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The mighty master smiled to see
Softly sweet in Lydian measures,
Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures;
Never ending, still beginning,
If the world be worth thy winning,
Take the good the gods provide thee.
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
Now strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder.
Has raised up his head.
As awaked from the dead,
And amazed, he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries:
See the Furies arise;
See the snakes that they rear!
How they hiss in the air.
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain;
Behold how they toss their torches on high!
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods!
The Princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy;
Thaïs led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
Thus long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
Or both divide the crown :
The whole unto Him, and remember who
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth,
Which must be carried on, and safely may;
Yet keep those cares without thee; let the heart
AN ODE TO ST. CECILIA'S DAY.
BY JOHN DRYDEN.
[JOHN DRYDEN, the son of Erasmus Dryden, of Tichmersh, was born at Aldwinkle, in Northamptonshire, in the year 1632. He was educated at Westminster School under the celebrated Dr. Busby, and was elected to one of the Cambridge scholarships. He entered Trinity College in 1650, and, in four years, took his B. A. degree. At the same time, upon the death of his father, he came into possession of property worth about 60l. a year. He soon afterwards began to write poetry and dramatic compositions, and, in 1665, married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the first Earl of Berkshire. For many years he supported himself solely by his writings; these were principally for the stage, or satires of men of the day, or translations of the classic authors. His poems "Absalom and Achitophel" and "The Hind and the Panther" gained him great reputation, and he was made Poet Laureate. In his later days he wrote "Alexander's Feast: an Ode to St. Cecilia's Day," the finest lyric poem in the English language, and his Fables." Dryden died in poverty on the 1st of May, 1700, at a small house in Gerrard Street, Soho. He had a public funeral, and was buried with great honour in Westminster Abbey.]
"TWAS at the royal feast, for Persia won,
By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne:
His valiant peers were placed around, Their brows with roses and with myrtle bound;
So should desert in arms be crown'd.
Sat, like a blooming Eastern bride,