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The hairy gown and mossy cell,
ALEXANDER'S FEAST: OR, the power of MUSIC. IN HONOUR OF ST. CECILIA'S DAY.
"Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won By Philip's warlike son:
Aloft in awful state
The godlike hero sate
On his imperial throne:
His valiant peers were plac'd around,
Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound;
(So should desert in arms be crown'd)
The lovely Thais by his side
Sate like a blooming eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave deserves the fair.
Timotheus, plac'd on high
Amid the tuneful quire,
With flying fingers touch'd the lyre:
The song began from Jove,
Who left his blissful seats above,
And while he sought her snowy breast;
And stamp'd an image of himself, a sovereign of the world.
The listening crowd admire the lofty sound:
A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound.
The monarch hears;
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician
Of Bacchus, ever fair and ever young;
The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets, beat the drums:
Flush'd with a purple grace,
He shows his honest face.
Now give the hautboys breath. He comes! he
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure;
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure:
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure;
Sweet is pleasure after pain,
Sooth'd with the sound the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew
Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius, great and good;
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
The various turns of chance below;
The mighty master smil'd to see
If the world be worth thy winning,
Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause :
So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause;
Gaz'd on the fair,
Who caus'd his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
At length, with love and wine at once opprest,
Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Has rais'd up his head,
As awak'd from the dead,
And amaz'd he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise!
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair!
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand!
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
Inglorious on the plain;
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to de
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey;
And, like another Helen, fir'd another Troy.
Thus long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown be
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He rais'd a mortal to the skies,