Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRIZE ADDRESS; RECITED AT THE OPENING OF THE PHILADELPHIA THEATRE, by CHARLES SPRAGUE



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PRIZE ADDRESS; RECITED AT THE OPENING OF THE PHILADELPHIA THEATRE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It came from heaven! The realms of time to tread
Last Line: To charm the children as they charmed the sires!
Subject(s): Theater & Theaters


IT came from Heaven! the realms of time to tread,
And summon forth the long-forgotten dead;
Their deeds of guilt and goodness to unfold,
The garnered glories of the days of old.

It came from Heaven! to soar where Fancy reigns,
And rouse the phantoms of her bright domains;
Their wildest haunts, their loftiest heights explore,
And lead man on, to wonder and adore.

Genius! these gifts are thine; 't is thine, sweet power,
With these to soothe and sway life's shifting hour;
To nerve the soul, to wake young Virtue's glow,
And bid the tears of grief and rapture flow;
'T is thine, with these, to rule each clime and age,
Mankind thy subjects, and thy throne the Stage!

The pencil's boast, the chisel's skill, decay,
And Wisdom's noblest record fades away;
But here, untouched by Time's devouring tooth,
The pictured group puts on immortal youth;
Here the bold deed, that in the marble spoke,
Again revives, new plaudits to provoke;
And the proud truth, that graced the mouldering page,
Still pleads triumphant, echoed from the Stage.

Here gathering round in long-departed days,
Earth's master minstrels poured their deathless lays;
Descending down, through each descending race,
Still came the gifted to adorn the place;
With Love to soften, and with Wit to charm,
To mock with Folly, and with Guilt alarm;
While o'er each scene, to sacred feeling dear,
Taste smiled applause, and Beauty dropped a tear.

Long, long for these may this fair temple stand,
The pride and promise of our happier land.
Our happier land! — forever live that claim
On Virtue's rolls, as in the blast of Fame;
So rival shores, while, saddening, they behold
Our young orb rising to eclipse the old,
May with our greatness find our goodness page,
To mark indeed a new, a better age.

Within these walls, in some inspiring day,
May native bards our native deeds portray.
Shall foreign legends still go brightening down,
And cold Oblivion's night-cloud veil our own?
Look round the spot, to faith and firmness dear;
Finds no rapt spirit fit incitement here?
Here, where the Indian roved in nature's pride,
And built his fires, and loved, and warred, and died?
Here, where his holy fane the pilgrim reared,
And gave an empire to the God he feared?
Here, for that empire where the patriot bled?
Here, where the foul invader turned and fled?
These are the themes to stir your rising youth,
Their fathers' valor, and their fathers' truth;
These be the themes to grace this swelling dome;
In Pleasure's courts let Freedom find a home;
While Virtue sits all radiant in her light,
The guiding priestess of each glorious rite.

And O, when ye, who now enraptured gaze,
Shall yield to other throngs and other days,
Still may this altar beam its purest fires,
To charm the children as they charmed the sires!





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