The Music of the World and of the Soul
I Why should I say I see the things I see not? Why be and be not? Show love for that I love not, and fear for what I fear not? And dance about to music that I hear not? Who standeth still ií the street Shall be hustled and justled about; And he that stops ií the dance shall be spurned by the dancersí feet, Shall be shoved and be twisted by all he shall meet, And shall raise up an outcry and rout; And the partner, too, What ís the partner to do? While all the while ítis but, perchance, an humming in mine ear, That yet anon shall hear, And I anon, the music in my soul, In a moment read the whole; The music in my heart, Joyously take my part, And hand in hand, and heart with heart, with these retreat, advance; And borne on wings of wavy sound, Whirl with these around, around, Who here are living in the living dance Why forfeit that fair chance? Till that arrive, till thou awake, Of these, my soul, thy music make, And keep amid the throng, And turn as they shall turn, and bound as they are bounding, Alas! alas! alas! and what if all along The music is not sounding? II Are there not, then, two musics unto men? One loud and bold and coarse, And overpowering still perforce All tone and tune beside; Yet in despite its pride Only of fumes of foolish fancy bred, And sounding solely in the sounding head The other, soft and low, Stealing whence we not know, Painfully heard, and easily forgot, With pauses oft and many a silence strange (And silent oft it seems, when silent it is not), Revivals too of unexpected change Haply thou thinkíst ítwill never be begun, Or that ít has come, and been, and passed away Yet turn to other none, Turn not, oh, turn not thou! But listen, listen, listen, if haply be heard it may; Listen, listen, listen, is it not sounding now? III Yea, and as thought of some departed friend By death or distance parted will descend, Severing, in crowded rooms ablaze with light, As by a magic screen, the seer from the sight (Palsying the nerves that intervene The eye and central sense between); So may the ear, Hearing not hear, Though drums do roll, and pipes and cymbals ring; So the bare conscience of the better thing Unfelt, unseen, unimaged, all unknown, May fix the entrancèd soul ímid multitudes alone.
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