George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

On A Movement Of Beethoven’s - Poem by George MacDonald

Ave! Once more touch the strings
That Memory may feed upon the strain,
And over-live again
The days,
When the heart gloried in the golden lays
That give the spirit wings.

Simple—yet how profound
The feeling that induces this deathless air!
Did heart-ache—or depair,
Or dream,
Inspire its notes, that spread so charm’d a stream
Of harmony around?

Sometimes the deep notes swell
Soft as a sigh—the semitone of thought;
Yet sometimes seem they fraught
With fate—
Storm-toned, spirit rousing, jarr’d with hate,
And booming like a knell.

Wild, massy, swift and dark,
The clashing strains of harmony unite,
While o’er their solemn flight,
One note
Of wandering sweetness doth serenely float,
Like love-call of the lark.

Those gloomy chords at last,
Roll wave-like through the caverns of the mind,
And mystically wind
Their way
Into dark thoughts, that rise in drear array—
The ghost-dreams of the past.

And then the plaintive tone
Of pastoral pipe, or mountain brook, or bird,
In tranced thought is heard,
The faint heart fails beneath the Master’s skill,
And yearns to be alone.

Yet, lady! yet once more,
Bring back that branded train of hopes and fears,
The passion of past years,
The spell
That ruled my being in its inmost cell
And then sweet friend! give o’er.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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