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Macbeth and Thunder at Drury Lane

Monday, 17.—As we were walking toward Wapping, the rain poured down with such violence that we were obliged to take shelter till it abated. We then held on to Gravel Lane, in many parts of which the waters were like a river. However, we got on pretty well till the rain put out the candle in our lantern. We then were obliged to wade through all, till we came to the chapel yard. Just as we entered it, a little streak of lightening appeared in the southwest. There was likewise a small clap of thunder and a vehement burst of rain, which rushed so plentifully through our shattered tiles that the vestry was all in a float.  Soon after I began reading prayers, the lightning flamed all round it, and the thunder rolled just over our heads. When it grew louder and louder, perceiving many of the strangers to be much affrighted, I broke off the prayers after the collect, “Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord,” and began applying, “The Lord sitteth above the waterflood; the Lord remaineth a king forever” [see Ps. 29:10]. Presently the lightning, thunder, and rain ceased, and we had a remarkably calm evening.

It was observed that exactly at this hour they were acting Macbeth in Drury Lane, and just as the mock thunder began, the Lord began to thunder out of heaven. For a while it put them to a stand; but they soon took courage and went on.  Otherwise it might have been suspected that the fear of God had crept into the very theater!

Friday, December 12.—As I was returning from Zoar, I came as well as usual to Moorfields; but there my strength entirely failed, and such a faintness and weariness seized me that it was with difficulty I got home. I could not but think how happy it would be (suppose we were ready for the Bridegroom) to sink down and steal away at once, without any of the hurry and pomp of dying! Yet it is happier still to glorify God in our death, as well as our life.

Tuesday, 23.—I was in the robe-chamber, adjoining the House of Lords, when the King put on his robes. His brow was much furrowed with age and quite clouded with care. And is this all the world can give even to a king? All the grandeur it can afford? A blanket of ermine round his shoulders, so heavy and cumbersome he can scarcely move under it! A huge heap of borrowed hair, with a few plates of gold and glittering stones upon his head! Alas, what a bauble is human greatness! And even this will not endure.

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