Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/92

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Rebuilding of Drury Lane Theatre.
Drury Lane Theatre, which was burnt down in 1811, was rebuilt the following year, and the committee, anxious to celebrate the opening by an address of merit corresponding to the occasion, advertised in the papers for such a composition. Theatrical addresses, however, as we all know by reference to a recent occasion,[1] are not always up to the mark; and whether the result of their appeal was unsatisfactory, or whether—as appears not unlikely—they were appalled by the number of competitors, which is said to have been upwards of one hundred, not one was accepted, the advertisers preferring to seek the assistance of Lord Byron, who wrote the actual address which was spoken at the opening on the 10th of October, 1812. Among the competitors was a Dr. Busby, living in Queen Anne Street, who apparently unable to realize the fact that competent men could have the effrontery to reject his "monologue," refused to accept the verdict of the committee. A few evenings afterwards, the audience and the company were electrified by an unexpected sensation. Busby and his son sat in one of the stage boxes; and the latter, to the amazement of the audience, stepped at the end of the play from his box upon the stage, and began to recite his father's nonsense, as follows:—

"When energizing objects men pursue,
 What are the prodigies they cannot do?"

The question remained unanswered; for Raymond, the stage

  1. The new Alhambra