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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/83

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51
DRURY-LANE ADDRESS, 1812.

ADDRESS, SPOKEN AT THE OPENING OF DRURY-LANE THEATRE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1812.[1]

In one dread night our 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,[2]10
While thousands, thronged around the burning dome,
Shrank back appalled, and trembled for their home,
As glared the volumed blaze, and ghastly shone[3]

  1. ["Mr. Elliston then came forward and delivered the following Prize address. We cannot boast of the eloquence of the delivery. It was neither gracefully nor correctly recited. The merits of the production itself we submit to the criticism of our readers. We cannot suppose that it was selected as the most poetical composition of all the scores that were submitted to the committee. But perhaps by its tenor, by its allusions to Garrick, to Siddons, and to Sheridan, it was thought most applicable to the occasion, notwithstanding its being in part unmusical, and in general tame."—Morning Chronicle, October 12, 1812.]
  2. ["By the by, the best view of the said fire [February 24, 1809]
  3. As flashing far the new Volcano shone
    And swept the skies with

    meteors
    lightnings

    not their own.
    or, As flashed the volumed blaze, and

    sadly
    ghastly

    shone.
    The skies with lightnings awful as their own.—

    [Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 25, 1812.]

    or, As glared each rising flash, and ghastly shone
    The skies with lightnings awful as their own.—

    [Letter to Lord Holland, Sept. 27, 1812.]