Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, March 14, 1885, Page 3, Image 3

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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.
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
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.