More Children’s Performances

George Whitfield Kates, The Lyceum Stage: a collection of contributed, compiled and original recitations, dialogues, fairy plays, etc., adapted for the Children’s Progressive Lyceum and school exhibitions.  Toledo and Cincinnati: Bateson & Kates, 1874.

22: [Recitation:]

To Reformers.
By H. Winchester.

Awake from your dreaming!  Awake into life!
Be united as one—forgetting past strife;
For the angels are waiting, your labors to crown
With the glad shout of victory for idols pull’d down.

Arouse, then, to action!  Arouse, while you may!
United, your life will drive darkness away;
And break the strong fetters binding the mind;
And give mental freedom to the world of mankind.

For centuries, long centuries, the priests have each day,
Taught that Christ’s blood washed all sins away;
The blackest and lowest that breathed the pure air,
If washed in Christ’s blood—His glory they’d share.

Away with such nonsense!  Let the people arise!
Meet the angels half way from their beautiful skies;
They are ready and waiting to pour like a flood,
On a world dead in error, the pure truth of God.

For the God christians worship is selfish and vain;
Revengeful, vindictive, delighting in pain;
Whose mercy is cruel—ah! more than the grave—
Having power to make, yet no power to save!

Away with such folly!  The God I adore,
Is the Spirit of Truth and of Love evermore!
Self-existent, eternal.  His spirit’s in me,
As immortal, everlasting and endless as He!

Awake from your dreaming! banish discord and strife;
Let charity cover all the errors in life—
For each man and woman, born on earth’s plane
Are gems of God’s spirit—each a link in the chain.


Motto Address.


(The above sentiment is intended to be hung one letter at a time by as many children, who shall accompany the same by short recitations.  Each letter to be hung between the pieces announced on the programme.  The audience is thereby astonished and delighted, as well as caused to wonder what the sentiment will be.  A frame is necessary to hang the letters on, the background of which can be muslin.  The face can be decorated with evergreens to give spaces for the letters.  The letters should be made of pasteboard with gilt face and a hook at top to hang by.  The frame should be suspended; and as the child enters with the letter, lowered.)


A—To do good, is to be good.

N—Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

G—Good habits are formed and bad ones avoided, only by constant effort.

E—Our characters cannot really be injured except by our own acts.

L—O, what a tangled web we weave,
       When first we practice to deceive.

S—Think that day lost, whose low descending sun,
      Views from thy hand no worthy action done.

G—Two things we should never fret about: first, what we can help, and second, what we cannot help.

U—Speak as you mean, do as you profess and perform what you promise.

A—For every evil under the sun,
       There is a remedy or there is none;
       If there be one, try and find it;
       If there be none, never mind it.

R—Great events, we often find,
         On little things depend;
       And very small beginnings
         Have oft a mighty end.

D—There’s a meddlesome “somebody” going about
       And playing his pranks, but we can’t find him out;
       He’s up stairs and down stairs from morning till night,
       And always in mischief, but never in sight.

U—I know a funny little man,
         As quiet as a mouse,
           Who does the mischief that is done
      In everybody’s house.
           There’s no one ever sees his face,
      And yet we all agree
           That the guilty person always
      Is Mr. Nobody.

S—Lo, in the golden sky
         We angel forms descry;
      Celestial hosts descend to-day.
           The friends of early years,
           From their exalted spheres,
      Walk with us on our earthly way.


An Operetta.

By Mrs. H. H. Demarest



SCENE—A well furnished apartment in 2nd grooves.  ERNEST GRUMBLE discovered reclining on sofa up L. C.  Window C.  Enter R. HARRY HOPEFUL, in haste.

     HARRY.  Good morning, Ernest.  Come be quick; get your hat, we are all going to the picnic, and want you to go with us.  Going to have a grand time.  Now, don’t look so dismal over it; come, we shall be late.

     ERNEST.  Good morning, Harry; but don’t be so fast; what picnic is it?

     HARRY.  Why, the Lyceum picnic, of course.  You know I belong to the Lyceum, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  I always enjoy myself so much.

     ERNEST.  All well enough for you, Harry, but you know I dislike picnics; I don’t see any pleasure in tramping through wet grass and mud, tearing your clothes to pieces in the briers, and eating sandwiches off a great rock covered with spiders and all sorts of creeping things.

     HARRY.  (Laughing.)  Well I do, I think it’s delightful, spiders and all; and then there will be music, and we will dance and sing, and enjoy ourselves finely.

     ERNEST.  May be you will, I know I should not; I should only wish myself back again, so you will have to excuse me.  I believe I shall stay at home.

     HARRY.  Now that is all nonsense.  If you were not always looking for disagreeable things, you would find life much pleasanter.  I wish you would come next Sunday and join our Lyceum; we will teach you to look on the bright side and find there is good in all things, and show you how to be happy.  I am sorry you won’t go.  (Looking at his watch.)  But there’s no time to spare.  There—I hear them coming now, so I must be off!  Good bye.  (Exit R.)

Lyceum marches by window C., with banners, singing “Alladillo.”

    ERNEST.  What a dear fellow he is.  I’m almost sorry I didn’t go, for he is always so cheerful and happy that I feel better myself when with him.  He says he is going to the Lyceum, and what he has learned there makes him so—I wish I knew what it is.  This I do know: happiness is not to be had for money, for I have plenty of that and need deny myself nothing; while he has to work hard and support his mother and sister—still he don’t seem to mind even that; he says he is glad he is able to make some return for his mother’s love and kindness to him.  I have kind friends, who love me and strive to please me, but still I feel dissatisfied and unhappy.  I don’t see how it is; even the little beggar girl I turned from the door yesterday, seems to enjoy what she has more than I who have been petted and indulged all my life.  I wonder if I shall see nothing but gloom before me, nothing to brighten my path, and guide me through the dark valley?  (Sings.)


When my feet have grown too weary
     Farther on to press their way,
When my spirit waits its bidding
     To be severed from its clay,
I shall need some hand to guide me
     O’er the dark and flowing tide;
Will some spirit come to meet me
     When I reach the river side?


Will you leave your home of glory,
     From the Spirit-World above,
And on angel’s wings float near me,
    Guarding me with ceaseless love;
And all through the darkening valley
     Shall I find one by my side?
Will some spirit come to meet me—
     Come and be my angel guide?


I know that my immortal spirit,
     Death can never take away,
And I know ‘twill join the angels
     At the closing of life’s day,
Hark!  I hear sweet heavenly music—
     ‘Tis an angel whispering, come!
I am here to meet you, brother,
     I have come to guide you home.

Sits on sofa and becomes entranced.  Scene opens into a garden scene, disclosing Guardian Spirit C.  She sings as follows:


Child of earth! no more in sorrow
     Bow thy head with tearful eye;
There’s a beautiful to morrow
     Waits thee in thy home on high.
Listen! angel voices singing,
     “We will come to guide thee home;”

Heav’nly music, echoes ringing,
Sweetly call thee, “Brother, come.”
Sweetly call thee, sweetly call thee,
Heav’nly music, echoes ringing,
Sweetly call thee, “Brother, come.”


All thy human woes and troubles
     Vanish with thy fleeting breath;
All will seem like empty bubbles,
     When thou’st crossed the river Death.

Listen! etc.


Look beyond the shining river!
     See the loved ones as they stand!
Mortal tongue could tell thee never,
     All the glories of that land.

Listen! etc.


There, no more fond ties are broken;
     There, no more alone we stray;
There, no farewell word is spoken—
     All is bright eternal day.

Listen! etc.

Enter R. & L. Band of Spirits singing the chorus, “Come, come,” etc., accompanied by others unseen.

COME!  COME!  COME!  Duet.

    Come! come! come!
    Angels bright,
    clothed in light,
Come to beckon you away,
    From the clouds,
    That enshrouds
Earth-life’s darksome day.
     See the sunshine o’er the hills,
     Every heart with rapture fills,
     Now it flows in gentle rills,
Why in darkness stay?


     Come! come! come!
     Would you be,
     Happy, free,
From your load of woe and care?
     Do not shrink,
     Do not think,
You have all to bear.
     Banish sorrow from your mind,
     Look around you, you will find,
     ‘Tis the lot of all mankind;
You have but your share.


     Come! come! come!
     Do not fear,
     Trials here,
They are but the stepping stones;
     Placed in love,
     To lead above,
All earth’s weary ones.
     Do thy duty with they might.
     Trust in God and seek the right,
     Darkness flies, the glorious light
Of heaven thee enzones.

Echo, “Come! come! come!” is heard.  Green lights on tableau.  Scene closes.  Ernest awakes from trance, rises and look about.

     ERNEST.  Where am I?  Have I been dreaming or did I really see those forms and hear that heavenly music?  Let me see; what was it they sang?  “Do thy duty with they might.”  I never thought of having anything to do but please myself.  I wonder what my duty is?  I wish Harry were here.  (Looking off R.)  Ah! here comes that little girl now; she seems to be in trouble to-day; I feel strangely attracted toward the child.  I’ll just ask her what ails her, though I detest beggars.  (Calls off R.)  Here, little one!  Come here and tell me what you are crying for.

Enter R. Minnie, crying.

     ERNEST.  What is the matter with you and what is your name?

     MINNIE.  I’m Minnie, and I can’t help crying, ‘cause Eddie is so sick, and mamma don’t know what to do, for she has no money to pay the rent, and that ugly man says we must move to-morrow if she don’t pay it.

     ERNEST.  But why don’t she work and earn the money?

     MINNIE.  Why, you see, she used to sew all the time when Eddie was well, but now she can’t ‘cause she has to take care of him so much.

     ERNEST.  (Aside.)  Poor child!  I feel quite interested in her if she is a beggar.  (To the child.)  How long since you began to beg?

     MINNIE.  O, I never did till yesterday and to-day, and I don’t like to; but I must or we won’t have any supper, and mamma will be so hungry.

     ERNEST.  (Aside.)  She don’t seem to think of herself at all.  I feel ashamed of my complaints.  I wonder if this is my duty?  How shall I know if her story is true?  I believe I’ll go with her and see.  (To Minnie.)  Well, come, Minnie, and show me where you live.  (Takes her hand and exeunt R.)

Curtain falls.  End of Act 1st.


SCENE 1ST—Plain room in 1st grooves.  Enter HARRY HOPEFUL and ERNEST GRUMBLE R.
     ERNEST.  Yes, Harry, at last I think I have found the secret of happiness—for I have more satisfaction from the few dollars given for a month’s rent and a basket of provisions, than I ever received from ten times the amount spent for myself.  I find that it is not the possession of money or the gratification of self that brings true happiness, but the right use of all we possess.

     HARRY.  Well, then, I hope you will go with me to the Lyceum, for that is what we teach and try to practice there.

     ERNEST.  I certainly will, for I think the angels must have given me the beautiful dream I told you of and sent little Minnie to teach me how to do my duty; for I am sure that without it I never should have found out that the way to be happy ourselves is to make others happy.  (Sings.)


Now the shadows of the night,
     Selfishness and gloom depart;
Now I stand for Truth and Right,
     Love and Peace within my Heart.
          Oh, what pleasure,
          Joy past measure,
          Heaven’s best treasure,
               Happiness is found.


No more in gloom and sorrow,
     I shall tread life’s thorny way;
With eye fixed on the morrow,
     I shall wait the glorious day.
          Ever knowing,
          Ever showing,
          In well doing,
               Happiness is found.

     HARRY.  I should like to visit with you, the home of Minnie and see how her brother is feeling this morning.

     ERNEST.  I intended to go; and if you will accompany me, we will go at once.

     HARRY.  Very well, come along.

Exeunt L.
SCENE 2ND—Room in 2nd grooves.  EDDIE lying on a sofa up C.  His mother sitting R. C.  MINNIE L. of sofa.
    MINNIE.  Don’t you know, mamma, I told you I dreamt the good Angels were going to send some one to help us.  I’m so glad, I feel just like singing all the time.  (Sings.)


Now we’ll joyfully sing,
Like the sweet birds in spring,
     As over the meadows they fly;
For Eddie’s most well,
And so happy we feel,
     Dear mamma, and Eddie, and I.

In want never more
I’ll stand at the door,
     And beg, with a tear in my eye;
For kind angels above,
Sent a heart full of love,
     To help mamma, and Eddie, and I.

Enter R. HARRY and ERNEST.
     ERNEST.  Good morning, Minnie.  Is your brother better?

     MINNIE.  Oh, yes, sir.  He is nearly well.  Will you help us sing the beautiful song entitled: “Do good”?

     ERNEST.  Oh, yes; certainly.  I think I can now have a better appreciation of the words than ever before; and hope all our friends here present, will agree with it, that “we are never too young to be useful in many a way.”

All the characters rise and sing as follows:


     Do good! do good!
     We are never too young
        to be useful in many a way;
For all have a heart, a hand, and a tongue,
To feel and to labor and pray.

Let us think, when crowds of children we meet,
    All thronging their pathways of gloom,
That in every damp alley, in every dark street,
    There’s a passage that leads to the tomb.

    Then do good! do good!
    We are never too young
        to be useful in many a way;
For all have a heart, a hand, and a tongue,
To feel and to labor and pray.


What joy, what joy will the least of us know,
     When called to our spirit’s abode,
To find that beside us in glory there stands,
     Some whom we first placed on the road!

Then do good, etc.


Then seek in the highways and byways of earth,
     And bring in the lowly to feast;
Remember, in heaven the greatest may be,
     The one who on earth was the least.

Then do good, etc.

Characters resume their seats.  ERNEST kneeling talking to EDDIE.  HARRY at foot of sofa.  Scene opens disclosing Tableau of Spirits.  Green lights on until curtain.

[ Ephemera Home] [ Eliminating the Impossible ]