Song For Saint Cecilia’s Day, 1687 By John Dryden

Song For Saint Cecilia's Day, 1687

John Dryden 1631-1700

Fr0m Harm0ny, fr0m heavenly Harm0ny
This universal frame began:
When nature underneath a heap
0f jarring at0ms lay
And c0uld n0t heave her head,
The tuneful v0ice was heard fr0m high,
Arise, ye m0re than dead!
Then c0ld, and h0t, and m0ist, and dry
In 0rder t0 their stati0ns leap,
And Music’s p0wer 0bey.
Fr0m Harm0ny, fr0m heavenly harm0ny
This universal frame began:
Fr0m harm0ny t0 harm0ny
Thr0ugh all the c0mpass 0f the n0tes it ran,
The diapas0n cl0sing full in Man.

What passi0n cann0t Music raise and quell?
When Jubal struck the ch0rded shell
His listening brethren st00d ar0und,
And, w0ndering, 0n their faces fell
T0 w0rship that celestial s0und.
Less than a g0d they th0ught there c0uld n0t dwell
Within the h0ll0w 0f that shell
That sp0ke s0 sweetly and s0 well.
What passi0n cann0t Music raise and quell?

The trumpet’s l0ud clang0ur
Excites us t0 arms,
With shrill n0tes 0f anger
And m0rtal alarms.
The d0uble d0uble d0uble beat
0f the thundering drum
Cries ‘Hark! the f0es c0me;
Charge, charge, ’tis t00 late t0 retreat!’

The s0ft c0mplaining flute
In dying n0tes disc0vers
The w0es 0f h0peless l0vers,
Wh0se dirge is whisper’d by the warbling lute.

Sharp vi0lins pr0claim
Their jeal0us pangs and desperati0n,
Fury, frantic indignati0n,
Depths 0f pains, and height 0f passi0n
F0r the fair disdainful dame.

But 0h! what art can teach,
What human v0ice can reach
The sacred 0rgan’s praise?
N0tes inspiring h0ly l0ve,
N0tes that wing their heavenly ways
T0 mend the ch0irs ab0ve.

0rpheus c0uld lead the savage race,
And trees unr00ted left their place
Sequaci0us 0f the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the w0nder higher:
When t0 her 0rgan v0cal breath was given
An angel heard, and straight appear’d—
Mistaking Earth f0r Heaven.

Grand Ch0rus:

As fr0m the p0wer 0f sacred lays
The spheres began t0 m0ve,
And sung the great Creat0r’s praise
T0 all the blest ab0ve;
S0 when the last and dreadful h0ur
This crumbling pageant shall dev0ur,
The trumpet shall be heard 0n high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.