Euterpe: A Cantanta - Poem by Henry Kendall
Hail to thee, Sound!—The power of Euterpe in all the scenes of life—
in religion; in works of charity; in soothing troubles by means of music;
in all humane and high purposes; in war; in grief; in the social circle;
the children’s lullaby; the dance; the ballad; in conviviality;
when far from home; at evening—the whole ending with an allegorical chorus,
rejoicing at the building of a mighty hall erected for the recreation
of a nation destined to take no inconsiderable part in the future history
of the world.
No. 1 Chorus
All hail to thee, Sound! Since the time
Calliope’s son took the lyre,
And lulled in the heart of their clime
The demons of darkness and fire;
Since Eurydice’s lover brought tears
To the eyes of the Princes of Night,
Thou hast been, through the world’s weary years,
A marvellous source of delight—
Yea, a marvellous source of delight!
In the wind, in the wave, in the fall
Of the water, each note of thine dwells;
But Euterpe hath gathered from all
The sweetest to weave into spells.
She makes a miraculous power
Of thee with her magical skill;
And gives us, for bounty or dower,
The accents that soothe us or thrill!
Yea, the accents that soothe us or thrill!
All hail to thee, Sound! Let us thank
The great Giver of light and of life
For the music divine that we’ve drank,
In seasons of peace and of strife,
Let us gratefully think of the balm
That falls on humanity tired,
At the tones of the song or the psalm
From lips and from fingers inspired—
Yea, from lips and from fingers inspired.
No. 2 Quartette and Chorus
When, in her sacred fanes
God’s daughter, sweet Religion, prays,
Euterpe’s holier strains
Her thoughts from earth to heaven raise.
The organ notes sublime
Put every worldly dream to flight;
They sanctify the time,
And fill the place with hallowed light.
No. 3 Soprano Solo
Yea, and when that meek-eyed maiden
Men call Charity, comes fain
To raise up spirits, laden
With bleak poverty and pain:
Often, in her cause enlisted,
Music softens hearts like stones;
And the fallen are assisted
Through Euterpe’s wondrous tones.
No. 4 Orchestral Intermezzo
No. 5 Chorus
Beautiful is Sound devoted
To all ends humane and high;
And its sweetness never floated
Like a thing unheeded by.
Power it has on souls encrusted
With the selfishness of years;
Yea, and thousands Mammon-rusted,
Hear it, feel it, leave in tears.
No. 6 Choral Recitative
(Men’s voices only)
When on the battlefield, and in the sight
Of tens of thousands bent to smite and slay
Their human brothers, how the soldier’s heart
Must leap at sounds of martial music, fired
With all that spirit that the patriot loves
Who seeks to win, or nobly fall, for home!
No. 7 Triumphal March
No. 8 Funeral Chorus
Slowly and mournfully moves a procession,
Wearing the signs
Of sorrow, through loss, and it halts like a shadow
Of death in the pines.
Come from the fane that is filled with God’s presence,
Sad sounds and deep;
Holy Euterpe, she sings of our brother,
We listen and weep.
Death, like the Angel that passed over Egypt,
Struck at us sore;
Never again shall we turn at our loved one’s
Step at the door.
No. 9 Chorus
(Soprano voices only)
But, passing from sorrow, the spirit
Of Music, a glory, doth rove
Where it lightens the features of beauty,
And burns through the accents of love—
The passionate accents of love.
No. 10 Lullaby Song—Contralto
The night-shades gather, and the sea
Sends up a sound, sonorous, deep;
The plover’s wail comes down the lea;
By slope and vale the vapours weep,
And dew is on the tree;
And now where homesteads be,
The children fall asleep,
A low-voiced wind amongst the leaves,
The sighing leaves that mourn the Spring,
Like some lone spirit, flits and grieves,
And grieves and flits on fitful wing.
But where Song is a guest,
A lulling dreamy thing,
The children fall to rest,
No. 11 Waltz Chorus
When the summer moon is beaming
On the stirless waters dreaming,
And the keen grey summits gleaming,
Through a silver starry haze;
In our homes to strains entrancing
To the steps, the quickly glancing
Steps of youths and maidens dancing,
Maidens light of foot as fays.
Then the waltz, whose rhythmic paces
Make melodious happy places,
Brings a brightness to young faces,
Brings a sweetness to the eyes.
Sounds that move us like enthralling
Accents, where the runnel falling,
Sends out flute-like voices calling,
Where the sweet wild moss-bed lies.
No. 12 Ballad—Tenor
When twilight glides with ghostly tread
Across the western heights,
And in the east the hills are red
With sunset’s fading lights;
Then music floats from cot and hall
Where social circles met,
By sweet Euterpe held in thrall—
Their daily cares forget.
What joy it is to watch the shine
That hallows beauty’s face
When woman sings the strains divine,
Whose passion floods the place!
Then how the thoughts and feelings rove
At song’s inspiring breath,
In homes made beautiful by love,
Or sanctified by death.
What visions come, what dreams arise,
What Edens youth will limn,
When leaning over her whose eyes
Have sweetened life for him!
For while she sings and while she plays,
And while her voice is low,
His fancy paints diviner days
Than any we can know.
No. 13 Drinking Song
(Men’s voices only)
But, hurrah! for the table that heavily groans
With the good things that keep in the life:
When we sing and we dance, and we drink to the tones
That are masculine, thorough and blithe.
Good luck to us all! Over walnuts and wine
We hear the rare songs that we know
Are as brimful of mirth as the spring is of shine,
And as healthy and hearty, we trow.
Then our glasses we charge to the ring of the stave
That the flush to our faces doth send;
For though life is a thing that winds up with the grave,
We’ll be jolly, my boys, to the end.
Yes, jolly, my boys, to the end!
No. 14 Recitative—Bass
When far from friends, and home, and all the things
That bind a man to life, how dear to him
Is any old familiar sound that takes
Him back to spots where Love and Hope
In past days used to wander hand in hand
Across high-flowered meadows, and the paths
Whose borders shared the beauty of the spring,
And borrowed splendour from autumnal suns.
No. 15 Chorus
(The voices accompanied only by the
violins playing “Home, Sweet Home”.)
Then at sea, or in wild wood,
Then ashore or afloat,
All the scenes of his childhood
Come back at a note;
At the turn of a ballad,
At the tones of a song,
Cometh Memory, pallid
And speechless so long;
And she points with her finger
To phantom-like years,
And loveth to linger
In silence, in tears.
No. 16 Solo—Bass
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go,
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow;
In the yellow flame of evening, at the setting of the day,
Sounds that lighten, fall, and lighten, flicker, faint, and fade away;
What they are, behold, we know not, but their honey slakes and slays
Half the want which whitens manhood in the stress of alien days.
Even as a wondrous woman, struck with love and great desire,
Hast thou been to us, EUTERPE, half of tears and half of fire;
But thy joy is swift and fitful, and a subtle sense of pain
Sighs through thy melodious breathings, takes the rapture from thy strain.
In the yellow flame of evening sounds of music come and go.
Through the noises of the river, and the drifting of the snow.
No. 17 Recitative—Soprano
And thus it is that Music manifold,
In fanes, in Passion’s sanctuaries, or where
The social feast is held, is still the power
That bindeth heart to heart; and whether Grief,
Or Love, or Pleasure form the link, we know
’Tis still a bond that makes Humanity,
That wearied entity, a single whole,
And soothes the trouble of the heart bereaved,
And lulls the beatings in the breast that yearns,
And gives more gladness to the gladdest things.
No. 18 Finale—Chorus
Now a vision comes, O brothers, blended
With supremest sounds of harmony—
Comes, and shows a temple, stately, splendid,
In a radiant city by the sea.
Founders, fathers of a mighty nation,
Raised the walls, and built the royal dome,
Gleaming now from lofty, lordly station,
Like a dream of Athens, or of Rome!
And a splendour of sound,
A thunder of song,
Rolls sea-like around,
Comes sea-like along.
The ringing, and ringing, and ringing,
Of voices of choristers singing,
Inspired by a national joy,
Strike through the marvellous hall,
Fly by the aisle and the wall,
While the organ notes roam
From basement to dome—
Now low as a wail,
Now loud as a gale,
And as grand as the music that builded old Troy.
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