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And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood;
Is there not rain enough in the sweet Heav'ns,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer, but this twofold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down?Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But oh, what form of pray'r
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder!-
That cannot be, since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by Justice;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above.
There is no shuffling; there the action lies
In it's true nature, and we ourselves compell'd,
Ev'n to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
Oh wretched state! oh bosom black as death!
Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels! make essay !
Bow, stubborn knees; and heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
All may be well.
ODE ON ST. CECILIA'S DAY.
DESCEND, ye Nine! descend and sing:
The breathing instruments inspire;
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain:
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound:
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies; Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes, In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats; Till, by degrees, remote and small, The strains decay,
And melt away
In a dying, dying fall.
By Music, minds an equal temper know,
Not swell too high, nor sink too low;
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enliv'ning airs:
Warriors she fires with animated sounds,
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds;
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
List'ning Envy drops her snakes,
Intestine war no more our Passions wage,
And giddy Factions hear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music ev'ry bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main,
Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sev'nfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms! to arms! to arms!
But when through all the infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as Death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts?
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of wo,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts;
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see the tortur'd ghosts respire,
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance!
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang list'ning round their heads.
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er th' Elysian flow'rs;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,
Ör amaranthine bow'rs;
By the heroes' armed shades,
Glitt'ring through the gloomy glades ;
By the youths that died for love,
Wand'ring in the myrtle grove;
Restore, restore Eurydice to life:
O take the Husband, or return the Wife!
sung, and Hell consented
To hear the Poet's pray'r:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair:
Thus song could prevail
O'er Death and o'er Hell,
A conquest how hard, and how glorious!
Though Fate had fast bound her,
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet Music and Love were victorious.
But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes:
Again she falls-again she dies-she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Roiling in meanders,
He makes his moan;
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows:
See, wild as the winds, o'er the desert he flies;
Hark! Hæmus resounds with the Bacchanals' cries
Yet ev❜n in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,
Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.
Music the fiercest grief can charm
And fate's severest rage disarm;
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please;
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confin'd the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear:
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire ;
And angels lean from Heav'n to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater pow'rs is giv'n;
His numbers rais'd a shade from Hell,
Hers lift the soul to Heav'n.
"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 plac'd around;
Their brows with roses and with myrtle bound.
So should desert in arms be crown'd.
The lovely Thäis by his side
Sat, like a blooming eastern bride,
In flow'r of youth, and beauty's pride.
Happy, happy, happy pair;
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.
Timotheus, plac'd on high
Amid the tuneful quire,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre :
The trembling notes ascend the sky,
And heav'nly joys inspire.
The song began from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above,
Such is the pow'r of mighty love!.