Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.



A famous king would build a church,
A temple vast and grand;
And that the praise might be his own,
He gave a strict command
That none should add the smallest gift
To aid the work he planned.

And when the mighty dome was done,
Within the noble frame,
Upon a tablet broad and fair,
In letters all aflame
With burnished gold, the people read
The royal builder’s name.

Now when the king, elate with pride,
That night had sought his bed,
He dreamed he saw an angel come
(A halo round his head),
Erase the royal name and write
Another in its stead.

What could it be?  Three times that night
That wondrous vision came;
Three times he saw that angel hand
Erase the royal name,
And write a woman’s in its stead
In letters all aflame.

Whose could it be?  He gave command
To all about his throne
To seek the owner of the name
That on the tablet shone;
And so it was, the courtiers found
A widow poor and lone.

The king, enraged at what he heard,
Cried, “Bring the culprit here!”
And to the woman trembling sore,
He said, “’Tis very clear
That thou hast broken my command: 
Now let the truth appear!”

“Your majesty,” the widow said,
“I can’t deny the truth;
I love the Lord—­my Lord and yours—­
And so in simple sooth,
I broke your Majesty’s command
(I crave your royal ruth).

“And since I had no money, Sire,
Why, I could only pray
That God would bless your Majesty;’
And when along the way
The horses drew the stones, I gave
To one a wisp of hay!”

“Ah! now I see,” the king exclaimed,
“Self-glory was my aim: 
The woman gave for love of God,
And not for worldly fame—­
’Tis my command the tablet bear
The pious widow’s name!”



So often is the proud deed done
By men like this at Duty’s call;
So many are the honours won
For us, we cannot wear them all!

      They make the heroic common-place,
        And dying thus the natural way;
      And yet, our world-wide English race
        Feels nobler, for that death, To-day!

      It stirs us with a sense of wings
        That strive to lift the earthiest soul;
      It brings the thoughts that fathom things
        To anchor fast where billows roll.

      Love was so new, and life so sweet,
        But at the call he left the wine,
      And sprang full-statured to his feet,
        Responsive to the touch divine.

      “_ Nay, dear, I cannot see you die. 
        For me, I have my work to do
      Up here.  Down to the boat.  Good-bye,
        God bless you.  I shall see it through_.”

Project Gutenberg
Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.