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Posted by: plockplock (
Date: December 27, 2008 01:24PM

Saw this on another list and thought it might be appropriate here due to the mix of literary references, especially Shakespeare.

Carolyn Wells

ONCE there was a little boy, whose name was Robert Reece;
And every Friday afternoon he had to speak a piece.
So many poems thus he learned, that soon he had a store
Of recitations in his head, and still kept learning more.

And now this is what happened: He was called upon, one week,
And totally forgot the piece he was about to speak!
His brain he cudgelled. Not a word remained within his head!
And so he spoke at random, and this is what he said:

"My Beautiful, my Beautiful, who standest proudly by,
It was the schooner Hesperus╉the breaking waves dashed high!
Why is the Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome?
Under a spreading chestnut tree there is no place like home!

"Whence come these shrieks so wild and shrill? Across the sands o' Dee?
Lo, I will stand at thy right hand and keep the bridge with thee!
For this was Tell a hero? For this did Gessler die?
'The curse is come upon me!' said the Spider to the Fly.

"When Britain first at Heaven's command said, 'Boatswain, do not tarry;
The despot's heel is on thy shore, and while ye may, go marry.'
Let dogs delight to bark and bite the British Grenadiers,
Lars Porsena of Clusium lay dying in Algiers!

"The sea! the sea! the open sea! Roll on, roll on, thou deep!
Maxwelton braes are bonny, but Macbeth hath murdered sleep!
Answer me, burning shades of night! What's Hecuba to me?
Alone stood brave Horatius! The boyoh! where was he?

"When Freedom from her mountain height cried, Twinkle, little star,
Shoot if you must this old grey head, King Henry of Navarre!
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue castled crag of Drachenfels,
My name is Norval, on the Grampian Hills, ring out, wild bells!

"If you're waking, call me early, to be or not to be,
The curfew must not ring to-night. Oh, woodman, spare that tree!
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on! And let who will be clever!
The boy stood on the burning deck, but I go on forever!"

His elocution was superb, his voice and gestures fine;
His schoolmates all applauded, as he finished the last line.
"I see it doesn't matter," Robert thought, "what words I say,
So long as I declaim with oratorical display!"

Posted by: bunyip (
Date: January 01, 2009 04:38AM

Very, very good.

Posted by: mel_d_lew (
Date: February 25, 2009 07:39PM

my grand mother used to recite this to us when we were kids!
she only finished the 8th grade, but apparently she liked poetry and used to tell us all sorts of stories, and poems that she remembered from her school books.

Posted by: SkidMarks (
Date: February 27, 2009 09:34AM

Hi mel-d-lew. Have some pie. Avoid the rhubarb. It is fake.
The chicken & mushroom, however, is fresh and tasty.

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