As we embark on the final week of the Summer Term (which ends on July 19th) and another school year draws to a close, there is much to record for the August edition of the ‘Draconian.’
The second half of the Summer Term, after the Scholarship Examinations are over, is very useful for work on English Literature and Composition. A good deal of poetry has been learnt – ‘The Lost Leader,’ part of ‘Locksley Hall,’ ‘On his blindness‘ and ‘The Massacre of Piedmont‘ by Milton, ‘If,’ ‘Amor Mundi,’ some passages and songs from Shakespeare, ‘Macaronics,’ etc., and we have done a good deal of English verse composition. Some of the ballads and sonnets and verses in various metres show promise and interest.
We will include some of them in the ‘Draconian,’ and to whet your appetite, here are two of them. Bobby Alford (one of our Winchester scholars) took the war as his theme:
FOUR YEARS OF WAR "This is the fifth year of this blinkin' war, And it will probably go on ten more, But I think all this country's simply daft. What is the use of goin' and gettin' strafed? What does it help just to go out to France? In those darned trenches you don't get a chance Of doin' anything, but like as not, Before you're out there a month, you're shot." "Young Tommy you're a very foolish lad, You needn't think that all this world's gone mad. Those fools of Germans have, I will allow, But that's the reason that you're fighting now. Think what would happen if this murderous band O'erran the earth and conquered every land!" "I never thought of it like that before, There must be some point then, in this darned war."
Cecil Salkeld (recently awarded a scholarship at Oundle), on the other hand, has constructed a capital sonnet, full of imagery:
SUMMER Come! Come! Rejoice 'tis summer-time once more! Once more, the burning sun doth parch the earth, And nourisheth the flowers fresh from birth. The alien swallow seeks his native shore: Wise migrant! Learnéd in his bird-like lore. Now is the hour of pleasure and of mirth: Of juicy grape the vineyard hath no dearth: The sunburnt land is better than before. And Thou, who rulest all, alone, divine, And sowest all Thy bounties here below, Liken us now to this, Thy summer-time, That we both fresh and fair in soul may grow, And having lived our span, in perfect rhyme From all our earthly woes may early go.
Below the VIth form, the boys have been learning Longfellow, and the recitations of Form II were exceedingly good.
The art of teaching boys to recite with directness and feeling is perhaps the most difficult and certainly one of the most important that the teacher has to aim at. Monotony, emphasis on wrong words, sing-song, indistinct utterance, slurring over syllables and connecting words, all these are common faults that a teacher must cure; then come the valuable additions of change of voice, variation in speed, signs of real feeling and (what one rarely gets) appropriate gesture.