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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1892)
as those other colleges. In these colleges litcrorywotk and
oratory (if :t will be allowable to call it by that name) is
about all they have with which to arouse enthusiasm. And
in Crete, which will account for the great percentage thtrc,
it is not only all they have in the college but all they have in
the whole town.
Here we have several other courses, equally prominent
with the literary, scientific clubs equally as attractive as n
literary society, two theaters almost every night, ami frequent
addresses by prominent men, to say nothing of numerous
other diversions of which students in the other colleges know
little or nothing. It certainly cannot be reasonably expected
that we should have as great a percentage, even of our liter
ary students, in th local oratorical association.
Mr. Williams says that all the university asks is 'ithat
you place yourselves where defeat shall not overtake you."
In other words If you cannot be at the head, whether right
or wrong, withdraw and don't play with them." 1 have yet
to hear of a single complaint from university authorities and
think none has been made. The assertion comes from Mr.
Williams as an individual and his language imports that he
is not a member of the association he addresses. Supposing
that he is a member for the sak ol saving him from the ridic
ulous position of tel ing somebody else what they should
do, it would seem that a university student ought to be above
talking "sour grapes"
Hut the real trouble Mr. Williams seems not to have over
looked simply but not to be cognizant of. He says "It is
folly fpr you to labor to win a state contest with the ideal
you have in view, etc." The real folly rests in seeking to
win a contest with that ideal while our co-contestants have a
different ideal. Our man enters the field with a good ora
tion. The students of the other colleges enter with good
essays, biographies, eulogies, panegyrics, anything but ora
tions, and we say "All right. Let the game go on." The
judges are not directed to distinguish between orations and
other productions, they therefore commonly make none, and
thus a good scientific paper or a flowery harangue may rank
above a (air otatiou. In like manner, grace in action is put
ahead of force in delivery. I am decidedly opposed to put
ting our good wheat in the balance against their straw and
chad. So long as we continue to do so we shall only serve
as instruments to raise them into greater prominence and
honor. Take for instance the essay which took first place in
the state contest two years ago. It had none of the elements
of an oration in it and its reputed author should never have
been permitted to come upon the rostrum to deliver it. One
of the orations in the last state contest should have been dis
posed of in like manner. If we enter the northern league
and choose our judges from university men only, under equal
conditions, we have no assurance that the honois will be
more satisfactorily placed. Take for instance in our last
local contest where two of the judges on manuscript were
university professors and the ot .cr a university graduate. I
am informed that one of those judges declares that there is
no difference whatever between an oration and an essay.
One of those judges ranked one of the oiations five points
above any other entered, while another one of the judges
marked the same oration somewhat below the others. The
judges on delivery differed almost as much in their markings.
The oration may have been good or bad, I do not here under
take o say, but such extremes in marking is positively ridic
ulous. The copies of the oration submitted to the several
judges were exactly the same and it is evident that the cause
of the differen e in markings was tire difference, in the rnrnds
of the judges as to what constituted un oratJon and proper
delivery. This is a greater difference in marks than has
been made by the judges on any of our state contests where
Mr. Williams suggests we have not always had things
exactly to our taste.
Let us, instead of crying for "sympathy" and "offices",
contend for a well defined standard of oratory. II the local
associations refuse to agree to this, then I am will'ng to with
draw. Hut assuming that they will agree to this, then let us
rigorously cn'orce the rule, instruct the judges to rule out all
manuscript which docs not come wi hin the definition of an
oration, and in delivery to look not to the beauty of gymnas
tic performance but to the tendency to carry conviction of the
truth of the principle advocated by the orator to the minds
of the audience. Also give the judges a common basis on
which to grade. Under such conditions theic will be no
occasion "for the honest grangers of the state to s jiile and say
the university isn't in it", and we may safely 'undertake to
send an orator to the inter-slate contest the year after their
adoption. If wc.withdraw from ilw state association for no
better reasons than those indicated by Mr. Williams in his
article, I venture the assertion that 95 percent of our "six
hundred students will rise up and call you chumps."
' II. W. QUAINTAHCK.
1IY KRNK8T WHITING.
"There's something wrong at the lighthouse bar,
A bad night coming, and yet no light;
The sky is miuky, with never a star,
And "the fishing fleet comes in tonight.
"Look at the whitccaps, how they spout!
And look at the breakers, mad with spray!
Thoy can never steer in, if the light is out,
And they never can live outside the bay.
"Four rough miles to the old rock tower,
And not a minute of sight to spare,
The Devil would miss it in half an hour!
Now who'll risk a life for the lives out there?"
Four stout fellows were ready then,
And pulled away in a burst of cheers;
'Twas the one last hope for saving the men;
And the hope was little and heavy the fears.
Half way over the daylight ceased,
And a sudden darkness fell over all,
Without a sign of life in the cast
Till a rocket shot through the midnight pall.
Another, another, and many more,
And we thought, as we waited in helpless pain,
Of the horrible rack that would strew the shore
And the four brave souls in their struggle vain,
When a sudden the flash of the lighthouse ray,
And the bay with a path of glory paved!
And we shouted, and sobbed, as children may,
For we knew we knew the fleet was saved!
Yes, the fleet was saved, and a hundred men,
And every craft in the fleet afloat;
Hut the light in the tempest went out again,
And the waves rolled back an empty boat.
We buried them there, in the old Light's wreck,
With the new Light above for a monument;
And there's none of us here on dike or deck
Hut's a better man for the lives they lent.
The JLaat Work of a Greut SUitemnau.
We publish this week the winning oration, delivered by Miss
L. C. Field, at the Delian Annual Oratorical Contest.
A republican government is founded upon certain fixed
principles. These principles are inherent. That they could
be withheld until the spirit of liberty has entirely disappeared,
or the people have become so servile and debased as "to be
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