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Or some high-minded dreamer strays
Late through the solitary ways,
Nor heeds the listening night, nor me.
Or how or whence those tones be heard,
Hearing, the slumbering soul is stirred,
As when a swiftly passing light
Startles the shadows into flight;
While one remembrance suddenly
Thrills through the melting melody, –
A strain of music in the night.
Out of the darkness bursts the song,
Into the darkness moves along:
Only a chord of memory jars,
Only an old wound burns its scars,
As the wild sweetness of the strain
Smites the heart with passionate pain,
And vanishes among the stars.
Harriet Prescott Spofford.
God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
The first a youth, with soul of fire,
Held in his hand a golden lyre;
Through groves he wandered, and by streams,
Playing the music of our dreams.
The second with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market-place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.
A gray old man, the third and last,
Sang in cathedrals dim and vast,
While the majestic organ rolled
Contrition from its mouths of gold.
And those who heard the Singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart.
But the great Master said, “I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.
“These are the three great chords of might, And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony.”
Henry W. Longfellow.
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian Sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In springtime from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
228 LAST 23r0 STREET
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending: -
I listened, motionless and still ;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Ask me not which of all my songs is thine ! Ask of the Spring, when first the blossoms
stir, Which of their fairy pennons waves for her; Ask of the Night which star of all that shine Is her own signet, peerless and divine; Ask of the Sun which purple follower
The Music Lovers' Treasury
Among the clouds is his sole worshipper,
Lifting at dawn his colors and his sign.
As stars are born of night, as flowers of
As clouds the vivid hues of sunlight wear,
And all an equal rank and kinship know,
So is thy memory the awakening,
The living warmth, the radiance large and fair
In which all songs of mine to utterance grow.
Frances Laughton Mace.
When the low music makes a dusk of sound
About us, and the viol or far-off horn
Swells out above it like a wind forlorn,
That wanders seeking something never
What phantom in your brain, on what din
ground, Traces its shadowy lines? What vision,
born Of unfulfilment, fades in mere self-scorn, Or grows, from that still twilight stealing