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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Song's Eternity

(Design for the performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute,
by Karl Friedrich Thiele, 1780-1836, after Karl Friedrich
Schinkel, 1781-1841, German artists both)

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions — the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), English Romantic poet

(This poem is best when read out loud.)


What is song’s eternity?
Come and see
Can it noise and bustle be?
Come and see
Praises sung or praises said,
Can it be?
Wait awhile and these are dead
Sigh sigh
Be they high or lowly bred
They die

What is song’s eternity?
Come and see
Melodies of earth and sky,
Here they be
Song once sung to Adam’s ears
Can it be?
Ballads of six thousand years
Thrive thrive
Songs awaken with the spheres

Mighty songs that miss decay
What are they?
Crowds and cities pass away
Like a day
Books are writ and books are read
What are they?
Years will lay them with the dead
Sigh sigh
Trifles unto nothing wed,
They die

Dreamers list¹ the honey bee
Mark the tree
Where the blue cap, tootle tee
Sings a glee
Sung to Adam and to Eve
Here they be
When floods covered every bough,
Noah’s ark
Heard that ballad singing now
Hark hark

Tootle tootle tootle tee
Can it be
Pride and fame must shadows be?
Come and see
Every season owns her own
Bird and bee
Sing creations music on
Nature’s glee
Is in every mood and tone

The eternity of song
Liveth here
Nature’s universal tongue
Singeth here
Songs I’ve heard and felt and seen
Songs like the grass are evergreen
The giver
Said live and be, and they have been
For ever

~ John Clare (1793-1864), English Romantic poet

¹ list – listen to

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