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Song For Saint Cecilia's Day, 1687 Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Dryden Type: Poetry Views: 416

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From Harmony, from heavenly HarmonyThis universal frame began:When nature underneath a heapOf jarring atoms layAnd could not heave her head,

The tuneful voice was heard from high,Arise, ye more than dead!

Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry

In order to their stations leap,And Music's power obey.

From Harmony, from heavenly harmonyThis universal frame began:From harmony to harmony

Through all the compass of the notes it ran,

The diapason closing full in Man.What passion cannot Music raise and quell?When Jubal struck the chorded shellHis listening brethren stood around,And, wondering, on their faces fellTo worship that celestial sound.

Less than a god they thought there could not dwellWithin the hollow of that shellThat spoke so sweetly and so well.

What passion cannot Music raise and quell?The trumpet's loud clangourExcites us to arms,With shrill notes of angerAnd mortal alarms.The double double double beatOf the thundering drumCries 'Hark! the foes come;

Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat!'The soft complaining fluteIn dying notes discoversThe woes of hopeless lovers,

Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.Sharp violins proclaim

Their jealous pangs and desperation,

Fury, frantic indignation,

Depths of pains, and height of passionFor the fair disdainful dame.But oh! what art can teach,

What human voice can reachThe sacred organ's praise?

Notes inspiring holy love,

Notes that wing their heavenly waysTo mend the choirs above.Orpheus could lead the savage race,

And trees unrooted left their placeSequacious of the lyre:

But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:

When to her Organ vocal breath was given

An angel heard, and straight appear'd-Mistaking Earth for Heaven.Grand Chorus:As from the power of sacred laysThe spheres began to move,

And sung the great Creator's praiseTo all the blest above;

So when the last and dreadful hourThis crumbling pageant shall devour,

The trumpet shall be heard on high,The dead shall live, the living die,And music shall untune the sky.


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