• PA Smith Family Member Writes Dedication Poem For Philadelphia Theatre

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    Offering a 60-line poetic address, penned by the renowned WILLIAM RUDOLPH SMITH for the dedication of the opening of Pennsylvania Theatre Northern Liberties Philadelphia, dated Bedford, Aug. 2nd, 1836, and signed with his initials W.R.S.  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a collection of poems by Smith.


    The manuscript poem offered here was pulled from a larger Smith family archive.


    In very small part, “...Through the long vista of descending years/ The varied Scene of Terror, Smiles and Tears/From days when Thespis Swung his homely rhymes/ To Mysteries – Fiction – Wit of later times/ Of Friendship, Virtue, Order, Moral rule/ The stage has been, or still should be the Schools, The Pictures...


    “Revenge, ambition, Hatred, Jealousy/All crimes, all passions meet their just decree/ Vice is exposed – incautious youth to guard and suffering virtue reaps her last reward...”


    SMITH (1787-1868) was a Pennsylvania lawyer, legislator and major general in the state militia. He was U.S. Commissioner of the Chippewa Indians of Upper Mississippi. He later moved to Wisconsin, where he was adjutant general, lawyer, attorney general and president of the state Historical Society. 


    Earlier, while living in Pennsylvania, he served as a Federalist member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate. His military service included serving as Colonel of the 62nd Pennsylvania Reserves in the War of 1812. 


    Folds. A number of holes repaired with archival tape and affecting several words.  Still, a fine piece of Americana.


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