During the 19th century, most home entertainment was created by people at home. Some sang, others played instruments. However, no matter how lacking in talent, anyone with a voice could recite poetry.
The poems they recited were simple ones, easy to memorize, and ones that conveyed strong emotions. Some were written by the likes of Edgar Alan Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Others were written by poets known only for a single work. If you see such a collection in your library or bookstore, pick it up.
To see some of my short stories go to www.edwardmcdermott.net