An Orator's Complaint

A poem by Robert Fuller Murray

How many the troubles that wait
On mortals!--especially those
Who endeavour in eloquent prose
To expound their views, and orate.

Did you ever attempt to speak
When you hadn't a word to say?
Did you find that it wouldn't pay,
And subside, feeling dreadfully weak?

Did you ever, when going ahead
In a fervid defence of the Stage,
Get checked in your noble rage
By somehow losing your thread?

Did you ever rise to reply
To a toast (say 'The Volunteers'),
And evoke loud laughter and cheers,
When you didn't exactly know why?

Did you ever wax witty, and when
You had smashed an opponent quite small,
Did he seem not to mind it at all,
But get up and smash you again?

If any or all of these things
Have happened to you (as to me),
I think you'll be found to agree
With yours truly, when sadly he sings:

'How many the troubles that wait
On mortals!--especially those
Who endeavour in eloquent prose
To expound their views, and orate.'

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