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Delivered at the Opening of the Theatre Royal, Dublin, November 23, 1803.
WRITTEN BY EDMUND L. SWIFT, ESQ.
The opening of the Theatre having, by the agitated state of the country, and of the metropolis in particular, been delayed beyond the usual period, the winter season was at length permitted to commence at the clofe of November. It were needless to say, that this assurance of returning tranquillity and restoration to the social habits of which we had so long been deprived, was gladly and gratefully received. E. L. S.
Welcome !—thrice welcome all!—What joy to meet Once more our friends in Reason's favorite seat!— Cheer'd by each smiling brow, with hearts serene Once more we lift the triumphs of our scene. Too long, alas! hath War's destroying hand
Blighted the fairest blessings of the land;While the loud trump arous'd to civil rage, And mourning Science clos'd the instructive page;While 'waken'd Genius felt the patriot fire, Seized the bright sword, and dropt the dulcet lyre.
Return, Oh Peace!—Return, auspicious power!— To thee, to thee be given the future hour!— O'er Erin's isle restore the Muses' reign; And lead the arts exulting in the train Of deathless poesy !—whose charm refin'd, Inform'd, subdu'd, and humaniz'd the mind, Compos'd the savage breast with soft controul, And pour'd the sun-beam on the darken'd soul!
Let suffering Worth, and injured Honour, here Draw from each eye once more the pitying tear; Till vanquish'd Vice, and Guilt's tremendous close, Appease th' indignant sorrow as it flows!
But shall the scene be sought of Greece, or Rome, And scorn'd the example better found at home? No—let The British Drama proudly praise The ancient virtue of our fathers' days! Rous'd by the theme, let Shakspere's muse of fire To deeds of equal fame their sons inspire! To distant times record, in glowing strain, The strife of Agincourt's illustrious plain; Where The Fifth Henry smote with fearless blow The vaunting pride of France, and crush'd the numerous foe!—
And shall not we, by great example taught,
For this, in virtue to confirm the mind,
* Vide the energetic and animating Address which Sheridan patt into the mouth of Hullu to the Peruvians. a. i.. i.
TO HENRY THE FOURTH,
Performed by the young Gentlemen of 'Reading School, for the Benefit of the Widows and Orphans of the gallant Seamen and Marines who fell on the glorious First of August.
BY HENRY JAMES PYI, ESQ,Now all the youth of England are on fire," And War's loud clarion drowns the peaceful lyre, Our scene to-night from Shakspeare's hand displays A favourite tale of Albion's earlier days, When Douglas and when Percy, antient foes, 'Gainst England's Throne a dread alliance close. How different now! the sister nations claim One common cause in George and Britain's name, And, jointly arming in their Monarch's right, "Are confident against the world" in fight. Alas! that on a kindred island's shore, With horrid yell, Sedition's fiends should roar! Yet many a Chieftain there, to duty true, Turns on his Sovereign's foes a threat'ning view, Bids his bold bands the sword of Vengeance rear, And dashes down Rebellion's impious spear. O! soon o'er fair Ierne's rich domain May Loyalty assume her golden reign, While Gallia mourns, on her indignant coast,
Her tarnish'd laurels and her captive host!
But, lo! where Nile, from Egypt's fruitful shores
Swoln, to the sea his deluged current pours,
The din of battle sounds! Near seats of old,
Where seers and saints immortal tidings told,
An Atheist Warrior, with gigantic pride,
The armies of the living God defied.
Britannia's sons the boast with horror hear,
And, fearing Heaven, disclaim all other fear,
By valour fired, by gallant Nelson led,
Free to the winds their red-cross banners spread:
In vain the close-moor'tl fleet their anchors keep,
A massy bulwark floating on the deep;
In vain, tremendous, from the circling shore,
With brazen threat the thundering batteries roar;
Down sinks the baseless vaunt of Atheist pride,
The victor's spoil, o'erwhelm'd beneath the tide;
And wild Arabia's desultory bands,
The fight surveying from the neighbouring lands,
With shouts of triumph hail the conquering host,
And Albion's fame illumines Egypt's coast.
Ah! gallant heroes! in this glorious strife,
Who purchas'd deathless fame with transient life,
No tear of weakness dims your virtuous pride,
In Heaven's and Europe's cause who bravely died.
O'er the blue wave that shrouds the illustrious dead,
Her amaranthine wreath shall glory shed,
Angelic strains shall chant your blest decease,
And seraphs hymn ye to the throne of peace.
But, say! what sounds of joy or fame can cheer
The orphan's sigh, or wipe the widow's tear!
Yet, Britons, when ye can, O yield relief!
One thorn extirpate from the breast of Grief!
Let them no humbler shaft of sorrow know,
Can the harmoniz'd tints which the rainbow adorn
The complexion of Laura outvie, Or the dew-drop, enrich'd by the blushes of morn,
The lustre that melts in her eye?
Can the golden light shed when the sun's dying gleams
The cup of the tulip illume,
When a rosy smile heightens its bloom?
Ah! no; all that nature or art can combine
And far above others that mortal will shine
I envy not canopied monarchs their throne,
Their sceptre and glittering train;
Tho' a cottage be all his domain.