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SPOKEN BY MR ELLISTON AT THE OPENING OF THE NEW THEATRE ROYAL
In one dread night your city saw, and sighed,
Bowed to the dust, the drama's tower of pride ;
In one short hour, beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakespeare cease to reign.
Ye who beheld, oh sight, admired and mourned,
Whose radiance mocked the ruin it adorned ;
Through clouds of fire, the massy fragments riven,
Like Israel's pillar, chase the night from heaven,
Saw the long column of revolving flames
Shake its red shadow o’er the startled Thames,
While thousands, thronged around the burning dome,
Shrank back appalled, and trembled for their home ;
As glared the volumed blaze, and ghastly shone
The skies, with lightnings awful as their own;
Till blackening ashes and the lonely wall
Usurped the muse's realm, and marked her fall;
Say—shall this new nor less aspiring pile,
Reared where once rose the mightiest in our isle,
Know the same favour which the former knew,
A shrine for Shakspeare-worthy him and you !
Yes-it shall be-The magic of that name
Defies the scythe of time, the torch of flame,
On the same spot still consecrates the scene,
And bids the drama be where she hath been :
This fabric's birth attests the potent spell,
Indulge our honest pride, and say, How well ?
As soars this fane to emulate the last,
Oh! might we draw our omens from the past,
Some hour propitious to our prayers may boast
Names such as hallow still the dome we lost.
On Drury Arst your Siddons' thrilling art
O'erwhelmed the gentlest, stormed the sternest heart;
On Drury Garrick's latest laurels grew ;
Here your last tears retiring Koscius drew,
Sighed his last thanks, and wept his last adieu : J
But still for living wit the wreaths may bloom,
That only waste their odours o'er the tomb.
Such Drury claimed and claims, nor you refuse
One tribute to revive his slumbering muse,
With garlands deck your own Menander's head,
Nor hoard your honours idly for the dead.
Dear are the days which made our annals bright,
Ere Garrick fled or Brinsley ceased to write,
Heirs to their labours, like all high-born heirs,
Vain of our ancestry, as they of theirs.
While thus remembrance borrows Banquo's glass
To claim the sceptred shadows as they pass,
And we the mirror hold, where imaged shine
Immortal names, emblazoned on our line,
Pause-ere their feebler offspring you condemn,
Reflect how hard the task to rival them.
Friends of the stage-to whom both players and plays,
Must sue alike for pardon or for praise,
Whose judging voice and eye alone direct
The boundless power to cherish or reject,
If e'er frivolity has led to fame,
And made us blush that you forbore to blame ;
If e'er the sinking stage could condescend
To soothe the sickly taste it dare not mend,
All past reproach may present scenes refute,
And censure, wisely loud, be justly mute,
Oh! since your fiat stamps the drama's laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause-
So pride shall doubly nerve the actor's powers,
And Reason's voice be echoed back by ours
This greeting o'er-the ancient rule obeyed,
The Drama's homage by her herald paid,
Receive our welcome too—whose every tone
Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own.
The curtain rises-May cur stage unfold
Scenes not unworthy Drury's days of old
Britons our judges, Nature for our guide,
Still may we please, long-long may you preside.
SPOKEN BY MRS SIDDONS, ON LEAVING THE STAGE 29TH OF JUNE, 1812,
WRITTEN BY HORACE TWISS, ESQ.
Who has not felt, how growing use endears
The fond remembrance of our former years ?
Who has not sigh’d, when doom'd to leave at last
The hopes of youth, the habits of the past,
The thousand ties and interests, that impart
A second nature to the human heart,
And, wreathing round it close, like tendrils, climb,
Blooming in age, and sanctified by time?
Yes! at this moment crowd upon my mind Scenes of bright days for ever left behind, Bewildering visions of enraptured youth, When hope and fancy wore the hues of truth, And long-forgotten years, that almost seem The faded traces of a morning dream! Sweet are those mournful thoughts : for they renew The pleasing sense of all I owe to you. For each inspiring smile, and soothing teara For those full honours of my long career, That cheered my earliest hope, and chased my latest fear! J
And though, for me, those tears shall flow no more, ,
And the warm sunshine of your smile is o'er,
Though the bright beams are fading fast away
That shone unclouded through my summer day;
Yet grateful memory shall reflect their light
O'er the dim shadows of the coming night,
And lend to later life a softer tone,
A moon-light tint, a lustre of her own.
Judges and friends! to whom the tragic strain Of nature's feeling never spoke in vain, Perhaps your hearts, when years have glided by, And past emotions wake a fleeting sigh, May think on her, whose lips have pour'd so long The charmed sorrows of your Shakespeare's song: On her, who, parting to return no more, Is now the mourner she but seemed before. Herself subdued, resigns the melting spell, And breathes, with swelling heart, her long, her last farewell!
THE COTTAGE OF THE PLORA,
BY WALTER PATERSON,
Author of the Legend of Iona.
The following Poem is little more than the versification of a story related
as a fact by the people who live on the banks of the Plora, in the county of Selkirk.
On the smooth banks of Plora's glittering brook,
With pink-flower'd clover and blue-bells bestrewed,
Like an old Hermit of that lonely nook,
A peasant's simple Cottage long had stood,
Fenced by a leafy crescent of green wood,
Where the sleek magpie, and the glossy crow
Slept in their hair-built lodge without a foe.
Blest were the tenants of that green retreat-
A faithful pair, with ruddy children blest, .
Who some rode races on their mother's feet,
And some for hire their bearded father kissed;
While some, of tawnier visage than the rest,
With sickle sharp could swell the oaten sheaf,
Healing their shallow wounds with wabret leaf.
If Heaven's best blessing could be won by prayer,
Free as the dew of night it there had flowed;
If health and peace were tokens of Heaven's care,
Free as night's dew that blessing was bestowed ;
For every gypsey-crew that hawked the road,
Spread fair report of the benignant lot
Which blest the tenants of that rustic Cot.
Duly, when night's oblivious reign was past,
The old man, bent on meditations high,
His motley plaid around his neck would cast,
And wander forth, with soul above the sky,
Soon as the lark its dewy wing could dry
Among the sunbeams of the middle air,
While yet no beam it shed below could share..
And duly as again the evening-dew '
Began to glitter on the path of day,
Around his hearth his household group he drew;
The nightly tribute of their hearts to pay,
With chapter, psalm, and prayer, as best they may; To that true God, in whose impartial ear Those songs are sweetest which are most sincere.
Once it befell (as many tongues relate) :
What time her dusky web the twilight weaves
Those sun-burnt reapers, toiling soon and late,
Had stuck their sickles in the cottage-eaves;
And he, who latest still the stubble leaves, With psalm already sought, and soul composed, Impatient sat till all his circle closed.
And soon they ranked around his ingle bright,
But one was wanting still,-of wayward moods,
A fair fantastic creature-whose delight
Was running races with the nimble floods ;
Or chasing grey-winged herons through the woods ; Or echoing back the ringdove's piteous moan; . . Or tempting echoes to return her own.
And now the father, fretted with delay, .
This absent rambler half began to chide ;
When, redder than the cheek of rising day,
“ Come out, come out,” the panting truant cried,
While yet the door she scarce had thrown aside, 6 A lovely Lady, shining all in white, Sails down the glen, and fills it all with light.”
, IX. The old man marked his children's futtered looks,
And would have chid them with a parent's care; But knowing well, in spite of all rebukes,.
How Aluttered hearts profane the purest prayer ;-
And somewhat startled with his truant's air,