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Joseph Addison

(1672-1719 / England)

A Song For St. Cecilia's Day, At Oxford


I.
Cecilia, whose exalted hymns
With joy and wonder fill the blest,
In choirs of warbling seraphims
Known and distinguish'd fom the rest;
Attend, harmonious saint, and see
Thy vocal sons of harmony;
Attend, harmonious saint, and hear our prayers;
Enliven all our earthly airs,
and, as thou sing'st thy God, teach us to sing of thee:
Tune every string and every tongue,
Be thou the Muse and subject of our song.

II.
Let all Cecilia's praise proclaim,
Enploy the echo in her name.
Hark how the flutes and trumpets raise,
At bright Cecilia's name, their lays;
The organ labours in her praise.
Cecilia's name does all our numbers grace,
From every voice the tuneful accents fly,
In soaring trebles now it rises high,
And now it sinks, and dwells upon the base.
Cecilia's name through all the notes we sing,
The work of every skilful tongue
The sound of every trembling string,
The sound and triumph of our song.

III.
For ever consecrate the day,
To music and Cecilia;
Music, the greatest good that mortals know,
And all of heaven we have below.
Music can noble hints impart,
Engender fury, kindle love;
With unsuspected eloquence can move,
And manage all the man with secret art.
When Orpheus strikes the trembling lyre
The streams stand still, the stones admire;
The listening savages advance,
The world and lamb around him trip
The bears in aukward measures leap,
And tigers mingle in the dance
The moving woods attended as he played
And Rhodope was left without a shade.

IV.
Music religious heats inspires,
It wakes the soul, and lifts it high,
And wings it with sublime desires,
And fits it to bespeak the Deity.
Th' Almighty listens to a tuneful tongue,
And seems well-pleas'd and courted with a song.
Soft moving sounds and heavenly airs
Give forece to every word, and recommend our prayers
When time itself shall be no more,
And all things in confusion hurl'd,
Music shall then exert its power,
And sound survive the ruins of the world:
Then saints and angels shall agree
In one eternal jubilee:
All heaven shall echo with their hymns divine,
And God himself with pleasure see
The whole creation in a chorus join.

C H O R U S.
Consecrate the place and day,
To music and Cecilia Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallow'd bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting sounds.
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue;
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepar'd,
Keep u; the loud harmonious song.
And imitate the blest above,
In joy, and harmony, and love.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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