“The Lecturer” by J. Honeywell

by theliterarymaiden

The Lecturer.
By J. Honeywell
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 49, February, 1857, pg. 211.

I HAVE been to hear the lecture,
With a crowd of other folks,
Where we marvelled at the wisdom
That overlaid the jokes,
And the bits of queer philosophy,
And humoristic strokes.

It’s astonishing to me
How a lecturer gets along,
And contrives to make his points
So intolerably strong,
That the tears and laughter clash
Like a sermon and a song.

Perhaps the secret lies
In the large amount of pay
Which the speaker nightly gets
For his doings in that way;
A divining rod to point
Where arts of pleasing lay.

Ah! me, if that is so,
And men have wit to sell:
If a fifty-dollar bill
Makes so little learning tell,
I pray the golden bucket
May go often to the well.

I knew before, that gold
Had overwhelming power;
Now I see it can condense
A flood into a shower,
And cram a life’s research
Into lectures of an hour.

I with that some committee
Would apply the test to me:
I would overhaul my brain
Where the learning used to be,
And all the wit I knew
The light of day should see.

I do believe that I,
With what is in my head—
Native genius and the crop
Of what I may have read,
Compressed, could make a book
About as good as ‘Dred.’

Up now a subject pops:
The trial I will dare!
So ye grave committee-men,
Your darling notes prepare:
Be prompt! for well you know
I can’t go everywhere!