crept an awe 

Through the ranks in whispers, and some men saw 

In the antique vestments and long white hair, 

The Past of the Nation, in battle there. 



128 PLATFORM PIECES 

And some of the soldiers since declare 
That the gleam of his old white hat afar, 
Like the crested plume of the brave Navarre, 
That day was their oriflamme of war. 
Thus raged the battle. You know the rest; 
How the rebels, beaten and backward pressed, 
Broke at the final charge and ran. 
At which John Burns — a practical man — 
Shouldered his rifle, unbent his brows, 
And then went back to his bees and cows. 



THE BATTLE OF MISSION RIDGE 

Bayard Taylor 

Suggestions: This selection is an oration to be given by a boy with 
military bearing and strong, vibrant voice. Much of the text is descrip- 
tive. The speaker should deliver the selection as if he were beholding 
the scene; he should try to give the military commands naturally. Above 
all, he must lose himself in re-living the scene, saying to the audience 
only what is clearly intended for them. 

The brief November afternoon was half gone; it was yet 
thundering on the left; along the center all was still. At that 
very hour a fierce assault was made upon the enemy's right, 
near Rossville, four miles down toward the old field of Chicka- 
mauga. They carried the Ridge — Mission Ridge! They 
strewed its summit with rebel dead; they held it. And all 
the while our lines were moving on, they had burned through 
the woods and swept over the rough and rolling ground like a 
prairie fire. 

If the thunder of guns had been terrible, it was now growing 
sublime; it was like the footfall of God on the ledges of cloud. 
It was rifles and musketry; it was grape and canister; it was 
shell and shrapnel. Mission Ridge was volcanic; a thousand 
torrents of red poured over the brink and rushed together to 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 129 

its base. And our men were there halting for breath! And 
still the sublime diapason rolled on! Echoes that never waked 
before sounded out from height to height, and called from the 
far ranges of Waldron's Ridge to Lookout. As for Mission 
Ridge, it had jarred to such music before; it was the sounding- 
board of Chickamauga; it was behind us then, to-day it 
frowns and flashes in our faces; the old army of the Cumber- 
land was there; the old army of the Cumberland is here! 

"Sound the charge!" "Take the rifle-pits!" was the order; 
and they are as empty of rebels as the tomb of the prophets. 
Shall they sit down under the eaves of that dripping iron? or 
shall they climb to the cloud of death above them, and pluck 
out its lightnings as they would straws from a sheaf of wheat? 

Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes go by like a reluctant century. 
The batteries roll like a drum; the hill sways up like a wall 
before them, but our brave mountaineers are clambering 
steadily on, up, upward still! And what do those men follow? 
Your heart gives a great bound when you think what it is — 
the regimental flag! and glancing along the front, count fifteen 
of those colors that were borne at Pea Ridge, waved at Shiloh, 
glorified at Stone River, and riddled at Chickamauga. Nobler 
than Caesar's rent mantle are they all! And up move the 
banners, now fluttering like a wounded bird, now faltering, 
now sinking out of sight. Three times the flag of one regiment 
goes down. Three dead color-sergeants He just there, but the 
flag is immortal. 

With magnificent bursts all along the line, as you have seen 
the crested seas leap up at the breakwater, the advance surged 
over the crest and, in a minute, those flags fluttered along the 
fringe where fifty rebel guns were kenneled. God bless the flag! 
God saved the Union! Let the struggle be known as the 
battle of Mission Ridge; and when in calmer days men make 
pilgrimages, and women smile again among the mountains of 
the Cumberland, they will need no guide. Rust will have 
eaten the guns; the graves of the heroes will have subsided 



130 PLATFORM PIECES 

like waves; weary of their troubling, the soldier and his 
leader will have lain down together; but there, embossed upon 
the globe, Mission Ridge will stand, its fitting monument, 
forever. 



THE GRAND ADVANCE 
Frank H. Gassaway 

Suggestions: This is clearly a narrative poem, full of action, requiring 
descriptive power on the part of the speaker. 

When War's wild clamor filled the land, when Porter swept 

the sea, 
When Grant held Vicksburg by the throat and Halleck strove 

with Lee, 
It chanced that Custer's cavaliers — the flower of all our 

horse — 
Held Hood's brigade at Carroll's Ford, where still it strove to 

cross. 

Two days the stubborn skirmish raged — the lines still closer 

grew; 
And now the rebels gained an inch, and now the men in blue, 
Until at length the Northern swords hemmed in the footmen 

gray, 
And both sides girded for the shock that won or lost the day. 

'Twas scarce a lance's length between the torn and slipp'ry 

banks 
O'er which our neighing squadrons faced the hard pressed 

Southern ranks. 
And while Hood's sullen ambush crouched along the river's 

marge, 
Their pickets brought a prisoner in, captured in some brief 

charge. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 131 

This was a stripling trumpeter, a mere lad — fitter far 

To grace some loving mother's hearth than these grim scenes 

of war. 
But still, with proud, defiant mien, he bore his soldier's crest, 
And smiled above the shattered arm that hung upon his 

breast. 

For was not he Staff Trumpeter of Custer's famed brigade? 
Did not through him the General speak, in camp, or on parade? 
'Twas his to form the battle line. His was the clarion peal 
That launched upon the frighted foe that surging sea of steel! 

They led him to the outer posts within the tangled wood, 
Beyond whose shade, on chafing steeds, his waiting comrades 

stood. 
They placed his bugle in his hands (a musket level nigh), 
"Now, Yankee, sound a loud 'Retreat,'" they whispered. 

"Sound — or die!" 

The lad looked up a little space — a lark's song sounded near, 
As though to ask why men had brought their deeds of hatred 

here. 
High in the blue the South wind swept a single cloud of foam, 
A messenger, it seemed to him, to bear his last thought home; 
And casting t'ward the Northland far one sad but steadfast 

glance, 
He raised the bugle to his lips and blew — the " Grand Ad- 
vance!" 

A bullet cut the pean short — but, ere his senses fled, 
He heard that avalanche of hoofs thunder above his head! 
He saw his comrades' sabres sweep resistless o'er the plain, 
And knew his trumpet's loyal note had sounded not in vain. 
For — when they laid him in his rest (his bugle by his side), 
His lips still smiled — for Victory had kissed them ere he died! 



132 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE LITTLE WESTERN MAN 
E. C. James 

Suggestions: The speaker should tell this poem to the audience, as a 
simple narrative, re-living every incident, and using great variety of ex- 
pression throughout. 

It was at Bermuda Hundreds, an hour of rest in camp, 

After a day of battle and a muddy midnight tramp; 

And by the long intrenchments (in many scattering groups), 

Were quietly reposing the battle-wearied troops. 

We had heard some broken rumors of glorious success, 

Won by our comrades in the bloody Wilderness; 

But we doubted when they told us, that the "Little Western 

Man" 
Was marching down to Richmond from the guarded Rapidan. 

I lay half waking, watching the turkey buzzards' flight, 
In many circles wheeling o'er the field of our late fight, 
And listening to the murmur of the sweet wind in the trees; 
The singing of the linnets and the humming of the bees; 
And I thought about the tidings, and if they could be true, 
And I turned and asked the Captain, for perhaps the Captain 

knew; 
But he'd served with George McClellan, and said there wa'n't 

a man 
Could march a force to Richmond from the guarded Rapidan. 

Suddenly a sound like thunder rolled faintly from afar, 
A distant hollow muttering that seemed to fill the air; 
Hark! It sounds away to northward. Hark! It comes again 

more loud. 
Oh, it's not the roll of thunder so short and sharply runs, 
'Tis the roar of distant battle, 'tis the boom of heavy guns. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 133 

It is the glorious army and the "Little Western Man," 
And they're marching down to Richmond from the bloody 
Rapidan. 

The sleeping soldiers started up from every shady place, 
And mingled joy and wonder sat upon each sunburnt face, 
While louder yet and clearer, the battle roar rang forth, 
As if the tramp of victory were sounding from the north; 
And even the old Captain cried, half choked with manly tears, 
"Three cheers for General Grant, my boys, three hearty, 

rousing cheers !" 
And we gave them with a "tiger" for the "Little Western 

Man," 
Who was coming down to Richmond from the bloody Rapidan. 

That night to General Butler there came across the tide 
A mounted orderly worn out with long and fearful ride; 
The news he brought was triumph, the order we must come, 
The general call is sounding now upon the throbbing drum. 
Knapsacks are slung, down go the tents, the companies fall in, 
The stacks are broke, we're off again, this time, thank God, to 

win! 
For we march to join the army and the "Little Western Man," 
Who is going into Richmond from the bloody Rapidan. 



THE BLUE AND THE GRAY 

Francis Miles Finch 

Suggestions: The speaker should recite this poem solemnly and slowly; 
he may seem to be recalling and visualizing for himself rather than for his 
audience. 

By the flow of the inland river, 

Whence the fleets of iron have fled, 
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver, 
Asleep are the ranks of the dead: — 



134 PLATFORM PIECES 

Under the sod and the dew, 
Waiting the Judgment Day: — 

Under the one, the Blue; 
Under the other, the Gray. 

These in the robings of glory, 

Those in the gloom of defeat, 
All with the battle-blood gory, 
In the dusk of eternity meet: — 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Under the laurel, the Blue; 
Under the willow, the Gray. 

From the silence of sorrowful hours 

The desolate mourners go, 
Lovingly laden with flowers, 
Alike for the friend and foe: — 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Under the roses, the Blue; 
Under the lilies, the Gray. 

So, with an equal splendor 

The morning sun-rays fall, 
With a touch impartially tender 
On the blossoms blooming for all: — 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Broidered with gold, the Blue; 
Mellowed with gold, the Gray. 

So, when the summer calleth, 
On forest and field of grain, 

With an equal murmur falleth 
The cooling drip of the rain: — 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 135 

Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Wet with the rain, the Blue: — 

Wet with the rain, the Gray. 

Sadly, but not with upbraiding 
The generous deed was done. 
In the storms of the years that are fading 
No braver battle was won: — 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Under the blossoms, the Blue; 
Under the garlands, the Gray. 

No more shall the war-cry sever, 

Or the winding rivers be red: 
They banish our anger forever 
When they laurel the graves of our dead! 
Under the sod and the dew, 

Waiting the Judgment Day: — 
Love and tears for the Blue; 
Tears and love for the Gray. 



THE DEATH OF LINCOLN 

Elihu Burritt 

Suggestions: The speaker should address this piece of oratory directly 
to the audience, as if it were all his own thought. 

President Lincoln's was a great life; but his death was 
greater still, — the greatest, perhaps, that has moved the 
world for a thousand years. When he stood with his tender 
arms around the North and South, holding them to his heart, 
that both might soften theirs at his spirit, his life work was 
done. Then began the sublime mission of his death. 



136 PLATFORM PIECES 

While those sunken eyes were shining with the gladness of 
his soul at the glimpse given him, as to Moses on Pisgah's top, 
of the Canaan side of his country's future, in a moment their 
light was quenched forever on earth. An assassin pierced his 
brain as with a bolt of lightning and he fell; and great was 
the fall of that single man. With him fell a million enemies of 
his cause and country, at home and abroad. 

If the last act of his life was to close the rift in a continent, 
the first act of his death was to close the chasm between two 
hemispheres. Never before was England brought so close to 
this country. In the great overflow of her sympathy the 
mother country was flooded and tided towards her first-born 
daughter, weeping at the bier of the great departed; and she 
bent over the mourner with words of tender condolence. 

Blood is thicker than water; and the latent instincts of 
nature came forth in generous speech and sentiment towards a 
sorrowing nation. 



LINCOLN: THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE 
Edwin Markham 

Suggestions: In some way the speaker must indicate that these words 
apply to Lincoln. He should give this poem in a rich voice and in slow 
tempo. 

. . . He was a man that matched the mountains and compelled 

The stars to look our way and honor us. . . . 

His was the rectitude and patience of the rocks; 

The gladness of the wind that shakes the cord; 

The courage of the bird that dares the sea; 

The justice of the rain that loves all leaves; 

The pity of the snow that hides all scars; 

The lovingkindness of the wayside well; 

The tolerance and equity of light. . . . 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 137 

It was a stuff to wear for centuries. 

And so he came. 
From prairie-cabin up to Capitol, 
One fair ideal led our chieftain on. 
Forevermore he turned to do his deed 
With the fine stroke and gesture of a king. 
He built the rail-pile as he built the state, 
Pouring his splendid strength through every blow, 
The conscience of him testing every stroke 
To make his deed the measure of a man. 

So came the Captain with the mighty heart; 
And when the step of earthquake shook the house, 
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient hold, 
He held the ridgepole up and spiked again 
The rafters of the home. He held his place, 
Held the long purpose like a growing tree, 
Held on through blame and faltered not at praise, 
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down 
As when a kingly cedar green with boughs 
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills, 
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky. 



THE RETURN OF REGULUS 

Elijah Kellogg 

Suggestions: This selection includes description, narrative, impersona- 
tion, and oratory. 

The palaces and domes of Carthage were burning with the 
splendors of noon, and the blue waves of her harbor were 
rolling and gleaming in the sunlight. An attentive ear could 
catch a low murmur, sounding from the center of the city, 
which seemed like the moaning of the wind before a tempest. 
And well it might. The whole people of Carthage, startled, 



138 PLATFORM PIECES 

were pouring, a mighty tide, into the great square before the 
Senate House. There were mothers in that throng, whose 
captive sons were groaning in Roman fetters; maidens whose 
lovers were dying in the distant dungeons of Rome; gray- 
haired men and matrons whom Roman steel had made child- 
less; . . . and with wild voices, cursing and groaning, the vast 
throng gave vent to the rage, the hate, the anguish of long 
years. 

Calm and unmoved as the marble around him, stood 
Regulus, the Roman! He stretched his arm over the surging 
crowd with a gesture as proudly imperious as though he stood 
at the head of his own gleaming cohorts. Before that silent 
command the tumult ceased — the half-uttered execration 
died upon the lips — so intense was the silence that the clank 
of the captive's brazen manacles smote sharp on every ear, 
as he thus addressed them: 

"Ye doubtless thought, judging of Roman virtue by your 
own, that I would break my plighted faith, rather than by 
returning, and leaving your sons and brothers to rot in Roman 
dungeons, to meet your vengeance. ... If the bright blood 
which feeds my heart were like the slimy ooze that stagnates 
in your veins, I should have remained at Rome, saved my 
life and broken my oath. If, then, you ask why I have come 
back, to let you work your will on this poor body which I 
esteem but as the rags that cover it, — enough reply for you, 
it is because I am a Roman! 

"Venerable senators, with trembling voices and outstretched 
hands, besought me to return no more to Carthage. The 
voice of a beloved mother, — her withered hands beating her 
breast, her gray hairs streaming in the wind, tears flowing 
down her furrowed cheeks — praying me not to leave her in 
her lonely and helpless old age, is still sounding in my ears. 
Compared to anguish like this, the paltry torments you have 
in store is as the murmur of the meadow brook to the wild 
tumult of the mountain storm. Go! bring your threatened 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 139 

tortures! The woes I see impending over this fated city will 
be enough to sweeten death, though every nerve should tingle 
with its agony! I die — but mine shall be the triumph; 
yours the untold desolation." 



PATRIOTISM 

Hannah More 

Suggestions: This selection should be preceded by an explanation that 
it is a speech taken from a play. To give the proper atmosphere, the 
speaker may say that Marcus Atilius Regulus was a favorite hero of the 
Roman writers, that he led a force against Carthage and, although at first 
successful, was finally defeated and captured, 255 B.C. After five years 
of captivity he was sent to Rome with the Carthaginian envoys. Al- 
though his own safety depended upon peace, he urged the Roman Senate 
not to grant terms of peace to Carthage. This is a portion of his speech 
to the Romans. 

Our country is a whole, my Publius, 

Of which we all are parts; nor should a citizen 

Regard his interest as distinct from hers; 

No hopes or fears should touch his patriot soul, 

But what affects her honor or her shame. 

E'en when in hostile fields he bleeds to save her, 

'Tis not his blood he loses, 'tis his country's; 

He only pays her back a debt he owes. 

To her he's bound for birth and education, 

Her laws secure him from domestic feuds, 

And from the foreign foe her arms protect him. 

She lends him honor, dignity and rank, 

His wrongs revenges, and his merit pays; 

And, like a tender and indulgent mother, 

Loads him with comforts, and would make his state 

As blessed as nature and the gods designed it. 



140 PLATFORM PIECES 

Such gifts, my son, have their alloy of pain, 

And let th' unworthy wretch, who will not bear 

His portion of the public burden, lose 

Th' advantage it yields; let him retire 

From the dear blessings of a social life, 

And from the sacred laws which guard those blessings, 

Renounce the civilized abodes of man, 

With kindred brutes one common shelter seek 

In horrid wilds, and dens and dreary caves, 

And with their shaggy tenants share the spoil; 

Or, if the savage hunters miss their prey, 

From scattered acorns pick a scanty meal; 

Far from the sweet civilities of life 

There let him live, and vaunt his wretched freedom; 

While we, obedient to the laws that guard us, 

Guard them, and live or die, as they decree. 



PERICLES TO THE PEOPLE 
Elijah Kellogg 

Suggestions: The opening words of this declamation give the correct 
atmosphere, so no other introduction is necessary. The impersonation, 
beginning in the second paragraph should be simply that of an earnest 
orator. 

Imagine yourself at Athens, among that strange people of 
feverish blood, who deify to-day the man they slaughtered 
yesterday. The voice of the herald proclaims that Pericles is 
to be arraigned before the tribunal of the people. Borne 
along by the crowd, you enter the hall of justice. Not a sword 
rattles in its scabbard; not a mailed foot rings on the marble 
floor; one deep, intense, ominous silence pervades the danger- 
ous assembly, as Pericles, rising, thus addresses them: 

"Ye men of Athens, I come not here to plead for life, though 
it be spent in exile; to entreat for a breath, though it be 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 141 

drawn in the damps of a dungeon; but to refute a vile slander. 
Cratinus accuses me of having embezzled the money raised 
for the defence of Greece, and of having expended it in adorn- 
ing the city of Athens, as a proud and vain woman decketh 
herself with jewels. 

"Have I not defended Greece while Sparta and the allies 
were reposing in comfort by their own firesides? He accuses 
me of sacrificing the lives of brave men to my vaulting ambi- 
tion, and even affects to shed tears over those who fell, in the 
flower of their youth, at Samos. 

"Sacrificing! Were they machines to move at my bidding? 
bullocks to be dragged up and offered at the altar of Mars? 
Were they Persian mercenaries, to be driven with whips to the 
conflict? or were they patriots defending their firesides, and I 
their elder brother? They were the descendants of those who 
fell at Marathon, — men whose youthful locks had been 
worn off by the helmet, and whose fingers grew to the sword- 
hilt. 

"One day, as we were making forced marches across the 
isthmus in pursuit of the Lacedaemonians, a woman, following 
the camp as a sutler, with a child at her breast, fell and 
expired from fatigue. A soldier raised his spear to dispatch 
the infant. Moved with compassion, I struck down his 
weapon, for I thought of my own little ones at home, whose 
kisses were scarcely yet cold on my lips, and, even in the 
confusion of pursuit, provided him with a nurse. 

"On my return, he accompanied me, grew up with my 
children, fed at my table, slept in my tent, and fought behind 
my shield. As a reward for fife, education, and a thousand 
anxious cares incurred, he has now, by false accusation, 
summoned me to the tribunal of my country, to plead for that 
life which has ever been held cheap in her service. What 
shall be done with such a wretch? I hear you exclaim, — 
'Send for the executioner! Burn him to ashes! Fling him 
from the Acropolis!' 



142 PLATFORM PIECES 

"Thou small thing, I will not hurt thee; for, in the proud 
consciousness of right, I could even pity thee. And, when 
again thou liest among the slain at Megara, thy helmet cleft, 
the lance of the enemy at thy throat, and thou with not 
strength enough to parry it, then call for Pericles, and he will 
again come to thy rescue!" 



APPEAL TO THE ROMANS 
Edward Bulwer Lytton 

Suggestions: This small bit of oratory will prove popular with the 
younger boys simply because it is short; the oratorical manner can be 
used here with good results, notwithstanding the brevity of the selection. 

Let the past perish, let darkness shroud it, let it sleep 
forever over the crumbling temples and desolate tombs of its 
forgotten sons, if it cannot afford us, from its disgraved secrets, 
a guide for the present and the future. 

It is nothing to know what we have been, unless it is with 
a desire of knowing what we ought to be. Our ancestors are 
mere dust and ashes save when they speak to our posterity; 
and then their voices resound not from the earth below, but 
from the heaven above. There is an eloquence in memory 
because it is the nurse of hope. There is a sanctity in the 
past, but only because of the chronicles it retains, chronicles 
of the progress of mankind, stepping-stones in civilization, in 
liberty, and in knowledge. 

Our fathers forbid us to recede; they teach us what is our 
rightful heritage; they bid us reclaim, they bid us augment 
that heritage, preserve their virtues, and avoid their errors. 
These are the true uses of the past. Like some sacred edifice 
it is a tomb upon which to rear a temple. 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 143 

VICTOR HUGO 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This bit of biography should be delivered directly to the 
audience as quiet narrative. 

In 1 81 7 a young boy received a mention at the French 
Academy for the prize in poetry. Soumet said: "This young 
boy has given new hopes to our literature." The great Cha- 
teaubriand said: "This boy has written things that no poet 
of the time could have written." But the honors of the 
Academy and the praise of Soumet and Chateaubriand, 
though they might have contented any other boy in France, 
could not satisfy Victor Hugo's ambition. He had marked 
out for himself a career more glorious than Bossuet's and more 
enduring than Voltaire's. 

Poetry claimed his attention almost from childhood. In it 
his political opinions found expression. These were an echo of 
Voltaire's; the throne without the altar. The beautiful boy, 
wrapped up in his devotion to the royalism of Voltaire, never 
dreamed that one day he should emancipate fiction, revolu- 
tionize the drama, and fill France with republican ideas 
destined to overthrow a throne and dynasty. 

At twenty-three, regenerated in religion and politics, resolute 
in purpose and sanguine of success, Victor Hugo began his 
great mission. He published his novel "Han d'lslande," and 
French literature was liberated from the thraldom of Aristotle. 
He wrote "Cromwell," and the independence of the theatre 
was achieved. "Marion de Lorme" had only to appear, and 
royalty stood before the world humiliated. The suppression 
of this play by the government only rendered his next more 
popular. "Hernani" was the last of a series of steps up 
which France was climbing to the revolution of '30. 

In the events of '48 the dream of his lifetime was almost 
realized. Out of the chaos and ruin of revolution arose the 



144 PLATFORM PIECES 

Republic, grand and symmetrical. But this could not long 
remain. Bonaparte had come from Switzerland; and what 
could withstand the magic of his name or the ascendency of 
his genius? The nephew of the Corsican ascends the throne 
of the Empire, and the barricade of the Faubourg St. Antoine 
becomes for Hugo the "barricade of the exile." 

Years rolled by. The "old man of Guernsey" had almost 
relinquished his dream. Suddenly from his sea-girt home he 
hears the tramp of Prussian soldiery, and catches the gleam 
of French bayonets. The fall of the shattered Empire snaps 
the bonds of the exile; and once more a freeman, Victor 
Hugo sets his foot on the soil of republican France. 

Whatever progress France has made is due to ideas of 
which Victor Hugo was a brilliant advocate; but his name in 
the political history of his country is — Dreamer. He believed 
in the Republic; but it was an ideal Republic — an impossible 
Republic, without ignorance, without vice, universal in limit, 
unrestrained in liberty. 

As a writer Victor Hugo has won his title to the world's 
remembrance. He must ever stand among the great poets 
and novelists of France. Though we may not share his 
fancies, let us ever regard with gratitude him whose trials and 
triumphs will live forever in "Les Miserables." 



THREE DAYS IN THE LIFE OF COLUMBUS 
J. F. Casimir Delavigne 

Suggestions: This descriptive poem includes some impersonation. The 
speaker should suggest quiet determination when Columbus speaks, but 
assume roughness in voice and manner for the sailors. 

On the deck stood Columbus: the ocean's expanse, 
Untried and unlimited, swept by his glance. 
"Back to Spain!" cry his men; "put the vessel about! 
We venture no farther through danger and doubt." 



HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL SELECTIONS 145 

"Three days, and I give you a world! " he replied; 

"Bear up, my brave comrades; — three days shall decide." 

He sails, — but no token of land is in sight; 

He sails, — but the day shows no more than the night, 

On, onward he sails, while in vain o'er the lee 

The lead is plunged down through a fathomless sea. 

The pilot, in silence, leans mournfully o'er 

The rudder, which creaks 'mid the billowy roar; 

He hears the hoarse moan of the spray-driving blast, 

And its funeral wail through the shrouds of the mast; 

The stars of far Europe have sunk in the skies, 

And the great Southern Cross meets his terrified eyes. 

But at length the slow dawn, softly streaking the night, 

Illumes the blue vault with its faint crimson light. 

"Columbus! 'tis day, and the darkness is o'er." 

"Day! and what dost thou see?" " Sky and ocean. No morel" 

The second day's past, and Columbus is sleeping, 

While Mutiny near him its vigil is keeping. 

"Shall he perish?" "Ay! death!" is the barbarous cry; 

"He must triumph to-morrow, or, perjured, must die!" 

Ungrateful and blind! shall the world-linking sea 

He traced for the Future his sepulcher be? 

Shall that sea, on the morrow, with pitiless waves, 

Fling his corse on that shore which his patient eye craves? 

The corse of an humble adventurer then; 

One day later, — Columbus, the first among men! 

But hush! he is dreaming! A veil on the main, 

At the distant horizon, is parted in twain, 

And now on his dreaming eye — rapturous sight! 

Fresh bursts the New World from the darkness of night! 

O vision of glory, how dazzling it seems! 

How glistens the verdure! how sparkle the streams! 



i 4 6 PLATFORM PIECES 

How blue the far mountains! how glad the green isles! 
And the earth and the ocean, how dimpled with smiles! 
"Joy! joy!" cries Columbus, "this region is mine!" 
Ah! not e'en its name, wondrous dreamer, is thine! 

At length o'er Columbus slow consciousness breaks, — 

"Land! land!" cry the sailors; "land! land!" — he awakes, 

He runs, — yes! behold it! it blesseth his sight, — 

The land! O dear spectacle! transport! delight! 

O generous sobs, which he cannot restrain! 

What will Ferdinand say? and the Future? and Spain? 

He will lay this fair land at the foot of the throne, — 

His king will repay all the ills he has known! 

In exchange for a world what are honors and gains? 

Or a crown? But how is he rewarded? — with chains! 



V. — NATURE SELECTIONS 

THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL 

James Russell Lowell 

Suggestions: The first twelve lines of this selection are to be given as a 
thoughtful soliloquy. When the theme "What is so rare" is reached, 
however, the speaker should describe the scenes with joyous appreciation. 

Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us; 

The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in, 

The priest hath his fee who comes and shrives us, 

We bargain for the graves we lie in; 

At the devil's booth are all things sold, 

Each ounce in dross costs its ounce in gold; 

For a cap and bells our lives we pay, 

Bubbles we buy for a whole soul's tasking: 

'Tis heaven alone that is given away: 

'Tis only God may be had for the asking; 

No price is set on the lavish summer; 

June may be had by the poorest comer. 

And what is so rare as a day in June? 
Then, if ever, come perfect days; 
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, 
And over it softly her warm ear lays; 
Whether we look or whether we listen, 
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten; 
Every clod feels a stir of might, 
An instinct within it that reaches and towers, 
And, groping blindly above it for light, 
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers; 
147 



148 PLATFORM PIECES 

The flush of life may well be seen 

Thrilling back over hills and valleys; 

The cowslip startles in meadows green, 

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, 

And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean 

To be some happy creature's palace; 

The little bird sits at his door in the sun, 

Atilt, like a blossom, among the leaves, 

And lets his illumined being o'errun 

With the deluge of summer it receives; 

His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, 

And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings; 

He sings to the wide world and she to her nest, — 

In the nice ear of Nature, which song is the best? 



THE SANDPIPER 1 

Celia Thaxter 

Suggestions: The speaker should re-live the walking upon the beach, 
seeing the sandpiper, and the developing of these thoughts, as he recites 
the following poem. 

Across the narrow beach we flit, 

One little sandpiper and I, 
And fast I gather, bit by bit, 

The scattered driftwood bleached and dry. 
The wild waves reach their hands for it, 

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high, 
As up and down the beach we flit, — 

One little sandpiper and I. 

Above our heads the sullen clouds 
Scud black and swift across the sky; 

1 Used by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company, 
publishers and owners of the copyright. 



NATURE SELECTIONS 149 

Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds 

Stand out the white lighthouses high. 
Almost as far as eye can reach 

I see the close-reefed vessels fly, 
As fast we flit along the beach, — 

One little sandpiper and I. 

I watch him as he skims along 

Uttering his sweet and mournful cry; 
He starts not at my fitful song, 

Or flash of fluttering drapery. 
He has no thought of any wrong; 

He scans me with a fearless eye. 
Staunch friends are we, well tried and strong, 

The little sandpiper and I. 

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night, 

When the loosed storm breaks furiously? 
My driftwood fire will burn so bright; 

To what warm shelter canst thou fly? 
I do not fear for thee, though wroth 

The tempest rushes through the sky; 
For are we not God's children both, 

Thou, little sandpiper, and I. 



THE OLD GRAY SQUIRREL 1 

Alfred Noyes 
Suggestions: This simple narrative should be given very quietly. 

A great while ago, there was a schoolboy; 

He lived in a cottage by the sea. 
And the very first thing he could remember 

Was the rigging of the schooners by the quay. 
1 From the "Literary Digest," November 20, 1915. 



150 PLATFORM PIECES 

He could watch them, when he woke, from his window, 
With the tall cranes hoisting out the freight. 

And he used to think of shipping as a sea-cook, 
And sailing to the Golden Gate. 

For he used to buy the yellow penny dreadfuls, 
And read them where he fished for conger-eels, 

And listened to the lapping of the water 
The green and oily water round the keels. 

There were trawlers with their shark-mouthed flat-fish, 

And red nets hanging out to dry, 
And the skate the skipper kept because he liked 'em, 

And landsmen never knew the fish to fry. 

There were brigantines with timber out of Norroway, 

Oozing with the sirups of the pine. 
There were rusty dusty schooners out of Sunderland, 

And ships of the Blue Cross line. 

And to tumble down a hatch into the cabin 
Was better than the best of broken rules; 

For the smell of 'em was like a Christmas dinner, 
And the feel of 'em was like a box of tools. 

And, before he went to sleep in the evening, 

The very last thing that he could see 
Was the sailor-men a-dancing in the moonlight 

By the capstan that stood upon the quay. 

He is perched upon a high stool in London. 

The Golden Gate is very far away. 
They caught him, and they caged him, like a squirrel, 

He is totting up accounts, and going gray. 



NATURE SELECTIONS 151 



He will never, never, never sail to 'Frisco. 

But the very last thing that he will see 
Will be sailor-men a-dancing in the sunrise 

By the capstan that stands upon the quay. 

To the tune of an old concertina, 
By the capstan that stands upon the quay. 



THE WEED'S COUNSEL 1 

Bliss Carman 

Suggestions: The speaker should give the first paragraph very simply; 
he should impersonate the weed by using a wee, small voice and by looking 
up, apparently from the ground, in response to the traveler. 

Said a traveler on the way, 
Pausing, "What hast thou to say, 
Flower by the dusty road, 
That would ease a mortal's load?" 

"Traveler, harken unto me! 
I will tell thee how to see 
Beauties in the earth and sky 
Hidden from the careless eye. 
I will tell thee how to hear 
Nature's music wild and clear — 
Songs of morning and of dark 
Such as many never mark, 
Lyrics of creation sung 
Ever since the world was young. 

"And thereafter thou shalt know 
Neither weariness nor woe. 

1 Used by permission of the author. 



152 PLATFORM PIECES 

"Thou shalt see the dawn unfold 
Magic of sheer rose and gold, 
And the sunbeams on the sea 
Dancing with the wind for glee. 
The red lilies of the moors 
Shall be torches by thy doors, 
Where the field lark lifts his cry 
To rejoice the passer-by, 
In a wide world rimmed with blue 
Lovely as when time was new. 

"And thereafter thou shalt fare, 
Light of foot and free from care. 

"I will teach thee how to find 
Lost enchantments of the mind 
All about thee, never guessed 
By indifferent unrest. 
Thy distracted thought shall learn 
Patience from the roadside fern, 
And a sweet philosophy 
From the flowering locust tree, 
When green-mantled spring shall come 
Past thy door with flute and drum, 
And when over wood and swamp 
Autumn trails her scarlet pomp, 
No misgiving thou shalt know, 
Passing glad to rise and go. 

"So thy days shall be unrolled 
Like a wondrous cloth of gold. 

"When gray twilight with her star 
Makes a heaven that is not far, 
Touched with shadows and with dreams, 
Thou shalt hear the woodland streams, 



NATURE SELECTIONS 153 

Singing through the starry night 
Holy anthems of delight. 
So the ecstasy of earth 
Shall refresh thee as at birth, 
And thou shalt arise each morn 
Radiant with a soul reborn. 

"And this wisdom of a day 
None shall ever take away. 

"What the secret, what the clew, 

The wayfarer must pursue? 

Only one thing he must have 

Who would share these transports brave: 

Love within his heart must dwell 

Like a bubbling roadside well, 

Like a spring to quicken thought, 

Else my counsel comes to naught. 

For, without that primal trust, 

We are less than roadside dust. 

"This, O traveler, is the creed 
And the wisdom of the weed!" 

But the traveler's eyes afar 
Sought where lost horizons are, 
Lighted by an inward gleam 
And the splendor of a dream. 



154 PLATFORM PIECES 

TO A WATER-FOWL 1 
William Cullen Bryant 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this selection slowly and reflec- 
tively, as if talking to himself, with great reverence in his quiet delivery 
and with no reference to his audience, seeming rather to be out in the 
open watching the flight of the water-fowl at the very moment of speaking. 

Whither, 'midst falling dew, 

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, 
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue 

Thy solitary way? 

Vainly the fowler's eye 

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, 
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky, 

Thy figure floats along. 

Seek'st thou the plashy brink 

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, 
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink 

On the chafed ocean side? 

There is a Power whose care 

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, 
The desert and illimitable air, 

Lone wandering, but not lost. 

All day thy wings have fanned, 

At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere, 
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, 

Though the dark night is near. 

1 From the authorized edition of Bryant's works, published by Hough- 
ton Mifflin Company. 






NATURE SELECTIONS 155 

And soon that toil shall end; 

Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, 
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, 

Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest. 

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven 

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart 
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, 

And shall not soon depart. 

He who, from zone to zone, 

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 
In the long way that I must tread alone 

Will lead my steps aright. 



A FANCY FROM FONTANELLE 
Austin Dobson 

Suggestions: The speaker should impersonate the rose from the start 
and throughout this poem, even during descriptive lines, making the 
rose's self-love and self-assurance most apparent. He should pause after 
"but" at the beginning of the third stanza, and recite in a sad tone and 
manner the death of the rose. The speaker should change this manner 
completely before giving the last two lines of the poem and in voice and 
manner express joy, when he says "for the Rose is — Beauty," and 
solemnity, when he says "and the Gardener — Time." 

A rose in the garden slipped her bud! 
And she laughed in the pride of her youthful blood 
As she thought of the Gardener standing by, 
"He is old, so old and he soon will die!" 

The full rose waxed in the warm June air, 
And she spread and spread till her breast lay bare! 
And she laughed once more as she heard his tread: 
"He is older now, he will soon be dead!" 



156 PLATFORM PIECES 

But the breeze of the morning blew, and found 
That the leaves of the blown rose strewed the ground: 
And he came at noon, that Gardener old, 
And raked them gently under the mold. 

And I wove the thing to a random rhyme, 

For the Rose is — Beauty, and the Gardener — Time! 



THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS 1 

Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Suggestions: This is a difficult poem, especially for young students. 
The speaker must seem to be alone, apostrophizing the shell which he is 
holding. To avoid stiffness in posture both hands may sometimes be 
used, as if fingering the shell which lies in the up-turned palm. Except 
in the last stanza, the thought should be addressed to the nautilus. 
The last stanza is a soliloquy with all the fervor of prayer. 

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, 

Sails the unshadowed main, — 

The venturous bark that flings 
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings 
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings, 

And coral reefs lie bare, 
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair. 

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl; 

Wrecked is the ship of pearl! 

And every chambered cell, 
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell, 
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell, 

Before thee lies revealed, — 
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed! 

1 From the authorized edition of Holmes's works, published by Hough- 
ton Mifflin Company. 



NATURE SELECTIONS 157 

Year after year beheld the silent toil 

That spread his lustrous coil; 

Still, as the spiral grew, 
He left the past year's dwelling for the new, 
Stole with soft step its shining archway through, 

Built up its idle door, 
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more. 

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee, 

Child of the wandering sea, 

Cast from her lap, forlorn! 
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born 
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn! 

While on mine ear it rings, 
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings: — 

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, 

As the swift seasons roll! 

Leave thy low- vaulted past! 
Let each new temple, nobler than the last, 
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, 

Till thou at length art free, 
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea! 



EACH IN HIS OWN TONGUE 

William Herbert Carruth 

Suggestions: The speaker should give the first stanza of this poem with 
but little expression and no gesture until, with the words "a face turned 
from the clod," the body seems to wake into life. The word "God" 
should be delivered with subdued reverence in all cases and the eye 
glancing upward. The speaker should visualize the picture in the second 
and third stanzas and, in the fourth, plunge at once into a rugged style 
of expression. 

A fire-mist and a planet — 

A crystal and a cell — 



158 PLATFORM PIECES 

A jelly-fish and a saurian, 

And caves where the cave-men dwell; 

Then a sense of law and beauty, 

And a face turned from the clod; 

Some call it evolution, 

And others call it God. 

A haze on the far horizon, 
The infinite, tender sky, 
The ripe, rich tint of the corn-fields, 
And the wild geese sailing high — 
And all over upland and lowland 
The charm of the goldenrod — 
Some of us call it Autumn, 
And others call it God. 

Like tides on a crescent seabeach 
When the moon is new and thin, 
Into our hearts high yearnings 
Come welling and surging in — 
Come from the mystic ocean, 
Whose rim no foot has trod — 
Some of us call it longing, 
And others call it God. 

A picket frozen on duty — 

A mother starved for her brood — 

Socrates drinking the hemlock, 

And Jesus on the rood; 

And millions who, humble and nameless, 

The straight hard pathway plod — 

Some call it Consecration, 

And others call it God. 



VI. — ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 

LET IN THE LIGHT 

Arthur Jones 

Suggestions: This selection is for the most part conversationally 
simple and direct, but has touches of oratorical fervor. 

"When London became lighted with gas, half the work for 
the prevention of crime was accomplished." 

Light is the natural enemy of all evil. All badness hides 
from it, not only because it lies revealed before it, but because 
there is something about the heavenly purity of light that 
brings a blush to the most brazen-faced of impurities. It is 
like the steady gaze of an honest eye. Diogenes was a greater 
philosopher than we sometimes think; for he carried his 
lantern, not so much to reveal faces, as to test them. 

The power of darkness, at the most, is only negative. It 
exists simply by the absence of light. There can be no such 
thing as a struggle between light and darkness! Let in the 
light and the darkness is gone. Therefore, any worthy cause, 
any real reform, any truth, can safely bide its time after the 
light has been thrown upon the evil to be remedied. If the 
portals of darkness are only open sufficiently to let in a single 
ray of light, we need never fear the result; for that golden 
lever will tear the massive doors from their hinges at last; 
only give it time. 

It is a deed that would adorn the brightest life, to put 
another window in some dark tenement room, or lead a troop 
of street vagabonds out into God's pure light, into the green 
fields, among the sweet flowers. Much more is it, to have 
illumined some dark mind with the light of education, or some 

iS9 



160 PLATFORM PIECES 

dark soul with the light which shineth more and more unto the 
perfect day. But how can we illumine the lives of others if 
our own be dark? The geranium in your south window, that 
you have to turn so often because it will bend towards the 
sun, is silently teaching the grandest of all lessons. Fill your 
whole being with light: the light which alone shineth in the 
darkness of the valley of death. The life of Goethe was 
flooded with intellectual light; but he despised this, and 
when the gloom of the mysterious valley was gathering around 
him that great mind broke forth with the pitiful cry: "More 
light!" 

LOVE OF KNOWLEDGE 

Sydney Smith 

Suggestions: Since much of this declamation is colloquial, it should 
be given with great earnestness, directly to the audience. 

While I am descanting so minutely upon the conduct of the 
understanding and the best modes of acquiring knowledge, 
some men may be disposed to ask: "Why conduct my under- 
standing with so much care? and what is the use of so much 
knowledge?" What is the use of so much life? What are we 
to do with the seventy years allotted to us? and how are we 
to live them out to the last? I solemnly declare that, but for 
the love of knowledge, I should consider the life of the meanest 
hedger and ditcher as preferable to that of the greatest and 
wisest man here present; for the fire of our minds is like the 
fire which the Persians burn in the mountains; it flames night 
and day, and is immortal, not to be quenched. Upon some- 
thing it must act and feed; upon the pure spirit of knowledge 
or upon the foul dregs of polluting passions. 

Therefore, when I say, in conducting your understanding, 
love knowledge with a great love, with a vehement love, with 
a love coeval with life, what do I say but, love innocence, love 
virtue, love purity of conduct, love that which, if you are 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 161 

rich and great, will sanctify the blind fortune that has made 
you so and make men call it justice — love that which, if you 
are poor, will make your poverty respectable and make the 
proudest feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your 
fortunes; what do I say but, love that which will comfort 
you, adorn you, and never quit you, which will open to you 
the kingdom of thought and all the boundless regions of con- 
ception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice, and 
the pain that may be your lot in the outer world, that which 
will make your motives great and honorable, and light up in 
an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of 
meanness and of fraud? 

Therefore, if any young man has embarked his life in pursuit 
of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the 
event; let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings 
of knowledge, by the darkness from which she springs, by the 
difficulties which hover around her, by the want and sorrow 
which sometimes journey in her train; but let him ever follow 
her as the angel that guards him, as the genius of his life. 
She will bring him out at last into the light of day, and exhibit 
him to the world, comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in 
resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent 
and powerful above his fellows in all the relations and in all 
the offices of life. 



THE POWER OF FEELING OVER INTELLECT 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should begin this selection by talking to the 
audience as if to an individual friend, but, as the theme develops, he 
should grow more and more earnest. 

The connection between intellect and feeling is one of the 
untraceable mysteries of man's nature. How they act upon 
each other; how they combine to inspire thought and action, 



162 PLATFORM PIECES 

human life but dimly reveals. We know, however, that there 
is this subtle union, and that when the mind is clear and 
strong, and the emotions deep and intense, it forms what the 
world calls genius. 

Intellect, untouched by feeling, is cold, colorless, without 
beauty, without real power. It may solve a mathematical 
problem: it cannot conceive a poem; it may, with unerring 
vision, draw through hill, and over river and ravine, an air-line 
railway: it can lay no track in air on which the fancy of man 
can rise to highest thoughts and holiest loves. 

Feeling prompts every flash of fancy, every strong flight of 
imagination. Love, hate, joy, sorrow, are the four jets of 
flame that illumine the intellect. Everything in literature, 
tender in affection, grand in tragedy — everything deathless in 
art, bears the touch — the impress of a passion. 

How can a man describe a landscape, whose heart does not 
guide his eye and his hand? The poet portrays what he sees 
only. If the scene before him is but a blending of beautiful 
colors — forest, green pasture, grain field and meadow, the 
sketch he will make will be passionless and lifeless. But to a 
Bryant, "who, in the love of nature, holds communion with 
her visible forms," a landscape is an infinity of beauty, purity 
and delight. It is a memory, a dream, an ecstasy, an en- 
chanting poem. The passion of human life suffuses it — joys, 
tears, struggles; and over all reigns a divine tranquillity. 
The poet who thus sees and thus worships, will write a descrip- 
tion that will live forever. What is the inspiration of genius in 
the orator? Is it vast learning? Is it classical culture? The 
orator's province is to persuade, to win, to conquer. How 
shall he stir emotions in the bosom of others unless they well 
up in his own? . . . 

Look at the writer of tragedy at his work. He is following 
from its beginnings the serpentine course of unscrupulous am- 
bition! he is watching the development of restless, vengeful, 
jealousy — delineating the wild delirium of murder, painting 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 163 

the black despair of remorse! Yet in all this there is no 
reality, no copying of a life without. In his own heart the 
writer traces the course of passion, feels the mad tumult of 
murder, and the fierce, burning agony of memory. 

And so through all the realm of genius. Great writers, 
painters, sculptors, bow before their ideals — true worshipers. 
Dickens shed the first tears for Little Nell; Raphael's soul 
lightened under the face of his Madonna before the outlines 
even were upon canvas, and Powers saw and loved his Greek 
slave with rapt devotion, while it yet slumbered hidden in 
the marble. Thus does the intellect dream and conceive under 
the light feeling flings upon it. Sometimes it is a wild, lurid 
glare, sometimes a mellow, peaceful glow, and sometimes a 
bright, dazzling splendor. But whatever it is, it is the light 
that attracts, that fascinates, that shines immortally. 



OPINIONS STRONGER THAN ARMIES 

L. A. OSTRANDER 

Suggestions: This short, strong declamation, which has finely con- 
trasted emotions, is best given by a boy. He should use stress and a 
harsh tone for the ideas of strength and valor, and a softer tone for the 
gentler ideas. 

Armies are red swords and brute force; opinions are scepters 
of peace and intellectual power. Armies are war chariots; 
opinions are locomotives. Armies are despotism, barbarism, 
darkness; opinions are republics, civilization, light. Armies 
conquer by crushing; opinions conquer by convincing. The 
power of armies is the power of the whirlwind, fearful, all- 
destructive; the power of opinions is the power of the sun- 
beam, gentle, all-preserving. Armies are weaker than the laws 
which control them — weaker than the despots who use them; 
opinions are stronger than all laws, creating or abolishing 
them at pleasure; stronger than all despots, hurling them 
from their throne. Armies are the towers of strength which 



164 PLATFORM PIECES 

men have built; opinions are the surging waves of the ocean 
which God has made, beating against those towers and crum- 
bling them to dust. 

The dim light of the past reveals to us the forms of gigantic 
empires whose mighty armies seem omnipotent. A halo of 
martial glory surrounds them; then fades away; their marble 
thrones crumble; their iron limbs are broken; their proud 
navies are sunk. To-day history, dipping its pencil in sun- 
light, records the sublime triumphs of opinions. The sword 
rounds the periods of the pen; the ballot wings the bullet; 
schoolhouses accompany cannon balls; and principles bombard 
forts and thunder from iron-clads. Glorious is the morning 
dawn! Science fringes the lands of darkness with a border of 
light; and the sun of Christianity, glowing along the Eastern 
waters, arches the bow of promise above the golden Western 
hills. 

God grant that it may be no delusive dream; that the rays 
of light, gleaming along the horizon, may be but the morning 
glory of an effulgent millennial day; that America shall con- 
quer the world with ideas; that senates shall become earth's 
battlefields; that new constellations composed of brightest 
stars shall emblazon the victories of liberty; that science and 
religion, powerful as the laws of gravitation, shall bind to- 
gether the nations in one brotherhood; that our banner shall 
float for evermore the proud standard of enlightened opinions. 



THE NATURE OF TRUE ELOQUENCE 
Daniel Webster 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this selection as if firmly con- 
vinced that he is right, and as if it were an argument, replying to some 
assertion made by those listening to him. 

True eloquence does not consist in speech. It cannot be 
brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for it, but 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 165 

they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may be marshaled 
in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must exist in 
the man, in the subject, and in the occasion. Affected passion, 
intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire 
after it — they cannot reach it. It comes — if it come at all 
— like the outbreaking of a fountain from the earth, or the 
bursting forth of volcanic fires with spontaneous, original, 
native force. The graces taught in the schools, the costly 
ornaments and studied contrivances of speech, shock and 
disgust men when their own lives and the fate of their wives, 
their children, and their country hang on the decision of the 
hour. Then words have lost their power, rhetoric is vain, and 
all elaborate oratory contemptible. Even genius itself then 
feels rebuked and subdued, as in the presence of higher 
qualities. Then patriotism is eloquent; then self-devotion is 
eloquent. The clear conception, outrunning the deductions of 
logic, the high purpose, the firm resolve, the dauntless spirit, 
speaking on the tongue, beaming from the eye, informing 
every feature and urging the whole man onward, right onward, 
to his object — this, this is eloquence; or rather, it is some- 
thing greater and higher than all eloquence; it is action, noble, 
sublime Godlike action. 



THE NEW PATRIOTISM 

Richard Watson Gilder 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this bit of oratory with great 
earnestness, directly to his audience. 

What seems to be the most needed patriotism in our day 
and country? In the first place, we ought as a nation to 
cultivate peace with all other nations. This was good pa- 
triotism in the days of George Washington; it ought to be 
good patriotism in our day. The new patriotism, therefore, 
aims at a condition of peace with all the world; it believes 



1 66 PLATFORM PIECES 

that Christianity is mocked by the spectacle of Christian 
nations in arms against each other. It believes that if America 
is ever to lift the sword against a foreign foe, it must not only 
be in a righteous cause, but with a pure heart; that he who 
takes up his sword to enforce his will upon another must see 
that his own will is right and that his own hands are clean. 

But the new patriotism has other duties than those of 
armed conflict; duties less splendid, but no less onerous, and 
requiring no less bravery; requiring bravery of a rarer order 
than that which shone upon a hundred battlefields of our 
civil war. The roll of cowards among those who wore either 
the blue or gray is insignificant indeed. And there was scarce 
a single act of treachery among the combatants on either side. 
Yes, most men will march for country and honor's sake 
straight into the jaws of death. 

But how many men in our day, when put to the test of 
civic courage, have we beheld turn cowards and recreants! 
How many political careers have we seen blighted by con- 
scienceless compromise or base surrender! 

We have also seen the tremendous power of wise and dis- 
interested effort in the domain of public affairs. We have 
seen brave men do notable deeds for the betterment of our 
country and our communities. But there must be more such 
men, or the evil forces will, for a while, at least, triumph in a 
republic, whose fortunate destiny must not be weakly taken 
for granted by those who passionately love their country. 
We must have more leaders and we must have more followers 
of the right. Men who will resist civic temptation, who will 
refuse to take the easy path of compliance, and who will fight 
for honesty and purity in public affairs. 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 167 



OUR LOT AS AMERICANS 
William Henry Seward 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this piece of oratory with great 
earnestness, directly to his audience, using gestures of interrogation when- 
ever possible, and giving the closing paragraph with force. 

It was our lot to lead the way, — to take up the cross of 
Republicanism and bear it before the nations, — to fight its 
earliest battles, to enjoy its earliest triumphs, to illustrate its 
purifying and elevating virtues, and by our courage and reso- 
lution, our moderation and our magnanimity, to cheer and 
sustain its future followers through the baptism of blood and 
the martyrdom of fire. A mission so noble and benevolent 
demands a generous and self-denying enthusiasm. Our great- 
ness is to be won by kindness without ambition. We are 
in danger of losing that holy zeal. We are surrounded by 
temptations. Our dwellings become palaces, and our villages 
are transformed, as if by magic, into great cities. Fugi- 
tives from famine and oppression and the sword crowd our 
shores, and proclaim to us that we alone are free, and great, 
and happy. Our empire enlarges. The continent and its 
islands seem ready to fall within our grasp, and more than 
even fabulous wealth opens under our feet. No public virtue 
can withstand, none ever encountered, such seductions as 
these. Our own virtue and moderation must be renewed 
and fortified under circumstances so new and peculiar. 

Where shall we seek the influence adequate to a task so 
arduous as this? Shall we invoke the press and the pulpit? 
Shall we resort to executive authority? Shall we go to the 
Congress? No: all are unable as agencies to uphold or 
renovate declining virtue. Where should we go but there, 
where all Republican virtue begins and must end, to the 
domestic fireside and humble school where the American 



168 PLATFORM PIECES 

citizen is trained? Instruct him there that it will not be 
enough that he can claim for his country heroism, but that 
more than valor and more than magnificence is required of 
her. 

Go then, ye laborers in a noble cause, gather the young into 
the nursery of freedom, and teach them there, that although 
religion has many and different shrines on which may be made 
the offering of a "broken spirit,'' which God will not despise; 
yet that their country has appointed only one altar and one 
sacrifice for all her children, and that ambition and avarice 
must be slain on that altar, for it is consecrated to Humanity. 



AMERICANIZING THE FOREIGNER 

William E. Pulsifer 

Suggestions: This piece of oratory should be delivered as if talking 
earnestly to each one in the audience. 

That the importance of fully Americanizing our foreign 
population is realized by thinking people, no better evidence 
can be found than the fact that the National Conference on 
Immigration and Americanization, held in Philadelphia, pro- 
vided for special committees to formulate plans, including 
government bureaus as well as business associations. 

Would it not be of the greatest interest to every foreign- 
born citizen, who has either read or been told stories of the 
great men of the land from which he comes, to know more of 
the history of our great men? Is it not of supreme impor- 
tance, if we would influence this citizen to right thinking and 
right acting, that he should know, for example, the story of 
the life of a great American born in a log cabin, who found it 
possible under our form of government to rise from that lowly 
estate to the highest place in the nation? Would it not be a 
great inspiration for him to know, for instance, that in 1859 
a lawyer in a court of Illinois appeared in the interest of an 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 169 

Illinois railroad and asked for a continuance of a case because 
their chief witness, the engineer of the road, was not present, 
and that two years later the lawyer was the President of the 
United States and the engineer, the Commander of the Ameri- 
can Army? That one was Abraham Lincoln and the other 
George B. McClellan? Would not such a story as this show 
the foreign-born resident that we are so quickly transformed in 
this wonderful republic that we pass from the humblest posi- 
tion, from the captain and the engineer to the command of an 
army; from a country lawyer in the backwoods of Illinois to 
the President of the United States? 

Every human being who comes to our shores to cast in his 
lot with our own, must be made to see by such examples that 
the government of these United States offers opportunity to 
every man to rise to the full height of his powers, and that the 
laws under which we live protect him in every honorable effort 
he makes to climb towards better things. The lesson of this 
day [Lincoln's Birthday] will not be entirely effective if it 
does not inspire every American citizen to better living, nobler 
ideals, and greater love of country. 



THE COMING STRUGGLE 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This is a good example of pure oratory, and should be 
delivered directly to the audience with simplicity and earnestness. 

How we have all glowed with boyish enthusiasm as we 
followed the struggles of our revolutionary forefathers toward 
the light of free self-government! What a rapture was ours 
when, in listening to the story of their heroism, we caught the 
first glimpse of the hero within ourselves! And with what 
whole-souled devotion we directed this torrent of awakened 
heroism against one object — the hated redcoat! Could we 
ever imagine beneath that coat the beating of a courageous 



170 PLATFORM PIECES 

heart? No! We may have shed tears at the destruction of 
the noble Confederate grays; but the redcoat of the English 
was to us the symbol of arrogance and oppression, a target at 
which all could delight to aim. 

But our thoughts have changed since early boyhood. As 
we have grown in our knowledge of the human story, we have 
felt more and more the presence of a noble manhood beneath 
that coat of red. For with our renewed sight we have caught 
the vision of a larger struggle, which embraces the world, and 
lasts through the centuries. As we look in awe upon the 
mighty conflict, we see the army of Freedom and Civilization 
pushing slowly ahead; and as it surges, now backward, now 
forward, in the agony of battle, there flash upon our eye two 
colors, the Red and the Blue. The men of red and the men 
of blue, mingling often, seldom recognize each other through 
the smoke of battle; intent on the fray, they seem scarcely to 
know that they are fighting together under one banner, and 
working toward the same great Anglo-Saxon destiny. 

Only a thousand years ago the Anglo-Saxon people was a 
bare handful of barbarous men, gazing in wonder upon the 
civilizing work of King Alfred. But playing though they did 
an inconspicuous part, there burned already in their crude 
hearts those passions, those energies, that love of home and 
freedom, and devotion to duty, that were destined to subdue a 
world. 

For ten centuries has this little band been growing; growing 
into a nation, into an empire, into a civilization. Trans- 
planted, it has taken root in every soil, till the very desert 
has blossomed at its magic touch. Battling with the forces of 
Nature to bind them to its will, it has, in the very midst of its 
toil, burst forth into a literature which in spiritual beauty has 
been equaled only by the ancient Greeks, which in depth and 
power stands in its grandeur alone. Long ago, its fearless 
seamen dashed to pieces the great fleet of the Spanish tyranny. 
Its armies saved Europe from the mad despotism of Napoleon, 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 171 

and have fought on every field as the champions of law- 
abiding freedom. The English have gone into Africa, into 
Asia, into Australia, into America; and the five continents 
with all their seas bear witness to the wise justice of Anglo- 
Saxon government. In every corner of the globe they have 
placed conspicuous a people whose word can be trusted, a 
people whose activity is a guarantee of success. Over them 
no man is master. Their homes are held sacred, for they shine 
with a circle of children's faces that glow with joy in the warm 
light of comfort and love. 

Nearly three centuries have passed since the Mayflower 
brought her pilgrims to our stormy coast. Those oak-bodied, 
fire-hearted men! What a mixture they were of this world 
and heaven; their feet so firmly planted upon solid practical 
earth, their faces turned toward the Maker of all, that through 
them his will might be done in shaping the future of a conti- 
nent! Need we ask what that future has proved to be? It is 
answered in every American heart! We are awaking to the 
glory of our destiny. We believe that man could have no 
higher trust than the trust of enlightened American citizenship 
in the twentieth century! For we see looming up, with most 
imperative demand for solution, some of the gravest questions 
in government, in social and industrial organization, that the 
modern world has had to face. And can we fail to recognize 
that not elsewhere than in America must these questions find 
an answer; in our country of vast resources and varied 
climate, in our nation where self-government does not mean 
anarchy, by our own American people, who carry in their 
hearts the Anglo-Saxon virtues, with more than the Anglo- 
Saxon enterprise, and whose government rests upon that 
eternal God-given power by which every man becomes a 
thinker, a weigher of evidence, a discoverer of truth! Yes; 
it is by us that the great world problems must be solved! 

It would seem that our duty is to develop internally, and 
thus to work out for mankind the social organization of a new 



172 PLATFORM PIECES 

and better age. But while devoting ourselves to a policy of 
internal growth let us not forget that other great division of 
our race! Let us remember that England too, as center of the 
British Empire, has great tasks before her. 

She it is who must go on spreading the Anglo-Saxon institu- 
tions and character. By the necessities of her position, she 
touches at a thousand points the frontiers of other civilizations. 
On these frontiers she must be a bulwark to the race! The 
hope of the Western World rests with the British Lion. 

But who will stand with England? In every quarter of the 
globe she lies exposed to attack! She counts in the last ex- 
tremity upon one mighty friend, her great sister republic of 
the West, our own America! 

Is her trust well placed? When the death struggle comes, 
shall we indeed stand for England and her civilization? You 
say our traditions are against it, for she is the one great 
nation we have opposed in battle! But cannot a great people 
forget the ravings of an imbecile king? You say our Irish 
population are her enemies. Yes; Ireland is the one spot on 
this earth to which the Anglo-Saxon has not been a blessing, 
and dearly has the Saxon paid for it. You suggest that, with 
England down, we could grasp Canada, we could get the 
commerce of the seas! Do we want Canada at such a price? 
Will any such base motives direct the action of a free Anglo- 
Saxon people? Or shall we remember Cromwell and Milton? 
Will the spirits of Nelson and Lincoln rise up before us, as we 
shout across the Atlantic: "Take courage, men of England! 
America is with you, and together we cannot fall! Justice 
and free government shall live! And the star of Anglo- 
Saxon Civilization shall still shed its light upon the paths of 



mem 



I" 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 173 

BRITANNIA TO COLUMBIA 

Alfred Austin 

Suggestions: This poem should be given by a boy with a good, strong, 
flexible voice. For "the voice," he should suggest the supernatural by 
making the tone more legato than in ordinary conversation, — : almost a 
singing tone of rich quality and in slow tempo. 

What is the voice I hear 
On the winds of the Western Sea? 
Sentinel, listen from out Cape Clear, 
And say what the voice may be. 
'Tis a proud, free people calling loud 
To a people proud and free; 

And it says to them, " Kinsmen, hail! 

We severed have been too long; 

Let us have done with a worn-out tale, 

The tale of an ancient wrong. 

And our friendship last long as love doth last 

And be stronger than death is strong." 

Answer them, sons of the selfsame race, 

And blood of the selfsame clan, 

Let us speak with each other face to face, 

And answer as man to man, 

And loyally love and trust each other 

As none but free men can. 

Now fling them out to the breeze, 

Shamrock, Thistle and Rose, 

And the Star-spangled Banner unfurl with these 

A message to friends and foes, 

Wherever the sails of peace are seen, 

And wherever the war- wind blows; 



1 74 PLATFORM PIECES 

A message to bond and thrall to wake, 

For wherever we come — we twain — 

The throne of the tyrant shall rock and quake, 

And his menace be void and vain, 

For you are lords of a strong young land, 

And we are lords of the main. 



Yes, this is the voice on the blur! March gale, 

"We severed have been too long; 

But now we have done with a worn-out tale, 

The tale of an ancient wrong; 

And our friendship shall last long as love doth last 

And be stronger than death is strong." 



THE TENDENCIES OF SELF-GOVERNMENT 

Lyman Abbott 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this selection to his audience as if 
it were his own composition. He may appropriately use as much force 
and conviction as he likes. 

Since the final end of life is the development of character, 
government is to be tested, not by the temporal and immediate 
advantages which it may afford, but by its power to promote 
the development of true men and women. No government 
accomplishes this end so effectively as democratic government. 
Since democratic government is self-government, it introduces 
every man into a school of experience — of all schools the one 
in which the training is most thorough and the progress most 
rapid. The first appeal of democracy is to the self-esteem of 
a people who have thought but meanly of themselves, or not 
thought at all. Its first effect is to throw the responsibility of 
life upon men who have not been prepared for that responsi- 
bility by any previous education. Its first results, therefore, 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 175 

often seem disadvantageous and even disastrous. It produces 
self-conceit, irreverence, disregard of the experience of the past 
as embodied in historical traditions, self-will and consequent 
lawlessness, and an eager and restless spirit of ambition. And 
since under self-government the nation is guided by men 
without experience, national history under a democracy is 
always liable to be marred by grave and even dangerous 
blunders. But these are the incidental evils which necessarily 
accompany the first stages in evolution from a state of pupil- 
age, if not of serfdom, to a state of liberty and manhood. 
The beneficial results of that education which self-government 
alone can afford are, on the contrary, both fundamental and 
enduring. This school awakens in its pupils faith, first in 
themselves, then in their fellow-men; that lethargy which is 
akin to despair is supplanted by a great hope which becomes 
the inspiration to great achievements. Responsibility sobers 
the judgment and steadies the will of the growing man; his 
blunders and their consequences teach him lessons which, 
learned in the school of experience, he never forgets; and the 
faith and hope which have been aroused in him bring faith in 
and hope for humanity, not merely for himself. A public 
opinion is thus created which is stronger than standing armies, 
and a spirit of mutual confidence and mutual good will is 
fostered, which, though not disinterested benevolence, and 
still less a substitute for it, tends to its development. Thus 
the gradual and increasing effect of democracy is to give to 
its pupils, in lieu of a faith in some unknown God, faith first 
in humanity and then in God, as witnessed in the life and 
experience of humanity; in lieu of a reverence for a few 
elect superiors, respect for all men; in lieu of a lethargic 
counterfeit of contentment, a far-reaching and inspiring though 
sometimes too eager hopefulness; and in lieu of an often 
servile submission to accidental masters, a spirit of sturdy 
independence and mutual fellowship. So does democracy, 
though by very gradual and often conflicting processes, pro- 



176 PLATFORM PIECES 

duce the liberty of a universal brotherhood, and possess the 
secret of public peace, the promise of public prosperity, 
the hope of social righteousness, and aspiration to illimitable 
progress. 

THE DUTY OF CITIZENSHIP 

Wendell Phillips 

Suggestions: The first part of this oration is really descriptive narra- 
tive, calling for a re-living, on the part of the speaker, of a scene of 
turmoil amid the activities of a mob, which he may suggest by loud and 
varied tones of voice. The oration proper begins with, "What is the 
duty of citizenship?" 

Ephesus was upside down. The manufacturers of silver 
boxes for holding heathen images had collected their laborers 
together to discuss the behavior of one Paul, who had been in 
public places assaulting image worship, and consequently very 
much damaging their business. There was a great excite- 
ment in the city. People stood in knots along the streets, 
violently gesticulating and calling one another hard names. 
Some of the people favored the policy of the silversmiths; 
others the policy of Paul. Finally they called a convention — 
"for conventions have been the panacea of evil in all ages." 
When they assembled they all wanted the floor, and all 
wanted to talk at once. Some wanted to denounce; some to 
resolve. At last the convention rose in a body, all shouting 
together, till some were red in the face and sore in the throat: 
"Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Diana of the 
Ephesians!" 

Well, the whole scene reminds me of the excitement we 
witness at the autumnal elections. While the goddess Diana 
has lost her worshipers, our American people want to set up 
a god in place of it, and call it political party. While there 
are true men standing in both political parties, who go into 
the elections resolved to serve their city, their state, their 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 177 

country, in the best possible way, yet with the vast majority 
it is a question between the peas and the oats. One party 
cries: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" and the other 
party cries: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" when, in 
truth, both are crying, if they were but honest enough to 
admit it: "Great is my pocket-book." 

What is the duty of citizenship? . . . There is a power 
higher than the ballot box, the gubernatorial chair or the 
President's house. To preserve the institutions of our country 
we must recognize this power in our politics. See how men 
make every effort to clamber into higher positions, but are 
cast down. God opposes them. 

Every man, every nation that proved false to Divine ex- 
pectation, — down it went. 

God said to Bourbon, "Remodel France and establish 
equity." It would not do it. Down it went. 

God said to the house of Stuart: "Make the people of 
England happy." It would not do it. Down it went. 

He said to the house of Hapsburg: "Reform Austria and 
set the prisoners free." It would not do it. Down it went. 

He says to men now: "Reform abuses, enlighten the people, 
make peace and justice to reign." They don't do it, and they 
tumble down. 

How many wise men will go to the polls, high with hope, 
and be sent back to their firesides? God can spare them. 
If He could spare Washington before free government was 
tested, Howard while tens of thousands of dungeons had been 
unvisited, and Wilberforce before the chains had dropped 
from millions of slaves, then Heaven can spare another man. 
The man who, for party, forsakes righteousness, goes down; 
and the armed battalions of God march over him. - 



178 PLATFORM PIECES 

FAIR PLAY FOR WOMAN 
George W. Curtis 

Suggestions: This selection, primarily oratorical, should be given some- 
what as description, using the gestures of expanded direction and emphasis. 
The entire selection should be addressed directly to the audience. 

The woman's rights movement in this country is the simple 
claim that the same opportunity and privilege that man has 
in society be extended to the woman who stands by his side; 
that she must prove her power as he proves his. Now when 
Rosa Bonheur paints a vigorous and admirable picture of 
Normandy horses, she proves that she has a hundred fold more 
right to do it than scores of botchers and bunglers in color, 
who wear coats and trousers, and whose right, therefore, 
nobody questions. When the Misses Blackwell, or Miss Hunt, 
or Miss Preston, or Miss Avery, accomplishing themselves in 
medicine with a firm hand and clear brain, carry the balm of 
life to suffering humanity, it is as much their right, as much 
their duty, as it is that of any long-haired, sallow, dissipated 
boy, who hisses them as they go upon their holy mission. 
And so when Joan of Arc follows God and leads the army, 
when the Maid of Saragossa loads and fires the cannon, when 
Grace Darling and Ida Lewis, pulling their boats through 
pitiless waves, save fellow-creatures from drowning, do you 
ask me if these are not exceptional women? And I answer 
that they are. But Florence Nightingale, demanding supplies 
for sick soldiers in the Crimea and, when they are delayed by 
red tape, ordering a file of soldiers to break down the doors 
and bring them, seems to me quite as womanly as the loveliest 
girl in the land, dancing at the gayest ball, in a dress of 
which the embroidery is the pinched lines of starvation in 
another girl's face, and whose pearls are the tears of despair 
in her eyes. Jenny Lind enchanting the heart of the world, 
Anna Dickinson pleading for equal liberty of her sex, are 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 179 

doing what God, by his great gifts of eloquence and song, 
appointed them to do. 

This movement may encounter sneers; but what reform has 
not? Even Mr. Webster derided the anti-slavery movement 
as "a drum-beat agitation." But it was a drum-beat that 
echoed over every mountain, penetrated every valley, and 
roused the hearts of the nation to throb in unison. To that 
drum-beat Grant forced his fiery way through the wilderness; 
following its roll, Sherman marched to the sea, and Sheridan 
scoured the Shenandoah; to that drum-beat the walls of 
rebellion and slavery crumbled at last, as did the walls of 
Jericho before the horns of Israel. 

In one of the fierce Western battles among the mountains, 
General Thomas was watching a body of his troops pain- 
fully push their way up a steep hill against a withering fire. 
Victory seemed impossible; and the General, even he, a rock 
of valor and of patriotism, suddenly exclaimed: "They can't 
do it; they will never reach the top." His chief of staff, 
watching the battle with equal earnestness, placing his hand 
on his commander's arm, said, softly: "Time, time, General; 
give them time;" and presently the moist eyes of the brave 
leader saw his troops victorious upon the summit. They were 
American soldiers. So are we. They were fighting an 
American battle. So are we. They were climbing up a 
mountain. So are we. The great heart of their leader gave 
them time, and they conquered. The great heart of our 
country will give us time, and we shall triumph. 



180 PLATFORM PIECES 

OUR COUNTRY 1 

John Greenleaf Whittier 

Suggestions: This poem, to be given reverentially throughout, should 
be prayerful in the last stanza. 

We give thy natal day to hope, 

O Country of our love and prayer! 
Thy way is down no fatal slope, 

But up to freer sun and air. 

Tried as by furnace-fires, and yet 
By God's grace only stronger made, 

In future task before thee set 
Thou shalt not lack the old-time aid. 

The fathers sleep, but men remain 
As wise, as true, and brave as they; 

Why count the loss and not the gain? — 
The best is that we have to-day. 

From the warm Mexic Gulf, or where 

Belted with flowers Los Angeles 
Basks in the semi-tropic air, 

To where Katahdin's cedar trees 

Are dwarfed and bent by Northern winds 

Thy plenty's horn is yearly filled; 
Alone, the rounding century finds 

Thy liberal soil by free hands tilled. 

1 From the authorized edition of Whittier's works, published by Hough- 
ton Mifflin Company. 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 181 

A refuge for the wronged and poor, 
Thy generous heart has borne the blame 

That, with them, through thy open door, 
The Old World's evil outcasts came. 

But, with thy just and equal rule, 
And labor's need and breadth of lands, 

Free press and rostrum, church and school, 
Thy sure, if slow, transforming hands 

Shall mold even them to thy design, 

Making a blessing of the ban; 
And Freedom's chemistry combine 

The alien elements of the man. . . . 

Thy great world lesson all shall learn, 

The nations in the school shall sit, 
Earth's farthest mountain-tops shall burn 

With watch-fires from thy own uplit. 

Great without seeking to be great 

By fraud or conquest, rich in gold, 
But richer in the large estate 

Of virtue which thy children hold. 

With peace that comes of purity 

And strength to simple justice due, 
So run our loyal dreams of thee; 

God of our fathers! — make it true. 

O Land of lands! to thee we give 

Our prayers, our hopes, our service free; 

For thee thy sons shall nobly live, 
And at thy need shall die for thee! 



182 PLATFORM PIECES 



THE AVERAGE MAN 
Anonymous 



Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this poem oratorically, being 
careful not to make the rhyme and meter too obvious; from a quiet 
beginning, he should work up to an emphatic climax. 

The average man is the man of the mill, 
The man of the valley, or the man of the hill, 
The man at the throttle, the man at the plough, 
The man with the sweat of his toil on his brow, 
Who brings into being the dreams of the few, 
Who works for himself, and for me and for you. 
There's not a purpose, a project or plan, 
But rests on the strength of the average man. 

The growth of a city, the might of a land, 
Depend on the fruit of the toil of his hand; 
The road or the wall or the mill or the mart, 
Call daily to him that he furnish his part; 
The pride of the great and the hope of the low, 
The toil of the tide as it ebbs to and fro, 
The reach of the rails and the countries they span, 
Tell what is the trust in the average man. 

So here's to the average man — to the one 
Who has labored unknown on the tasks he has done, 
Who has met as they came all the problems of life, 
Who has helped us to win in the stress and the strife; 
He has bent to his toil, thinking neither of fame 
Nor of tribute, nor honor, nor prize, nor acclaim — 
In the forefront of progress, since progress began — 
Here's health and a half to the average man. 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 183 

THE MODEL AMERICAN FARMER 
John T. Hoffman 

Suggestions: This selection is best given by a boy, who should assume 
the oratorical attitude (see note on Oratorical Position, page 271), although 
he should speak in a quiet, conversational way with only now and then a 
little fervor. 

The modern American farmer loves his calling and appre- 
ciates the good and beautiful things by which he is surrounded. 
The snow-clad fields of winter, the soft verdure of spring, the 
ripe wealth of summer, and the glory of the autumn, are as 
dear to him as they are familiar. The noise of running 
brooks and the dripping of the fertilizing rain are music to 
his ears; the whisperings of the great trees of the forest are 
sweet to him; his eye is trained to note the changeful phases 
of the sky, and his mind quick to interpret them. 

The hum of busy trade does not bewilder him, nor the glare 
of the distant city dazzle him. His heart is full of a com- 
prehensive love of nature, and he is content to work on with 
her in her own calm and deliberate method of working. He 
is honest, patient, industrious, thrifty. Nature does not cheat 
him of just reward, nor does he shirk his share of duty in 
the universe. Every day imposes on him its daily labor; but 
he knows that every season will vary his work, and so refresh 
and relieve him. 

He is patriotic; a firm friend of liberty, of order, of law. 
He glories in the grandeur and honor of his country, and is 
content to contribute to the general good, in his quiet life, by 
making of himself and of those about him good, honest, faith- 
ful, men and women. 

He is religious. Living always in sight of the Creator's 
beautiful works, his heart expands daily in thankfulness for 
the many pleasures which God has given to him free of cost, 
and he shows his gratitude in his daily life. Contented, yet 



184 PLATFORM PIECES 

desirous of improving his condition; too proud of his inde- 
pendent lot to envy others who may be clothed in gaudier 
trappings, yet kindly to every man and submissive before God; 
saving from a sense of duty and not from avarice; faithful 
and loving to his family; honest and frank in all his dealings; 
thankful that so few temptations surround him, yet watchful 
against evil; truckling to no man, yet scorning none; and not 
given to grumbling at the weather, but greeting cheerfully 
alike the sunshine and the rain; earnest in his political duties; 
a lover of nature, a lover of mankind, and a lover of God; — 
there, my friends, you have my model of an American farmer. 



COUNTRY LIFE 

Robert Green Ingersoll 

Suggestions: Do not attempt to make this selection oratorical. Give 
it as a simple, informal talk, directly to the audience. 

In a new country, a man must possess at least three virtues 
— honesty, courage and generosity. In cultivated society, 
cultivation is often more important than soil. A well executed 
counterfeit passes more readily than a blurred genuine. In a 
new country, character is essential; in the old, reputation is 
sufficient. In the new, they find what a man really is; in 
the old, he generally passes for what he resembles. People 
separated only by distance are much nearer together than 
those divided by the walls of caste. 

It is no advantage to live in a great city, where poverty 
degrades and failure brings despair. The fields are lovelier 
than paved streets, and great forests than walls of brick. 
Oaks and elms are more poetic than steeples and chimneys. 

In the country is the idea of home. There you see the 
rising and setting sun; you become acquainted with the stars 
and clouds; the constellations are your friends; you hear the 
rain on the roof, and listen to the rhythmic sighing of the 
winds. You are thrilled by the resurrection called spring, 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 185 

touched and saddened by autumn — the grace and poetry of 
death. Every field is a picture, a landscape; every landscape 
a poem; every flower a tender thought and every forest a 
fairyland. In the country you preserve your identity, — 
your personality. There, you are an aggregation of atoms; 
but in the city you are only an atom of an aggregation. 



THE THINKER 1 
Berton Braley 

Suggestions: This poem should be addressed to the audience, with em- 
phasis and in an earnest manner. 

Back of the beating hammer 

By which the steel is wrought, 
Back of the workshop's clamor 

The seeker may find the Thought, 
The Thought that is ever master 

Of iron and steam and steel, 
That rises above disaster 

And tramples it under heel! 

The drudge may fret and tinker 

Or labor with dusty blows, 
But back of him stands the Thinker, 

The clear-eyed man who knows; 
For into each plow or saber, 

Each piece and part and whole, 
Must go the Brains of labor, 

Which gives the work a soul! 

Back of the motors humming, 

Back of the belts that sing, 
Back of the hammers drumming, 

Back of the cranes that swing, 
1 From "Literary Digest." 



186 PLATFORM PIECES 

There is the eye which scans them 
Watching through stress and strain, 

There is the Mind which plans them — 
Back of the brawn, the Brain! 

Might of the roaring boiler, 

Force of the engine's thrust, 
Strength of the sweating toiler, 

Greatly in these we trust, 
But back of them stands the Schemer, 

The Thinker who drives things through; 
Back of the Job — the Dreamer 

Who's making the dream come true! 



THE WIRES 1 

Marion Couthouy Smith 

Suggestions: The speaker is advised not to address his audience in any 
way in giving this selection, but rather to impersonate the spirit of the 
wires. 

We are the nerves of the world, the threads of fate are we 
Whether in coil and spiral curled, or flung over land and 
sea; 
From hoards of the ages brought, the great rocks yield our life; 
With flame and force is our being wrought, with throes of 
toil and strife. 

Over the whole round globe our mighty web is spun, 

Woven out as a gleaming robe, in shimmer of snow and 
sun; 
Drawn from the clods of earth, by a mounting, hot desire, 
We come to circle its utmost girth with meshes of prisoned 
fire. 

1 Used by courtesy of the author. 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 187 

We span the bounds of space with burning outstretched hands; 
The speech and soul of a wakening race ride on our vivid 
strands; 
We start the viewless waves, bearing their hidden song, 
And toss them down through our slender staves to the heart 
of a waiting throng. 

We lift the torch; we drive the wheels of power; 
Our careless force, both day and night, smites down the 
opposing hour; 
We make the shining way on which man's word may fare; 
He gives his hope to our vibrant sway, his dream to our 
paths of air. 

We are the harp of the world, the chords of life are we; 
Through us the song of the sphere is hurled in a storm of 
harmony; 
Forged in the sullen deeps, strung through the void above, 
We ring with a note that never sleeps — the note of a world- 
wide love. 

LEATHER LEGGINS 
Berton Braley 

Suggestions: Part of the thought in this poem should be addressed to 
the audience, but much of it must indicate the re-visualizing of the scenes 
in which 'Leather Leggins' is engaged. The refrain is to be addressed to 
the audience. 

Whin you want to build a railroad through the jungle or the 
veldt 
Where there's niver anybody bin before, 
Why you call on Leather Leggins, an' he hitches up his belt 

An' he takes it as his ordinary chore 
To go slashin' through the forests, where the monkeys chatter 
shrill 
An' the lazy snakes are hissin' down below, 



188 PLATFORM PIECES 

Or to drag a chain an' transit over gulch and grassy hill, 
As he marks the route, the right-av-way will go! 

He's a nervy, wiry divil, with his notebook an' his livil, 
An' he doesn't seem to know the name av fear, 

He's a sort av scout av Progress, 
On the payroll as a civil — 

(Though he ain't so awful civil, if you say it on the livil.) 
On the payroll as a Civil Engineer. 

Whin you need to dam a river, or to turn it upside down, 

Or to tunnel underneath it in the mud, 
Or to bore an* blast a subway through the innards av a town, 

Or to blow aside a mountain with a thud; 
When you want to bridge a canyon where there ain't no place 
to cling, 

An' the cliffs is steep an' smoother than a wall, 
Why, you call on Leather Leggins an' he does that little thing, 

An' then comes around an' asks you, "Is that all?" 

Oh, he always has a fire in his old and blackened briar, 

An' he tackles anny job that may appear, 
An' he does it on the livil, this here divil of a Civil — 

(Though he ain't so very civil, if you put it in the livil.) 
This here divil av a Civil Engineer. 

Now the bankers down in Wall Street gits the profits whin it's 
done, 

While us heavy-futted diggers gits the can, 
But we lifts our hats respectful to the Ingineer, my son, 

For that feller Leather Leggins is a Man! 
Yes, he takes a heap o' chances, and he works like Billy Hell, 

An' his job is neither peaceable nor tame, 
But you bet he knows his business an' he does it mighty well, 

An' I want to give him credit for the same! 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 189 

He is plucky — on the livil — and you'll niver hear him snivil, 

Though Fate does her best to put him in the clear, 
He's the Grit that niver flinches — on the payroll as a Civil — 
(For he's sometimes pretty civil, an' he's always on the livil) 
On the payroll as a Civil Engineer. 



THE WORKINGMEN 

George S. Boutwell 

Suggestions: This selection should be addressed directly and earnestly 
to the audience. 

It is eminently true that the laboring classes in a country 
like this can profit by nothing except justice. There may be 
other classes of men who, from position or wealth, or from 
other surroundings, may gain temporary advantages over their 
fellowmen by a system of injustice and wrong; but the man 
who labors with his own hands to maintain a family by the 
sweat of his own brow is interested in nothing so much as 
justice. For how can he ask justice of the officers of the 
government, of his fellow-men, if he denies justice in the per- 
formance of the duties that devolve upon him? 

His interest is in wise laws, honestly administered by faithful 
public servants, who do their duty under all circumstances; 
and, above all, it is his interest in laying a firm and deep 
foundation of the government under the universal system of 
public instruction. And so long as in Pennsylvania, New 
York, and New England, in the great Valley of the Mississippi, 
and upon the slopes of the Pacific, shall be and remain the 
system of Public Instruction, supported at the public expense, 
unto which are brought for education the children of the rich 
and of the poor, where justice is taught as the supreme law of 
individuals and public life, this nation will remain; it will 
prosper; it will advance. It will be the guide to the nations 
of the earth; and if, in the performance of this duty, we falter, 
there is no security. 



190 PLATFORM PIECES 

It is only by general intelligence, by individual virtue, 
aggregated and made powerful, that the government, with the 
rights of the people, can be secure. Laboring men, see that 
the means of education are furnished to your children and the 
children of the whole people. Inculcate justice; recognize 
the great doctrines of independence, that not some, but all 
men are created equal. Recognize and act upon these great 
principles, and nothing can shake your government. 

KNIGHTS OF LABOR 
Terence V. Powderly 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this selection, which is oratori- 
cal in substance, with great earnestness and sincere conviction throughout. 

We are Knights of Labor because we believe that law and 
order should prevail, and that both should be founded in 
equity. We are Knights of Labor because we believe that the 
thief who steals a dollar is no worse than the thief who steals 
a railroad. To remedy the evils we complain of is a difficult 
and dangerous undertaking. The need of strong hearts and 
active brains was never so great as at the present time. The 
slavery that died twenty-two years ago was terrible, but the 
lash in the hands of the old-time slave owner could strike but 
one back at a time, and but one of God's poor, suffering 
children felt the stroke. The lash of wealth in the hands of 
the new slave owner falls not upon one slave alone, but upon 
the backs of millions, and, among the writhing, tortured 
victims, are to be found the well-to-do and the educated, side 
by side with the poor and ignorant. 

The power of the new slave owner does not end when the 
ordinary day laborer bends beneath his rule; it reaches out 
still further, and controls the mechanic, the farmer, the mer- 
chant, and the manufacturer. It dictates not alone what the 
price of labor shall be, but regulates the price of money as 
well. Do I overestimate this power? Have I made a single 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 191 

misstatement? If my word is not sufficient, turn to the pages 
of the history of to-day, — the public press, — and you will 
find the testimony to prove that what I have said is true. 
The lash was stricken from the hand of the slave owner of 
twenty-two years ago, and it must be taken from the hand of 
the new slave owner as well. The monopolist of to-day is 
more dangerous than the slave owner of the past. Monopoly 
takes the land from the people in million-acre plots; it sends 
its agents abroad, and brings hordes of uneducated, desperate 
men to this country; it imports ignorance, and scatters it 
broadcast throughout the land. While I condemn and de- 
nounce the deeds of violence committed in the name of labor 
during the present year, I am proud to say that the Knights 
of Labor, as an organization, are not in any way responsible for 
such conduct. He is the true Knight of Labor who with one 
hand clutches anarchy by the throat and with the other 
strangles monopoly. 

The man who still believes in the "little red schoolhouse 
on the hill" should take one holiday and visit the mine, the 
factory, the coal breaker, and the mill. There, doing the work 
of men, he will find the future citizens of the Republic, breath- 
ing an atmosphere of dust, ignorance, and vice. The history 
of our country is not taughc vithin these walls. The struggle 
for independence and the causes leading to that struggle are 
not spoken of there; the name of Washington is unknown, 
and the words that rang out trumpet-tongued from the lips of 
Patrick Henry are never mentioned. The little red school- 
house must fail to do its work properly, since the children of 
the poor are obliged to pass it by on the road to the workshop. 
How can they appreciate the duties of citizenship when we 
do not take the trouble to teach them that to be an American 
citizen is greater than to be a king, and that he upon whom 
the mantle of citizenship is bestowed should part with his life 
before surrendering one jot or tittle of the rights and liberties 
which belong to him? 



192 PLATFORM PIECES 



THE NARROWNESS OF SPECIALTIES 

Edward Bulwer Lytton 

Suggestions: This selection should be given to the audience as a talk, 
rather than an oration. 

We men are not fragments — we are wholes; we are not 
types of single qualities — we are realities of mixed, various, 
countless combinations. Therefore I say to each man: As far 
as you can — partly for excellence in your special mental 
calling, principally for the completion of your end in existence 
— strive, while improving your one talent, to enrich your whole 
capital as a Man. It is in this way that you escape from the 
wretched narrow-mindedness which is the characteristic of 
every one who cultivates his specialty alone. Take any 
specialty; dine with a distinguished member of Parliament — 
the other guests all members of Parliament except yourself — 
you go away shrugging your shoulders. All the talk has been 
that of men who seem to think that there is nothing in life 
worth talking about but the party squabbles and jealousies of 
the House of Commons. Go and dine next day with an emi- 
nent author — all the guests authors except yourself. As the 
wine circulates the talk narrows to the last publications, with, 
now and then, on the part of the successful author present, a 
refining eulogium on some dead writer, in implied disparage- 
ment of some living rival. He wants to depreciate Dickens, 
and therefore he extols Fielding. If Fielding were alive and 
Dickens were dead, how he would extol Dickens! Go the 
third day; dine with a trader, all the other guests being 
gentlemen on the stock exchange. A new specialty is before 
you; all the world seems circumscribed to scrip and the 
budget. In fine, whatever the calling, let men cultivate only 
that calling, and they are as narrow-minded as the Chinese 
when they place on the map of the world the Celestial Empire 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 193 

with all its Tartaric villages in full detail, and outside of that 
limit make dots and lines with the superscription, "Deserts 
unknown, inhabited by barbarians!" 



THE POWER OF A NAME 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This oration should be begun quietly, but developed as 
earnestly as if the thought were the speaker's own. 

An American painter, strolling idly through an art gallery 
in London, stopped by accident before a masterpiece of Titian. 
In the act of turning carelessly away, some striking feature of 
the picture engaged his attention, and then the name of the 
celebrated author caught his eye. Instantly, listless inattention 
fled; and rooted to the spot, his artist soul on fire, and every 
esthetic feeling keenly alive, he stood before the painting in 
profound study and admiration. Such marvelous power 
slumbered in a half dozen letters scribbled on a bit of paste- 
board. 

The power of a name is something to be seen and felt; but 
analysis it eludes. It is something quick as memory, intangi- 
ble as thought, mysterious as imagination. It works on the 
brain and heart. It recalls the great and heroic. It kindles 
appreciation, enthusiasm and applause; inspires hope; builds 
up faith. Love, pity, remorse, sorrow, every feeling and 
passion starts into life at the mention of a name. At sight of 
a boy's name written by a boyish hand in a dingy primer, the 
gray-haired parent bows his head with a grief forever new. 

On the battlefield a name has almost infinite power. At 
Roslyn, an illustrious patriot was fighting under an assumed 
name, and unknown. Pressed by superior numbers, the brave 
Scots were falling back in despair. In vain, by word and 
heroic example, the unknown chief strove to save the day. 
The fate of Scotland hung on the instant, and the heroic 



194 PLATFORM PIECES 

leader resolved to make one last appeal. Spurring to an 
eminence overlooking the field, he said: "Men of Scotland, 
if you still love your homes, and have not forgotten Campbell, 
Kenneth, follow William Wallace!" No need to repeat that 
call; for over the field rung the inspiring name, and the army 
of Scots, electrified by a sublime, resistless enthusiasm, burst 
like a tempest on the English lines, and swept straight on to 
victory. 

Throughout the world of feeling and thought a name wins 
marvelous triumphs. Witness how centuries of time have 
brightened, with sublimest memories of poetic and classic 
thought, Homer, and Raphael, and Dante. The brave 
Switzer's heart still thrills with patriotic ardor at mention of 
William Tell; and melodies of hill and meadow and woodland 
burst on the Scottish peasant when he hears the name of 
Burns. 

Thus in a few grand names are embalmed all great events 
and rich, inspiring memories. What patriotism and heroic 
courage dwell forever in Thermopylae! What power of classic 
refinement and eloquence there is in that word, Athens! 



OUR FALLEN HEROES 
Chauncey M. Depew 

Suggestions: The speaker should assume the oratorical attitude and 
manner and speak directly to his audience, in giving this selection. 

The distinction of our volunteer army over all other armies 
of all times was its intelligence. Behind every musket was a 
thinking man. On the march, around the camp fire, in the 
hospital and the prison, and in letters to friends at home, 
these men discussed the issues at stake and the results that 
would follow defeat or victory, with as much statesmanship 
and prophetic foresight as their representatives in Congress. 
Of the million volunteer soldiers, thousands were fitted by 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 195 

culture, ability, and character to be Presidents of the United 
States. 

A grenadier of Napoleon's Old Guard, bravest of the brave 
on every battlefield, was tendered for distinguished services a 
sword bearing this inscription, "To the first grenadier of 
France";, but he refused it, saying, "Among us soldiers there 
is neither first nor last." Constantly declining promotion, and 
ever winning fresh laurels, he fell fighting gloriously for his 
country, and an imperial decree gave him a distinction never 
enjoyed by the proudest marshal of the Empire. His name 
continued on the roll of his company, and when it was called, 
the oldest sergeant answered, "Died on the field of honor." 
And this year and the next, and for the next decade, and for 
centuries after, on the anniversary of this Decoration Day, 
when the roll call in every churchyard and village cemetery 
of the men who died in the conflict is read, the answer of a 
grateful people will be, "Died upon the field of honor." 

There is an old epitaph in an English churchyard which 
quaintly says that "he who saves, loses; he who spends, 
saves; and he who gives away, takes it with him." These 
men gave away their lives, and took with them immortal 
glory and the gratitude of endless generations. They may 
repose in unknown graves south of the Potomac, or sleep 
beneath the sea, and yet theirs is a deathless fame. Poetry 
and eloquence will embalm their memories, and keep ever 
bright the recollection of their heroic deeds. 

"They never fail who die 
In a great cause. The block may soak their gore; 
Their heads may sodden in the sun, their limbs 
Be strung to city gates and castle walls; 
But still their spirit walks abroad. Though years 
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom, 
They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts 
Which overpower all others, and conduct 
The world at last to freedom." 



196 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE VICTORIES OF PEACE 

Charles Sumner 

Suggestions: This selection is plain oratory, and should be given with 
much fervor. 

The true greatness of a nation cannot be in triumphs of the 
intellect alone. Literature and art may widen the sphere of 
its influence; they may adorn it; but they are in their nature 
but accessories. The true grandeur of humanity is in its 
moral elevation, sustained, enlightened, and decorated by the 
intellect of man. . . . 

But war crushes with bloody heel all justice, all happiness, 
all that is godlike in man. True, it cannot be disguised that 
there are passages in its dreary annals cheered by deeds of 
generosity and sacrifice. But the virtues which shed their 
charm over its horrors are all borrowed of Peace; they are 
emanations of the spirit of love, which is so strong in the 
heart of man that it survives the rudest assaults. The flowers 
of gentleness, of kindliness, of fidelity, of humanity, which 
flourish in unregarded luxuriance in the rich meadows of 
Peace, receive unwonted admiration when we discern them in 
war, — like violets shedding their perfume on the perilous edge 
of the precipice, beyond the smiling borders of civilization. 
God be praised for all the examples of magnanimous virtue 
which he has vouchsafed to mankind! . . . God be praised 
that Sidney, on the field of battle, gave with dying hand the 
cup of cold water to the dying soldier! That single act of 
self-forgetful sacrifice has consecrated the fenny field of 
Zutphen far, far beyond its battle; it has consecrated thy 
name, gallant Sidney, beyond any feat of thy sword, beyond 
any triumph of thy pen! But there are hands outstretched 
elsewhere than on fields of blood for so little as a cup of cold 
water. The world is full of opportunities for deeds of kind- 
ness. Let me not be told, then, of the virtues of war. . . . 

As the hunter traces the wild beast, when pursued to his 






ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 197 

lair by the drops of blood on the earth, so we follow man, 
faint, weary, staggering with wounds, through the Black 
Forest of the past, which he has reddened with his gore. Oh, 
let it not be in the future ages as in those which we now 
contemplate I Let the grandeur of man be discerned in the 
blessings which he has secured, in the good he has accom- 
plished, in the triumphs of benevolence and justice, in the 
establishment of perpetual peace! 

ENEMIES 
Joseph Dana Miller 

Suggestions: This recitation should be begun very quietly and so de- 
veloped as to close in a tone of bitter denunciation. 

If they could meet and calmly talk the thing — 
Leon with Hans, and both with Ivan — then, 
I'm thinking, what a change such talk would bring. 
Were they to meet thus face to face like men, 
Perhaps the truth would dawn upon their ken 
That the real "enemies" are those who hold 
From all and each the means of life; that they, 
Their rulers, in whose names their lives are sold — 
Kaiser or King — that they alone should pay 
The cost who thus deceive and thus betray. 

And then, I fancy, all these armed "foes," 

Casting their rifles from them with a shout 

Of wild acclaim, would straightway turn about, 

And each of them knowing, as now he knows, 

Leon and Hans and Ivan, marching straight 

To throne and parliament and palace gate, 

Would call upon his rulers — in that day, 

As fit reprisals for those age-old wrongs — 

The worker's tears, the peasant's sorrowing moans — 

Hearken, amid a risen people's songs, 

The crash of falling palaces and thrones! 



198 PLATFORM PIECES 

HEROIC COURAGE 

Phillips Brooks 

Suggestions: This should be delivered as if it were the speaker's own 
oration, and should be addressed directly to his audience. 

Courage is one and the same thing everywhere. The firm- 
ness with which one stands upon the hopeless deck before the 
doomed ship goes down, the persistency with which a man 
claims that the right is best whatever voices clamor for the 
wrong, the intelligence with which you think your own thought 
straight through the confusion of other thinking men, the inde- 
pendence of the conscientious politician, the delight of the 
writer in doing his own work, of the reader in forming his own 
judgments, — they are all at their root one and the same 
thing. One gracious and another stern, they are all made up, 
like the black coal and the sparkling diamond, of the same 
constituents. 

Recklessness is no part of courage. When Cromwell and 
his men gave the sublime picture of heroic courage which 
illuminates English history, it was not that they undervalued 
the enormous strength of what they fought against; it was 
that they saw righteousness and freedom shining out beyond, 
and moved toward their fascinating presence irresistibly. 
Courage, like every other good thing, must be positive, not 
negative. 

Self-consciousness is at the root of every cowardice. To 
think about one's self is death to real thought about any noble 
thing. ... Does not he who sees himself die? Does not the 
mind that dwells upon itself lose just that fine and lofty power 
of being mastered by a principle? The most courageous men 
I ever knew, if they were marked by any one thing, were 
marked by this; that they forgot themselves, that they were 
free from self-consciousness. So no clinging garments of their 
selfhood hindered them in running to the goal. 



ORATORICAL SELECTIONS 199 

And there is one thing more, which is simplicity. The 
elaborateness of life makes cowards of us. It is not the 
bigness of the sea, but the many mouths with which it mocks 
his feebleness, that makes the strong swimmer grow afraid and 
sink. We want to find some one thing which we are sure of, 
and tie our lives to that, and stand strong on it to buffet off 
our fears. When Hannibal was besieging Rome, some man in 
the besieged city gave courage to the rest by purchasing for a 
large sum the plot of ground outside the walls on which the 
tent of the invading general was pitched. It was a brave 
deed. He believed in Rome. That one thing he was sure of. 
With dogged obstinacy he believed that Rome would conquer. 
Some one sure thing made sure of early in our life, kept clear 
through all obscurity — that is what keeps life simple; that is 
what keeps it fresh and never lets its bravery go out. 



HEROISM 
Chauncey M. Depew 

Suggestions: The speaker may begin this selection quietly, developing 
a breadth of voice and manner suitable to the topic. The closing para- 
graph should be given with much firmness. 

If we should eliminate from history all its heroism and the 
story of its heroic deeds, how barren would be the record! 
The national spirit of Great Britain is kept alive to-day by 
her Marlboroughs, her Wellingtons, and her Nelsons. Rome 
lives not in her empire or in the centuries of her rule, but in 
the few great names of those whose deeds have been trans- 
mitted for example and encouragement. The ten thousand, 
who at Marathon drove the Persian hordes into the sea, lit a 
fire the spark of which enkindled the flame which, three 
thousand years afterwards, expelled the Turk from the soil of 
Greece. 

The barons at Runnymede wrested Magna Charta from 



200 PLATFORM PIECES 

King John. Magna Charta gave to the people a representa- 
tion in the House of Commons. The House of Commons 
created Pym, Hampden, Sydney, and Cromwell. The spirit 
of these men produced the American Revolution. 

The shot which the "embattled farmer" fired at Lexington 
" echoed around the world," and produced most of the revolu- 
tions in all lands in which, in the last hundred years, power 
has fallen away from the throne and been gained by the people .- 
It was the echo of that shot which, in 1861, aroused the na- 
tional spirit to the protection of the national life; and while 
Lexington founded the Republic, the memory of Lexington 
preserved it. 

On this Decoration Day we can without criticism and 
without animosity recount the heroic deeds, and fight over the 
battles of the Great Rebellion. We can with the old fire and 
fervor sweep with Sherman in his march to the sea; stand by 
the grand Thomas while he is holding the enemy at bay; be 
with the chivalric McPherson as he falls at the front; fight 
in the clouds on Lookout Mountain with gallant Joe Hooker; 
follow that wonderful ride down the valley to Winchester, 
when the heroic Sheridan on foaming steed reformed his flying 
squadrons, and plucked victory from defeat; sit with Farragut 
in the shrouds of his flag-ship at Mobile Bay; and look on 
that noblest of historical groupings, when Lee surrendered his 
sword to Grant. 

And then we can reverently thank God for the results of the 
war and the blessings of peace. The husbandman gathers 
from the old battle fields abundant harvests. Nature has 
covered with tree and vine and flower and shrub all the places 
made desolate by the torch, the bursting shell, the contending 
combatants, the trampling armies. As the verdure covers 
and hides embrasure and earthwork, the rifle-pit and the 
unmarked grave, so time has allayed the passions, and buried 
the animosities of the strife, and to-day our glorious flag floats 
over a free, a prosperous, a united people. 



VII. — ETHICAL SELECTIONS 

THE LAW 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should begin this poem as if in idle medita- 
tion, developing a fervent spirit of optimism as the poem proceeds. 

I am serenity. Though passions beat 
Like mighty billows on my helpless heart, 

I know beyond them lies the perfect, sweet 
Serenity which patience can impart, 

And when wild tempests in my bosom rage, 

"Peace, peace!" I cry, "it is my heritage." 

I am good health. Though fevers rack my brain 
And rude disorders mutilate my strength, 

A perfect restoration after pain 

I know shall be my recompense at length, 

And so through grievous day and sleepless night, 

"Health, health!" I cry, "it is my own by right." 

I am success. Though hungry, cold, ill-clad 
I wander for a while, I smile and say, 

"It is but for a time — I shall be glad 
To-morrow, for good fortune comes my way 

God is my father, He has wealth untold, 

His wealth is mine, health, happiness and gold." 



201 



202 PLATFORM PIECES 

LABOR 

Thomas Carlyle 

Suggestions: The speaker should begin this selection quietly, increasing 
in earnestness toward the end. 

There is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness, in 
work. Were a man ever so benighted, or forgetful of his high 
calling, there is always hope in him who actually and earnestly 
works; in idleness alone is there perpetual despair. 

Consider how, even in the meanest sorts of labor, the whole 
soul of a man is composed into real harmony. He bends 
himself with free valor against his task; and doubt, desire, 
sorrow, remorse, indignation, despair itself, shrink murmuring 
far off into their caves. The glow of labor in him is a purify- 
ing fire, wherein all poison is burnt up; and of smoke itself 
there is made a bright and blessed flame. 

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other 
blessedness; he has a life purpose. Labor is life. From the 
heart of the worker rises the celestial force, breathed into him 
by Almighty God, awakening him to all nobleness, to all 
knowledge. Hast thou valued patience, courage, openness to 
light, or readiness to own thy mistakes? In wrestling with 
the dim brute powers of Fact, thou wilt continually learn. 
For every noble work, the possibilities are diffused through 
immensity — undiscoverable, except to Faith. 

Man, soul of heaven! is there not in thine inmost heart a 
spirit of active method, giving thee no rest till thou unfold it? 
Complain not. Look up, wearied brother. See thy fellow- 
workmen surviving through eternity — the sacred band of 
immortals! 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 203 



WORK 

Henry Van Dyke 

Suggestions: This little poem is a serious soliloquy, amounting almost 
to a prayer. 

Let me but do my work from day to day, 
In field or forest, at the desk or loom, 
In roaring market-place or tranquil room; 
Let me but find it in my heart to say, 
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray, 
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom; 
Of all that live, / am the one by whom 
This work can best be done in the right way." 



THE NOBILITY OF LABOR 

Orville Dewey 

Suggestions: This selection should be delivered oratorically, with great 
earnestness and emphasis. 

Why, in the great scale of things, is labor ordained for us? 
Easily — had it so pleased the great Ordainer — might it 
have been dispensed with. The world itself might have been 
a mighty machinery for producing all that man wants. Houses 
might have risen like an exhalation — 

"With the sound 
Of dulcet symphonies, and voices sweet, 
Built like a temple." 

Gorgeous furniture might have been placed in them, and soft 
couches and luxurious banquets spread by hands unseen; and 
man, clothed with fabrics of nature's weaving rather than 
with imperial purple, might have been sent to disport himself 
in those Elysian palaces. 



204 PLATFORM PIECES 

But where had been human energy, perseverance, patience, 
virtue, heroism? Cut off labor with one blow from the world, 
and mankind had sunk to a crowd of Asiatic voluptuaries. 

Better that the earth be given to man as a dark mass, 
whereupon to labor. Better that rude and unsightly ma- 
terials be provided in the ore bed, and in the forest, for him 
to fashion in splendor and beauty, — better, not because of 
that splendor and beauty, but because the act of creating 
them is better than the things themselves; because exertion is 
nobler than enjoyment; because the laborer is greater and 
more worthy of honor than the idler. 



OPPORTUNITY 

John J. Ingalls 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this whole poem in a rotund, 
open, forceful tone and in very slow tempo, to suggest an impersonal voice. 

Master of human destinies am I! 
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait. 
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate 
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by 
Hovel and mart and palace — soon or late 
I knock unbidden once at every gate! 

If sleeping, wake — if feasting, rise, before 
I turn away. It is the hour of fate, 
And they who follow me reach every state 
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe 
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate, 
Condemned to failure, penury and woe, 
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore. 
I answer not, and I return no more! 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 205 

THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG MEN 

Horace Mann 

Suggestions: The speaker should say this to the audience very ear- 
nestly, trying to make the thought seem his own. 

In this country, most young men are poor. Time is the 
rock from which they are to hew out their fortunes; and 
health, enterprise, and integrity the instruments with which 
to do it. For this, diligence in business, abstinence from 
pleasures, privation even of everything that does not endanger 
health, are to be joyfully welcomed and borne. When we 
look around us, and see how much of the wickedness of the 
world springs from poverty, it seems to sanctify all honest 
efforts for the acquisition of an independence; but when an 
independence is acquired, then comes the moral crisis, then 
comes an Ithuriel test, which shows whether a man is higher 
than a common man, or lower than a common reptile. In the 
duty of accumulation — and I call it a duty, in the most 
strict and literal signification of that word — all below a 
competence is most valuable, and its acquisition most laud- 
able; but all above a fortune is a misfortune. It is a misfor- 
tune to him who amasses it; for it is a voluntary continuance 
in the harness of a beast of burden, when the soul should 
enfranchise and lift itself up into a higher region of pursuits 
and pleasures. It is a persistence in the work of providing 
goods for the body after the body has already been provided 
for; and it is a denial of the higher demands of the soul, after 
the time has arrived and the means are possessed of fulfilling 
those demands. . . . Because the lower service was once 
necessary, and has therefore been performed, it is a mighty 
wrong when, without being longer necessary, it usurps the 
sacred rights of the higher. 



206 PLATFORM PIECES 

OPPORTUNITY 

Edmund Rowland Sill 

Suggestions: The speaker should note his opportunity in this poem for 
vivid description and considerable action. 

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream: 

There spread a cloud of dust along the plain, 

And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged 

A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords 

Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner 

Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes. 

A craven hung along the battle's edge, 

And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel — 

That blue blade that the King's son bears — but this 

Blunt thing — ! " He snapped and flung it from his hand, 

And lowering, crept away and left the field. 

Then came the King's son, wounded, sore bestead, 

And weaponless, and saw the broken sword, 

Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand, 

And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout 

Lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy down, 

And saved a great cause that heroic day. 



OPPORTUNITY 
Paul Kester 

Suggestions: This poem should be begun quietly, with a forceful attack 
on the second stanza, and thence with increasing forcefulness to the end. 

How may we rest at ease when hard conditions press our 

fellows down, 
And every day of silence adds but another seal to the great 

wrong? 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 207 

Who ever said it was virtuous to turn away the face from 

suffering? 
In what creed is it written we may not seek to help our fellow 

men? 
If we are restless and at war with laws that fatten masters for 

the poor, shall it be wondered at? 
There must be protest. 

Shall no remedy be sought? 

Will none divide their opulence with those who in the face of 

famine yet divide their loaves? 
Is there no joy, or good, or benefit, in aught 
But being richer than our need? 
Is gold the only God? 

O, we forget that he who locks up Opportunity 

Shuts from mankind the air, the light, the earth, the very 

burial plot, 
Leaving death only free to those who had inherited the world. 

What are the sins of warring passions, of perverted loves, of 

individual, hideous murder, 
To this slaughter of unborn hopes and laws and rights — 
This wrong against innumerable souls? 
This inevitable invitation to revolt, 
This laugh of gluttoned and indifferent ease that rolls to 

thunder in the distance 
And that will return and burst, another Gallic revolution on 

the World. 

Why should we dignify these money-changers, 
These false middle-men, these robbers who congest the chan- 
nels of the traffic of the world, 
These petty tyrants of the poor? 
Yet it is rather ignorance than sin, 



208 PLATFORM PIECES 

And more perhaps of fear than greed, 
That makes them so. 

It is not ours to blame, — 

Only to teach again the grace and mercy of equality, 

To tell again the sacredness of Opportunity. 



OPPORTUNITY * 
George W. Gray 

Suggestions: The speaker should try to make this recitation imper- 
sonal, but nevertheless very bright and vivacious in tone. 

I am the treasured hope, the dream, the deed; 
The living courage and the faith you need 
To brave the even road of daily toil, 
And master trifles that you else would spoil: 
I am the certain answer to your need. 

I am the sign from heaven sent to lead; 
The lonely star that waited through the night, 
Knowing that men would need my gleam of light. 
I am the dark that frightened them to prayer, 
And made them learn to call on God, and care 
For sonship as a little child should care. 

I am the mocking pain that follows vice, 
The flaming sword that shuts out paradise. 
I am the grief that sobs itself to sleep; 
I am the sleep that all men's sorrows keep 
Safe from themselves — spotless without a flaw. 

Did Dante see the crimson scarf withdraw? 
'Twas I was brightly fluttered, thus to lead 

1 Used by permission of the author and "The Outlook" in which this 
poem first appeared. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 209 

Him to the heights, above this lower need, 
To live the bitter solitudes that hold 
The seventh heaven and the stair of gold — 
I am the crimson messenger who told. 

THE FORTUNATE ISLES 1 
Joaquin Miller 

Suggestions: This poem should be spoken directly to the audience as 
if to one person — quietly at the beginning, but with some emotional 
fervor in the third stanza. 

You sail and you seek for the Fortunate Isles, 

The old Greek Isles of the yellow bird's song? 
Then steer straight on through the watery miles, 

Straight on, straight on and you can't go wrong. 
Nay, not to the left; nay, not to the right, 

But on, straight on, and the Isles are in sight, 
The Fortunate Isles where the yellow birds sing, 

And life lies girt with a golden ring! 

These Fortunate Isles they are not so far, 

They lie within reach of the lowliest door; 
You can see them gleam by the twilight star: 

You can hear them sing by the moon's white shore — 
Nay, never look back! Those leveled grave stones 

They were landing steps: they were steps unto thrones 
Of glory for souls that have sailed before — 

And have set white feet on the fortunate shore. 

And what are the names of the Fortunate Isles? 

Why, Duty and Love, and a large content. 
Lo! These are the Isles of the Watery Miles, 

That God let down from the firmament. 

1 Used by permission of the Harr Wagner Publishing Company, San 
Francisco, California, publishers of the complete poetical works of Joaquin 
Miller. 



210 PLATFORM PIECES 

Lo! Duty, and Love, and a true man's trust: 

Your forehead to God though your feet in the dust: 

Lo! Duty, and Love, and a sweet babe's smiles, 
And these, O friend, are the Fortunate Isles! 



THE DEMANDS OF GENIUS 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be recited very earnestly as if with the 
intent to persuade the audience to the speaker's way of thinking. The 
rhyme and rhythm must not be too apparent. The whole should be 
given as a preachment. 

I hold it the duty of one who is gifted 
And royally dowered in all men's sight, 
To know no rest till his soul is lifted 
Fully up to his great gifts' height. 

He must mold the man into rare completeness, 
For gems are set only in gold refined; 
He must fashion his thoughts into perfect sweetness, 
And cast out folly and pride from his mind. 

For he who drinks from a god's gold chalice 
Of art or music or rhythmic song, 
Must sift from his soul the chaff of malice, 
And weed from his heart the roots of wrong. 

For I think the wrath of an outraged heaven 
Should fall on the chosen and dowered soul 
That allows a lump of selfish leaven, 
By slow fermenting, to spoil the whole. 

Great gifts should be worn like a crown befitting, 
And not like gems on a beggar's hands, 
And the toil must be constant and unremitting 
That lifts up the king to the crown's demands. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 211 

THE HEIGHTS 1 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 

Suggestions: This poem should be given as an actual conversation be- 
tween the speaker and the angel. The human king speaks eagerly and 
quickly; the angel replies in rich, slow tones without much modulation. 

I cried, "Dear Angel, lead me to the heights, 

And spur me to the top." 

The Angel answered, "Stop 
And set thy house in order; make it fair 
For absent ones who may be speeding there; 

Then we will talk of heights." 

I put my house in order. "Now lead on!" 

The Angel said, "Not yet; 

Thy garden is beset 
By thorns and tares; go weed it, so all those 
Who come to gaze may find the un vexed rose; 

Then we will journey on." 

I weeded well my garden. "All is done." 

The Angel shook his head. 

"A beggar stands," he said, 
"Outside thy gates; till thou hast given heed 
And soothed his sorrow and supplied his need, 

Say not that all is done." 

The beggar left me singing. "Now at last — 

At last the path is clear." 

"Nay, there is one draws near 
Who seeks, like thee, the difficult highway. 
He lacks thy courage; cheer him through the day. 

Then we will cry, 'At last!'" 

1 Copyright, by W. B. Conkey Co., and used by special permission. 



212 PLATFORM PIECES 

I helped my weaker brother. "Now the heights; 

O guide me, Angel, guide!" 

The Presence at my side, 
With radiant face, said, "Look, where are we now?" 
And lo ! we stood upon the mountain's brow — 

The heights, the shining heights! 



WORK 
Marion Wilcox 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this entire selection directly to 
his audience, starting with firm attack, as if in the middle of a selection. 

Work for work's sake, 

And for our Art, I say! 

Not for ourselves, 

No! not for our best friends, 

Nor heart's content 

When our brief day's work ends. 

A thousand times less 

For men's praise or pay! 

To crown the finished task, 
Rest comes unsought. 
But seems it finished 
To the Power above 
And Master even of rest, 
When for reward and praise 
Alone we've wrought? 

Above all heights is Rest! 

At set of sun 

Spirits perturbed 

In darkening valleys moan — 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 213 

Because we've worked 

For wealth and praise alone — 

Our work unfinished 

And ourselves undone. 



ART AND HEART 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be addressed directly to the audience, 
with simplicity, but with great earnestness. The speaker must try to 
avoid a "sing-song" delivery. If he gives primary emphasis to the thought 
words, thus preventing the rhyming words from being too prominent, 
he will succeed. 

Though critics may bow to art and I am its own true lover, 
It is not art but heart which wins the wide world over. 

Though smooth be the artless prayer, no ear in heaven will 

mind it, 
And the finest phrase falls dead if there is no feeling behind it. 

Though perfect the player's touch, little if any he sways us, 
Unless we feel his heart throb through the music he plays us. 

Though the poet may spend his life in skilfully rounding a 

measure, 
Unless he writes from a full warm heart he gives us little 

pleasure. 

So it is not the speech that tells, but the impulse which goes 

with the saying. 
And it is not the words of the prayer; but the yearning back 

of the praying. 

It is not the artist's skill, which into our souls comes stealing, 
With a joy that is almost pain, but it is the painter's feeling. 



214 PLATFORM PIECES 

And it is not the poet's song, though sweeter than sweet bells 

chiming, 
Which thrills us through and through, but the heart which 

beats under the rhyming. 

And therefore I say again, though I am art's own true lover, 
That it is not art but heart which wins the wide world over. 



WHO IS THE RICHEST MAN? 

S. H. Palfrey 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this little sermon with en- 
thusiasm. 

Who is the richest? The crowd said: "He 

Whose pleasure-boats sail upon every sea, 

Whose villas rise upon mount and shore, 

Whose gardens 'broider wide acres o'er, 

Whose horses win at every race, 

Who hires the best seats at every place 

Where show is seen or music heard, 

Who buys of the rarest for bower and board 

And never stays to count the cost, — 

He is the richest: he spends the most." 

But he squandered his all in greed and pride; 

And he was a beggar before he died. 

Who is the richest? On 'Change, they agreed: 
"He who grudges his daily need, 
Who earns the most, and who spends the least, 
He who wastes nothing on show or feast, 
Kinsman or friend, but early and late 
O'er desk and ledger has toiled and sate 
From his boyhood up, till the gray hairs now 
Are growing few o'er his furrowed brow, — 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 215 

He should be richest, — he's paid the cost, — 
He must be richest who saves the most." 
But to him were love and care denied; 
And he was a beggar when he died. 

Who is the richest? Said no man: 
"He whose house and whose food are plain, 
Whose coat is old, and afoot who goes 
To the homes of Sicknesses, Wants, and Woes, 
Who loves with his neighbor his all to share, 
And, to make it more, on himself to spare 
All that he can, nor count it lost; 
Can he be rich who forgoes the most?" 
Though when he was dying, too, the poor 
Swarmed with small offerings in his door, 
Watched and tended and prayed and cried, 
Leaving no wealth, save of love, he died. 

Ere the third day brought its morning light, 

The three dead men rose up in the night 

And journeyed away to the Far-off Land 

And the street where the many mansions stand. 

The spendthrift and miser, homeless there, 

Knocked at many a gate with many a prayer, 

But found all bolted and, stiff and stark, 

Wandered away in the haunted dark, 

With teeth that chattered for fright and cold. 

But the other saw in letters of gold 

His name o'er a castle-portal fair, — 

Through the mists of death that hung in the air, — 

Flash like lightning; and out there poured, 

With a burst of music, a shining horde 

Of visions bright, that, with sweet-voiced din, 

Thronged round him and lifted and bore him in. 

Sobbed the widow, "You made my heart sing for joy!" 

"Oh, my father dear!" laughed the orphan boy. 



216 PLATFORM PIECES 

"You sheltered me!" "You my famine fed!" 
"You gave me my chance to earn honest bread!" 
And the prisoner shouted, "You came to me! 
You brought me the truth that made me free!" 
While the angels sang, through the heavenly host, 
"He is the richest, who gives the most." 



THE HERITAGE 1 

James Russell Lowell 

Suggestions: The speaker should make this seem a forceful sermon in 
rhyme. He should emphasize the contrasts by every means of voice 
and gesture at his command. 

The rich man's son inherits lands, 
And piles of brick and stone, and gold; 
And he inherits soft white hands, 
And tender flesh that fears the cold, 
Nor dares to wear a garment old; 
A heritage, it seems to me, 
One scarce would wish to hold in fee. 

The rich man's son inherits cares; 

The bank may break, the factory burn, 

A breath may burst his bubble shares, 

And soft white hands could hardly earn 

A living that would serve his turn; 

A heritage, it seems to me, 

One scarce would wish to hold in fee. . . . 

What doth the poor man's son inherit? 
Stout muscles and a sinewy heart, 
A hardy frame, a hardier spirit; 

1 From the authorized edition of Lowell's works, by Houghton Mifflin 
Company. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 217 

King of two hands, he does his part 

In every useful toil and art; 

A heritage, it seems to me, 

A king might wish to hold in fee. 

What doth the poor man's son inherit? 

Wishes o'er joyed with humble things, 

A rank adjudged with toil-worn merit, 

Content that from employment springs, 

A heart that in his labor sings; 

A heritage, it seems to me, 

A king might wish to hold in fee. 

What doth the poor man's son inherit? 

A patience learned by being poor, 

Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it, 

A fellow feeling that is sure 

To make the outcast bless his door; 

A heritage, it seems to me, 

A king might wish to hold in fee. 

O rich man's son, there is a toil, 
That with all other level stands: 
Large charity doth never soil, 
But only whiten, soft, white hands. 
This is the best crop from thy lands; 
A heritage, it seems to me, 
Worth being rich to hold in fee. . . . 

Both, heirs to some six feet of sod, 
Are equal in the earth at last: 
Both, children of the same dear God, 
Prove title to your heirship vast 
By record of a well-filled past; 
A heritage, it seems to me, 
Well worth a life to hold in fee. 



218 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE KING'S PICTURE 

Ellen B. Bostwick 

Suggestions: This poem consists of quiet narrative with two imper- 
sonations, that of the king and that of the artist. The speaker may give 
the following little prose quotation before beginning the poem: 

There is in every human being, however ignoble, some hint of perfec- 
tion; some one place where, as we may fancy, the veil is thin which hides 
the Divinity behind it. — Confucian Classics. 

The King from his council chamber 

Came, weary and sore of heart; 
He called for IlifT the painter, 

And spake to him thus apart; 
"I am sickened of faces ignoble, 

Hypocrites, cowards, and knaves! 
I shall fall to their shrunken measure, 

Chief slave in a realm of slaves! 

"Paint me a true man's picture, 

Gracious and wise and good; 
Endowed with the strength of heroes 

And the beauty of womanhood. 
It shall hang in my inmost chamber, 

That thither, when I retire, 
It may fill my soul with grandeur, 

And warm it with sacred fire." 

So the artist painted a picture, 

And hung it in palace hall, 
Never one so beautiful 

Had adorned the stately wall. 
The King, with head uncovered, 

Gazed on it with rapt delight, 
Till it suddenly wore strange meaning, 

And baffled his questioning sight. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 219 

For the form was his supplest courtier's, 

Perfect in every limb; 
But the bearing was that of the henchman 

Who filled the flagons for him; 
The brow was a priest's who pondered 

His parchments early and late; 
The eye was a wandering minstrel's 

Who sang at the palace gate; 

The lips — half sad, half mirthful, 

With a flitting, tremulous grace — 
Were the very lips of a woman 

He had seen in the market-place; 
But the smile which the face transfigured, 

As a rose with its shimmer of dew, 
Was the smile of the wife who loved him — 

Queen Ethelyn, good and true. 

Then, "Learn, O King," said the artist, 

"This truth that the picture tells: 
How in every form of the human 

Some hint of the highest dwells; 
How, scanning each living temple 

For the place where the veil is thin, 
We may gather, by beautiful glimpses, 

The form of the God within." 



ORIENT YOURSELF 

Horace Mann 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this selection quietly except for 
the last paragraph, which should be rendered with appropriate earnestness 
and emphasis. 

The French have a beautiful phrase which would enrich any 
language that should adopt it. They say, to orient, or, to 
orient one's self. 



220 PLATFORM PIECES 

When a traveler arrives at a strange city, or is overtaken by 
night or by a storm, he takes out his compass and learns 
which way is the East, or Orient. Forthwith all the cardinal 
points — east, west, north, south — take their true places in 
his mind, and he is in no danger of seeking for the sunset or 
the polestar in the wrong quarter of the heavens. He orients 
himself! 

When commanders of armies approach each other for the 
battle, on which the fate of empires may depend, each learns 
the localities of the ground — how best he can intrench his 
front or cover his flank, how best he can make a sally or repel 
an assault. He orients himself! 

When a statesman revolves some mighty scheme of ad- 
ministrative policy, so vast as to comprehend surrounding 
nations and later times in its ample scope, he takes an in- 
ventory of his resources, he adapts means to ends, he adjusts 
plans and movements so that one shall not counterwork 
another, and he marshals the whole series of affairs for pro- 
ducing the grand results. He orients himself! 

Young man! open your heart before me for one moment, 
and let me write upon it these parting words. The gracious 
God has just called you into being; and, during the few 
years that you have lived, the greatest lesson that you have 
learned is that you shall never die. All around your body 
the earth lies open and free, and you can go where you will: 
all around your spirit the universe lies open and free, and you 
can go where you will. Orient yourself! 



LIFE IS WHAT WE MAKE IT 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: The speaker should address this, with much spirit, directly 
to his audience. 



Let's oftener talk of nobler deeds, 
More rarely of the bad ones, 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 221 

And sing about our happy days, 
And not about the sad ones. 
We were not made to fret and sigh, 
And when grief sleeps to wake it. 
Bright happiness is standing by, 
This life is what we make it. 

Let's find the sunny side of men, 

Or be believers in it; 
A light there is in every soul 

That takes the pains to win it. 
Oh! there is slumbering good in all, 

And we perchance may wake it; 
Our hands contain the magic wand; 

This life is what we make it. 

Then here's to those whose loving hearts 

Shed life and joy about them! 
Thanks be to them for countless gems 

We ne'er had known without them. 
Oh! this should be a happy world 

To all who may partake it; 
The fault's our own if it is not — 

This life is what we make it. 



THE HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD 

Samuel Walter Foss 

Suggestions: The speaker should give the first lines of every stanza of 
this poem directly to his audience, but in giving the lines which express 
the kind of man he would like to be, he should soliloquize, that is, seem 
to address his inner self, in a manner withdrawn from the audience. 

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn 

In the place of their self-content; 
There are souls like stars that dwell apart, 

In a fellowless firmament; 



222 PLATFORM PIECES 

There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths 

Where highways never ran, — 
But let me live by the side of the road, 

And be a friend to man. 

I see from my house by the side of the road, 

By the side of the highway of life, 
The men who press with the ardor of hope, 

The men who are faint with the strife; 
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears, 

Both parts of an infinite plan; 
Let me live in my house by the side of the road, 

And be a friend to man. 

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead, 

And mountains of wearisome height; 
That the road passes on through the long afternoon, 

And stretches away to the night, 
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice, 

And weep with strangers that moan; 
Nor live in my house by the side of the road, 

Like a man who dwells alone. 

Let me live in my house by the side of the road, 

Where the race of men go by; 
They are good, they are bad; they are weak, they are strong, 

Wise, foolish, — so am I; 
Then why should I sit in the scomer's seat, 

Or hurl the cynic's ban? 
Let me live in my house by the side of the road, 

And be a friend to man. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 223 

THE MAN WHO FAILS 

Alfred J. Waterhouse 

Suggestions: Almost all of this poem should be addressed to the audience, 
some passages being given as soliloquies. Great care should be taken not 
to address anyone in the audience as if he were a failure. This can be 
done by looking over and beyond the audience, as if appealing to man in 
the great world outside. 

Let others sing to the hero who wins in the ceaseless fray, 
Who, over the crushed and the fallen, pursueth his upward 

way. 
For him let them weave the laurel, to him be their paeans 

sung, 
Whom the kindly fates have chosen, who are happy their loved 

among. 

But mine be a different message, some soul in its stress to 

reach; 
To bind o'er the wound of failure the balm of pitying speech; 
To whisper, "Be up and doing, for courage at last prevails." 
I sing — who have supped with Failure — I sing to the man 

who fails. 

I know how the gray cloud darkens, and mantles the soul in 

gloom; 
I know how the spirit harkens to voices of doubt or of doom; 
I know how the tempter mutters his terrible word, "Despair!" 
But the heart has its secret chamber, and I know that our God 

is there. 

Our years are as moments only; our failures he counts as 

naught; 
The stone that the builders rejected perchance is the one that 

he sought. 



224 PLATFORM PIECES 

Mayhap in the ultimate judgment the effort alone prevails, 
And the laurel of great achievement shall be for the man who 
fails. 

We sow in the darkness only, but the Reaper shall reap in 

light; 
And the day of his perfect glory shall tell of the deeds of the 

night. 
We gather our gold and store it, and the whisper is heard, 

"Success!" 
But tell me, ye cold white sleepers, what were an achievement 

less? 

We struggle for fame, and win it, and lo! like a fleeting 

breath 
It is lost in the realm of silence, whose ruler and king is 

Death. 
Where are the Norseland heroes, the ghosts of a housewife's 

tales? 
I sing — for the Father heeds him — I sing to the man who 

fails. 

O men who are labelled "Failures," up! rise up again and do! 
Somewhere in the world of action is room — there is room for 

you! 
No failure was e'er recorded in the annals of truthful men, 
Except of the craven-hearted who fails, nor attempts again. 

The glory is in the doing, and not in the trophy won; 
The walls that are laid in darkness may laugh to the kiss of 
the sun. 

weary and worn and stricken! O child of fate's cruel 

gales! 

1 sing — that it haply may cheer him — I sing to the man who 

fails! 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 225 

HULLO! 

Samuel Walter Foss 

Suggestions: The speaker should deliver this poem to his audience 
with firm attack on every line, and vigorously throughout, except in the 
last stanza, when the voice and manner should indicate that he is refer- 
ring to the life after death. 

When you see a man in woe, 

Walk right up and say "Hullo!" 
Say "Hullo" an' "How d'ye do? 

How's the world a-usin' you?" 
Slap the fellow on the back; 

Bring the han' down with a whack! 
Waltz right up, an' don't go slow, 

Grin an' shake an' say "Hullo!" 

Is he clothed in rags? O sho! 

Walk right up an' say "Hullo!" 
Rags is but a cotton roll, 

Jest for wrappin' up a soul; 
An' a soul is worth a true, 

Hale an' hearty "How d'ye do?" 
Don't wait for the crowd to go; 

Walk right up an' say "Hullo!" 

When big vessels meet, they say, 

They saloot an' sail away, 
Jest the same are you an' me, 

Lonesome ships on a sea; 
Each one sailing his own jog, 

For a port beyond the fog. 
Let your speakin' trumpet blow, 

Lift your horn an' say "Hullo!" 

Say "Hullo" an' "How d'ye do?" 
Other folks are as good as you. 



226 PLATFORM PIECES 

Wen you leave your house of clay, 
Wanderin' in the Far-Away, 

Wen you travel through the strange 
Country, t'other side the range, 

Then the souls you've cheered will know 
Who you be, an' say "Hullo!" 



SERVICE l 
Anonymous 

Suggestions: This selection should be given, with explosive force and 
marked emphasis, directly to the audience. 

You may grow to great riches and glory, 

You may toil for yourself through the day, 
You may write in your record and story 

The struggles you've met on the way. 
But vain is the fame that you boast of 

And wasted the years that you scan, 
Your strength you have not made the most of 

If you've rendered no service to man. 

If something of you isn't living 

Long after your spirit has fled, 
If your hand ceases toiling and giving 

The minute your body is dead, 
You have quitted this world as a debtor 

And failed in the infinite plan, 
If you leave not one roadway that's better, 

You have rendered no service to man. 

You may work for the profits of labor 

And claim all its payments of gold, 
But if you shall help not your neighbor 

Your toil is but selfish and cold. 

1 From the Detroit "Free Press." 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 227 

If it brings no delight to another, 

No rest to an overworked clan, 
The earth shall your memory smother, 

For you've rendered no service to man. 

For the things men are planning and doing 

Must be for the joys of us all. 
The sun of the goal we're pursuing 

Unselfishly, worldwide must fall. 
And if nobody's burdens are lighter 

Than when your poor being began, 
You have dismally failed as a fighter, 

For you've rendered no service to man. 



DIRECTION 
Richard Realf 

Suggestions: The speaker should speak this poem semi-reflectively, ad- 
dressing some of the thought to the audience. 

Fair are the flowers and the children, but their subtle sugges- 
tion is fairer; 

Rare is the roseburst of dawn, but the secret that clasps it is 
rarer; 

Sweet the exultance of song, but the strain that precedes it is 
sweeter; 

And never was poem yet writ but the meaning outmastered the 
metre. 

Never a daisy that grows but a mystery guideth the growing; 
Never a river that flows but a majesty sceptres the flowing; 
Never a Shakespeare that, soared but a stronger than he did 

enfold him, 
Nor ever a prophet foretells but a mightier seer had foretold 

him. 



228 PLATFORM PIECES 

Back of the canvas that throbs the painter is hinted and 
hidden; 

Into the statue that breathes the soul of the sculptor is bidden; 

Under the joy that is felt lie the infinite issues of feeling; 

Crowning the glory revealed is the glory that crowns the re- 
vealing. 

Great are the symbols of being, but that which is symbolled is 

greater; 
Vast the creation beheld, but vaster the inward creator; 
Back of the sound broods the silence, back of the gift stands 

the giving; 
Back of the hand that receives, thrill the sensitive nerves of 

receiving. 

Space is as nothing to spirit; the deed is outdone by the doing; 
The heart of the wooer is warm, but warmer the heart of the 

wooing; 
And up from the pit where these shiver, and up from the 

heights where those shine, 
Twin voices and shadows swim eastward and the essence of 

life is divine. 

A PIN 1 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 

Suggestions: This must be recited almost as a prose narrative, lest 
the meter become too apparent and the whole, a jingle. 

Oh, I know a certain woman who is reckoned with the good, 
But she fills me with more terror than a raging lion could. 
The little chills run up and down my spine whene'er we meet, 
Though she seems a gentle creature, and she's very trim and 
neat. 

And she has a thousand virtues, and not one acknowledged sin, 
But she is the sort of person you could liken to a pin. 
1 Copyright, by W. B. Conkey Co., and used by special permission. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 229 

And she pricks you, and she sticks you, in a way that can't be 

said — 
When you ask for what has hurt you, why you cannot find the 

head. 

But she fills you with discomfort and exasperating pain — 
If anybody asks you why, you really can't explain. 
A pin is such a tiny thing — of that there is no doubt — 
Yet when it's sticking in your flesh, you're wretched till it's 
out. 

She is wonderfully observing — when she meets a pretty girl, 
She is always sure to tell her if her bang is out of curl. 
And she is so sympathetic to her friend, who's much admired, 
She is often heard remarking: "Dear, you look so worn and 
tired!" 

And she is a careful critic; only yesterday she eyed 
The new dress I was airing with a woman's natural pride, 
And she said "Oh, how becoming!" and then softly added, "It 
Is really a misfortune that the basque is such a fit." 

Then she said: "If you had heard me yestereve, I'm sure, my 

friend, 
You would say I am a champion who knows how to defend." 
And she left me with the feeling — most unpleasant, I aver — 
That the whole world would despise me if it had not been for 

her. 

Whenever I encounter her, in such a nameless way, 

She gives me the impression I am at my worst that day. 

And the hat that was imported (and that cost me half a 

sonnet), 
With just one glance from her round eye, becomes a Bowery 

bonnet. 



230 PLATFORM PIECES 

She is always bright and smiling, sharp and shining for a 

thrust — 
Use does not seem to blunt her point, nor does she gather 

rust — 
Oh! I wish some hapless specimen of mankind would begin 
To tidy up the world for me, by picking up this pin. 



THE SIN OF OMISSION 1 
Margaret E. Sangster 

Suggestions: The word "dear" ending certain lines in the poem below 
would be cheap sentiment if addressed to the audience; so let the girl 
who recites this poem seem to be talking to an individual friend. 

It isn't the thing you do, dear, 

It's the thing you leave undone, 
Which gives you a bit of heartache 

At the setting of the sun. 
The tender word forgotten, 

The letter you did not write, 
The flower you might have sent, dear, 

Are your haunting ghosts to-night. 

The stone you might have lifted 

Out of a brother's way, 
The bit of a heartsome counsel 

You were hurried too much to say; 
The loving touch of the hand, dear, 

The gentle and winsome tone, 
That you had no time nor thought for, 

With troubles enough of your own, 

The little acts of kindness, 

So easily out of mind; 
Those chances to be angels 

Which every one may find — 
1 Used through the courtesy of "The Christian Herald." 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 231 

They come in night and silence — 

Each chill, reproachful wraith — 
When hope is faint and flagging 

And a blight has dropped on faith. 

For life is all too short, dear, 

And sorrow is all too great; 
So suffer our great compassion 

That tarries until too late; 
And it's not the thing you do, dear, 

It's the thing you leave undone, 
Which gives you the bit of heartache 

At the setting of the sun. 



THE LOST DAY 1 

S. E. Kiser 

Suggestions: The speaker should speak this poem to his audience as if 
to a friend, rather quietly, but with considerable feeling. 

I lost a day because I grieved 

When there was naught to make me fretful; 

A dismal word that I believed 

Had caused me to become forgetful; 

Because another man had lied 

I thought the whole world cold and gloomy; 

Dejection lingered at my side 

And whispered grim forbodings to me. 

I lost a splendid, precious day, 

And sat alone in sullen sadness, 

Because a fool had paused to say 

A word that robbed my heart of gladness; 

1 From the Chicago "Record-Herald"; used by permission of the 
author. 



232 PLATFORM PIECES 

The sunlight failed to give me cheer, 
I lacked the courage to act boldly; 
And those whose friendship had been dear 
Avoided me or passed me coldly. 

Because a fool had told a lie, 

I let myself be plunged in sorrow, 

Forgetting to be strengthened by 

The prospect of a fair to-morrow. 

I lost a day, because I let 

A fool who paused to whisper to me 

Induce me weakly to forget 

The fairer days that still were due me. 



BAD PRAYERS 

Bronson Alcott 

Suggestions: This poem should be given conversationally, each thought 
directly and intimately to the audience. 

I do not like to hear him pray 

On bended knee about an hour, 
For grace to spend aright the day, 

Who knows his neighbor has no flour. 

I'd rather see him go to mill 

And buy the luckless brother bread, 

And see his children eat their fill 
And laugh beneath their humble shed. 

I do not like to hear him pray, 
"Let blessings on the widow be," 

Who never seeks her home, to say, 
"If want o'ertake you, come to me." 

I hate the prayer so loud and long 
That's offered for the orphan's weal, 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 233 

By him who sees him crushed by wrong, 
And only with his lips doth feeL 



I do not like to hear her pray 
With jeweled ear and silken dress, 

Whose washerwoman toils all day, 
And then is asked to work for less. 

Such pious shavers I despise; 

With folded hands and face demure, 
They lift to heaven their " angel eyes," 

And steal the earnings of the poor. 

I do not like such soulless prayers; 

If wrong, I hope to be forgiven — 
No angel wing them upward bears: 

They're lost, a million miles from heaven. 



A SMILE AND A FROWN 
Emma C. Dowd 

Suggestions: This little poem offers a study in contrasts. It should 
be recited for, rather than to, the audience. 

Only a frown! yet it pressed a sting 

Into the day which had been so glad, 
The red rose turned to a scentless thing, 
The bird song ceased with discordant ring, 
And a heart was heavy and sad. 

Only a smile! yet it cast a spell 

Over the sky which had been so gray; 
The rain made music wherever it fell, 
The wind sung the song of a marriage bell, 
And a heart was light and gay. 



234 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE GOOD WORD 
Wilbur D. Nesbit 

Suggestions: This little rhymed preachment seems to require a word 
of introduction, — something like this: "When I hear a man dwelling 
upon the faults of an acquaintance or friend, I feel like saying to him:" 

He has faults; aye, faults that glare, 

And weaknesses that work him ill — 
But well he knows the faults are there 

To test his store of strength and will. 
But hidden in his heart of hearts 

Or maybe shining forth alone 
Is his good trait. The censure smarts 

And sears till he is overthrown, 

Speak the good word. 

Forsooth, because he is your friend 

You may not claim the right to chide, 
To flout and damn, world without end 

That foible that he fain would hide, 
There must be something in the man 

To echo to the words that lift — 
If you may find no wiser plan 

Then let the derelict go adrift. 

Speak the good word. 

Speak the good word — the word that gives 

The newer impulse and the hope; 
The word that helps, and grows, and lives — 

A light to them that blindly grope 
Through all the darkness of despair. 

They know their faults, and know them well; 
Of censorings they have their share — 

The kind words are the ones that tell. 

Speak the good word. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 235 

THE VALUE OF A SMILE 
Wilbur D. Nesbit 

Suggestions: Let the speaker speak this poem to his audience earnestly, 
his voice and manner vibrant with joy. 

The thing that goes the farthest toward making life worth 
while, 

That costs the least, and does the most, is just a pleasant 
smile. 

The smile that bubbles from the heart that loves its fellow- 
men, 

Will drive away the clouds of gloom and coax the sun again. 

It's full of worth, and goodness, too, with human kindness 
blent — 

It's worth a million dollars, and it doesn't cost a cent. 

There is no room for sadness where we see a cheery smile; 
It always has the same good look — it's never out of style — 
It nerves us on to try again when failure makes us blue; 
The dimples of encouragement are good for me and you. 
It pays a higher interest, for it is merely lent — 
It's worth a million dollars, and it doesn't cost a cent. 

A smile comes easily enough, a twinkle in the eye 

Is natural — and does more good than any long-drawn sigh; 

It touches on the heartstrings till they quiver, blithe and long, 

And always leaves an echo that is very like a song — 

So smile away! Folks understand what by a smile is meant; 

It's worth a million dollars, and it doesn't cost a cent. 



236 PLATFORM PIECES 

THE GOOD TIME COMING 

Gerald Massey 

Suggestions: The speaker should recite this rhymed preachment of 
optimism directly to the audience, his voice and body vibrant with joy, 
throughout. To face an audience and shout abruptly, "'Tis coming up 
the steep of time" would produce an odd, not to say comic, effect. The 
speaker might better suggest the atmosphere by saying: "If there are 
any pessimists in the audience, I would say to them that this is my 
creed," and then begin the poem. 

'Tis coming up the steep of time, 

And this old world is growing brighter! 
We may not see its dawn sublime, 

Yet high hopes make the heart throb lighter! 
Our dust may slumber under ground 

When it awakes the world in wonder; 
But we have felt it gathering round — 

Have heard its voice of distant thunder! 
'Tis coming! yes, 'tis coming! 

'Tis coming now, that glorious time 

Foretold by seers and sung in story, 
For which, when thinking was a crime, 

Souls leaped to heaven from scaffolds gory! 
They passed. But lo! the work they wrought! 

Now the crowned hopes of centuries blossom; 
The lightning of their living thought 

Is flashing through us, brain and bosom: 
'Tis coming! yes, 'tis coming! 

Creeds, empires, systems, rot with age, 

But the great people's ever youthful! 
And it shall write the future's page 

To our humanity more truthful; 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 237 

There's a divinity within 

That makes men great if they but will it; 
God works with all who dare to win, 

And the time cometh to reveal it. 
'Tis coming! yes, 'tis coming! 

Fraternity! Love's other name! 

Dear, heaven-connecting link of being; 
Then shall we grasp thy golden dream, 

As souls, full statured, grow far-seeing: 
Thou shalt unfold our better part, 

And in our life-cup yield more honey; 
Light up with joy the poor man's heart. 

And love's own world with smiles more sunny. 
'Tis coming! yes, 'tis coming! 



AWAIT THE ISSUE 

Thomas Carlyle 

Suggestions: This is a fine piece for practice in bringing out involved 
thought. It is also of the greatest value for its stalwart philosophy, and 
should be delivered oratorically and directly to the audience. 

In this world, with its wild whirling eddies and mad foam 
oceans, where men and nations perish as without law, and 
judgment for an unjust thing is sternly delayed, dost thou 
think that there is, therefore, no justice? It is what the fool 
hath said in his heart. It is what the wise, in all times, were 
wise because they denied, and knew forever not to be. I tell 
thee again, there is nothing else but justice. One strong 
thing I find here below: the just thing, the true thing. 

My friend, if thou hast all the artillery of Woolwich trun- 
dling at thy back in support of an unjust thing, and infinite 
bonfires visibly waiting ahead of thee, to blaze forth centuries 
long for thy victory on behalf of it, I would advise thee to cry 



238 PLATFORM PIECES 

halt, to fling down thy baton, and say, "In Heaven's name, 
No!" 

Thy "success?" Poor fellow, what will thy success amount 
to? If the thing is unjust, thou hast not succeeded; no, not 
though bonfires blazed from north to south, and bells rang, 
and editors wrote leading articles, and the just thing lay 
trampled out of sight, to all mortal eyes an abolished and 
annihilated thing. 

It is the right and noble alone that will have victory in this 
struggle; the rest is wholly an obstruction, a postponement, 
and fearful imperilment of the victory. Towards an eternal 
center of right and nobleness, and of that only, is all confusion 
tending. 

Await the issue. In all battles, if you await the issue, each 
fighter has prospered according to his right. His right and his 
might at the close of the account, were one and the same. 
He has fought with all his might, and in exact proportion to 
all his right he has prevailed. His very death is no victory 
over him. He dies indeed; but his work fives — very truly 
lives. 

A heroic Wallace, quartered on the scaffold, cannot hinder 
that his work become one day a part of England; but he does 
hinder that it become, on tyrannical and unfair terms, a part 
of it; commands still, from his old Valhalla and Temple of 
the Brave, that there be a just, real union, as of brother and 
brother, not a false and merely semblant one, as of slave 
and master. If the union with England be in fact one of 
Scotland's chief blessings, we thank Wallace withal that it 
was not the chief curse. Scotland is not Ireland; no, because 
brave men rose there and said, "Behold, ye must not tread us 
down like slaves; and ye shall not and cannot!" 

Fight on, thou brave, true heart, and falter not, through 
dark fortune and through bright. The cause thou tightest for, 
so far as it is true, no further, yet precisely so far, is very 
sure of victory. The falsehood alone of it will be conquered, 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 239 

will be abolished, as it ought to be; but the truth of it is part 
of Nature's own laws; co-operates with the world's eternal 
tendencies, and cannot be conquered. 



FOR A' THAT, AND A' THAT 

Robert Burns 

Suggestions: The speaker should give this poem directly to his audi- 
ence, as a strong plea for tolerance and generosity of thought, making a 
great climax of the last stanza. He should roll all the r's. 

Is there, for honest poverty, 

That hangs his head, and a' that? 
The coward slave, we pass him by; 

We dare be poor for a' that! 
For a' that, and a' that, 

Our toils obscure, and a' that; 
The rank is but the guinea's stamp, — 

The man's the gowd for a' that. 

What though on hamely fare we dine, 

Wear hoddin gray, and a' that? 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine, 

A man's a man for a' that! 
For a' that, and a' that, 

Their tinsel show, and a' that; 
The honest man, though e'er sae poor, 

Is king o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, 

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that; 
Though hundreds worship at his word, 

He's but a coof for a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

His ribbon, star, and a' that; 
The man of independent mind, 

He looks and laughs at a' that. 



240 PLATFORM PIECES 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 

A marquis, duke, and a' that; 
But an honest man's aboon his might, 

Gude faith, he maunna fa' that! 
For a' that, and a' that, 

Their dignities, and a' that; 
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth, 

Are higher rank than a' that. 

Then let us pray that come it may — 

As come it will for a' that — 
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth, 

May bear the gree, and a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

It's coming yet, for a' that, 
That man to man, the warld o'er, 

Shall brothers be for a' that! 



THE SPOILED WORLD 

Gerald Massey 

Suggestions: The speaker should address this directly to the audience 
as an optimistic preachment, giving the last stanza with great earnestness. 

We hear the cry for bread, with plenty smiling all around; 
Hill and valley in their bounty blush for man with fruitage 

crowned, 
What a merry world it might be, opulent for all and aye, 
With its lands that ask for labor, and its wealth that wastes 
away! 
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above; 
And, if we did our duty, it might be full of love. 

The leaf-tongues of the forest, and the flower-lips of the sod, 
The happy birds that hymn their raptures in the ear of God, 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 241 

The summer wind that bringeth music over land and sea, 
Have each a voice that singeth this sweet song of songs to 
me — 

"This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above; 

And, if we did our duty, it might be full of love." 

If faith and hope and kindness passed as coin, 'twixt heart and 

heart, 
Up through the eye's tear-blindness, how the sudden soul 

should start! 
The dreary, dim, and desolate should wear a sunny bloom, 
And love should spring from buried hate, like flowers from 
winter's tomb. 
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above; 
And, if we did our duty, it might be full of love. 

Were truth our uttered language, spirits might talk with men, 
And God-illumined earth should see the Golden Age again; 
The burthened heart should soar in mirth like morn's young 

prophet-lark, 
And misery's last tear wept on earth quench hell's last cunning 
spark! 
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above; 
And, if we did our duty, it might be full of love. 



THE BALANCE OF GOOD 1 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem is to be recited joyously throughout — not 
flippantly, but earnestly joyful, as if the speaker were convinced of the 
truth of what he says. 

There's so much good and kindness here, 
So much of laughter and of light, 

1 From the Detroit "Free Press." 



242 PLATFORM PIECES 

So little honest cause to sneer, 

So much of decency and right, 
That I forget that I have seen 
The sordid things of life, and mean. 

There are so many splendid men 
That it has been my joy to know, 

So many friends to think of when 
Night falls upon the earth below, 

That what of selfishness I've met 

Is very easy to forget. 

Have I been treated falsely by 
Some one I had been led to trust? 

Is that a reason fair that I 

Should say the whole world is unjust, 

And thus condemn the many who 

To me were always kind and true? 

The good so far outweighs the bad, 
The right so much exceeds the wrong, 

More happy hours there are than sad, 
That we should never mourn for long. 

So much that's fine I can recall, 

It makes the sum of shame seem small. 



PROGRESS 
Anonymous 

Suggestions: This poem should be addressed directly to the audience, 
with the earnestness of a sermon and with marked emphasis on the 
thought-words. 

In its giving and its getting, 
In its smiling and its fretting, 
In its peaceful years of toiling, 
And its awful days of war, 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 243 

Ever on the world is moving, 
And all human life is proving 
It is reaching towards the purpose 
That the great God meant it for. 

Through its laughing and its weeping, 
Through its losing and its keeping, 
Through its follies and its labors, 

Weaving in and out of sight 
To the end from the beginning, 
Through all virtue and all sinning, 
Reeled from God's great spool of Progress, 

Runs the golden thread of Right. 

All the darkness and the errors, 
All the sorrows and the terrors, 
Time has painted in the background 

On the canvas of the World; 
And the beauty of Life's story 
He will do in tones of Glory, 
When these final blots of shadows 

From his brushes have been hurled. 



THE GOOD OLD TIMES 

Anonymous 

Suggestions: This little poem should be made to seem a direct reply to 
some person who, in decrying the present, harks back to the good old 
times. Let the speaker as introduction, say something like this: "We 
are often reminded by older people of how much better things in general 
were in the past, to which we of the present generation might properly 
reply:" 

Good times? What times? These times are ours! 
Borne with through days and nights, sun and gloom and 
showers; 



244 PLATFORM PIECES 

Old times have left to us all they had to give; 
Those times we dream about; these times we live! 

Here is the struggle now, close beside the door; 
Strike out for truth and right — what can you do more? 
Here is the man who strives, spent with many a blow; 
Dream not of heroes dead; this man we know. 

Old times, good times, passed into the night; 
This is the day to me, working in the light. 
Dear as was yesterday, though its memories shine, 
That was another's day — this day is mine! 

Good" times? All times! Each in its degree, 
But these are the wonder-days, the times made for me! 
Shaping the days to come by their toil and strife. 
Those times for dream and hope — these times for life. 



A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW 
Mary A. Ford 

Suggestions: In giving this poem, the speaker may seem for the first 
few moments to be talking directly to his audience; then, beyond the 
audience, to humanity at large. 

O mighty human brotherhood! why fiercely war and strive, 
While God's great world has ample space for everything alive? 
Broad fields uncultured and unclaimed, are waiting for the 

plow 
Of progress that shall make them bloom, a hundred years from 

now. 

Why should we try so earnestly in life's short, narrow span, 
On golden stairs to climb so high above our brother man? 
Why blindly at an earthly shrine in slavish homage bow? 
Our gold will rust, ourselves be dust, a hundred years from now. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 245 

Why prize so much the world's applause? Why dread so 

much its blame? 
A fleeting echo is its voice of censure or of fame; 
The praise that thrills the heart, the scorn that dyes with 

shame the brow, 
Will be a long-forgotten dream, a hundred years from now. 

O patient hearts, that meekly bear your weary load of wrong! 
O earnest hearts, that bravely dare, and, striving, grow more 

strong! 
Press on till perfect peace is won; you'll never dream of how 
You struggled o'er life's thorny road, a hundred years from 

now. 

Grand, lofty souls, who live and toil that freedom, right, and 

truth 
Alone may rule the universe, for you is endless youth! 
When 'mid the blest with God you rest, the grateful land shall 

bow 
Above your clay in reverent love, a hundred years from now. 



THE BUILDERS 1 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Suggestions: This poem should be recited earnestly, not as a preach- 
ment, but as if the speaker included himself with his audience among 
those who might benefit. 

All are architects of Fate, 

Working in these walls of Time; 
Some with massive deeds and great, 

Some with ornaments of rhyme. 

1 From the authorized edition of Longfellow's works, published by 
Houghton Mifflin Company. 



246 PLATFORM PIECES 

Nothing useless is, or low; 

Each thing in its place is best; 
And what seems but idle show 

Strengthens and supports the rest. 

For the structure that we raise 
Time is with materials filled; 

Our to-days and yesterdays 
Are the blocks with which we build. 

Truly shape and fashion these; 

Leave no yawning gaps between; 
Think not, because no man sees, 

Such things will remain unseen. 

In the elder days of art 

Builders wrought with greatest care 
Each minute and unseen part; 

For the gods see everywhere. 

Let us do our work as well, 
Both the unseen and the seen; 

Make the house where gods may dwell 
Beautiful, entire, and clean. 

Else our lives are incomplete, 
Standing in these walls of Time, 

Broken stairways, where the feet 
Stumble as they seek to climb. 

Build to-day, then, strong and sure, 
With a firm and ample base; 

And ascending and secure 

Shall to-morrow find its place. 



ETHICAL SELECTIONS 247 

Thus alone can we attain 

To those turrets where the eye 
Sees the world as one vast plain 

And one boundless reach of sky. 



CLEAR THE WAY 

Charles Mackay 

Suggestions: This poem must be delivered with an abrupt attack, 
and carried fervently to a climax. 

Men of thought, be up and stirring 

Night and day! 
Sow the seed, withdraw the curtain, 

Clear the way! 
Men of action, aid and cheer them 

As ye may. 
There's a fount about to stream, 
There's a light about to beam, 
There's a warmth about to glow, 
There's a flower about to blow, 
There's a midnight blackness changing 

Into gray. 
Men of thought and men of action, 

Clear the way! 

Once the welcome light has broken, 

Who shall say 
What the unimagined glories 

Of the day, 
What the evil that shall perish 

In its ray? 
Aid the dawning, tongue and pen; 
Aid it, hopes of honest men; 
Aid it, paper; aid it, type — 
Aid it, for the hour is ripe, 



248 PLATFORM PIECES 

And our earnest must not slacken 

Into play. 
Men of thought and men of action. 

Clear the way! 

Lo, a cloud's about to vanish 

From the day, 
And a brazen wrong to crumble 

Into clay! 
Lo, the right's about to conquer! 

Clear the way! 
With the Right shall many more 
Enter, smiling, at the door. 
With the giant Wrong shall fall 
Many others, great and small, 
That for ages long have held us 

For their prey. 
Men of thought and men of action, 

Clear the way! 

A LITTLE WORK 
George Du Maurier 

Suggestions: This is a fine little poem with which to close a program. 

A little work, a little play 

To keep us going — and so, good day! 

A little warmth, a little light 

Of love's bestowing — and so, good night! 

A little fun, to match the sorrow 

Of each day's growing — and so, good morrow! 

A little trust that, when we die, 

We reap our sowing — and so, good-by! 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 



INTRODUCTORY 

Thought + Emotion = Meaning. — The Meaning of any se- 
lection is obviously what we aim to convey when we face an 
audience. This meaning is always Thought plus your own 
Feeling or Emotion about that thought or, in impersonation, 
the feeling or emotion of the character impersonated. 

Example: As they neared the second goal, Ben Hur turned in behind 
the Roman's car. 

If the speaker is in sympathy with Ben Hur, he should speak 
the sentence above with regret; if he favors the Roman, with 
joy. 

The Feeling or Emotion must be right in kind and adequate 
in degree. That is to say, if the thought produces joy, we 
should not make it produce sorrow; and, in making it joyful, 
we must determine beforehand what degree of joy should be 
indicated. 

THE SCIENCE OF SPEECH 

Elements. — The Science of Speech includes five elements 
which, when correctly used, will convey the Thought. These 
five elements are as follows: 

Enunciation Emphasis 

Pronunciation Inflection 

Pause 

Enunciation. — Enunciation means giving the correct value 
to every sound in a word; and by value we mean both quality 
(sound) and quantity (duration). 

249 



250 PLATFORM PIECES 

Pronunciation. — Pronunciation means giving the correct 
values to a word as a whole. 

Example: M-a-d spells mad; m-a-n spells man; but madman is pro- 
nounced madmun. 

The Pause. — The uses of the Pause are many and varied. 
Rhetorical Pause. — The Rhetorical Pause is used to divide 
and subdivide the written or spoken expression of thought. 
Example: The past rises before me like a dream. 

No matter how rapidly the careful speaker talks, you will 
catch the following grouping: 

"The past — rises — before me — like a dream." 

Emotional Pause. — The Pause is used between all changes 
of emotion. If a conjunction connects the changes, the Pause 
comes after it and the conjunction must partake of the emo- 
tional trend of the thought which follows it; never that of the 
thought preceding it. 

This comes from the deepest psychological truth in human 
nature, that we cannot experience happiness and unhappiness 
at the same moment. An appreciable time is required to 
adjust the soul to the change from one to the other. This 
is so in life, hence true in art. 

Example: I placed it, one summer's evening, 
On a cloudlet's fleecy breast; 
But — it faded in golden splendor, 
And died in the crimson west. 

The first two lines are happy, expressing not only the thought 
that I entrusted my message to the cloud, but did so in hope- 
fulness and expectancy that it would be carried to her in heaven. 
The word "but" introduces the change of emotion and must 
contain the thought of the impending failure and consequent 
sorrow. 

Pause indicative of silence. — The Pause is used after any 
expression calling for silence. 

Example: Sh! Hark! Listen! 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 251 

This Pause is not only employed when the imperative mode 
of the verb is used, but also to give pictorial value even in nar- 
rative. 

Example: And there was silence — 

Pause of dramatic suspense. — This Pause must be used 
whether indicated by punctuation marks or not. 

Example: He falls down — dead. 

This Pause is also very effective in a comic story, since it 
leaves the "point" in suspense a moment, in this way doub- 
ling its value when finally uttered. 

The Pause of indecision, or spontaneity. — This is a wonder- 
ful Pause, making the delivery sound not premeditated, conned, 
nor memorized, but spontaneous. It is particularly effective 
in impersonations of children, where the child supposedly 
lacks an extensive vocabulary, or is timid and uncertain in 
speech. 

Example: Sometimes — when — I got to do — errands at — at — night, 
And the moon — is — is — is — all dark, etc. 

The Pause is also properly used when, in the most formal 
of interpretations, you wish to seem spontaneous. Many of 
our famous orators write and commit their speeches, and yet by 
the use of this Pause give the effect of talking extempore. 

The Pause of reflection. — This Pause has no connection 
with the Pause of indecision; is never occasioned by lack of 
words, by timidity, or by lack of spontaneous thought, nor is it 
the same in effect. It is, as its name implies, a pondering over, 
a " weighing" of the thought. 

v Example: To be, or not to be (Hamlet's Soliloquy.) 

The Pause of reflection is used most artistically in serious 
reminiscence 

Example: I have had other losses, since I lost my little lover. 



252 PLATFORM PIECES 

To pause after "losses" seems to make the assertion true, 
and of moment; not to pause and reflect makes the "losses" 
but trivial. 

Pause denoting lapse of time or change of scene. — This is 
a use of the Pause too obvious to need illustration, but never- 
theless often disregarded. 

The Pause indicating an interruption. — The interruption 
may come from without or from within; as when, in the middle 
of a sentence, we abruptly change the thought as if at a sudden 
recollection; as, " You and I were — why, see here, you remem- 
ber that"; or, "Let us be — there's the bell!" 

The metrical Pause. — The Pause is used to preserve the 
meter in poetry. 

Pause indicating grammatical elision. — The use of this 
Pause is obvious. 

Pause indicating dramatic climax. — The Pause is used 
when the emotion is so intense as to choke the utterance. 

Pause indicating emphasis. — See Methods of Securing 
Emphasis on page 219. 

Exclamatory Pause. — The Pause is used after certain in- 
terjections only; principally those of pain, anger, and the baser 
emotions. The interjections of tenderness and joy are fre- 
quently, and most artistically, slurred into the word following. 

Pause indicating suspended inquiry. — This Pause is most 
important in interpretation, in that it allows the character to 
whom the speaker is supposedly talking time to say the things 
to which the speaker replies. 

Example: That cousin here again? He waits outside? 

The Pause between these two questions indicates that the 
other character has said something. 

Differential Pause. — The Pause is necessary to distinguish 
the application or explanation of a story from the story itself. 

Pause between characterizations. — In interpreting two or 
more characters, the speaker must pause between the speeches 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 253 

in order that he may have time to assume the attitude appro- 
priate to each character. 

Emphasis. — The uses of Emphasis are as follows: 
Emphasize thoughts and not words. — This may seem a mere 
paradox, or at best a quibble, but it is neither. You may ask: 
"How can you emphasize a thought if you do not emphasize 
a word?" Easily enough. Suppose you, having misunder- 
stood me, should ask: "Did you say it was a decent song?" 
My reply might be: "No, I said it was a most mdecent song." 
Here my whole emphasis would be upon the syllable "in," 
because it contained the thought of "not" Yet "in" is not a 
word here, only a syllable. 

As we have just seen, the emphasis may fall upon part of a 
word containing the thought, although it falls more frequently 
upon some whole word which at first glance may seem of only 
slight importance. 

Examples: I didn't ask you for roses, but for a rose 

No offerings of my own I have, 
Nor works my faith to prove: 
I can but give the gifts He gave 
And plead his love for love. 

Here the poet's rhythm demands " and plead his love for love," 
but if you wish to bring out the idea of "in exchange for," the 
"for" must take the primary emphasis. 

Emphasize all contrasted thoughts. — Contrast is the cause of 
Emphasis. To emphasize a thought is to place it in antithesis 
to its opposite. 

Example: This wall is white; that wall is black. 

Here "this" is in direct contrast with "that," "white" with 
"black." 
Every change of emphasis produces a change in meaning. 

Example: Are you going up town to-day? 



254 PLATFORM PIECES 

To emphasize "are" makes your query mean "are you or 
are you not?" To emphasize "you" means "are you going, 
or is some one else?" Emphasize "up" and you clearly mean 
" are you going up" instead of " down" town. And so through- 
out the sentence. 

Every sentence has as many meanings as there are words in 
it multiplied by three, plus three. Considering "to-day" as one 
word, the sentence given above has six words in it, and is there- 
fore susceptible of twenty-one interpretations. With each 
change of emphasis a new thought is given; this gives six, but 
each of these is susceptible of being given on the "thought 
plane," on the "unhappy emotional plane," and on the "happy 
emotional plane," giving, in the one case, the emotional value of 
"I am sorry you are going," in the other, "I am glad you are 
going." As to the three additional meanings, these are given 
by uttering the thought as a whole — with no differentiating 
emphasis — first on the " thought plane," then on each of 
the "emotional planes" in turn. 

So much as to the importance of Emphasis. 

Emphasize the new thought, except where repetition is intentional. 
— This should be obvious, but evidently is not. Let us con- 
sider an ordinary conversation to see how naturally we transfer 
the emphasis to the new thought. 

Example: "Did you ever write poetry?" 
"Yes, I used to write poetry." 
"Was it good poetry?" 
"I thought so," etc. 

The same thought is often repeated intentionally and with 
meaning, and should then receive reiterated emphasis. Mac- 
beth, just before the murder of Duncan, ruminates upon the 
chance of punishment for his contemplated crime, " here. ,y 

Example: That but this blow might be 
The be-all and end-all here, 
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, 
... But in these cases 
We still have judgment here. 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 255 

Emphasize all thoughts expressed which are contrasted with 
thoughts unexpressed. — This may be called anticipatory em- 
phasis, and is rarely used correctly. When correctly employed, 
however, the deepest meanings in life and literature are brought 
to the surface. 

Example: They laugh by day! They sleep by night! 

By emphasizing "they" in each case the thought is brought 
out that "J (the speaker) do not laugh by day nor sleep by 
night." Whereas if you emphasize " laugh" or "sleep" you 
utter the merest commonplaces, and give no meaning, other 
than a grammatical one, to your text. 

Another example of the fine employment of this anticipatory 
emphasis is in the following lines from Mrs. Browning's " Sleep " : 

Aye, men may wonder when they scan 
A living, thinking, feeling man, 
Confirmed in such a rest to keep. 

The little auxiliary verb "may" receives the emphasis and 
contrasts it with "do" — understood, not expressed. 

Emphasize all unusual thoughts. — This use of Emphasis is 
necessary in order to preserve the sense. 



Example: I think their happy smile is heard 



This is from the same poem as the last quotation, Mrs. 
Browning's " Sleep," and describes the happiness of the angels 
over the death of a mortal. To speak of hearing a smile is 
ridiculous, but to emphasize the unusual thought, conscious that 
it is used with extravagance, is to interpret the hyperbole and 
make it beautiful. 

Methods of Securing Emphasis. — We must next consider 
how Emphasis may be secured. In speech, Emphasis may 
be secured by at least seven mechanical means. 

1. By elevation in pitch. — This means is too seldom recog- 
nized even by good speakers and readers: for, upon asking 



256 PLATFORM PIECES 

them what is the simplest and most ordinary way of employing 
Emphasis, the reply invariably given is, " To make the emphatic 
word louder" 

This is not so in polite usage. Repeat the sentence we used 
above, "Are you going," etc., quietly emphasizing each word 
in turn, and you will find it is done by a slight raising of the 
voice in pitch. 

2. By increasing or decreasing the volume of tone. 

3. By increasing or diminishing the stress. 

4. By a pause. 

This pause may occur before a thought-word, after a thought- 
word, or both before and after. 

5. By changing the quality of tone. 

6. By prolongation of the vowel quantity. — A child says 
"There's a g-r-e-a-t big black b-e-a-r down the street." This 
expansion of the vowel quantity gives fine descriptive effect; 
as, "The walls are st-e-e-e-p." 

7. By any two or more of the above in combination. 

Inflection. — By Inflection let us agree to mean the rising 
or falling, in pitch, at the end of phrase, clause, or sentence. 
Loosely speaking, any change in pitch of voice while speaking 
is an inflection; but in learning or imparting an art we must 
fix a terminology with concise and limited application. Thus 
when we make prominent one syllable of a word we emphasize 
that syllable, although we do not call it emphasis, but accent. 
So, accent means syllable prominence, and emphasis means word 
— or, better still, thought — prominence. 

So, let us call all other changes in the pitch of the voice mod- 
ulations or cadences, and confine inflections to changes at the 
end of a phrase, clause or sentence. 

The necessity for this is easily explained. Modulations or 
cadences are the results of emphasis by change of pitch, of 
changes in emotion, of accent, etc., whereas inflections are, 
of themselves, meanings, which are common to all people. 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 257 

The laws of Inflection are derived from the laws governing 
the sequence of tones in the musical scale. In singing or playing 
a musical scale, the use of the lower basic note of the key in which 
one is singing or playing is the only tone which will complete 
the musical sequence. The same holds true, of course, in the 
use of a musical chord. 

If asked why the employment of the upper basic note does 
not complete the musical sequence as does the lower, we should 
say "because the law of gravitation, underlying all physical 
existence, makes that which ascends seem less stable, less at 
rest, than that which descends." The higher the basic note, 
the more it seems to soar, — to lack completion. 

Thus, in the speaking voice, the falling inflection is nothing 
but the completing downward of the musical key in which we 
are talking. 

The laws of Inflection, then, are: Use the falling inflection 
\ to denote completion of thought, as in making a statement 
or a demand. 

Use the rising inflection / when there is a reaching for a 
meaning, an inquiry implying no knowledge of the reply on 
the part of the speaker. 

Example: Are you going to Boston?/' 

Here the speaker knows nothing about the fact inquired for, 
and the rising inflection is demanded. 

Are you going to New York or to Boston? \ 

Here the falling inflection is required if the speaker implies 
that he knows you are going to one or the other. If the speaker 
means to ask, " Are you going to either? " implying no knowl- 
edge on his part of your destination, the rising inflection is 
brought into play twice. 

What a splendid thing to discover, that the inflections in the 
human voice are controlled by mentality, and are not in thrall 
to grammar or punctuation! Some text-books make the asser- 



258 PLATFORM PIECES 

tion that the rising inflection is used for direct questions only, 
and proceed to define a direct question as being one which may 
be answered by yes or no. Can you conceive of a more bluntly 
direct question than "What is your name?" You certainly 
cannot answer yes or no to this; yet it must take the rising 
inflection if you have the need of an answer in mind. 

If, however, your thought is, "I know you have a name; 
tell me what it is," your question is a demand, and requires 
the falling inflection. Either is correct. 

Then we have the double inflections, V the rising circumflex 
and the A falling circumflex. These inflections are employed 
to convey double meanings, and their use should not be con- 
sidered mysterious or difficult. V makes a statement, and then 
opens it for further inquiry. 

Example: Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar. V 

It will; will it not? This is the argumentative inflection. 
So, A asks a reaching question and then answers it. 

Example: Who would stoop to blame such trifling? Who would? 

No one. A 
Examples of all four inflections: 

Is that so?/ This is an inquiry, reaching for an answer. 

Is that so?\ Here there is no inquiry at all, except in gram- 
matical form and the use of the interrogation mark, but rather 
a mental acceptance of the fact as true. 

Is that so? V The recognition of the truth of the fact, but 
a further wondering at it; as much as to say, "I know it; but 
how did it happen?" 

Is that so? A This implies " I wonder whether it is possible; 
but I know it is." 

Though not an inflection, the sustained voice (absence of 
inflection) well indicated by this character — is properly dis- 
cussed here. Its correct use is wonderfully artistic. 

Example: This little purple pansy brings, 

Thoughts of the sweetest, saddest, things — 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 259 

To end this with the falling inflection makes a bald statement, 
but to sustain the voice leaves the thought unfinished, and 
makes it seem an actual fact that the "thoughts" are being, 
now, brought to you. 

THE ART OF SPEECH 

Elements. — The Art of Speech includes five elements which, 
when correctly used, will convey the Emotion. These five 
elements are as follows: 

Time 

Volume 

Pitch 

Stress 

Quality 

Use of the Elements. — In the use of these art elements of 
speech — apart from following the fundamental law of Like 
unto like — personal taste and judgment come into play, in 
direct contrast to the use of the five elements of the science of 
speech — Enunciation, Pronunciation, Pause, Emphasis, and 
Inflection — which is practically exact. 

The student must first note well the application of the funda- 
mental law, Like unto like. As applied to speaking, it means 
that actions and emotions which are rapid in life should be made 
so in the tempo of delivery and that those which are slow are 
to be delivered in slow tempo {Time) ; that descriptions of things 
which are loud are to be delivered loudly and of things which 
are soft and quiet, softly and quietly {Volume); that a harsh 
sentiment requires a harsh voice {Quality of tone); that light 
emotions and trivial things naturally employ the fighter tones 
of the voice {Pitch). 

The most difficult element of the art of speech to employ 
effectively is Stress. The author uses the word in its literal 
meaning, i.e., pressure and explosive force. 



260 



PLATFORM PIECES 



Example: Say, "How dare you?" with very weak stress on the initial 
letter in the word " dare," and note how meaningless the 
word remains, as if one were saying, " How dare you come 
out without your rubbers to-day?" Now say with per- 
sonal defiance, "How dare you?" The strength of this 
defiance is intensified as the d is more heavily stressed. 

In all impassioned discourse, marked Stress must be employed. 



PHONETICS OF SPEECH 



The Sounds of English Speech. 



Vowels 


Semi- Vowels 


Consonants 


{Shaped Tone) 


{Shaped Tone 


{Shaped Breath) 






& Breath) 




i — a as in fate 


b 


i 


2 — a * 


' " fat 


d 


h 


3— a ' 


' " fast 


g 


k 


4 — a ' 


' " far 


1 


P 


5— a ' 


' " fair 


m 


s 


6 — a ' 


' " fall 


n 


t 


7— a ' 


' " friar 


ng 


th 


8— e ' 


' " feel 


r 


w in wh 


9— e ' 


' " fed 


V 




io — i ' 


' " find 


w 




ii — i ' 


1 " fin 


y 




12 — o ' 


' " fold 


z 




13—00 ' 


' " fool 


th 




14 — u ' 


' " full 






15— u ' 


< " fun 






16 — u ' 


1 " fur 


Combinations 




u = y - 


f 13 


ch = tsh (incomplete t) 


oi = 6 - 


f n 


j = dzh 




ou (oro 


w) = 4 + 13 


q = kw 

x = ks or gz or z 





THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 261 

No apology is offered for presenting this simplified Table of 
English Phonetics; on the contrary we claim for it that it will 
bear scientific investigation and do away with much of the diffi- 
culty experienced in comprehending and uttering English speech. 
For centuries we have taught that the English language has 
five vowels, when the fact is that we have sixteen vowel sounds, 
distinct one from the other, with little or no relationship. We 
should teach our children in the schools that there are but five 
characters to represent these sixteen vowel sounds — quite a 
different thing from the statement that we have but five vowels. 

It will be noticed that we call vowels " Shaped Tone"; this 
is a literally true name, for in good vowel utterance no breath 
is audible or perceptible in any way. A good tone is one in 
which all the breath is vocalized. There are several tests of 
this purity of tone. We all know that nothing records the 
existence of a draught or breath so quickly as a flame. Sing 
a tone with the candle or burning match held close to the lips, 
and if the tone is a perfect one, the flame will continue to burn 
perpendicularly, indicating that no breath is fanning it. An- 
other test would be to hold a mirror close to the lips while 
emitting tone. If the tone is good, no moisture will be depos- 
ited upon the glass. What has become of the breath? It is 
vocalized, we say; but how does that explain the absence of 
breath, as shown by these tests? Let the scientists answer. 
All that we are interested in is to show that a tone giving no 
evidence of escaping breath is a good tone. Out of this good 
tone we mold the different shapes, which give different qual- 
ities to the vowels in human speech. So, when we say vowels 
are shaped tone, we make an assertion which is demonstrable. 
Of course, the shaping must be in accordance with the language 
we are at the moment using. 

In the right-hand column of our Table, we find the word 
"Consonants." This is a poor word to describe the sounds 
meant thereby, for the dictionaries tell us that consonants are 
ordinarily sounded only in connection with a vowel, hence the 



262 PLATFORM PIECES 

name. So the word consonant means sounded with, and al- 
though this is true when the sounds are used in the formation 
of words, these characters have sounds of their own, without 
the aid of any vocality. When we speak of the letters by name, 
we do employ vowel utterance, as ess or tee. A moment's 
experiment, however, will show even the merest tyro that the 
sounds of each and all of these characters are properly produced 
without the least vocalization and that the larynx is in no way 
employed in their production. Hence, despite the contradictory 
term consonants, you must realize that the consonants are 
shaped breath, as they are called in the Table. 

The middle column — Semi- Vowels — is headed by the 
statement that the characters indicated therein represent the 
sounds of our language which contain both shaped audible- 
breath, and shaped tone. Sound is an inclusive term, meaning 
anything to which the ear is sensitive. Hence, all tone is sound, 
but not all sound is tone. And what is tone? Tone is sound 
which has resonance; and resonance means re-sounding — or, 
if you choose, continued vibration. A language is considered 
beautiful (musical) in proportion to the prevalence of its vowel 
quantities, and our analysis shows that the so-called consonantal 
sounds having only audible breath and no tone — since they are 
rather interrupters of tone — are only seven in number! This 
analysis proves conclusively that the great majority of the 
phonetic elements in English consist wholly or in part of 
tone. 

For many years the author of this volume has been called 
upon to teach the English tongue to foreigners of a great many 
nationalities, and, as was to be expected, the greatest difficulty 
has always been to teach the untruth in the statement that 
we employ five vowels only, and to substitute for this false 
statement the sixteen vowel tones, as found in the Table. The 
second difficulty has been to do away with the confusion result- 
ing from the use of our ponderous and puzzling diacritical 
markings. 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 263 

Diacritical marks are the characters used to designate the 
various sounds of vowels and consonants. 

Vowel Marks. Consonant Marks. 

— macron — bar 

^ breve ^ cedilla 
* ' diaeresis * semidiaeresis 

* semidiaeresis -L suspended bar 
~ tilde ( brace 

A caret 
± dotted bar 

These markings are difficult and confusing enough as employed 
by any one lexicographer, but when the mind is doubly con- 
founded by finding differing systems in different dictionaries 
the case seems almost hopeless. To find the breve and other 
vowel markings placed over a, e, i, 0, 00, u, and y, is to make 
our tongue seem to have no less than 34 vowel qualities by some 
authorities, and 37 by others! Even to the native born this is 
"confusion worse confounded." 

The method indicated in the Table, which has been found 
most efficacious, is to discard all of these diacritical marks, and 
to employ an invariable numeral to indicate an invariable vowel 
sound, irrespective of the combination of letters presented to 
the eye. This allusion to spelling leads us to say that, although 
we have a well-established analogy in the spelling of English, 
the fact remains that, in view of the exceptions, it almost seems 
as if we could indicate any one of our vowel qualities by the 
employment of any other of the vowel characters granted that 
the corresponding change in diacritical marking be made. Yet 
investigation will show that there is one great principle — cus- 
tom if you will — underlying the whole of oral English and 
governing even the so-called exceptions. For instance, it is 
against the usage of English-speaking peoples to utter two 
vowels in one syllable. Hence, in words (frequently of foreign 
extraction) retaining more or less of their original spelling, we 



264 PLATFORM PIECES 

pronounce one vowel only in a syllable, leaving the other mute. 
A recognition of this one fact will at once do away with the 
visual confusion caused by two or more vowels occurring in 
one syllable. Foreigners find this disagreement between the 
written and spoken word one of the greatest stumbling blocks 
in acquiring our speech. 

Examples: "people" is pe-ple (the o is silent), 
"great" becomes grate, 
"gauge" becomes gage, 
"receive" becomes receve, 
" sleight" becomes slight, — 

illustrations sufficient to show the process of dropping one 
vowel. 

A diphthong is denned as " a coalition or union of two vowels 
pronounced in one syllable; in uttering a diphthong both vowels 
are pronounced; the resulting sound is not simple, but the two 
sounds are so blended as to be considered as one." If this be 
true, we have no diphthongs in the English language, with the 
possible exceptions of oi, ou or ow, and even these disappear, 
because no stretch of the imagination can conceive of their 
being sounded with one impulse. 

In the combination of vowels ei as in sleigh, or ey as in they, 
the vowels together may be considered diphthongal, because 
they are sounded in combination like the simple vowel a (No. i) 
— a sound not belonging properly to either vowel. Words 
of this class are so few as to be almost negligible, however, 
and may easily be learned. One feels almost inclined to call 
this combination, ei pronounced as a (No. i), an exception to 
the rulings of English usage. We are told that in Shakespeare's 
time the letter e was often pronounced with the long sound of 
a, a custom surviving to-day among the Irish peasantry in such 
pronunciations as belave for believe. If this be true, the words 
containing ei (No. i) are remnants of this early English usage. 

The uneducated are really following this fundamental Anglo- 
Saxon impulse when they say He for oil, brile for broil, and, 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 265 

strange to say, this pronunciation has become legitimate in 
the word roil, which is invariably pronounced rile. 

One can see at a glance how simple it is, in teaching English 
to a foreigner, to run a pen through vowels which are not to 
be sounded, and to put a numeral from the Table we employ 
over the vowel remaining in each syllable after this elimination. 
In the word again, — pronounced agen according to the best 
American usage, — we would seem to have a diphthong, but 
since there is no authority for pronouncing ai short e (No. 9), 
we have to admit that this pronunciation is a distortion. We 
do not suggest again (No. 1), as usage here is otherwise, but we 
want to show that agen is not according to the analogy of the 
English tongue. Even in this country we pronounce again 
properly when used in verse to rhyme with pain, stain, etc. 

Thus at once we rid the tongue of the great burden of diph- 
thongal qualities, by showing that there are none. 

The consonants seldom give trouble to aliens, with the ex- 
ception of the th's and r. Many continental peoples do not 
employ the former sounds at all, and most sound the r from the 
base of the tongue. 

In this discussion, we have disregarded diacritical marks, 
using instead numerals to indicate the vowel sounds. In con- 
sidering the consonantal sounds, instead of using any kind of 
symbols to indicate correct utterance, we show the student 
what the sound should be in a particular case by substituting 
another consonant or combination of consonants which will 
correctly convey the exact sound; as, 

ph equals /, 

gh in laugh equals /, 

ch in church equals tsh, etc. 

We have two distinct r's in English — one trilled, or rolled; the 
other — simple r — made with one impact of the tongue against 
the upper hard palate. The first is exactly like the second 
only that the rolling means successive repetitions of the impact. 



266 PLATFORM PIECES 

A peculiar thing in English, not sufficiently dealt with in 
either song or speech, is that one sound is often made to serve 
two offices in the same word; for instance, in hunger, the ng 
is used as a semi- vowel, the g having a double function: first, 
to give the ng sound in conjunction with the n, and second, 
to start the syllable ger with a hard g. Likewise, in royal the 
y serves partly as a vowel, at the end of the first syllable, and 
also as a consonant, in starting the second syllable, giving 
roy-yal. 

The h sound is not necessarily a tone interrupter, for it can 
be aspirated throughout the delivery of a tone as well as at the 
beginning. This leaves our language with only six {toneless) 
consonants. 

In opposition to much authority we state that wh is not hw, 
but a combination of w and h in the sequence indicated. 
This may be tested by inserting an almost imperceptible vowel 
quality between the sounds, as we-hen; then try, he-wen. The 
first will glide into a proper when. This w, in the combination 
wh, is not the semi-vowel as in we, but is toneless and must be 
classed as a pure consonant. 

Some attention must be given to the varying degree of close- 
ness of combination of the consonants. For instance, the tl in 
Atlas is quite different from the t and I in the expression at last. 

There should be no difficulty in determining where a final s 
becomes z; i.e., when preceded by a vowel or semi- vowel the 
tone of which combines with it in such a way as to make it z; 
as in plays, sings, ribs, etc. There are only a few exceptions. 

The sixteen vowel sounds must be taught by oral illustration, 
as we can neither picture nor diagram them, nor indicate them 
by any kind of marking. The semi- vowels are easily acquired, 
being approximately alike in all languages. Even good speak- 
ers, however, are apt to give the vocalization in them only sec- 
ondary attention. The musical quality of most speaking 
voices is improved in proportion as more vocalization is ac- 
corded to the semi-vowels. 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 267 

A table of the Phonetics of any speech must contain elemental 
sounds only and no combinations, and the Table here pre- 
sented is no exception to this rule. 

It should be noted that it contains no so-called short 0, since 
in neither American nor British English is this an elemental 
sound. In the United States short has the sound of a in far 
(No. 4) produced staccato, and in England, the sound of a in 
fall (No. 6) produced staccato, but not to the same degree 
as in the United States. 

(4) (4) 
Examples: American usage, "I have not got" 

(6) (6) 
British usage, "I have not got" 

The test of a vowel quality is to prolong it in a singing tone, 
and by this to detect its inherent sound. With American 
usage in mind, sing, "I will arise and go to my Father." Note 
the sound (4) in Father. Then sing, "I have lost my watch 
fob" and note the same sound (4) in fob. 

We do not presume to dictate what individual usage shall 
be in this matter of the short 0. Personally, we prefer the 
distinctly American, but among elegant speakers such words 
as oft, soft, not, are often given a sound between the two which 
is very effective. All this is said to show that we may eliminate 
the short from our Table of Phonetics. 

Likewise notice that there is no so-called long u in the Table, 
this sound being clearly a combination, best indicated by the 
picture y-00 and not e-00, as found in many lexicons. You 
may employ these two sounds in quick succession, until you 
approximate the long u, but it is never fully attained without 
the emphatic insertion of the semi-vowel y, as in the word year, 
preceding the 00. Say aloud the personal pronouns /, thou, 
he, you, followed immediately by r, s, t, u, and you will find that 
long u is the same as the word y-o-u. Hence, if you would use 
this rich tone in your speech or song (and American speech 
needs nothing so much) this word sound y-o-u must be em- 



268 PLATFORM PIECES 

ployed. This you is often the backbone of a word. You would 
laugh to hear some one say, " I shall play some moo-sic for you," 
and yet moosic is no more offensive or spineless than dook, 
institoot, gratitood, etc. 

It is also to be noted that there is no y to be found in the 
vowel column. Y is never a distinct vowel, since it is simply 
interchangeable with i, of which it is only another form. Its 
three sounds are to be found in my (No. 10), syntax (No. n), 
and myrrh (No. 16). 

Some dictionaries indicate final y (as in the adverbs) as a 
form of e. This is a grievous wrong to our English speech, dis- 
torting such words as army into armee, navy into navee, which 
is often carried into the plurals, giving us armees, navees. Web- 
ster, however, gives as corresponding terms the i in ill and the 
y in pity } both being No. 1 1 in our Table. The speaker should 
so use it, except in cases where poetic license makes it rhyme 
with long e (8). 

Example: I shall love thee, love thee 
For all eternity, (e, 8) 

Just one word as to the alphabetical or long i (No. io) : The 
philologists still insist that i (No. io) is only ah (4), closing 
on an e (8) as a "vanish." If we believed this, we should not 
have inserted the phonetic No. 10 in our Table. Rather would 
we have put it down as a combination. But, just as e-00 (8 + 13), 
no matter how rapidly said, will only approximate, never quite 
give y-00, so ah-e (4 + 8) can never quite give the i . Any singer 
may test this by singing, " Good-bye, sweet day." 

Dwell upon the syllable bye, and note how distinct from ah 
(4) the opening is. 

The word " vanish," of itself, as applied to phonetics, could 
fittingly call forth a volume of discussion. Let it be understood 
at once that these "vanishes," which are the sounds unavoid- 
ably given by " closing " while in the act of vocal delivery, are 
not inherent parts of the vowel qualities, but are rather mani- 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 269 

f estations common to all speech, through the sagging of the force, 
— something that is inevitable in leaving the vowel. Thus a 
(1) has the vanish ee (8) as we depart from it; i (10) likewise 
has the vanish ee (8), and long (12) weakens into 00 (13), but 
we need give " vanishes" only scant attention. There are 
cases, however, where the "vanish" is lacking in the vowel 
qualities which ordinarily characterize it, as in the word aerial. 

One of the great difficulties in delivery is the degree to which 
the vowels in unaccented syllables should be prolonged: The 
a in senate is distinct a (No. 1) when pronounced separately, 
but is only accorded one-half or less value, because of its un- 
accented position in the word. To clearly pronounce this 
syllable ate would be inelegant, but sung on a note more or less 
sustained, the long a (No. 1) would perforce have more distinct- 
ness and hence a greater a (No. 1) value. In the same way, 
other vowels accorded only part value when spoken are restored 
to full value when sung. The degree to which the vowels in 
unaccented syllables should be prolonged is largely a matter 
of taste or judgment. 

We might rid our Table of the ai sound in fair (No. 5), were 
it possible to get all students to see that the attack on this sound 
is the a in fat (No. 2), and that the close is the unavoidable sound 
which the final letter r always steals for itself from the vowel 
immediately preceding or following it. More really equals 
mo-er, so closely tied as to sound like one syllable. The case is 
similar in air, fair, there, etc., but such difficulties have arisen 
that it seems best to teach the latter as a phonetic element. 

It will be noticed that no distinction is made between the 
vowel qualities in fir and fur. Those who choose to do so may 
make the former a little more initial, that is, form it further 
forward, — on the lips and teeth. Since the fur sound is 
richer, the singer prefers it, but the speaker need not attempt 
to differentiate. 

Just as the test of a vowel is to sing it, so the test of the com- 
binations is to drop one of the sounds and test what is left. 



270 PLATFORM PIECES 

By this test, ng is found not to be a combination at all. Drop- 
ping the n you will not find the g sound remaining; dropping 
the g you surely will not have the n left. The foreigner, seeing 
the letters in combination, says either, "I sing you a song," 
(hard g) or, "I sinj you a sonj," neither of which is correct. So 
ng must appear in a table of English sounds as an element and 
not as a combination. The same reasoning applies to the two 
th's, in neither of which is the t a /, in either position of vocal 
organs or in sound. 

As for combinations, oi is only 6 + n, closely slurred together, 
and ou or ow, 4 + 13, still more closely tied together; ch, as 
in church, is a very close combination of t-sh; j is clearly d-zh 
and x, ks, as in luxury, or gz, as in exactly. 

As soon as the elemental phonetics of a language are carefully 
mastered, the combinations become easily pronounceable. 
We have classified the elements of English speech with refer- 
ence only to their composition, as being made of tone or of 
audible breath, or a combination of the two, paying no atten- 
tion whatever to their classification as labials, dentals, etc. 
This disregard is intentional, as it is the author's firm convic- 
tion, born of long experience, that the vocal and speech functions 
should be taught and acquired synthetically, so far as it is 
possible. 

Where corrective work is demanded, because of malformation 
or derangement of the vocal apparatus, producing lisping, 
stammering, etc., some help may be given by calling attention 
to the proper positions of the vocal organs. This is also true 
where a foreigner in some way forms a sound alien to English 
speech. But in all cases vocal utterance, so far as muscular 
movement is concerned, should be made subconscious or 
involuntary as quickly as possible. Physiological training for 
either singing or speaking is to be discountenanced, except 
in the rare cases mentioned above. To the author, the physi- 
ological training in phonetics has always seemed not merely 
inefficacious but positively harmful. 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 271 



SOME MATTERS OF BASIC IMPORTANCE 
IN INTERPRETATION 

Interpretation. — The speaker should decide to his own satis- 
faction upon the answers to certain questions before attempting 
to interpret any recitation, reading, or declamation before an 
audience. Among such questions are the following: 

Who is speaking? Of which sex and of what age? Of 
what nationality? Of what education? Of what environ- 
ment? 

Of what temperament is the speaker? What relationship 
does the speaker bear to the text? What relationship does 
the speaker bear to the other characters in the selection? 

Where is the text spoken? To whom and for what purpose 
is it spoken? What language is the speaker using? 

What and how intense is the mood of the selection? In what 
literary or dramatic form is the selection? 

Position. — Before saying a word the speaker must assume 
a position in keeping with the spirit of his selection. In telling 
something which occurred in the past it is well to place the body 
in the position which best suggests the past experience. 

For example: The interpreter of T. B. Aldrich's "The Trag- 
edy" should be seated, not only because the recitation is con- 
versational (as if talking to an intimate friend), but because 
the original experience is actually pictured, since the action 
in this poem took place while the narrator was seated in the 
theater. 

Oratorical Position. — In dignified address, the whole body 
should be held erect, not with stiffness but with poise, the feet 
being planted firmly on the floor and the weight sustained equally 
on both legs. This is quite contrary to the instruction, given 
by many teachers and text-books, to throw the weight rather 
on one leg and to "lift the heel of the weaker side slightly" 



272 PLATFORM PIECES 

from the floor. This suggests an affectation of pose quite out 
of keeping with earnest speech. Moreover, to stand with 
the weight on one side lowers one shoulder and hence gives 
a suggestion of lounging. The shoulders can be held almost 
rigid, to suggest a military bearing, but there must be no 
muscular constraint in any other part of the body. 

Gesture. — Any bodily movement during the act of inter- 
pretation means something, and is therefore Gesture. For 
instance, a nod of the head is a gesture of emphasis, quite as 
much as a stroke of the hand. 

Gestures may be considered as being of two kinds, Personal 
and Interpretative. The former are movements having no 
connection with what the speaker is saying, but denoting merely 
personal habit or trait; such as a girl's adjusting her hair or 
a boy's running his hands into his pockets. Such gestures 
should not be used except with the full intent to express indif- 
ference toward your selection or toward the imaginary person 
to whom the speaker is supposedly talking. 

Of Interpretative Gesture there are four kinds: 

i. Gesture of Direction in which the hands are idealized; 
that is, the first finger is kept quite straight, the second 
and third are slightly bent from the middle knuckle, 
the thumb and little finger are held off from the hand, 
palm down — always, unless the gesture is also to sug- 
gest appeal; either hand, or both. If the distance is 
determinate, the eye follows the finger, and locates 
the object; if indeterminate, the eye takes no part in 
the gesture. If two or more directions are implied, 
the eye follows the principal one only. 

2. Gesture of Interrogation in which the hands are idealized, 

the palm being turned up; either hand, or both. 

3. Gesture of Emphasis in which the hands are idealized; 

palms up, (sometimes clenched) ; either hand, or both. 
This gesture consists of a blow or stroke; and its only 



THE LAWS OF EXPRESSION 273 

law is that the force of the blow be in direct propor- 
tion to the strength of the thought. 
4. Gesture of Imitation which may include Dramatic Gesture. 
The only law governing this gesture is that it must follow 
human custom, i.e. in the imitation of sewing, shaking 
the fist, lifting the hat, or performing any other natural, 
daily action. 

These gestures become more than imitative when they 
are made to portray mood. For instance, to say 
"Edith takes off her hat" may be accompanied by a 
gesture which portrays merely the perfunctory action; 
but if, in taking off the hat, she portrays weariness, 
anger, or any other mood, the gesture becomes inter- 
pretative and dramatic. 

Direction of Thought. — In life we show two directions of 
thought, the whence and the where. We look at the moon 
before we say, " Oh, what a beautiful moon!" and then we speak 
our thought to a person or persons. In interpretation nothing 
will give a text more actuality than to manifest these two things, 
the source and the destination of the thought. Indicate both 
whenever possible but the destination without exception. 

Expansion of Thought. — All thought has expansion or con- 
traction. The delivery of any selection must be made in 
sympathy with the basic intention of expanding or contracting 
the thought it expresses. 

Example: I am here to perfect the plan. 

If these words are said merely as words, "plan" may mean 
something only an inch square, but when expanded by gesture 
or tone it can include God's universe. 

A good example of the contraction of thought is in an accusa- 
tion, "That is the man," where the directions of hand, eye, 
and voice converge to a focus. 



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