Mr. Groton's oration was ably written and well delivered. In his modest and graceful exordium he alluded to the long-courted obscurity of the society, now laid aside for the first time after eight years of successful existence. He then passed to his subject, "Genius," in the treatment of which he showed equal facility of expression and freshness of thought. Many of the touches in the latter part evidenced the presence of the subject of his oration.
It was a disappointment to many that Mr. Goodwin was prevented by ill-health and stress of work from delivering the poem. This part was written upon very short notice by Mr. Osborne, and in spite of the difficulties attendant on this, he succeeded in producing as entertaining an occasional poem as we remember hearing. The local allusions, as he summed up the four years' experience of seventy-three, were capital, and the audience were very enthusiastic throughout. The introduction struck us as so excellent that we take the liberty of quoting it :-
An ancient fiddle of a bygone day
Long time neglected in a garret lay;
One string was broken, and the kindly dust
Alone preserved the others from the rust;
Its pegs were loose; a melancholy crack
Extended gaping all along its back.
One day a youngster, roaming through the dark,
(Not bent on robbin', rather on a lark,)
Groping the garret's narrow window nigh,
Saw in its wreck the sorry fiddle lie.
He stopped its cracks and gave its pegs a turn,
Wiped off the dust, - he "did n't care a durn!
No doubt its voice was husky, cracked, and weak;
'T would be some fun to hear the critter squeak."
And squeak it did in accents most appealing;
He little knew he 'd hurt its tenderest feeling.
This is an allegory. Vide "Fairy Queen"
And "Pilgrim's Progress" for the thing I mean.
The naughty boy who did the thing is He;
The ancient fiddle? Well, the fiddle's me.