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Medley of Poems

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From Futility Closet:

The boy stood on the burning deck,
His fleece was white as snow,
He stuck a feather in his hat,
John Anderson, my Jo!

“Come back, come back,” he cried in grief,
“From India’s coral strands,
The frost is on the pumpkin, and
The village smithy stands.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
From many a boundless plain?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
Where saints immortal reign?

Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,
Across the sands of Dee,
Can I forget that night in June?
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

--Westminster Monthly, April 1910

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
conuly
Apr. 21st, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
The Overworked Elocutionist
There was once a little boy whose name was Robert Reese;
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.
He brain he cudgeled. 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 this Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome?
Under a spreading chestnut tree, there is no place like home!

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

If you're waking, call me early, to be or not to be,
The curfew must not ring tonight! Oh, woodman, spare that tree!
Charge, Chester, charge! Oh, 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."

http://www.abigailburnhambloom.com/pc_archive_feb172009.html

Better link: http://www.salondesgeeks.com/an-overworked-elocutionist/

Edited at 2011-04-21 06:40 am (UTC)
sunnydale47
Apr. 21st, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: The Overworked Elocutionist
That's wonderful!!

Judging from this author's dates and the date on the OP poem, there must have been a fad for this kind of thing in the early 20th century.
conuly
Apr. 22nd, 2011 04:21 am (UTC)
Re: The Overworked Elocutionist
I think what it is is that there was a fad for reciting poetry. "Elocutionist" was an actual career.

So, naturally, since people expected to memorize several poems in childhood (whether they remembered them later is beside the point) they parodied it.

I mean, consider Alice in Wonderland, "How Doth the Little Crocodile". It's really another parody of yet another poem everybody was expected to be a little familiar with - clicky!

Edited at 2011-04-22 04:22 am (UTC)
just_the_ash
Apr. 21st, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
I love it!
sunnydale47
Apr. 21st, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
I went looking for more, and after a lot of experimenting with search terms, I discovered that this is a form of poetry called cento, which goes back to the ancient Greeks. I'm sure I've seen cento poems before, but never knew it was a recognized form!

Most of the cento poems I found are free verse, but that seems much too easy. I like the ones with rhyme and meter -- they're more challenging and creative, and more fun to read! (conuly posted another one in the comment above)
conuly
Apr. 22nd, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
Then again (continuing my earlier (now middling) comment), I learn something new every day.
hitchhiker
Apr. 21st, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
that was great :)
sunnydale47
Apr. 21st, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I thought of you when I posted it!
sunnydale47
Apr. 21st, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
I decided to try to find more, and after a lot of experimenting with search terms I discovered that this is a form of poetry called cento, which goes back to the ancient Greeks. I never knew it was a recognized form!

Most of the cento poems I found are free verse, but that seems much too easy. I like the ones with rhyme and meter -- they're more challenging and creative, and more fun to read! (conuly posted another one in the first comment.)

Now I'll expect one from you....
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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