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BY M. LIZZIE STANLEY
An Exercise for Boys From “The Popular Educator”
Let the scholars who represent the ghosts of the vanished years stand in the background and come forth as they are called. Each should bear in his hand a standard with the date of his year in large letters upon it, or wear a badge with the same. Hang a large picture of Washington on the wall; above it place the motto, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen,” and beneath it the dates of his birth and death.
This wintry month of storm and cold
Doth in its rough old heart enfold
A memory bright as burnished gold,
Which still lives on while years grow old.
It pales not with the lapse of time,
But burns with steady glow sublime—
Through all the years from age to age,
A light upon our history’s page—
The name and memory of one,
Our country’s hero—Washington.
Go, ring the bells and fire each gun
In honor of George Washington.
Come, boys, let’s have some historic fun,
Its theme to be grand Washington,
’Tis better far than simple play,
So range yourselves in close array,
While each in turn his deeds do cite,
And thus we’ll keep his memory bright.
Call up the ghosts of the vanished years,
And question each as he appears.
Aha! ye years that thought ye were gone,
We’ll call you back with your faces wan.
(SIX OR MORE VOICES IN CONCERT.)
Arise, thou ghost of seventeen thirty-two,
And to our questions give us answers true.
What knowest thou of Washington, the grave?
What canst thou tell of Washington, the brave?
In February of my year,
Unto my mind ’tis very clear,
Upon the twenty-second day,
In old Virginia far away,
Was born a sweet and gentle child,
On whom the heavens looked down and smiled.
Is that all thou canst tell?
(1732 speaks again.)
Ah! there’s another thing, just one:
They called the child George Washington.
On all things else I am but dumb;
Ask of the years that after come.
Arise, ye ghosts of his youthful days,
And tell us of his acts and ways.
(Arise 1733, 1735, 1738, 1741, 1743, and 1752. Each speaks in turn.)
1733. In seventeen hundred thirty-three He was a baby, full of glee.
1735. In seventeen hundred thirty-five He was a child, all wide-awake, alive.
1738. I speak for seventeen thirty-eight, He told no falsehood, small or great.