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The mighty master smiled to see
Softly sweet in Lydian measures,
Never ending, still beginning,
If the world be worth thy winning,
Take the good the gods provide thee.
Gazed on the fair
Sigh’d and look'd, and sigh'd again.
Now strike the golden lyre again ;
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
Hark! hark! the horrid sound
Has raised up his hea!.
And amazed, he starts around.
See the Furies arise ;
How they hiss in the air,
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
And unburied remain
To the valiant crew :
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittring 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,
Thus long ago,
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown :
She drew an angel down.
The whole unto Him, and remember who
AN ODE TO ST. CECILIA'S DAY.
BY JOHN DRYDEN.
(JOHN DRYDEN, the son of Erasmus Dryden, of Tichmersh, was bom 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 1630, 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.
Absalom and Achitophel” and “The Ilind 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 ist 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,
So should desert in arms be crown'd.