141 THE PASSIONS - An Ode for Music
When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd:
Till once, 'tis said,
when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful
Each, for Madness ruled the hour,
Would prove his own expressive
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid,
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own 'd his secret stings;
In one rude clash he struck
And swept with hurried hand the strings.
With woeful measures wan Despair,
Low sullen sounds, his grief beguiled,
A solemn, strange, and
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, 0 Hope, with eyes so fair,
What was thy delightful measure?
Still it whisper'd promised pleasure
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail!
Still would her touch
the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She call'd on Echo still through all the song;
And, where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.
had she sung,-but with a frown
Revenge impatient rose:
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down;
And with a withering look
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe.
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat;
And, though sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting from his head.
numbers, jealousy, to nought were fix'd:
Sad proof of thy distressful state!
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd;
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on Hate.
With eyes up-rais'd,
as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd;
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul:
And dashing soft from rocks around
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or, o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,
Round an holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But 0! how alter'd was its sprightlier tone,
a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call to Faun and Dryad known!
The oak-crown'd Sisters and their chaste-eyed Queen,
Satyrs and Sylvan Boys, were seen
Peeping from forth their alleys green:
Brown Exercise rejoic'd
And Sport leap'd up, and seiz'd his beechen spear.
Last came joy's ecstatic trial:
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addrest:
But soon he saw the
brisk awak'ning viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he lov'd the best:
They would have
thought who heard the strain
They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids
Amidst the festal-sounding shades
To some unwearied minstrel dancing;
While, as his flying fingers
kiss'd the strings,
Love fram'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round:
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound;
And he, amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from
his dewy wings.
O Music! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid!
Why, goddess, why, to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre
As in that lov'd Athenian bower
You learn'd an all-commanding power,
Thy mimic soul, 0 nymph endear'd,
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple
Devote to Virtue, Fancy, Art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energic, chaste, sublime!
Thy wonders in that god-like age
Fill thy recording Sister's page;
Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner
Than all which charms this laggard age,
E'en all at once
Cecilia's mingled world of sound:
O bid our vain
Revive the just designs of Greece:
all thy simple state!
Confirm the tales her sons relate!