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SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY
CECILIA? whose exalted hymns
With joy and wonder fill the blest,
In choirs of warbling seraphims
Known and distinguish'd from the rest,
Attend, harmonious Saint! and see
Thy vocal sons of Harmony;
Attend, harmonious Saint ! and hear our pray’rs ;
Enliven all our earthly airs,
And as thou sing'st thy God, teach us to sing of thee :
Tune every string and every tongue;
Be thou the Muse and subject of our song,
Let all Cecilia's praise proclaim,
Employ the echo in her name.
Hark how the futes and trumpets raise,
At bright Cecilia's name, their lays!
The organ labours in her praise.
Cecilia's name does all our numbers grace;
From every voice the tuneful accents fly!
In soaring trebles now it rises high,
And now it sinks, and dwells upon the base.
Cecilia's name through all the notes we sing,
The work of every skilful tongue,
The sound of every trembling string,
The sound and triumph of our song.
For ever consecrate the day
To music and Cecilia ;
Music ! the greatest good that mortals know,
And all of Heaven we have below.
Music can noble hints impart,
Engender fury, kindle love,
With unsuspected eloquence can move,
And manage all the man with secret art.
When Orpheus strikes the trembling lyre,
The streams stand still, the stones admire ;
The listening savages advance,
The wolf and lamb around him trip,
The bears in awkward measures leap,
And tigers mingle in the dance :
The moving woods attended as he play'd,
And Rhodope was left without a shade.
Music religious heats inspires;
It wakes the soul and lifts it high,
And wings it with sublime desires,
And fits it to bespeak the Deity.
The Almighty listens to a tuneful tongue,
And seems well pleas’d, and courted with a song.
Soft moving sounds and heavenly airs
Give force to every word, and recommend our
When time itself shall be no more, (pray’rs.
And all things in confusion hurld,
Music shall then exert its pow'r,
And sound survive the ruins of the world;
Then saints and angels shall agree
In one eternal jubilee;
All Heav'n shall echo with their hymns divine,
And God himself with pleasure see
The whole creation in a chorus join.
Consecrate the place and day
To music and Cecilia :
Let no rough winds approach, nor dare
Invade the hallow'd bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting sounds;
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue,
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepar'd,
Keep up the loud harmonious song,
And imitate the bless'd above
In joy, and harmony, and love.
TO PHÆDRA AND HIPPOLITUS. 1707.
Long has a race of heroes fill’d the stage,
That rant by note, and through the gamut rage;
In songs and airs express their martial fire,
Combat in trills, and in a fugue expire ;
While lull’d by sound, and undisturb'd by wit,
Calm and serene you indolently sit,
And from the dull fatigue of thinking free,
Hear facetious fiddle's repartee :
Our homespun authors must forsake the field,
And Shakspeare to the soft Scarlatti yield.
To your new taste the poet of this day
Was by a friend advis'd to form his play.
Had Valentini, musically coy,
Shun'd Phædra's arms, and scorn'd the proffer'd joy,
It had not mov'd your wonder to have seen
An eunuch fly from an enamour'd queen;
How would it please should she in English speak,
And could Hippolitus reply in Greek ?
But he, a stranger to your modish way,
By your old rules must stand or fall to day,
And hopes you will your foreign taste command
To bear, for once, with what you understand.
TO TAE TENDER HUSBAND), 1705.
In the first rise and infancy of farce,
When fools were many, and when plays were scarce,
The raw unpractis'd authors could, with ease,
young and unexperienc'd audience please :
No single character had e'er been shown,
But the whole herd of fops was all their own :
Rich in originals, they set to view,
In every piece, a coxcomb that was new.
But now our British theatre can boast
Drolls of all kinds, a vast unthinking host !
Fruitful of folly and of vice, it shows [beaux;
Cuckolds, and cits, and bawds, and pimps, and
Rough country knights are found of ev'ry shire,
Of every fashion gentle fops appear,
And punks of different characters we meet
As frequent on the stage as in the pit.
Our modern wits are forc'd to pick and cull,
And here and there by chance glean up a fool,
Long ere they find the necessary spark,
They search the Town, and beat about the Park,
To all his most frequented haunts resort,
Oft dog him to the ring, and oft to court,
As love of pleasure or of place invites,
And sometimes catch him taking snuff at White's.
Howe'er, to do you right, the present age
Breeds very hopeful monsters for the stage,
That scorn the paths their dull forefathers trod,
And won't be blockheads in the common road.
Do but survey this crowded house to-night;
- Here's still encouragement for those that write.
Our author, to divert his friends to-day, Stocks with variety of fools his play, And that there may be something gay and new, Two ladies-errant has expos'd to view ; The first a damsel travell'd in romance, The other more refin'd, she comes from France ; Rescue, like courteous knights, the nymph from
danger, And kindly treat, like well-bred men, the stranger.