“Less than a God they thought there could not dwell within the hollow of that shell”

A SONG FOR SAINT CECILIA’S DAY
~ by John Dryden

From harmony, from heavenly harmony
The universal frame began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful Voice was heard on 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 harmony
The 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 corded 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?

The trumpet’s loud clangor
Excites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double, double, double beat
Of the thundering drum
Cries, “Hark, the foes come.
Charge, charge, ’tis too late to retreat.”

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depths of pains and heights of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.

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.

Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees uprooted left their place,
Sequaceous of the lyre,
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher.
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard and straight appeared,
Mistaking earth for heaven.

As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator’s praise
To all the blest above.
So when the last and dreadful hour
This 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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Author: MDM

Michael Dennis Mooney is a student of humor and witticism in verse. At this site he is compiling a selection of the best works using extended metaphor in poetry, with a special interest in satire, parody, and humor. Suggestions are welcome. Send your citations of favorites, by email, to mike.mooney.home@gmail.com He has a site "New Writings" at http://jcbcast.blogspot.com And a site for essays, 'His Epistles To The Philistines" at http://tothephilistines.wordpress.com

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