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Broken Music

 

 

The mother will not turn, who thinks she hears

    Her nursling's speech first grow articulate;

    But breathless with averted eyes elate

She sits, with open lips and open ears,

That it may call her twice. 'Mid doubts and fears

    Thus oft my soul has hearkened; till the song,

    A central moan for days, at length found tongue.

And the sweet music welled and the sweet tears.

 

But now, whatever while the soul is fain

    To list that wonted murmur, as it were

The speech-bound sea-shell's low importunate strain, –

    No breath of song, thy voice alone is there,

O bitterly beloved! and all her gain

    Is but the pang of unpermitted prayer.

 

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Uit : Poems (1870)

 

 

*** 

The Monochord [LXXIX]

(Written during Music)

 

Is it the moved air or the moving sound

    That is Life's self and draws my life from me,

    And by instinct ineffable decree

Holds my breath quailing on the bitter bound?

Nay, is it Life or Death, thus thunder-crown'd,

    That 'mid the tide of all emergency

    Now notes my separate wave, and to what sea

Its difficult eddies labour in the ground?

 

Oh! what is this that knows the road I came,

The flame turned cloud, the cloud returned to flame

    The lifted shifted steeps and all the way? –

That draws round me at last this wind-warm space,

And in regenerate rapture turns my face

    Upon the devious coverts of dismay?

 

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Uit : Poems (1870)

 

 

*** 

Sonnet LXI

 

The Song-throe

 

By thine own tears thy song must tears beget,

    O Singer! Magic mirror thou hast none

    Except thy manifest heart; and save thine own

Anguish or ardour, else no amulet.

Cisterned in Pride, verse is the feathery jet

    Of soulless air-flung fountains; nay, more dry

    Than the Dead Sea for throats that thirst and sigh,

That song o'er which no singer's lids grew wet.

 

The Song-god – He the Sun-god – is no slave

    Of thine: thy Hunter he, who for thy soul

    Fledges his shaft: to no august control

Of thy skilled hand his quivered store he gave:

    But if thy lips' loud cry leap to his smart,

    The inspir'd recoil shall pierce thy brother's heart.

 

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Uit : Ballads and Sonnets (1881)

*** 

Song and Music

 

    O leave your hand where it lies cool

        Upon the eyes whose lids are hot:

    Its rosy shade is bountiful

        Of silence, and assuages thought.

    O lay your lips against your hand

        And let me feel your breath through it,

    While through the sense your song shall fit

        The soul to understand.

 

    The music lives upon my brain

        Between your hands within mine eyes;

    It stirs your lifted throat like pain,

        An aching pulse of melodies.

 

    Lean nearer, let the music pause:

        The soul may better understand

    Your music, shadowed in your hand,

        Now while the song withdraws.

 

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Uit : Ballads and Sonnets (1881)

 

 

*** 

 

 

                                  Sonnet  8

 

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?

Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.

Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,

Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,

By unions married, do offend thine ear,

They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds

In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,

Strikes each in each by mutual ordering;

Resembling sire, and child, and happy mother,

Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:

    Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,

    Sings this to thee, »Thou single wilt prove none.«

 

Willam Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Uit : Sonnets

 

 

***

 

 

128

 

How oft when thou, my music, music play'st

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds

With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st

The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,

Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap

To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,

Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,

At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand.

To be so tickled they would change their state

And situation with those dancing chips,

O'er whom [thy] fingers walk with gentle gait,

Making dead wood more blest than living lips:

    Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,

    Give them [thy] fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

 

 

 

Willam Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Uit : Sonnets

 

 

*** 

 

 

 

 

Another Fragment to Music

 

    No, Music, thou art not the »food of Love,«

    Unless Love feeds upon its own sweet self,

    Till it becomes all Music murmurs of.

 

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Uit : Poems 

 

 

*** 

Fragment: Music and Sweet Poetry

 

    How sweet it is to sit and read the tales

        Of mighty poets and to hear the while

    Sweet music, which when the attention fails

        Fills the dim pause –

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Uit : Poems 

*** 

Hymn of Pan

 

I

 

        From the forests and highlands

            We come, we come;

        From the river-girt islands,

            Where loud waves are dumb

                Listening to my sweet pipings.

        The wind in the reeds and the rushes,

            The bees on the bells of thyme,

        The birds on the myrtle bushes,

            The cicale above in the lime,

        And the lizards below in the grass,

        Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,

            Listening to my sweet pipings.

 

 

II

 

        Liquid Peneus was flowing,

            And all dark Tempe lay

        In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing

            The light of the dying day,

                Speeded by my sweet pipings.

        The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,

             And the Nymphs of the woods and the waves,

        To the edge of the moist river-lawns,

            And the brink of the dewy caves,

        And all that did then attend and follow,

        Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,

            With envy of my sweet pipings.

 

 

III

 

        I sang of the dancing stars,

            I sang of the daedal Earth,

        And of Heaven – and the giant wars,

        And Love, and Death, and Birth, –

            And then I changed my pipings, –

        Singing how down the vale of Maenalus

            I pursued a maiden and clasped a reed.

        Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!

            It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed:

        All wept, as I think both ye now would,

        If envy or age had not frozen your blood,

            At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

 

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Uit : Poems 

 

 

*** 

Orpheus

 

    A. Not far from hence. From yonder pointed hill,

Crowned with a ring of oaks, you may behold

A dark and barren field, through which there flows,

Sluggish and black, a deep but narrow stream,

Which the wind ripples not, and the fair moon

Gazes in vain, and finds no mirror there.

Follow the herbless banks of that strange brook

Until you pause beside a darksome pond,

The fountain of this rivulet, whose gush

Cannot be seen, hid by a rayless night

That lives beneath the overhanging rock

That shades the pool – an endless spring of gloom,

Upon whose edge hovers the tender light,

Trembling to mingle with its paramour, –

But, as Syrinx fled Pan, so night flies day,

Or, with most sullen and regardless hate,

Refuses stern her heaven-born embrace.

On one side of this jagged and shapeless hill

There is a cave, from which there eddies up

A pale mist, like aëreal gossamer,

Whose breath destroys all life – awhile it veils

The rock – then, scattered by the wind, it flies

Along the stream, or lingers on the clefts,

Killing the sleepy worms, if aught bide there.

Upon the beetling edge of that dark rock

There stands a group of cypresses; not such

As, with a graceful spire and stirring life,

Pierce the pure heaven of your native vale,

Whose branches the air plays among, but not

Disturbs, fearing to spoil their solemn grace;

But blasted and all wearily they stand,

One to another clinging; their weak boughs

Sigh as the wind buffets them, and they shake

Beneath its blasts – a weatherbeaten crew!

    Chorus. What wondrous sound is that, mournful and faint,

But more melodious than the murmuring wind

Which through the columns of a temple glides?

    A. It is the wandering voice of Orpheus' lyre,

Borne by the winds, who sigh that their rude king

Hurries them fast from these air-feeding notes;

But in their speed they bear along with them

The waning sound, scattering it like dew

Upon the startled sense.

    Chorus.Does he still sing?

Methought he rashly cast away his harp

When he had lost Eurydice.

    A.Ah, no!

Awhile he paused. As a poor hunted stag

A moment shudders on the fearful brink

Of a swift stream – the cruel hounds press on

With deafening yell, the arrows glance and wound, –

He plunges in: so Orpheus, seized and torn

By the sharp fangs of an insatiate grief,

Maenad-like waved his lyre in the bright air,

And wildly shrieked »Where she is, it is dark!«

And then he struck from forth the strings a sound

Of deep and fearful melody. Alas!

In times long past, when fair Eurydice

With her bright eyes sat listening by his side,

He gently sang of high and heavenly themes.

As in a brook, fretted with little waves

By the light airs of spring – each riplet makes

A many-sided mirror for the sun,

While it flows musically through green banks,

Ceaseless and pauseless, ever clear and fresh,

So flowed his song, reflecting the deep joy

And tender love that fed those sweetest notes,

The heavenly offspring of ambrosial food.

But that is past. Returning from drear Hell,

He chose a lonely seat of unhewn stone,

Blackened with lichens, on a herbless plain.

Then from the deep and overflowing spring

Of his eternal ever-moving grief

There rose to Heaven a sound of angry song.

'Tis as a mighty cataract that parts

Two sister rocks with waters swift and strong,

And casts itself with horrid roar and din

Adown a steep; from a perennial source

It ever flows and falls, and breaks the air

With loud and fierce, but most harmonious roar,

And as it falls casts up a vaporous spray

Which the sun clothes in hues of Iris light.

Thus the tempestuous torrent of his grief

Is clothed in sweetest sounds and varying words

Of poesy. Unlike all human works,

It never slackens, and through every change

Wisdom and beauty and the power divine

Of mighty poesy together dwell,

Mingling in sweet accord. As I have seen

A fierce south blast tear through the darkened sky,

Driving along a rack of winged clouds,

Which may not pause, but ever hurry on,

As their wild shepherd wills them, while the stars,

Twinkling and dim, peep from between the plumes.

Anon the sky is cleared, and the high dome

Of serene Heaven, starred with fiery flowers,

Shuts in the shaken earth; or the still moon

Swiftly, yet gracefully, begins her walk,

Rising all bright behind the eastern hills.

I talk of moon, and wind, and stars, and not

Of song; but, would I echo his high song,

Nature must lend me words ne'er used before,

Or I must borrow from her perfect works,

To picture forth his perfect attributes.

He does no longer sit upon his throne

Of rock upon a desert herbless plain,

For the evergreen and knotted ilexes,

And cypresses that seldom wave their boughs,

And sea-green olives with their grateful fruit,

And elms dragging along the twisted vines,

Which drop their berries as they follow fast,

And blackthorn bushes with their infant race

Of blushing rose-blooms; beeches, to lovers dear,

And weeping willow trees; all swift or slow,

As their huge boughs or lighter dress permit,

Have circled in his throne, and Earth herself

Has sent from her maternal breast a growth

Of starlike flowers and herbs of odour sweet,

To pave the temple that his poesy

Has framed, while near his feet grim lions couch,

And kids, fearless from love, creep near his lair.

Even the blind worms seem to feel the sound.

The birds are silent, hanging down their heads,

Perched on the lowest branches of the trees;

Not even the nightingale intrudes a note

In rivalry, but all entranced she listens.

 

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Uit : Poems 

*** 

Music

 

I

 

        I pant for the music which is divine,

            My heart in its thirst is a dying flower;

        Pour forth the sound like enchanted wine,

            Loosen the notes in a silver shower;

        Like a herbless plain, for the gentle rain,

        I gasp, I faint, till they wake again.

 

 

II

 

        Let me drink of the spirit of that sweet sound,

            More, oh more, – I am thirsting yet;

        It loosens the serpent which care has bound

            Upon my heart to stifle it;

        The dissolving strain, through every vein,

        Passes into my heart and brain.

III

 

        As the scent of a violet withered up,

            Which grew by the brink of a silver lake,

        When the hot noon has drained its dewy cup,

            And mist there was none its thirst to slake –

        And the violet lay dead while the odour flew

        On the wings of the wind o'er the waters blue –

 

 

IV

 

        As one who drinks from a charmed cup

            Of foaming, and sparkling, and murmuring wine,

        Whom, a mighty Enchantress filling up,

            Invites to love with her kiss divine ...

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Uit : Poems 

***

Amphion

 

        My father left a park to me,

            But it is wild and barren,

        A garden too with scarce a tree

            And waster than a warren:

        Yet say the neighbours when they call,

            It is not bad but good land,

        And in it is the germ of all

            That grows within the woodland.

 

        O had I lived when song was great

            In days of old Amphion,

        And ta'en my fiddle to the gate,

            Nor cared for seed or scion!

        And had I lived when song was great,

            And legs of trees were limber,

        And ta'en my fiddle to the gate,

            And fiddled in the timber!

 

        'Tis said he had a tuneful tongue,

            Such happy intonation,

        Wherever he sat down and sung

            He left a small plantation;

        Wherever in a lonely grove

            He set up his forlorn pipes,

 

         The gouty oak began to move,

            And flounder into hornpipes.

 

        The mountain stirr'd its bushy crown,

            And, as tradition teaches,

        Young ashes pirouetted down

            Coquetting with young beeches;

        And briony-vine and ivy-wreath

            Ran forward to his rhyming,

        And from the valleys underneath

            Came little copses climbing.

 

        The linden broke her ranks and rent

            The woodbine wreaths that bind her,

        And down the middle, buzz! she went

            With all her bees behind her:

        The poplars, in long order due,

            With cypress promenaded,

        The shock-head willows two and two

            By rivers gallopaded.

 

        Came wet-shod alder from the wave,

            Came yews, a dismal coterie;

        Each pluck'd his one foot from the grave,

            Poussetting with a sloe-tree:

        Old elms came breaking from the vine,

            The vine stream'd out to follow,

         And, sweating rosin, plump'd the pine

            From many a cloudy hollow.

 

        And wasn't it a sight to see,

            When, ere his song was ended,

        Like some great landslip, tree by tree,

            The country-side descended;

        And shepherds from the mountain-eaves

            Look'd down, half-pleased, half-frighten'd

        As dash'd about the drunken leaves

            The random sunshine lighten'd!

 

        Oh, nature first was fresh to men

            And wanton without measure;

        So youthful and so flexile then,

            You moved her at your pleasure.

        Twang out, my fiddle! shake the twigs!

            And make her dance attendance;

        Blow, flute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,

            And scirrhous roots and tendons.

 

        'Tis vain! in such a brassy age

            I could not move a thistle;

        The very sparrows in the hedge

            Scarce answer to my whistle;

        Or at the most, when three-parts-sick

            With strumming and with scraping,

         A jackass heehaws from the rick,

            The passive oxen gaping.

 

        But what is that I hear? a sound

            Like sleepy counsel pleading:

        O Lord! – 'tis in my neighbour's ground,

            The modern Muses reading.

        They read Botanic Treatises,

            And Works on Gardening thro' there,

        And Methods of transplanting trees,

            To look as if they grew there.

 

        The wither'd Misses! how they prose

            O'er books of travell'd seamen,

        And show you slips of all that grows

            From England to Van Diemen.

        They read in arbours clipt and cut,

            And alleys, faded places,

        By squares of tropic summer shut

            And warm'd in crystal cases.

 

        But these, tho' fed with careful dirt,

            Are neither green nor sappy;

        Half-conscious of the garden-squirt,

            The spindlings look unhappy.

        Better to me the meanest weed

            That blows upon its mountain,

         The vilest herb that runs to seed

            Beside its native fountain.

 

        And I must work thro' months of toil,

            And years of cultivation,

        Upon my proper patch of soil

            To grow my own plantation.

        I'll take the showers as they fall,

            I will not vex my bosom:

        Enough if at the end of all

            A little garden blossom.

 

 

Alfred Lord Tennyson ( 1809-1892)

Uit : Poems (1842)

 

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Sonnet on Hearing the Dies Iræ

 

Sung in the Sistine Chapel

 

Nay, Lord, not thus! white lilies in the spring,

    Sad olive-groves, or silver-breasted dove,

    Teach me more clearly of Thy life and love

Than terrors of red flame and thundering.

The empurpled vines dear memories of Thee bring:

    A bird at evening flying to its nest

    Tells me of One who had no place of rest:

I think it is of Thee the sparrows sing.

Come rather on some autumn afternoon,

    When red and brown are burnished on the leaves,

    And the fields echo to the gleaner's song.

Come when the splendid fulness of the moon

    Looks down upon the rows of golden sheaves,

    And reap Thy harvest: we have waited long.

 

 

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Uit : Poems

 

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Symphony in Yellow

 

            An omnibus across the bridge

                Crawls like a yellow butterfly,

                And, here and there, a passer-by

            Shows like a little restless midge.

 

            Big barges full of yellow hay

                Are moored against the shadowy wharf,

                And, like a yellow silken scarf,

            The thick fog hangs along the quay.

 

            The yellow leaves begin to fade

                And flutter from the Temple elms,

                And at my feet the pale green Thames

            Lies like a rod of rippled jade.

 

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Uit : Poems

*** 

Power of Music

 

 

An Orpheus! an Orpheus! yes, Faith may grow bold,

And take to herself all the wonders of old; –

Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same

In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.

 

His station is there; and he works on the crowd,

He sways them with harmony merry and loud;

He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim –

Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?

 

What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!

The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;

The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;

And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest.

 

As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,

So He, where he stands, is a centre of light;

It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack,

And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.

 

That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste –

What matter! he's caught – and his time runs to

 

                                                      waste;

The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret;

And the half-breathless Lamplighter – he's in the net!

 

The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;

The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store; –

If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;

She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!

 

He stands, backed by the wall; – he abates not his din;

His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,

From the old and the young, from the poorest; and there!

The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.

 

O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand

Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;

I am glad for him, blind as he is! – all the while

If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.

 

That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,

Not an inch of his body is free from delight;

Can he keep himself still, if he would? oh, not he!

The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.

 

Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch; like a tower

That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour! –

That Mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,

While she dandles the Babe in her arms to the sound.

 

Now, coaches and chariots! roar on like a stream;

Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream:

They are deaf to your murmurs – they care not for you

Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue!

 

 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Uit:  Poems of the Imagination

 

 

***