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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




UNIVERSITY ol CALIFORNU

LOS ANGELES
LIBRARY



MY RECITATIONS



BY



CORA URQUHART POTTER




PHILADELPHIA y LONDON

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

1927



J






COPYRIGHT. 1886, BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY



PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS

PHILADELPHIA, U. S. A.






ROBERT BROWNING.



Among many pleasures and privileges my recitations havr
brought me, your friendship is the most valued. With grateful
recollections of your encouragement of my efforts, I write yo"af
name at the head of this little volume.

CORA URQUHART POTTEE.



PREFACE



Having received many requests for copies of my

_Q recitations, it has seemed to me they would be best

2 answered by gathering and publishing them under one

Q cover.

(^ Many of these pieces are old and familiar, while

^ jthers may be less widely known ; but among the

Z~. oumber I think will be found some to suit the most

( varied audiences and tastes. As the result of ray own



^ experience, I may add that the pieces telling a story



-J

1

u



are more effective than abstract and purely sentimental
ones.

But the elocutionist must himself feel deeply before
he can expect to move others by his recital, and real
earnestness and simplicity are levers that stir the feel
ings when shallow and trite elocutionary effects fail.
Should this little volume, containing, as I believe it
does, many of the most admirable poems in our lan-
guage and some not so easily found, prove a conven-
ience to the growing number interested in recitation,
it win need no other excuse.



n rREFACE

My '.hanks are due the following authors and pub-
lisher, and others with whom I have not been able to
communicate : Will M. Carleton, Charles de Kay,
Edgar Fawcett, R. W. Gilder, F. Bret Harte, John
Hay, F. W. Loring, Annie Porter, Mrs. Constance
Faunt LeRoy Runcie, John G. Saxe, M. E. W. Sher-
wood, Rosa H. Thorpe, J. G. Whittier, Ella Wheeler
Wilcox, Constance F. Woolson, D. Appleton & Co.,
Harper & Brothers, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., and
Lee & Shepard.

CORA URQUHART POTTER.

NOTBMOXII I, iBW



CONTENTS



PAca

The Devil in Search of a Wife . . An7iie Porter 9

Lorraine Lorree Charles Kingsley la

Beth Gelert W. R. Spencer 13

Romance of the Swan's Nest . . , Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 17

Jim Bludso John Hay 21

Maud Muller 'J. G. Whittier 23

The Bridge of Sighs Thomas Hood 28

Antony and Cleopatra Gen. W. H. LytU 32

Bingen on the Rhine Caroline E. Norton .... 34

The Diver Friedrich Schiller 38

Aux Italiens Robert Bulwer Lytton ... 45

The Inchcape Rock Robert Souihey 49

Lasca Frank Desprez 5a

Song of the Dying Bartholomew Dowling ... 56

Platonic William B. Terrett .... 59

The Glove and The Lions .... Leigh Hunt 6a

A Woman's Question Elizabeth Barrett Browning. 63

The New Church Organ .... Will M. Carleton 65

Killed at the Ford H.W. Longfellow 69

The Picket Guard Ethel Lynn Beers .... 70

The Ride from Ghent to Aix . . Robert Browning 72

The Famine H. W. Longfellow 75

Song of Saratoga . . . • .... yohn G. Saxe 81

Her Letter Bret Harte 83

Harmosan Richard C. Trench .... 86

Kentucky Bell« Constance Fenimore Woolson 88

Abou Ben Adhem .... . Leigh Hunt 95

' Htrvi Rial" ... .... Robert Browning 96

Paul Revere's Ride H. W. Longfellow lot

vii



fiii CONTENTS

PAOB

" The Pride o! Battery B" . . . , Frank H. Gassaway .... 107

Die Story of the Faithful Soul . . Adelaide A. Procter .... 1 10

Lochinvar Str Walter Scott 114

Lost and Found Hamilton Aidi 116

Tlie Tear of Repentance Thomas Moore 120

I Remember, I Remember .... Thomas Hood 124

The Charge of the Light Brigade at

Balaklava Alfred Tennyson 125

Jaffar ... Leigh Hunt 128

The Engineer's Story Mrs. Rosa H. Thorpe. . . . 129

Barbara Frietchic !/ohn Greenleaf Whittier . 133

Lady Clare Alfred Tennyson 136

We are Seven William Wordsworth . . . 139

Burial of Sir John Moore .... Charles Wolfe 14a

The Wreck of the " Hesperus" . . H. W.Longfellow 144

Lord Ullin's Daughter Thomas Campbell 147

The Cotter's Saturday Night . . . Robert Bums 130

Carcassonne • Gustave Nadaud, translated

by M. E. W. Sherwood . . 157

" "Ostler Joe" George R. Sims 159

Locksley Hall Alfred Tennyson 165

" He and She" Edwin Arnold 179

The Eve of Waterloo Lord Byron 182

Edinburgh after Flodden W. E. Aytouri 184

An Epistle to a Young Friend . . . Robert Burns 198

An Epistle to Joseph Hill William Cowper aoi

Nature's Daughter Lord Byron 203

Convent Scene from Marmion . . . Sir Walter Scott 204

Ratisbon Robert Browning 211

The House on the Hill Edgar Fawcett 213

Ulf in Ireland Charles De Kay 221

The Destruction of Sennacherib . . Lord Byron 225

Cleopatra W. W. Story 226

The Wind's Voices Susan Warner 23a

The Heart of the Bruce W. E. Aytoun 234

The Lord of Burleigh Alfred Tennyson ..... 243

Tu Quoque Austin Dobson 246

Evelyn Hope Robert Browning 249

CumnorHall W. J. Mickle 251



CONTENTS i,

PAGB

The Whistle Robert Story 356

The Crimson and the Bhie . . . . F. W. Loring 357

The Day Old Bet was Sold .... Frank H. Gassaway .... 259

Curfew Must Not Ring To-Night . Airs. Rosa H. Thorpe . . 264

The White Squall Wm. M. Thackeray .... 268

The Execution of Montrose . . . W. £. Aytoun 273

The Portrait R. Bulwer Lytton 281

This Would I Do Constance Faunt LeRoy

Runcie 284

Bay Billy Frank H, Gassaway . , . . 285

Annabel Lee Edgar A. Poe 290

Nourmahal Thomas Moore 292

Two Sinners Ella Wheeler Wilcox . . . 294

" After Sorrow's Night" R.W. Gilder 29S

Finland Love-Song Translated by Thomas Moore 296

My John William Hosea Dallou . . . 297

A Southern Scene Anonymous 298

My Faith Anonymous 301

Knighting the Loin of Beef. . . . Anonymous 302

Leagued with Death Anonymous 303

Chevy-Chase Anonymous 307

Bill Mason's Ride Anonymous 317

A Hindoo Died Anonymous . 319

Shadows Anonymous 320

Papa's Letter Anonymous 32a

Waiter Girl Anonynwus 326



THE DEVIL IN SEARCH OF A WIFE

His majesty, Satan, one morning awoke

And found that his wife was dead.
He said to himself, '* This is really no joke,

My household requires a head ;
But where shall I find, on this limited earth,
The woman to fill such a difficult berth ?

" For she must be witty and rapid of tongue,

Yet shrewd as the shrewdest of men,
As lovely as Venus, deliciously young,

And careless of profit or gain ;
For I would be loved for myself alone,
And not for my dark Satanic throne I

** But far more important than beauty or youth,
Though, of course, I want those as well,

Are the virtues of innocence, candor, and truth >
For though I may reign in Hell,

The woman who holds my wife's position

Must be altogether above suspicion."

So the Devil set off on his anxious quest

For a lady to go below ;
But he found that he lost his natural rest,

And his progress was terribly slow ;
For the woman he wanted was hard to find,
Anc* the cares of his kingdom weighed on his mind.

9



10 THE DEVIL IN SEARCH OF A WIFE.

The daughters of England were lovely, he saw

A nation of fair-haired queens ;
But those rosy lips could lay down the law,

And they lived beyond his means.
So he quietly wandered over to France,
A.nd there the Parisians led him a dance.

He really thought for a time he had found

The actual tl'ing he wanted.
But ere another month came round

The Devil was somewhat daunted.
"These ladies are quite beyond me, that's plain 1"
He said to himself as he left for Spain,

But here, though the women were pretty and kind,

He was very much disappointed.
They had eyes, to be sure, but he wanted a mind.

And their hair was too much anointed.
So again his majesty sallied forth
And this time thought he would visit the North.

But why should I tell of his lengthening work.

And of all the countries he tried ?
Till he suddenly thought one day of New York,

And instantly thitherward hied ;
But quick as he was the women were ready.
Their heads were clear and their hands were steady.

They took one look, and they looked him through,
And they knew what he wanted at once ;

And innocence beamed from their orbs of blue,
And candor was queen for the nonce.



THE DEVIL IN SEARCH OF A WIFE. n

O 1 you should have seen how their eyelids fell,
As they timidly asked for the news from Hell.

The Devil was flattered and flurried and pleased ;

What grace ! what refinement ! what sense !
How quickly his half-expressed ideas were seized,

And nothing he said gave offence !
He had never felt so much at home before,
And he liked and admired them more and more.

But time was pressing, he could not wait,
Though he scarcely knew how to choose ;

So he offered his crown and his royal state,
Himself, and his dead wife's shoes

To a damsel whose candor and virtue intact

Were all that the Devil himself could exact.

She accepted his off'er, and did not repent
As the day of her wedding drew nigh ;

For you know that to Hell there's an easy descent,
And her friends would drop in by and by.

And the Devil declared himself more and more blest,

As the innocent creature he joyfully pressed.

But when she was married and safely installed

As queen in the regions of shade.
It is said that the Devil was somewhat appalled

At the bargain he found he had made.
And thought on the whole 'twould have been as well
Had he stayed at home and married in Hell.

Annie Porter.



LORRAINE LORREE.

'* Are you ready for your steeple-chase, Lorraine, Lor-
raine Lorree ?

You're booked to ride your capping race to-day at
Coulter Lee.

You're booked to ride Vindictive for all the world to
see;

To keep him straight, and keep him first, and win the
run for me."

She clasped her new-born baby, poor Lorraine, Lor-
raine Lorree :

" I cannot ride Vindictive, as any man might see,

And I will not ride Vindictive with this baby on my
knee.

He's killed a boy 1 he's killed a man 1 and why
must he kill me?"

** Unless you ride Vindictive, Lorraine, Lorraine Lor-
ree,

Unless you ride Vindictive to-day at Coulter Lee,

And land him safe across the brook, and win the blank
for me,

It's you may keep your baby, for you'll get no keep
from me."

"That husbands :an be cruel," said Lorraine, Lor
rame Lorree,

12



BETH GELERT.



23



"That husbands can be cruel I've known for seasons

three ;
But, oh I to ride Vindictive while a baby cries for me,
And be killed across a fence at last for all the world

to see !"

She mastered young Vindictive, oh I the gallant lass
was she,

And kept him straight and won the race as near as
near could be ;

But he killed her at the brook, against a pollard willow-
tree :

He killed her at the brook, the brute, for all the world
to see.

And no one but the baby cried for poor Lorraine
Lorree.

Chas. Kingsley.



BETH GELERT,

The spearman heard the bugle sound,
And cheerily smiled the morn ;

And many a brach, and many a hound,
Obeyed Llewellyn's horn :

And still he blew a louder blast.

And gave a lustier cheer ;
" Come, Gelert ! why art thou the last

Llewellyn's horn to hear?

" Oh ! where does faithful Gelert roam ?
The flower of all his race,

2



»4 BETH GELEKT.

So true, so brave, — a lamb at home,
A lion in the chase I"

'Twas only at Llewellyn's board

The faithful Gelert fed ;
He watched, he served, he cheered his Ion'

And sentineled his bed.

In sooth, he was a peerless hound.

The gift of royal John ;
But now no Gelert could be found.

And all the chase rode on.

And now, as over rocks and dells

The gallant chidings rise,
All Snowdon's craggy chaos yells

With many mingled cries.

That day Llewellyn little loved

The chase of hart or hare ;
And small and scant the booty proved.

For Gelert was not there.

Unpleased, Llewellyn homeward hied,

When, near the portal-seat,
His truant Gelert he espied,

Bounding his lord to greet.

But when he gained his castle door.

Aghast the chieftain stood ;
The hound was smeared with gouts of gore.

His lips, his fangs ran blood 1



BETH GELERT.

Llewellyn gazed with wild surprise,

Unused such looks to meet :
His favorite checked his joyful guise,

And crouched and licked his feet.

Onward in haste Llewellyn passed —

And on went Gelert too —
And still, where'er his eyes he cast,

Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view \

O'erturned his infant's bed he found,
With blood-stained covert rent ;

And all around the walls and ground
With recent blood besprent.

He called his child — no voice replied ;

He searched — with terror wild ;
Blood I blood ! he found on every side,

But nowhere found his child.

" Hell-hound ! my child's by thee devour*!

The frantic father cried ;
And to the hilt his vengeful sword

He plunged in Gelert's side.

His suppliant, as to earth he fell,

No pity could impart \
But still his Gelert's dying yell

Passed heavy o'er his heart.

Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,
Sorae slumberer wakened nigh :



»5



r6 BETH GELERT.

What words the parent's joy could tell,
To hear his infant's cry 1

Concealed beneath a tumbled heap,
His hurried search had missed,

All glowing from his rosy sleep,
The cherub-boy he kissed.

Nor scratch had he, nor harm, nor dread.

But the same couch beneath
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn and dead —

Tremendous still in death 1

Ah, what was then Llewellyn's pain I
For now the truth was clear :

His gallant hound the wolf had slain
To save Llewellyn's heir.

Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's woe;

" Best of thy kind, adieu !
"rivi frantic deed which laid thee low.

This heart shall ever rue 1"

And now a gallant tomb they raise.
With costly sculpture decked.

And marbles storied with his praise.
Poor Gelert's bones protect.

There never could the spearman pass^

Or forester, unmoved ;
There oft the tear-besprinkled grass

Llewellyn's sorrow proved.



ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.

And there he hung his horn and spear,

And, oft as evening fell,
In fancy's piercing sounds would hear

Poor Gelert's dying yell I

And till great Snowdon's rocks grow old,

And cease the storm to brave.
The consecrated spot shall hold

The name of " Gelert's Grave."

W. R. Spencer.



'T



ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST

So the dreams depart,
So the fading phantoms flee,
And the sharp reality
Now must act its part.

Westwood: Beads from a Rosary

Little Ellie sits alone
Mid the beeches of a meadow,

By a stream-side on the grass ;

And the trees are showering down
Doubles of their leaves in shadow.

On her shining hair and face.

She has thrown her bonnet by ;
And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water's flow —
Now she holds them nakedly



iS ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.

In her hands, all sleek and dripping
While she rocketh to and fro.

Little Ellie sits alone,
And the smile she softly uses,

Fills the silence like a speech ;

While she thinks what shall be done,—
And the sweetest pleasure chooses,

For her future within reach.

Little Ellie in her smile
Chooseth . . . " I will have a lover.

Riding on a steed of steeds 1

He shall love me without guile ;
And to him I will discover

That swan's nest among the reeds.

" And the steed shall be red-roan,
And the lover shall be noble,

With an eye that takes the breath,

And the lute he plays upon
Shall strike ladies into trouble,

As his sword strikes men to death.

" And the steed it shall be shod
All in silver, housed in azure.

And the mane shall swim the wind :

And the hoofs along the sod
Shall flash onward and keep measure,

Till the shepherds look behind.

" But my lover will not prize
All the glory that he rides in,



ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST. 19

When he gazes in my face,
He will say, ' O Love, thine eyes
Build the shrine my soul abides in ;
And I kneel here for thy grace.'

** Then, ay, then — he shall kneel low,
With the red-roan steed anear him

Which shall seem to understand,

Till I answer, * Rise and go !
For the world must love and fear him,

Whom I gift with heart and hand.'

" Then he will arise so pale,
I shall feel my own lips tremble

With 2i.yes I must not say —

Nathless maiden-brave, ' Farewell,
I will utter and dissemble —

'Light to-morrow with to-day.'

" Then he'll ride among the hills
To the wide world past the river.

There to put away all wrong :

To make straight distorted wills,
And to empty the broad quiver

Which the wicked bear along.

" Three times shall a young foot-page
Swim the stream and climb the mountain

And kneel down beside my feet —

' Lo 1 my master sends this gage,
Lady, for thy pity's counting !

What wilt thou exchange for it?'



fO ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.

" And the first time, I will send
A white rose-bud for a guerdon, —

And the second time a glove :

But the third time — I may bend
From my pride, and answer — ' Pardon —

If he comes to take my love.'

"Then the young foot-page will run —
Then my lover will ride faster.

Till he kneeleth at my knee :

' I am a duke's eldest son I
Thousand serfs do call me master, —

But, O Love, I love but thee /'

" He will kiss me on the mouth
Then ; and lead me as a lover,

Through the crowds that praise his deeda ;

And, when soul-tied by one troth,
Unto him I will discover

That swan's nest among the reeds."

Little EUie, with her smile
Not yet ended, rose up gayly,

Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe —

And went homeward, round a mile.
Just to see, as she did daily.

What more eggs were with the two.

Pushing through the elm-tree copse
Winding by the stream, light-hearted.
Where the osier pathway leads —
Past the boughs she stoops — and stops 1



JIM BLUDSO. ■!

Lo ! the wild swan had deserted —
And a rat had gnawed the reeds.

Ellie went home sad and slow :
If she found the lover ever,

With his red-roan steed of steeds,

Sooth I know not ! but I know
She could never show him — never.

That swan's nest among the reeds !

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.



JIM BLUDSO.

Wall, no ! I can't tell where he lives

Because he don't live, you see :
Leastways, he's got out of the habit

Of livin' like you and me.
Whar have you been for the last three years

That you haven't heard folks tell
How Jimmy Bludso passed in his checks,

The night of the "Prairie Belle" ?

He warn't no saint — them engineers

Is all pretty much alike —
One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill,

And another one here, in Pike.
A careless man in his talk was Jim,

And an awkward man in a row —
But he never pinked, and he never lied,

I reckon he never knowed how.



flt JIM BLUDSO.

And tin's was all the religion he had—

To treat his engine well ;
Never be passed on the river ;

To mind the pilot's bell ;
And if ever the " Prairie Belle" took fire,

A thousand times he swore
He'd hold her nozzle agin the bank

Till the last soul got ashore.

All boats has their day on the Mississip',

And her day came at last —
The " Movastar" was a better boat,

But the "Belle," she wouldn't be passea,
And so came a tearin' along that night,

The oldest craft on the line,
With a nigger squat on her safety-valve,

And her furnaces crammed, rosin and pine.

The fire bust out as she clared the bar,

And burnt a hole in the night.
And quick as a flash she turned, and made

For that wilier-bank on the right.
There was runnin' and cursin', but Jim yelled out

Over all the infernal roar,
"I'll hold her nozzle agin the bank

Till the last galoot's ashore."

Thro' the hot, black breath of the burnin' boat

Jim Bludso's voice was heard.
And they all had trust in his cussedness.

And know'd he would keep his word.
\nd sure's you're born, they all got oflf

Afore the smoke-stacks fell,



MAUD MULLER. 23

And Bludso's ghost went up alone
In the smoke of the " Prairie Belle."



He warn't no saint, — but at judgment

I'd run my chance with Jim
'Longside of some pious gentlemen

That wouldn't shook hands with him.
He'd seen his duty a dead sure thing,

And went for it thar and then ;
And Christ ain't a-going to be too hard

On a man that died for men.

John Hav,



MAUD MULLER.

Maud Muller, on a summer's day.
Raked the meadows sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But, when she glanced to the far-off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast —



14



MAUD MULLER.

A wish that she hardly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse's chestnut mane.

He drew his bridle in the shade

Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadow across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

" Thanks !" said the Judge, " a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quaffed."

He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her brier-torn gown.
And her graceful ankles bare and brown ;

And listened, while a pleased surprise
Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.



MAUD MULLER.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away.

Maud Muller looked and sighed : '* Ah me !
That I the Judge's bride might be !

" He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.

" My father should wear a broadcloth coat,
My brother should sail a painted boat.

"I'd dress my mother so grand and gay,
And the baby should have a new toy each day.

" And I'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
And all should bless me who left our door."

The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

" A form more fair, a face more sweet,
Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.

" And her modest answer and graceful air
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

" Would she were mine, and I to-day.
Like her, a harvester of hay :

** No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
No weary lawyers with endless tongues,
B 3



»5



t6 MAUD MULLER.

" But low of cattle, and song of birds,
And health, and quiet, and loving words.**

But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune ;

And tne young girl mused beside the well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

He wedded a wife of richest dower.
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow.
He watched a picture come and go :

And sweet Maud MuUer's hazel eyes
Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft when the wine in his glass was red,
He longed for the wayside well instead ;

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms,
To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

And *he proud man sighed with a secret pain,
"Ah, that I were free again 1



MAUD MULLER.

* Free as when I rode that day,
Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay."

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and child-birth pain.
Left their traces on heart and brain.

And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot.

And she heard the little spring brook fall
Over the roadside, through the wall,

In the shade of the apple-tree again
She saw a rider draw his rein.

And, gazing down with timid grace.
She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
Stretched away into stately halls ;

The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
The tallow candle an astral burned ;

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,
And joy was duty and love was law.



27



J 8 THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.

IT.en sh; took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, " It might have been."

Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,

For rich repiner and household drudge I

God pity them both ! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall ;

For of all sad words of tongue or pen.

The saddest are these : " It might have been I"

Ah, well ! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes ;

And, in the hereafter, angels may


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