David Rands has kindly shared with readers of the Victorian Web his site about the life and works of W. B. Rands, the prolific writer of children's literature and originator of The Boy's Own Paper. Readers may wish to consult this site for more information about this little-known figure who had an immense influence upon Victorian children. [GPL]
There was a boy at Hampton Wick,
Whose name, as it happened, was Cicero Brick;
He fell in love in desperate fashion
With a girl who fully returned his passion.
But she had a father who said, "No, no!
What! Marry a boy named Cicero?
Never, with my consent, my dear!"—
What happened next we soon shall hear.
The daughter wept till the father said,
"Cicero Brick and you may wed
When he has spoken an oration
To an enormous congregation!"
The public felt no great surprise
When Cicero Brick did advertise
A course of lectures — five or six, —
O, what a notion of Cicero Brick's!
St. James's Hall, in Regent Street,
For these orations he said was meet;
The first oration that he spoke
Two dozen heard it — what a joke!
The next time ten, the next time four,
And then the public came no more;
But Cicero Brick — this who shall blame? —
Spoke the oration all the same.
"Read my advertisement," quoth he,
"And tell me what you in it see
About the oration's being heard!
It says 'delivered'. I keep my word!"
This was so honest and well-meant,
The father well-nigh did relent;
He said, "I never saw before
So persevering an orator!"
The lover spoke, perhaps with grace,
For two hours in that empty place!
The servants at the Hall let out
The fact, and it got noised about
At concerts, balls, and conversations,
That Cicero spoke these orations
In that huge Hall, week after week
With no one there to hear him speak.
What was the consequence? A run,
A rush, to see and hear it done;
"We really must hear Cicero Brick!"
All London cried. The crowd was thick.
They mobbed the men who took the pay;
Hundreds that night were turned away;
And Cicero Brick spoke this oration
To an enormous congregation!
The father of the girl he wooed
Now kept his promise as he should;
The wedding feast of Cicero Brick
Came off at once near Hampton Wick;
And all the guests gave three cheers for
The persevering Orator.