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Now green's the sod, and cauld 's the clay,
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
And closed for aye the sparkling glance
DUNCAN GRAY cam here to woo,
On blythe Yule night when we were fou,
Duncan fleech'd, and Duncan pray'd;
How it comes let doctors tell,
And O, her een, they spak sic things!
Duncan was a lad o' grace;
OF a' the airts the wind can blaw
For there the bonnie lassie lives,
There wild woods grow, and rivers row,
But day and night my fancy's flight
I see her in the dewy flowers,
I see her sweet and fair:
I hear her in the tunefu' birds,
There's not a bonnie flower that springs
O blaw ye westlin winds, blaw saft
Wi' balmy gale, frae hill and dale
That's aye sae neat and clean; Ae smile o' her wad banish care, Sae charming is my Jean.
What sighs and vows amang the knowes
How fond to meet, how wae to part
LYRICS BY DRYDEN
SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY
Most readers of this poem are familiar with Navjok's picture of St. Cecilia seated at the organ with the angels hovering above. St. Cecilia is supposed to have lived during the third century. Legend depicts her as a pure and religious maiden, devoted to the art of music. She is also the legendary inventor of the organ. As the patron saint of music, her day - November 22 was honored by appropriate celebration, and poets were often asked to write verses her praise. Dryden accordingly wrote the Song for St. Cecilia's Day in 1687, and the Alexander's Feast for the same event ten years later. Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day was written in 1708.
8 Cold and hot and moist and dry: By the ancients these were considered the four elements which composed the universe. 10 And Music's power obey: Great creative labors were conceived by the ancients as produced to the accompaniment of music.
17 Jubal: Gen. 4:21.
Lord Bolingbroke, in reporting a conversation which he had with Dryden, quotes the poet's words concerning this poem: "I have been up all night. My musical friends made me promise to write them an ode for their Feast of St. Cecilia, and I was so struck with the subject which occurred to me that I could not leave it until I had completed it. Here it is, finished at one sitting."
2 Philip's warlike son: Alexander, who overthrew the Persians under Darius in 331 B.C.
9 Thais: not the wife but the favorite of Alexander. After the conquest she is said (on doubtful authority) to have influenced Alexander to destory the Persian capital, Persepolis. 16 Timotheus: a famous bard of the period. It is to be borne
in mind that the harpist at the feasts of that time not only played but also sang. Oftentimes the song was extempore; and this, we may safely assume, is Dryden's conception
21 Note Dryden's art in using words whose syllables in their chosen connection we naturally pronounce slowly. The whole effect is that of a leisurely beginning, strongly contrasting with some of the ensuing moods of passion.
24 belied: masked. Jove in his association with mortals assumed various forms a swan, a cloud, a shower of gold, or anything he chose.