Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
 
Poems of Sentiment: V. The Arts
Music
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
From “The Merchant of Venice,” Act V. Sc. 1.

  LORENZO.—How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: look, how the floor of heaven        5
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There ’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls:        10
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
*        *        *        *        *
  JESSICA.—I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
  LORENZO.—The reason is your spirits are attentive.
*        *        *        *        *
Therefore the poet        15
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods;
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,        20
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
 
 
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