John Dryden

(1631 - 1700 / England)

A Song for St. Cecilia's Day


FROM harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
When nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from 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,
This 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 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 clangour
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 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 O, 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 unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia rais'd the wonder higher:
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd
Mistaking Earth for Heaven.

GRAND CHORUS.

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!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: music, passion, power, anger, angel, nature, heaven, sky, song, god, running, tree

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Song for St. Cecilia's Day by John Dryden )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. If, Rudyard Kipling
  2. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  5. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  9. Mother to Son, Langston Hughes
  10. All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare

Poem of the Day

poet Henry David Thoreau

Whate'er we leave to God, God does,
And blesses us;
The work we choose should be our own,
God leaves alone.

If with light head erect I sing,
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. My Dreams, Joshua Hillard
  2. the passage of thyme, delilah contrapunctal.... ye ..
  3. The death of all things, Nero CaroZiv
  4. A Tale of Two Handicapped Handyman, Tushar Ray
  5. Whispers Of Canal-Ghosts, Naveed Akram
  6. She Walks In Beauty, Luo Zhihai
  7. Is God both Interventionist and non-inte.., Merton Lee
  8. Fitina Mai Sand'a, Ibrahim Lawal Soro
  9. Grandma's Attic...(Prose), Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
  10. Diana's Pool, Julyn Pride
[Hata Bildir]