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The power of song

The power of song February 13, 2007

Wordsworth’s 30th Ecclesiastical Sonnet, on Canute:

A PLEASANT music floats along the Mere,
From Monks in Ely chanting service high,
While-as Canute the King is rowing by:
“My Oarsmen,” quoth the mighty King, “draw near,
“That we the sweet song of the Monks may hear!”
He listens (all past conquests, and all schemes
Of future, vanishing like empty dreams)
Heart-touched, and haply not without a tear.

The Royal Minstrel, ere the choir is still,
While his free Barge skims the smooth flood along,
Gives to that rapture an accordant Rhyme.
O suffering Earth! be thankful: sternest clime
And rudest age are subject to the thrill
Of heaven-descended Piety and Song.


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