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ABT VOGLER

(AFTER HE HAS BEEN EXTEMPORIZING

UPON THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF HIS INVENTION)

(1864)

Raising my rampired walls of gold as

transparent as glass, Eager to do and die, yield each his

place to the rest: For higher still and higher (as a runner

tips with fire, When a great illumination surprises a

festal night, Outlined round and round Rome's dome

from space to spire) Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and

the pride of my soul was in sight.

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Would that the structure brave, the mani

fold music I build, Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys

to their work, Claiming each slave of the sound, at a

touch ... as when Solomon willed Armies of angels that soar, legions of

demons that lurk, Man, brute, reptile, Ay, - alien of end and of aim,

5 Adverse, each from the other heaven

high, hell-deep removed, Should rush into sight at

named the ineffable Name, And pile him a palace straight, to pleas

ure the princess he loved! ...

once

as he

In sight? Not half! for it seemed, it was

certain, to match man's birth Nature in turn conceived, obeying an

impulse as I; And the emulous heaven yearned down,

made effort to reach the earth, As the earth had done her best, in my

passion, to scale the sky. Novel splendors burst forth, grew fami

liar and dwelt with mine: Not a point nor peak but found and

fixed its wandering star, Meteor-moons, balls of blaze; and they

did not pale nor pine, For earth had attained to heaven, there

was no more near nor far.

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Would it might tarry like his, the beau

tiful building of mine, This which my keys in a crowd pressed

and importuned to raise ! Ah, one and all, how they helped, would

dispart now and now combine, Zealous to hasten the work, heighten

their master his praise ! And one would bury his brow with a

blind plunge down to hell, Burrow awhile and build, broad on the

roots of things, Then up again swim into sight, having

based me my palace well, Founded it, fearless of fame, Aat on the

nether springs.

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Nay, more! For there wanted not who

walked in the glare and glow: Presences plain in the place; or, fresh

from the Protoplast, Furnished for ages to come, when a kind

lier wind should blow, Lured now to begin and live, in a house

to their liking at last; Or else the wonderful Dead who have

passed through the body and gone, But were back once more to breathe in

an old world worth their new : What never had been, was now; what

was, as it shall be anon; And what is, shall I say, matched both? for I made perfect,

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III

And another would mount and march,

like the excellent minion he was, Ay, another and yet another, one crowd

but with many a crest,

was

too.

To me, who must be saved because I cling

with my mind To the same, same self, same love, same

God: ay, what was, shall be.

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VI All through my keys that gave their

sounds to a wish of my soul, All through my soul that praised as its

wish flowed visibly forth, All through music and me! For think,

had I painted the whole, Why, there it had stood, to see, nor the

process so wonder-worth; Had I written the same, made verse,

still, effect proceeds from cause: 45 Ye know why the forms are fair, ye

hear how the tale is told; It is all triumphant art, but art in obed

ience to laws; Painter and poet are proud in the artist

list enrolled :

Therefore to whom turn I but to thee, the ineffable Name?

65 Builder and maker, thou, of houses not

made with hands! What, have fear of change from thee who

art ever the same? Doubt that thy power can fill the heart

that thy power expands? There shall never be one lost good! What

was, shall live as before: The evil is null, is naught, is silence

implying sound; What was good shall be good, with, for

evil, so much good more: On the earth the broken arcs; in the

heaven a perfect round.

VII

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But here is the finger of God, a Aash of

the will that can, Existent behind all laws, that made them

and, lo, they are! And I know not if, save in this, such gift

be allowed to man, That out of three sounds he frame, not

a fourth sound, but a star. Consider it well: each tone of our scale

in itself is naught; It is everywhere in the world, - loud,

soft, and all is said: Give it to me to use! I mix it with two

in my thought: And there! Ye have heard and seen:

consider, and bow the head!

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All we have willed or hoped or dreamed

of good shall exist, Not its semblance, but itself: no beauty,

nor good, nor power Whose voice has gone forth, but each

survives for the melodist When eternity affirms the conception of

an hour. The high that proved too high, the heroic

for earth too hard, The passion that left the ground to lose

itself in the sky, Are music sent up to God by the lover

and the bard; Enough that he heard it once: we shall

hear it by and by.

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Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music

I reared; Gone! and the good tears start, the

praises that come too slow; For one is assured at first, one scarce

can say that he feared, That he even gave it a thought, the

gone thing was to go. Never to be again! But many more of

the kind As good, nay, better, perchance: is this

your comfort to me?

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And what is our failure here but a tri

umph's evidence For the fulness of the days? Have we

withered or agonized ?

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Poor vaunt of life indeed,
Were man but formed to feed
On joy, to solely seek and find a feast.
Such feasting ended, then
As sure an end to men:
Irks.care the crop-full bird ? Frets doubt

the maw-crammed beast?

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Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes

her reign: I will be patient and proud, and soberly

acquiesce. Give me the keys. I feel for the common

chord again, Sliding by semitones till I sink to the minor,

yes, And I blunt it into a ninth; and I stand

on alien ground, Surveying awhile the heights I rolled

from into the deep; Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my resting-place is found,

95 The C Major of this life: so, now I will

try to sleep.

Rejoice we are allied
To That which doth provide
And not partake, effect and not receive!
A spark disturbs our clod:
Nearer we hold of God
Who gives, than of his tribes that take,

I must believe.

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Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth's smoothness rough,
Each string that bids nor sit nor stand

but go!
Be our joys three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor

ount the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!

RABBI BEN EZRA

(1864)

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Not that, amassing flowers,
Youth sighed, "Which rose make ours,
Which lily leave and then as best recall?”
Not that, admiring stars,

What is he but a brute
Whose Aesh has soul to suit,
Whose spirit works lest arms and legs

want play?

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Of

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To man, propose this test:

And I shall thereupon Thy body at its best,

Take rest, ere I be gone How far can that project thy soul on its Once more on my adventure brave and lone way?

new :

Fearless and unperplexed, Yet gifts should prove their use:

When I

wage

battle next, I own the past profuse

What weapons to select, what armor to power each side, perfection every turn.

indue. Eyes, ears, took in their dole, Brain treasured up the whole:

Youth ended, I shall try Should not the heart beat once, “How

My gain or loss thereby; good to live and learn”?

Leave the fire ashes, what survives is

gold.

And I shall weigh the same,
Not once beat, “Praise be thine!
I see the whole design,

Give life its praise or blame:
I, who saw power, see now Love perfect Young, all lay in dispute ; I shall know,

being old. too; Perfect I call thy plan. Thanks that I was a man!

For note, when evening shuts,

A certain moment cuts Maker, remake, complete, I trust what thou shalt do!”

The deed off, calls the glory from the

gray:

A whisper from the west For pleasant is this fesh;

Shoots -"Add this to the res:, Our soul, in its rose-mesh

Take it and try its worth: here dies anPulled ever to the earth, still yearns for other day.

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rest:

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thine own,

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So, better, age, exempt

Thoughts hardly to be packed From strife, should know, than tempt

Into a narrow act, Further. Thou waitedst age: wait death Fancies that broke through language and nor be afraid !

escaped;
All I could never be,

All, men ignored in me,
Enough, now, if the Right
And Good and Infinite

This, I was worth to God, whose wheel

the pitched shaped. Be named here, as thou callest thy hand With knowledge absolute,

Ay, note that Potter's wheel,

That metaphor! and feel Subject to no dispute From tools that crowded youth, nor let Why time spins fast, why passive lies our

clay, — thee feel alone.

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Thou, to whom fools propound,

When the wine makes its round: Be there, for once and all,

"Since life fleets, all is change; the Past Severed great minds from small,

gone, seize Today!” Announced to each his station in the past! Was I the world arraigned,

Fool! All that is, at all, Were they my soul disdained,

Lasts ever, past recall; Right? Let age speak the truth, and give

Earth changes, but thy soul and God us peace at last!

stand sure.

What entered into thee, Now, who shall arbitrate?

That was, is, and shall be: Ten men love what I hate,

Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter Shun what I follow, slight what I re

and clay endure. ceive, Ten who in ears and eyes

He fixed thee 'mid this dance Match me: we all surmise,

Of plastic circumstance, They this thing, and I that: whom shall This Present thou, forsooth, would fain my soul believe?

arrest,
Machinery just meant

To give thy soul its bent,
Not on the vulgar mass

Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently Called "work," must sentence pass,

impressed Things done, that took the eye and had the price;

What though the earlier grooves, O'er which, from level stand,

Which ran the laughing loves The low world laid its hand,

Around thy base, no longer pause and Found straightway to its mind, could value

press? in a trice:

What though, about thy rim,

Skull-things in order grim But all the world's coarse thumb

Grow out in graver mood, - obey the And finger failed to plumb,

sterner stress? So passed in making up the main account; All instincts immature,

Look not thou down, but up! All purposes unsure,

To uses of a cup: That weighed not

his work, yet

The festal board, lamp's flash and trumswelled the man's amount:

pet's peal,

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