When Burbage Played

When Burbage played, the stage was bare

Of fount and Temple, Towe and Stair,

The Throne of Denmark was a chair!

And yet, no less the audience there

Thrilled through all changes of Despair,

Hope, Anger, Fear, Delight and Doubt,

When Burbage played.

This is the Actor’s gift, to share

All moods, all passions nor to care

One whit for scene, so he without

Can lead men’s minds the roundabout,

Stirred as of old these hearers were

When Burbage played.

Austin Dobson (1897)