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ODE for MUSIC

O N

St. CECILIA'S Day.

T"\Escend, ye Nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!

In a sadly-pleasing strain 5

Let the warbling lute complain:
Let the loud trumpet sound,
'Till the roofs all around
The shrill echos rebound:

Remarks.

Ode for Music] This is one of the most artful as well as sublime of our Poet's smaller compositions. The firji stanza expresses the various tones and measures in music. The second describes their power over the several passions in general. The third explains their use in inspiring the Heroic passions in particular. Thesourth, ssth,andsxtb, their power over all nature in the fable of Orpheus's expedition to hell; which fubjecl of illustration arose naturally out of the preceding mention of the Argo

While in more lengthen'd notes and flow, r ©
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rife
And fill with spreading sounds the skies; 15
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats;
Till, by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,

And melt away, 2 o

In a dying, dying fall. II. 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, asiuasive voice applies; 25

Remarks. nautic expedition, where Orpheus gives the example of the use of Music to inspire the heroic passions. The seventh and last conclude in praise of Music, and the advantages of the sacred above the prophane.

Ver. 7. Let the loud trumpet sound, etc.] Our Author in his rules for good writing had said, that the sound Jhould be an echo to the sense. The graces it adds to the harmony are obvious. But we should never have seen all the advantages arising from this rule, had this ode not been written. In which, one may venture to fay, is found all the harmony that poetic found, when it comes in aid of fense, is capable of producing.

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, 30

Morpheus rouzes from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
List'ning Envy drops her snakes;

Intestine war no more our Paflions wage,

And giddy Factions hear away their rage. 3 5

III.

But when our Country's cause provokes to Arms,
How martial music ev'ry bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees 40

Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demi-gods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the found,
Enflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sev'nfold shield display'd, 45

And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms, to arms, to arms!

IV.

But when thro' all th' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegeton surrounds, 5 ©

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! 5 5

Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,

Sullen moans, 60

Hollow groans
And cries of tortur'd ghosts!
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And sec! the tortur'd ghosts respire,

Sec, sliady forms advance! 65

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 list'ning round their heads.

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