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Till by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.
By music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds;
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
Listening Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our passions wage,
And giddy factions bear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dared the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian raised his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main :
Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflamed with glory's charms :
Each chief his sevenfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade;
And seas, and rocks, and skies, rebound
To arms, to arms, to arms!
But when through all the' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts!
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
And cries of tortured ghosts!
But, hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And, see! the tortured ghosts respire;
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus! stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance;
The furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang listening round their
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er the' Elysian flowers;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,
Or amaranthine bowers;
By the heroes' armed shades,
Glittering through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that died for love,
Wandering in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life ;
Oh, take the husband, or return the wife!
and Hell consented
To hear the poet's prayer:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.
Thus song could prevail
O'er Death and o'er Hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious!
Though Fate had fast bound her,
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet Music and Love were victorious.
But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes;
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
He makes his moan;
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows:
See, wild as the winds o'er the desert he flies;
Hark! Hæmus resounds with the Bacchanals'
Yet e'en in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue;
Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks and hollow mountains rung.
Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And Fate's severest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please:
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confined the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
The' immortal powers incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire,
And angels lean from Heaven to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell;
To bright Cecilia greater power is given:
His numbers raised a shade from Hell,
Her's lift the soul to Heaven.
WRITTEN WHEN THE AUTHOR WAS ABOUT TWELVE YEARS OLD.
HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL. 125
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
Bless'd who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die:
Steal from the world, and not a stone
The Dying Christian to his Soul.
VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, O quit this mortal frame!
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying;
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature! cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper; angels say,
Sister spirit, come away.