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And left all a rubbish-heap, black and dreary,
No priest has kneeled since at the altar's foot,
Except from throat of the unclean bird,
Abbots, monks, barons, and ladies fair,
Nor ever a one greets his church-mate pale;
For the great lord shadowy now as he;
Nor needeth any to hold his breath,
Lest he lose the least word of Doctor Death.
He chooses his text in the Book Divine,
Tenth verse of the Preacher in chapter nine:—
In that quencher of might-bes and would-bes, the grave.
Bid by the Bridegroom, 'To-morrow,' ye said,
Ye had wearied Him, fools, and the last knock was mine!"
But I can't pretend to give you the sermon,
Or say if the tongue were French, Latin, or German;
The meaning was easy to all that heard;
Wrung gall out of Scripture with such a twist.
And would you know who his hearers must be?
In that blackness of darkness that means too late,
Of the Preacher, the tenth verse of chapter nine.
"PENNY READINGS" RECORD.
(From our own Correspondents and the Local Press.)
WILTON (near Salisbury).- A file of programmes of these Readings is to hand. The selections, on the whole, are well made. Among them, "The Field of Waterloo" (Byron), read by Mr. W. Allen; "The Dream of Eugene Aram" (Hood), Rev. T. B. Buchanan; "Bob Sawyer's Party" (Dickens), Mr. Allen; "A Caudle Lecture" (Jerrold), Mr. Dyke; "Hubert and Arthur" (Shakspeare), Rev. J. H. Penruddocke; "The Four Geese," Mr. Green; "The Spanish Armada" (Macaulay), Rev. G. P. Howes; "Mazeppa's Death-ride" (Byron), Mr. Harnett; Scene from "Adam Bede" (Miss Evans), Mr. Harnett; &c. &c. But what are the directors of these readings about to permit such low tap-room comic songs as "I'm Costermonger Joe," "I'd like to be a Swell, "I'm not to be sneezed at," &c., to be introduced? Surely, an audience that could listen to the literary gems above enumerated must feel themselves insulted by being bored with such unmitigated trash! NOTTING DALE.-These pleasant gatherings have been re-commenced with great spirit and success. On a recent Thursday evening the chair was occupied by the Rev. J. A. Spurgeon, the esteemed pastor of Cornwall-road Chapel. The programme for the evening was varied and good; of the music it would be almost impossible to speak too highly.
INCHTURE. The first of a series of Penny Readings, under the auspices of the Rev. Mr. Honey, the parish minister, took place in the Parish School-room, Inchture, and proved a great success. Lord Kinnaird took the chair on the occasion. The evening's entertainment was opened by the performance of a number of airs on the pianoforte by Mrs. Duncan, Inchture, accompanied by Mr. Donaldson, farmer, Ballindean, on the violin. Major Ogilvy then read the stirring passage from Macaulay's "History of England," descriptive of the "Massacre of Glencoe," and was followed by Lady Kinnaird on the piano, accompanied by the Hon. Mrs. Ogilvy, the Misses Honey, the Misses M'Laren, Melville, and a number of other female voices, who sung "Hard Times come again no more," and several other songs, which were frequently applauded. Her ladyship also accompanied on the piano Mr. Salmond, who sung "Auld Robin Gray," "Mary Morrison," &c. Mr. M'Kenzie, farmer, Unthank, gave recitations from Shakspeare's "Hamlet," which were admirably received. Lord Kinnaird then closed the proceedings in a neat address, at the close of which he proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Honey.
NOTTING HILL (Stormont House).-A most successful performance was patronized at the above place by a very numerous attendance, apparently to the enjoyment of all present. Mr. H. V. Lewis presided at the pianoforte, playing two splendid solos; he also sang "God bless the Friends we love." Mr. Rowbotham read an Irish sketch. Mr. G. Brown's comic song, "Miss Wobbinson," was very well received. Mr. J. A. Kingham recited Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade," in a very spirited style, and sang "Garibaldi's Hymn," both being highly applauded. Mr. Davidson sang the "Death of Nelson," and "Lovely Clouds," and was much praised. Mr. J. Musgrove read "The Soldier's Return." Mr. Lewis, jun., sang "A Motto for every Man." Mr. J. Akhurst's reading, "The Cane-bottomed Chair," was most amusing, being much relished by the auditory. Mr. J. B. McDonald's song, "Ye Blighted Barber," called forth immense applause. Mr. J. Reeves read the tragic story of "Virginia.” J. E. Gray, Esq., occupied the chair.
NOTTING HILL (Portobello-road).-A very creditable entertainment was given at the Workmen's Hall, Portobello-road. The chief features of attraction were:-"The Prisoner of Chillon" (Lord Byron), well read by J. Grives, Esq.; Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard," admirably delivered by Mr. T. H. Williamson; and "The Balaklava Charge" (Tennyson), effectively given by Mr. J. C. Hukins.
CRAIL.-The Readings here were resumed on the 27th ult., with success.
BROMPTON.-The Readings are given in the National Schoolroom. Among the pieces read, "Mr. Pickwick at Rochester" (Dickens), by Mr. H. Hoare; "The Black Veil," by Mr. Whitmore; The Doctor and his Apples," by Mr. Hicks; "The Showman's Courtship" (Artemus Ward), Mr. Owen; " Mr. Caudle lends an Umbrella" (Jerrold), Mr. Candler; and an “Original Epilogue," by Mr. C. Lines, deserve special mention.
TAUNTON.-Entertainments, consisting of readings, recitations, and music, have now been held here for three seasons, and have increased in attraction on a recent Thursday over 1200 persons were present, and hundreds could not obtain admittance. The chair was taken by E. W. Cox, Esq. The programme commenced with an overture from Auber, given by a full band; after which the chairman read from a volume of the "Penny Readings," "Good News from Ghent " (Browning); the glee, "Hail, Smiling Morn," followed. "The Charge of the Light Brigade recited in a most masterly manner by Mr. Tasker. H. J. Alford, Esq., next read "Relics of General Chasse" (Trollope), and created great laughter. A solo on the cornet was given with precision. Miss Collihole sung with great sweetness, "Come where my Love lies dreaming," and "The captive Greek Girl." The remainder of the programme consisted of instrumental music, glees, and a
reading from "Pickwick" by the chairman, and concluded with "God save the Queen," given by the full band.
The getting up of these entertainments was undertaken by a committee of tradesmen's assistants, who, after having formed among themselves an Early Closing Association, and having achieved their principal object, that of inducing the employers to close their shops at seven o'clock during the winter months, set themselves to work to provide rational recreation for their confrères, to confute the statement made by the opposers of the Early Closing Movement, to the effect that the assistants would spend their additional leisure hours in the public-house.
The success of their project has been beyond the anticipations of the most sanguine. They have been helped in their work by numerous gentlemen of the town and neighbourbood, they themselves undertaking the work of ticket-collectors, door-keepers, &c. Mr. C. Hare (the secretary) handed over to the treasurer of the Taunton and Somerset Hospital the sum of 301. from the proceeds, which are all devoted, after payment of incidental expenses, to charitable objects.
SHEERNESS. The entertainment here was attended by upwards of six hundred persons. The Rev. G. Bryant, M.A., president, read an extract from Hallam. Mr. Elliott's reading, "The Shadow on the Blind," was received with great attention. Mr. Brenchley's mock-heroic recitation, "The Ambitious Amateur Actor," elicited roars of laughter. Mr. Meaden's reading from Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome," the "Legend of Horatius," was good as a maiden effort. The attention and orderly bearing of the large audience is a proof that they have been educated up to a much higher standard than once obtained, or this reading would not have been heard through. Mr. Macartney read a highly humorous Irish fairy tale, in rhyme, "The Piper and the Changeable Fairy" (J. E. Carpenter), which was well read and diverted much. We must say the whole evening was another success.
STROOD, KENT.-The Penny Readings here were instituted by the Rev. J. G. Bailey, and they are now continued by the Rev. F. O. Mayne, with unabated success. The room in which they are held holds from 400 to 500; it is always crowded, and hundreds are unable to get admission. This is remarkable, as the room is at the extreme end of Strood, in a situation by no means advantageous.
NEWPORT (Forfar).-The Newport Literary Society has established an entertainment founded upon the Penny Readings, which have been so popular elsewhere. The novelty of the programme caused the Free-Church Schoolroom to be almost inconveniently crowded. Every reading, song, duet, and glee was received with rounds of well-deserved applause. The readings, which were interspersed with music, were selections from "Reminiscences" (Dean Ramsay), "The Raven" (E. A. Poe), "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" (Brown