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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Little Orator

By Thaddeus Mason Harris (1768–1842)

[Born in Charlestown, Mass., 1768. Died in Boston, Mass., 1842. Written for Edward Everett, and recited by him in childhood. 1798.]

PRAY, how should I, a little lad,

In speaking, make a figure?

You’re only joking, I’m afraid,—

Do wait till I am bigger.

But, since you wish to hear my part,

And urge me to begin it,

I’ll strive for praise, with all my heart,

Though small the hope to win it.

I’ll tell a tale how Farmer John

A little roan-colt bred, sir,

And every night and every morn

He watered and he fed, sir.

Said Neighbor Joe to Farmer John,

“Arn’t you a silly dolt, sir,

To spend such time and care upon

A little useless colt, sir?”

Said Farmer John to Neighbor Joe,

“I’ll bring my little roan up,

Not for the good he now can do,

But will do, when he’s grown up.”

The moral you can well espy,

To keep the tale from spoiling;

The little colt, you think, is I,—

I know it by your smiling.

And now, my friends, please to excuse

My lisping and my stammers;

I, for this once, have done my best,

And so—I’ll make my manners.