Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, March 14, 1885, Page 3, Image 3
THE HESPERIAN STUDENT, prize poem was like a prize sheep in that it was de signed simply for the purposes of exhibition, and for anything else than this, was completely worthless. The same thing may be said of prize orations. The undergraduate orator is not expected to instruct, nor to exhort, nor to tickle his audience. If he attempts any of these things he may be able to succeed meas urably in doing any one of them, but he will only get laughed at. It is expected of him that he shall develope in some manner not too original, certain ideas, that he shall use language of a given degree of smoothness and force, and that the whole shall be delivered with the proper inflections of the voice and motions of the body. After leaving school he will have no more occasion to produce such orations than he will have to do the giant swing that he learned in the gymnasium. A man, however, who hassufficient acuteness to adapt means to ends so as to enable him to win ah oratorical prize, ought to be able to see the true woith and worthlessness of the thing accom plished and not be duped into thinking himself a genius because he has succeeded in a boyish exercise Not to the prize orator but to the fellows that havg a latent hankering to be prize orators, does an orator ical contest result in the most good. The thought of it is before them in all their rhetorical work, and an unconfessed but eternal hope will induce them to do more good literary work than the most elaborate marking system in the college world could get out of them. The idea that students are the most unhealthy class of animals that live outside of Indiana ague swamps is probably false, and certainly ought to be so. Students have allotted to them twenty four full hours per day, and these they are to employ in fitting themselves as completely as may be for the work of life. If sound bodily health is a thing to be obtained by conscious effort, it would seem as though persons so situated would surely have it. Yet even when we leave out of the question those wondrous beings who really delight in a yellow skin, and in what they think an intellectual air, the great majority of students rely upon strenuous efforts for mental improvement, but "trust to luck" for good health. Fortune, however, does better by them than might be expected, and we believe that a better average of health is found among students than in the community as a whole. Town-bred pastoral poets who know nothing about the laboring classes either in the country or elsewhere, are in the habit of uttering twaddle about the health and happiness of those who. earn their bread by the sweat of the brow. It. is nevertheless a fact that the average laboring man is not healthy. He may be strong but that is ano.ther thing. The great oceans of patent medicine that are being absorbed by the people of this country every year, are not imbibed wholly by fussy old women, but doses that would appall a veterinary surgeon are swallowed by the seeming giants that build our rail roads, raise our crops, and quarry our building mater ials. When any one breaks down while attending school it is promptly known and the ambition to learn something, is thereafter thought to be a very unhealthy one to cherish; but when ill health over takes a person who is engaged in some other pursuit the misfortune is charged to "providence" and a 'humble spirit of obedience" isenjoined. Many in stances are known to us where the health of a stud ent has improved after the beginning of the college course, and when such instances are as numerous as they should and might be, the real advantages of a higher education will begin to be enjoyed. The ridiculous "division of labor" which gives fifteen years to growth, ten to mental improvement, and the rest of a man's life to dyspepsia can best be at once abandoned. OU1TIGISM. Tho Inst performance, or nUher non-performance, of the Hesperian Board, comes especially under tlio I'ead of criticism. Treating it general ly, many truths may bo deduced from it. Il gives an excellent opportunity to moralize. Moral reflection Nt. 1; tliut different persons often lookal the same tiling in oppoa'le ways: as the Romans lmvo it, "quot homines, tot sentcntiae " Moral reflection No. 2; Hint the actor and tho one acted upon, sometimes do not agree in tha conception of what lias passed between them. Moral reflection No. 3; that oven consistent Y. M.'O. A. members occasionally get angry. Moral reflection No. 4; that Bilenco, though golden, may bo carried too far. Moral reflection No. 5; that the doctrino of origiuai sin is forcibly Illustrated by tho action of tho Board Total depravity is tho only explanation of it. Moral reflection No 0; that there aro somn thing pooplo will not forgive Christian charity and brotherly lore do not rulo in all things yet. Tho orntoricnl contest fever has now broken out iu this University. The indications aro that it will bo at tended with the usual quarrels, fights, jealousies, enmities which accompany it elsewhere. Many students will spend their lime and energy upou this at the cost of their neccBsary and essential work. Tho successful orator suffer a tho most of all, probably his attention iu diverted from his studies for three or four months, and if ho has not an extra reserve of common Hcnso. his vanity receives such a stimulus that his intellect is permanently Im paled, its growth checked. And to what end? What la llicro to bo obtained worthy of so much labor? True, il is an excellent thing to he able to speak plainly and iu tcllogibly, but litis art might be acquired with less trouble and moro effectively in oilier ways.