Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

On A Symphony Of Beethoven - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

Terrible music, whose strange utterance
Seemed like the spell of some dread conscious trance;
Motionless misery, impotent despair,
With beckoning visions of things dear and fair;
Restless desire, sharp poignant agonies;
Soft, thrilling, melting, tender memories;
Struggle and tempest, and around it all
The heavy muffling folds of some black pall
Stifling it slowly; a wild wail for life,
Sinking in darkness—a short passionate strife
With hideous fate, crushing the soul to earth;
Sweet snatches of some melancholy mirth;
A creeping fear, a shuddering dismay,
Like the cold dawning of some fatal day;
Dim faces growing pale in distant lands;
Departing feet, and slowly severing hands;
Voices of love, speaking the words of hate,—
The mockery of a blessing come too late;
Loveless and hopeless life, with memory,—
This curse that music seemed to speak to me.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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