John Dryden (16311700). The Poems of John Dryden. 1913. Elegies and Epitaphs
On the Death of Mr. Purcell
1 ARK 1 how the Lark and Linnet sing,
With rival Notes
They strain their warbling Throats
To welcome in the Spring.
But in the close of night, 5
When Philomel begins her Heavnly Lay, 2
They cease their mutual spight,
Drink in her Musick with delight,
And listning and silent, and silent and listning, and listning and silent obey. 3
So ceasd the rival Crew, when Purcell came,
They Sung no more, or only Sung his Fame.
Struck dumb, they all admird 4
The godlike man,
Alas, too soon retird,
As He too late began. 15
We beg not Hell 5 our Orpheus to restore;
Had He been there,
Their Sovereigns fear
Had sent Him back before.
The powr of Harmony too well they knew; 20
He long eer this had Tund their jarring Sphere,
And left no Hell below.
The Heavnly Quire, who heard his Notes from high,
Let down the Scale of Musick from the Sky:
They handed him along, 25
And all the way He taught, and all the way they Sung.
Ye Brethren of the Lyre and tunefull Voice,
Lament his lott: but at your own rejoyce.
Now live secure, and linger out your days,
The Gods are pleasd alone with Purcells Layes, 6 30 Nor know to mend their Choice.
Text from the original of 1696. Note 1. In the words printed with the music Dr. Blow impudently altered godlike into matchless and their jarring Sphere into the jarring Spheres. [ back] Lay] lay Note 2. 1696. [ back] Note 3. This line has never been correctly reprinted in England. Editors till Christie gave And listning silently obey. Christie professed to restore the line, but by twice omitting the word and gave a wrong and uneuphonic line. Dr. Saintsbury copies Christie. [ back] admird] admird the godlike man Note 4. 1696. [ back] Hell] Hell, Note 5. 1696. [ back] Layes] Note 6. Layes 1696. [ back]