My better self! my Stradiuarius! we
Have done great things to-night; have help'd to bear
On outspread wings the stream of melody
Up to heaven's portals — it might enter there.
I wonder, lov'd one, was it thou or I
Who pour'd our soul forth on the music's strain?
Thou art not living — yet I hear thee sigh,
And sing, and sob, like gods more than us men.
Since he, Cremona's master, work'd and wrought
With more than human skill, he surely breath'd
Into his sweet creation speech and thought,
Best of the forest, with man's best enwreath'd.
The master breath'd upon thee, with the love
That centres in a soul; and lo! awoke
Thy sweet life-song, attun'd in heav'n above,
And soaring, thus upon the silence broke.
But no! description's vain — we cannot tell
The songster's sweetness, nor the sough of wind,
The spring-tide wonder, nor the year's sad knell;
Yet all this joy and sadness here we find.
Yet more! for in its midst, grief of a heart
That knows this life, blends with the joy of those
Who know but spirit life; and thus impart
Heav'n's bliss into the strain that richer grows.
And yet, sweet violin! without me thou wert mute,
And unresponsive in thy velvet nest would lie;
All silent as a long-forgotten lute,
Thus thou without me — thus without thee I!