When I went to school we were required to memorize poetry and speeches, and then to recite the selections before the class. Those excruciatingly unforgettable memories are still indelibly etched on my brain, but I can still perform a very "chewing the scenery" rendering of Lady Macbeth's "Is this a dagger I see before me?" speech.
My friend Vivian Harris Thomas and I were discussing how we had disliked that Mrs. Vance made us recite the entire poem When The Frost Is On The Punkin' but despite that, Vivian and I have been known to do impromptu recitations of that and other speeches.
Several years ago, we were participating in a political meeting on April 18. Prior to the meeting, I looked at Vivian and asked, "Are you ready?" Rolling her eyes, she gave me a look of disgust, immediately sensing my plan.
At the end of the meeting, the Chairperson asked, "Are there any further remarks?" I stood and said, "Vivian Thomas and I would like to do a relative recitation." She quipped, "She likes alliteration." We recited the words of The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere. Vivian's performance was far superior to mine as she recalled more verses than I, of a poem we learned more than fifty years ago.
Please read the words to Longfellow's poem and listen to the professional's declamation below. I believe the recitation by Vivian and me was more forceful. I wish I had a recording of our performance.