Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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POWER OF MUSIC

      AN Orpheus! an Orpheus! yes, Faith may grow bold,
      And take to herself all the wonders of old;--
      Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same
      In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.

      His station is there; and he works on the crowd,
      He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
      He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim--
      Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?

      What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
      The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;                 10
      The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;
      And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest.

      As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
      So He, where he stands, is a centre of light;
      It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack,
      And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.

      That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste--
      What matter! he's caught--and his time runs to waste;
      The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret;
      And the half-breathless Lamplighter--he's in the net!           20

      The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
      The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store;--
      If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
      She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!

      He stands, backed by the wall;--he abates not his din
      His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
      From the old and the young, from the poorest; and there!
      The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.

      O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
      Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;          30
      I am glad for him, blind as he is!--all the while
      If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.

      That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,
      Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
      Can he keep himself still, if he would? oh, not he!
      The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.

      Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch; like a tower
      That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour!--
      That Mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
      While she dandles the Babe in her arms to the sound.            40

      Now, coaches and chariots! roar on like a stream;
      Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream:
      They are deaf to your murmurs--they care not for you,
      Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue!
                                                              1806.


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