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On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven



Appendix 1

POEMS FOR RECITING AND BRIEF COMMENTARY

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

<EPIPSYCHIDION. II. Poor captive bird!..>

 

Poor captive bird! Who, from thy narrow cage,

Pourest such music, that it might assuage

The rugged hearts of those who prisoned thee,

Were they not deaf to all sweet melody;

This song shall be thy rose: its petals pale

Are dead, indeed, my adored Nightingale!

But soft and fragrant is the faded blossom,

And it has no thorn left to wound thy bosom.

 

 

On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sweet sounds, oh, beautiful music, do not cease!

Reject me not into the world again.

With you alone is excellence and peace,

Mankind made plausible, his purpose plain.

Enchanted in your air benign and shrewd,

With limbs a-sprawl and empty faces pale,

The spiteful and the stingy and the rude

Sleep like the scullions in the fairy-tale.

This moment is the best the world can give:

The tranquil blossom on the tortured stem.

Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,

Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,

A city spell-bound under the aging sun.

Music my rampart, and my only one.

 

 

Those Evening Bells by Thomas Moore

Those evening bells! those evening bells!

How many a tale their music tells,

Of youth and home and that sweet time

When last I heard their soothing chime.

 

Those joyous hours are past away:

And many a heart, that then was gay.

Within the tomb now darkly dwells,

And hears no more those evening bells.

 

And so 'twill be when I am gone:

That tuneful peal will still ring on,

While other bards shall walk these dells,

And sing your praise, sweet evening bells!

 

William Blake "To See a World..."

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence"

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

R. W. Emerson, The Universal Song

 

Let me go where'er I will,

I hear a sky-born music still:

It sounds from all things old,

It sounds from all things young,

From all that's fair, from all that's foul,

Peals out a cheerful song.

 

It is not only in the rose,

It is not only in the bird,

Not only where the rainbow glows,

Nor in the song of woman heard,

But in the darkest, meanest things

There alway, alway something sings.

 

'T is not in the high stars alone,

Nor in the cup of budding flowers,



Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,

Nor in the bow that smiles in showers,

But in the mud and scum of things

There alway, alway something sings.

 

 

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

 

Some say the world will end in fire;

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

 

 

G.G. Byron, It is the hour…

 

It is the hour when from the boughs

The nightingale’s high note is heard;

It is the hour when lovers’ vows

Seem sweet in every whisper’d word;

And gentle winds, and waters near,

Make music to the lonely ear.

Each flower the dews have lightly wet,

And in the sky the stars are met,

And on the wave is deeper blue,

And on the leaf a browner hue,

And in the heaven that clear obscure,

So softly dark, and darkly pure,

Which follows the decline of day,

As twilight melts beneath the moon away.

 

WALTER DE LA MARE

A FIDDLER

Once was a fiddler. Play could he

Sweet as a bird in an almond tree;

Fingers and strings – they seemed to be

Matched in a secret conspiracy.

Up slid his bow, paused lingerly;

Music’s self was his witchery.

 

In his stooping face it was plain to see

How close to dream is a soul set free –

A half-found world; And company.

 

His fiddle is broken, Mute is he.

But a bird sings on in the almond tree.

 

W. E. Hawkins





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