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FROM DRYDEN TO BURNS.
SONG FOR SAINT CECILIA'S DAY, 1687.
And could not heave her head,
The diapason closing full in man.
The soft complaining flute In dying notes discovers The woes of hopeless lovers, Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.
Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
But O, what art can teach,
The sacred organ's praise?
To sixty more, but that he lived too fast, Refined himself to soul, to curb the sense, And made almost a sin of abstinence. Yet had his aspect nothing of severe, But such a face as promised him sincere. Nothing reserved or sullen was to see; But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity. Mild was his accent, and his action free. With eloquence innate his tongue was armed;
Though harsh the precept, yet the people charmed. For, letting down the golden chain from
Of sixty years he seemed; and well might DIM as the borrowed beams of moon and
He drew his audience upward to the sky: And oft with holy hymns he charmed their ears
(A music more melodious than the spheres);
For David left him, when he went to rest, His lyre; and after him he sung the best.
He bore his great commission in his look; But sweetly tempered awe, and softened all he spoke.
He preached the joys of heaven and pains of hell,
He taught the gospel rather than the law; And forced himself to drive; but loved to draw.
For fear but freezes minds; but love, like heat,
Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat.
And warned the sinner with becoming zeal;
But on eternal mercy loved to dwell.
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard, Wrapped in his crimes, against the storm prepared ; But when the milder beams of mercy play,
He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away.
Lightning and thunder (heaven's artillery)
As harbingers before the Almighty fly: Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
The stiller sounds succeed, and God is there.
Though in a bare and rugged way,
Confusion dwelt in every face,
When waves on waves, and gulfs on gulfs, With sudden greens and herbage crowned,