Monday Night Poetry: August 1

This was originally written for a School Declamation. (to be spoken by Ephraim H. Farrar, aged seven, New Ipswich, New Hampshire.) I wonder how many other children have spoken this over the years.

The Juvenile Orator

You’d scarce expect one of my age
To speak in public, on the stage;
And if I chance to fall below
Demosthenes or Cicero,
Don’t view me with a critic’s eye,
But pass my imperfections by.

Large streams from little fountains flow;
Tall oaks from little acorns grow;
And though I now am small and young,
Of judgement weak, and feeble tongue,
Yet all great learned men – like me –
Once learned to read their A, B, C.

And why may not Columbia’s soil
Rear men as great as Britain’s isle,
Exceed what Greece and Rome have done,
Or any land beneath the sun?

Those thoughts inspire my youthful mind
To be the greatest of mankind;
Great, not like Caesar, stained with blood;
But only great, as I am good.

David Everett


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