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With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber, on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.
Lorenzo. How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst the muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
Jessica. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
The reason is, your spirits are attentive:
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods,
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature:
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Merchant of Venice, Act V.
BUT let my due feet never fail,
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high-embowed roof
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light:
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced quire below,
In service high and anthems clear;
As may with sweetness through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes.
WHAT passion cannot music raise and quell ?*
When Jubal struck the chorded shell
His listening brethren stood around,
And, wondering, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot music raise and quell?
But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above.
DRYDEN. Ode to St. Cecilia.
* O sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen cares
And frantic passions hear thy soft control.
GRAY. The Progress of Poesy.
SWEET Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen,
Within thy airy shell,
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroider'd vale
Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well:
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?
O, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere!
So mayst thou be translated to the skies,;
And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies.
Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment?
Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
And with these raptures moves the vocal air
To testify his hidden residence.
How sweetly did they float upon the wings
Of silence through the empty vaulted night,
At every fall smoothing the raven-down
Of darkness till it smiled! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the sirens three,
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs;
Who as they sung would take the prison'd soul
And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept
And chid her barking waves into attention;
And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause:
But they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense,
And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself;
But such a sacred and homefelt delight,
Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
I never heard till now.
Of the survivors' toil in their new lands,
Their numbers and success; but who can number
The hearts that broke in silence, of that malady
Which calls up green and native fields to view
From the rough deep, with such identity
To the poor exile's fever'd eye, that he
Can scarcely be restrain'd from treading them?
That melody, which out of tones and tunes
Collect such pasture for the longing sorrow,
Of the sad mountaineer, when far away
From his snow canopy of cliffs and clouds,
That he feeds on the sweet but poisonous thought,
BYRON. The Two Foscari.
The Reverie of Poor Susan.
AT the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:
Poor Susan has pass'd by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.
"Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.
She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes.
LANG I sat by the broom sae green
An' O my heart was eerie!
For aye this strain was breathed within,
Your laddie will no come near ye!
Lie still thou wee bit fluttering thing,
What means this weary wavering?
Nae heart returns thy raptured spring,
Your laddie will no come near ye.
His leefu' sang the robin sung
On the bough that hung sae near me,
Wi' tender grief my heart was wrung,
For, O, the strain was dreary!
The robin's sang it could na be
That gart the tear-drap blind my ee ;-
How ken'd the wee bird on the tree
laddie wad no come near me?
* True-love, betrothed: from Danish "tro," troth or faith, and “lovè,”