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1 DEscend ye Nine! descend and sing;
2 The breathing Instruments inspire,
3 Wake into Voice each silent String,
4 And sweep the sounding Lyre!
5 In a sadly-pleasing Strain
6 Let the warbling Lute complain:
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7 Let the loud Trumpet sound,
8 Till the Roofs all around
9 The shrill Ecchos rebound:
10 While in more lengthen'd Notes and slow,
11 The deep, majestick, solemn Organs blow.
12 Hark! the Numbers, soft and clear,
13 Gently steal upon the Ear;
14 Now louder, and yet louder rise,
15 And fill with spreading Sounds the Skies;
16 Exulting in Triumph now swell the bold Notes,
17 In broken Air, trembling, the wild Musick floats;
18 Till, by degrees, remote and small,
19 The Strains decay,
20 And melt away
21 In a dying, dying Fall.
22 By Musick, Minds an equal Temper know,
23 Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
24 If in the Breast tumultuous Joys arise,
25 Musick her soft, assuasive Voice applies;
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26 Or when the Soul is press'd with Cares
27 Exalts her in enlivening Airs.
28 Warriors she fires with animated Sounds;
29 Pours Balm into the bleeding Lover's Wounds:
30 At Musick, Melancholy lifts her Head;
31 Dull Morpheus rowzes from his Bed;
32 Sloath from its Lethargy awakes,
33 And list'ning Envy drops her Snakes;
34 Intestine War no more our Passions wage,
35 Ev'n giddy Factions hear away their Rage.
36 But when our Country's Cause provokes to Arms,
37 How martial Musick every Bosom warms!
38 So when the first bold Vessel dar'd the Seas,
39 High on the Stern the Thracian rais'd his Strain,
40 While Argo saw her kindred Trees
41 Descend from Pelion to the Main.
42 Transported Demi-Gods stood round,
43 And Men grew Heroes at the Sound,
44 Enflam'd with Glory's Charms:
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45 Each Chief his sevenfold Shield display'd,
46 And half unsheath'd the shining Blade;
47 And Seas, and Rocks, and Skies rebound
48 To Arms, to Arms, to Arms!
49 But when thro' all th' Infernal Bounds
50 Which flaming Phlegeton surrounds,
51 Sad Orpheus sought his Consort lost;
52 Th' Inexorable Gates were barr'd,
53 And nought was seen, and nought was heard
54 Around the dreary Coast,
55 But dreadful Gleams,
56 Dismal Screams,
57 Fires that glow,
58 Shrieks of Woe,
59 Sullen Moans,
60 Hollow Groans,
61 And Cries of tortur'd Ghosts.
62 But hark! he strikes the golden Lyre;
63 And see! the tortur'd Ghosts respire,
64 See shady Forms advance!
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65 Thy Stone, O Sysiphus, stands still;
66 Ixion rests upon his Wheel,
67 And the pale Spectres dance!
68 The Furies sink upon their Iron Beds,
69 And Snakes uncurl'd hang list'ning round their Heads.
70 By the Streams that ever flow,
71 By the fragrant Winds that blow
72 O'er th' Elysian Flowers,
73 By those happy Souls who dwell
74 In Yellow Meads of Asphodel,
75 Or Amaranthine Bowers:
76 By the Heroe's armed Shades
77 Glitt'ring thro' the gloomy Glades,
78 By the Youths that dy'd for Love,
79 Wandring in the Myrtle Grove,
80 Restore, restore Eurydice to Life;
81 Oh take the Husband, or return the Wife.
82 He sung, and Hell consented
83 To hear the Poet's Pray'r;
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84 Stern Proserpine relented,
85 And gave him back the Fair.
86 Thus Song could prevail
87 O'er Death and o'er Hell,
88 A Conquest how hard and how glorious?
89 Tho' Fate had fast bound her
90 With Styx nine times round her,
91 Yet Musick and Love were Victorious.
92 But soon, too soon, the Lover turns his Eyes:
93 Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
94 How wilt thou now the fatal Sisters move?
95 No Crime was thine, if 'tis no Crime to love.
96 Now under hanging Mountains,
97 Beside the Falls of Fountains,
98 Or where Hebrus wanders,
99 Rolling in Maeanders,
100 All alone,
101 Unheard, unknown,
102 He makes his Moan;
103 And calls her Ghost
104 For ever, ever, ever lost!
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105 Now with Furies surrounded,
106 Despairing, confounded,
107 He trembles, he glows,
108 Amidst Rhodope's Snows:
109 See, wild as the Winds, o'er the Desart he flies;
110 Hark! Haemus resounds with the Bacchanals Cries
111 Ah see, he dies!
112 Yet ev'n in Death Eurydice he sung,
113 Eurydice still trembled on his Tongue,
114 Eurydice the Woods,
115 Eurydice the Floods,
116 Eurydice the Rocks, and hollow Mountains rung.
117 Musick the fiercest Griefs can charm,
118 And Fate's severest Rage disarm:
119 Musick can soften Pain to Ease,
120 And make Despair and Madness please:
121 Our Joys below it can improve,
122 And antedate the Bliss above.
123 This the Divine Cecilia found,
124 And to her Maker's Praise confin'd the Sound.
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125 When the full Organ joins the tuneful Quire,
126 The Immortal Pow'rs incline their Ear;
127 Born on the swelling Notes our Souls aspire,
128 While solemn Airs improve the sacred Fire;
129 And Angels lean from Heav'n to hear!
130 Of Orpheus now no more let Poets tell,
131 To bright Cecilia greater Pow'r is giv'n;
132 His Numbers rais'd a Shade from Hell,
133 Hers lift the Soul to Heav'n.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): ODE FOR MUSICK.
Themes: music
Genres: ode; occasional poem

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Source edition

Pope, Alexander, 1688-1744. Ode for musick. London: printed for Bernard Lintott, 1713, pp. 1-8. [4],8p. ; 2⁰. (ESTC T5694; Foxon P904; OTA K023150.000)

Editorial principles

The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.