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In moments to delight devoted,
"My life!" with tend'rest tone, you cry; Dear words! on which my heart had doted, If youth could neither fade nor die. To death even hours like these must roll, Ah! then repeat those accents never; Or change" my life!" into " my soul!" Which, like my love, exists for ever.
IMPROMPTU, IN REPLY TO A FRIEND
WHEN from the heart where Sorrow sits,
Her dusky shadow mounts too high,
And o'er the changing aspect flits,
And clouds the brow, or fills the eye;
Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink:
My thoughts their dungeon know too well;
Back to my breast the wanderers shrink,
And droop within their silent cell.
SPOKEN AT THE OPENING OF DRURY-LANE THEATRE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1812.
In one dread night our city saw, and sigh’d,
Bow'd to the dust, the Drama's tower of pride;
In one short hour beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakspeare cease to reign.
Ye who beheld, (oh! sight admired and mourn'd,
Whose radiance mock'd the ruin it adorn'd!)
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, throng'd around the burning dome,
Shrank back appall'd, 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
Usurp'd the Muse's realm, and mark'd her fall;
Say-shall this new, nor less aspiring pile,
Rear'd 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 spellIndulge 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 first your Siddons' thrilling art
O'erwhelm'd the gentlest, storm'd the sternest heart.
On Drury, Garrick's latest laurels grew;
Here your last tears retiring Roscius drew,
Sigh'd his last thanks, and wept his last adieu:
But still for living wit the wreaths may bloom
That only waste their odours o'er the tomb.
Such Drury claim'd 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, emblazon'd 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
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 echo'd back by ours!
This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd, 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 our 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!
TIME! on whose arbitrary wing
The varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die-
Hail thou! who on my birth bestow'd
Those boons to all that know thee known;
Yet better I sustain thy load,
For now I bear the weight alone.
I would not one fond heart should share
The bitter moments thou hast given ;
And pardon thee, since thou could'st spare
All that I loved, to peace or heaven.
To them be joy or rest, on me
Thy future ills shall press in vain;
I nothing owe but years to thee,
A debt already paid in pain.
Yet even that pain was some relief;
It felt, but still forgot thy power:
The active agony of grief
Retards, but never counts the hour.
In joy I've sigh'd to think thy flight
Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
But could not add a night to wo;