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a web of many textures

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An old square piano — “Chickering, Boston” — has
occupied a corner in a moderate home for a number of
years, and been regarded as a necessity. It has been a
true friend, for its influence has ever tended towards
harmonization. However discordant other elements
may have been, — and there may have been times when
some of the dust and pins of life got in among the human
organism to produce temporary jarring and inharmony,
— the old piano has rung ever truly and cheerfully,
responsive to the touch. It has been a household


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pet. Practised fingers have picked sweet melodies
from it; but all, the unskilled as well, have tried their
hand at it. Even the youngest is great at fingering.
It has been a pleasant thing with him who is the ostensible
head of the household to sit, in the repose of the
evening, the care of the world shut out with the closed
curtains, and hear some one, in the unstudied grace
and glow of home inspiration, unlock the gates of melody
with the piano-keys, and trip away over melodious
meadow fields and gather the humble flowers of song to
wreathe in a garland about the hearth-stone — none of the
lofty and high-studied themes, that arouse mighty plaudits
where Thalberg or Lang is their exponent, but just a
simple melody or two, awakening fond memories of old
times, or thrilling with the consciousness of a new pleasure.
Ah! this is the acme of musical delight, though
there be those who revel in high-seasoned opera, and turn
up their august noses at the humble home-strains alluded
to. There is a pleasure, besides, when one is in his
remote corner, busied with book or pen, to have a
strain come to him of some remembered song, fraught
with gentleness and happiness. His task is forgotten,
as he listens, and he beats time on his palm, gazing
abstractedly at nothing, and yet how much he sees! No
wonder that his thought should run to rhyme; and of
late, when thus held by a spell, and diviner melodies
entered his soul through the opened doors of fancy,
the following rhapsody came to “the writer,” and
wrought itself in form upon paper; and this is the
guise in which it revealed itself:

Essence of love divine!
O'er my soul like the spirit of wine
Thou stealest, and in rapt dream
Sense merges in that stream


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Of resonant delight we deem to flow
From God's own presence, where we know
The Harmonies abide, and music fills
The broad heavens, as the blood thrills
Through these terrestrial veins;
And where celestial strains
Are thought and language that impart,
In quick accord from heart to heart,
The golden sympathy which there obtains
Music! — O, subtle mastery
That sets my spirit free
From the tired body and its care,
Which, light as bird in air,
Rises upon the joyous wings
That buoyant melody brings —
Finding sweet sympathy with flowers
In the everlasting bowers,
And with fair earthly blooms
That fling their rich perfumes
Over the summer days,
And with the genial rays
The sun in his loving temper sheds
Upon the spring-time flower-beds,
And with bees and running brooks,
And quiet, pleasant nooks,
Where the birds sing, and the breeze
Is busy with the gossipy trees,
And with all that 's beautiful and bright
And loving, given for man's delight!
I yield me to thy power,
Great spirit of the hour!
Bound by thy magic spell,
My heart, responsive to the swell
Of thy wild measure, swings
In its turret, and my whole being sings
In unison with that which wings
Its way o'er vibratory strings
Of subtle air, whose pulsings greet
My ear in this remote retreat,
As I list to mark the fading feet
Die out in distance of the last cadence sweet.