Joseph Addison

(1672-1719 / England)

An Ode For St. Cecilia's Day


I.
Prepare the hallow'd strain, My Muse,
Thy softest sounds and sweetest numbrs chuse;
the bright Cecilia's praise rehearse,
In warbling words,a nd glittering verse,
that smootly run into a song,
and gently die away,and melt upon the tongue.

II.
First let the sprightly violin
The joyful melody begin,
And none of all her strings be mute,
while the sharp sound and shriller lay
In sweet harmonious notes decay,
Soften and mellow'd by the flute.
'The Flute that sweetly can complain,
'Disolve the frozen nymph's disdain;
'Panting sympathy impart,
'Till she partake of her lover's smart.'

C H O R U S.

III.
Next, let the solemn organ join
Religious airs, and strains divine,
Such as may lift us to the skies,
And set all heaven before our eyes:
'Such as may lift us to the skies;
'So far at least till they
'Descend with kind surprise.
'And meet our pious harmony half-way.'

IV.
Let then the trumpet's piersing sound
Our ravish'd ears with pleasure wound:
The Soul o'er-powering with delight,
As, with a quick uncommon ray,
A streak of lightning clears the day,
And flashes on the sight.
Let echo too perform her part,
Prolonging every note with art,
And in a low expiring strain
Play all the concert o'er again.

V.
Such were the tuneful notes that hung
On bright Cecilia's charming tongue:
Notes that sacred heats inspir'd,
and with religious ardour fir'd:
The love-sick youth, that long suppress'd
His smother'd passion in hisbreast,
No sooner heard the warbling dame,
But, by the secret influence turn'd,
He felt a new diviner flame,
And with devotion burn'd.
With ravish'd soul,a nd looks amaz'd,
Upon her beauteous face he gaz'd;

Nor made his amorous complaint:
In vain her eyes his heart had charm'd.
Her heavenly voice her eyes disarm'd,
And chang'd the lover to a saint.

G R A N D C H O R U S.

VI.
And how the choir compleat rejoices,
With trembling strings and melting voices,
The tuneful ferment rises high,
And works with mingled melody:
Quick divisions run their rounds,
A thousand trills and quivering sounds

In airy circles o'er us fly.
Till wafted by a gentle breeze,
They faint and languish by degrees,
And at a distance die.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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