Poetical Works of John Oldham/An Ode for an Anniversary of Music on St. Cecilia's Day

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BEGIN the song, your instruments advance,

Tune the voice, and tune the flute,
Touch the silent sleeping lute,
And make the strings to their own measures dance.
Bring gentlest thoughts, that into language glide,
Bring softest words, that into numbers slide;
Let every hand, and every tongue.
To make the noble concert throng.
Let all in one harmonious note agree
To frame the mighty song,
For this is music's sacred jubilee.


Hark how the wakened strings resound,

And break the yielding air,
The ravished sense how pleasingly they wound,
And call the listening soul into the ear;

Each pulse beats time, and every heart
With tongue and fingers bears a part.
By harmony's entrancing power,
When we are thus wound up to ecstasy,
Methinks we mount, methinks we tower,
And seem to antedate our future bliss on high.


How dull were life, how hardly worth our care,

But for the charm that music lends!
How faint its pleasures would appear,
But for the pleasure which our art attends!
Without the sweets of melody,
To tune our vital breath,
Who would not give it up to death,
And in the silent grave contented lie?


Music's the cordial of a troubled breast,

The softest remedy that grief can find;
The gentle spell that charms our care to rest,
And calms the ruffled passions of the mind.
Music does all our joy refine,
It gives the relish to our wine,
'Tis that gives rapture to our love,
And wings devotion to a pitch divine;
'Tis our chief bliss on earth, and half our heaven above.


Come then, with tuneftil throat and string

The praises of our art let's sing;
Let's sing to blest Cecilia's fame,
That graced this art, and gave this day its name;
With music, wine, and mirth conspire
To bear a concert, and make up the choir.

  1. Set to music by Dr. Blow.