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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 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 diapason, with musicians, is a chord including all notes. Perhaps Dryden remembered Spenser's allegorical description of the human figure and faculties :

“ The frame thereof seem'd partly circular,

And part triangular; 0, work divine !
These two, the first and last, propitious are ;

The one imperfect, mortal, feminine,

The other immortal, perfect, masculine ;
And 'twixt them both a quadrate was the base,

Proportion'd equally by seven and nine;
Nine was the circle set in heaven's place;
All which compacted made a goodly diapase."

Fairy Queen, Book II. canto ix. stanza 22.

The soft complaining flute,

In dying notes, discovers

The woes of hopeless lovers ;
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height 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,

Sequacious 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.

* St Cecilia is said to have invented the organ, though it is not known when or how she came by this credit. Chaucer introduces her as performing upon that instrument :

“ And while that the organes maden melodie,
To God alone thus in her heart sung she.”


As from the power of sacred lays

The spheres began to move,
And sung

the great Creator's praise
To all the bless'd 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.

The descent of the angel we have already mentioned. She thus announces this celestial attendant to her husband :

“ I have an angel which that loveth me;
That with great love, wher so I wake or slepe,
Is ready aye my body for to kepe."

The Second Nonne's Tale.







I. On a bank, beside a willow, Heaven her covering, earth her pillow,

Sad Amynta sighd alone; From the cheerless dawn of morning Till the dews of night returning, Singing thus, she made her moan :

Hope is banish’d,

Joys are vanish’d,
Damon, my beloved, is gone !

Time, I dare thee to discover
Such a youth, and such a lover;

Oh, so true, so kind was he!
Damon was the pride of nature,
Charming in his every feature;
Damon lived alone for me :

Melting kisses,

Murmuring blisses ;
Who so lived and loved as we!

III. Never shall we curse the morning, Never bless the night returning,

Sweet embraces to restore : Never shall we both lie dying, Nature failing, love supplying All the joys he drain'd before.

Death, come end me,

To befriend me;
Love and Damon are no more.

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