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Burning of Richmond Cheatre.
[A melancholy event in the history of Richmond was the burning of the Theatre, on the night of Dec. 26, 1811, by which the Governor of the state and many others perished in the flames.]
was on that well-remembered night,
When all were heard to say, “The night is long, the troupe's in town,
We'll go and see the play.”
And so they gathered from the town
Six hundred souls or more-
As they had done before.
Talent and beauty were gathered there,
And Virginia's Governor, too,
Not thinking that death would claim the best
Ere they saw the actors through.
The play began; all mindswere fixed
So intently on the scene,
Their minds and the stage between.
The scenery caught from a chandelier,
Then the drapery caught on high, ‘And blazed throughout that stricken crowd
Like lightning in the sky.
The strong and great trod down the weak
Nor knew that they were there;Unmindful of their piercing shrieks
That filled the red-hot air.
In vain they plead for help to come;
Their shrieks grew loud at every breath; And then the angry flames replied,
“My work is sure and certain death!"
The frightful sound of bursting flames,
The writhing groans of deep despair; They all arose from that solemn spot,
And floated off on the midnight air.
When men were leaping to the ground,
"I've sealed his destiny!"
When that reaper had done his work,
And death had claimed his own, Among the names that filled that list,
Was Virginia's honored son.
She Died With the Old Year.
He snow was falling thick and fast,
O'er woodland, town and city, too;The piercing blast went sweeping by
And filled the streets and alleys through. The earth was robed in spotless white;
The merry sleigh-bells seemed to say, “Improve your time, both old and young,
For lo! the old year dies to-night!"
The street lamps lit the passers by,
Their welcome rays shone forth on allThe old, the young, the rich, the poor
On marble fronts and cottage wall. Yes, the dear old year was dying,
Its latest hours were waning fast;
When they heard the chime at midnight
They'd speak of it as of the past. Lo! what was that year unveiling?
Was it naught but mirth and gold? Happy children's ringing laughter,
Gayest robes of worth untold! Mines of gold and costly mansions,
Decked with lace and rarest art, Where no sighing dared to enter,
Where festive pleasures filled the heart. Ah, no; among that crowd That passed the street-lamps' flickering
light, Went a child with a tattered robe,
And a heart that sickened at the sight. Of all things rare that tempt the eyeFor he thought of the cold and dismal
room, And the pallet of straw where his mother
He knew she had striven with anguish.
Her heart was crushed with despair;