A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY, NOVEMBER 22,
by: John Dryden
- ROM 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 obye.
- 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 clangor
- 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 oh! 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 uprooted left their place,
- Sequacious of the lyre:
- But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher;
- When to her organ vocal breath was given,
- An angel heard, and straight appeared,
- 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 bless'd 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.
POEMS BY JOHN DRYDEN
'A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, November
22, 1687' is reprinted from English Poems. Ed. Edward
Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.
- John Dryden - A biography
of the Restoration dramatist.
- John Dryden (1631-1700)
- A biography of the Restoration dramatist.
- Restoration Drama
- An overview of Restoration theatre; includes information on
the appearance of women on the English stage, the persistance
of Elizabethan plays, parody of heroic drama, the nature of Restoration
comedy, women playwrights, and Collier's attack on the stage.
- Purchase books
by John Dryden