If music be the food of love, play on.

- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
 
 

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.

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
 
 

Nought 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,
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.

 - William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
 
 

Sweet sounds, oh, beautiful music, do not cease!
Reject me not into the world again.
With you alone is excellence and peace,
Mankind made plausible, his purpose plain.
Enchanted in your air benign and shrewd,
With limbs a-sprawl and empty faces pale,
The spiteful and the stingy and the rude
Sleep like the scullions in the fairy-tale.
This moment is the best the world can give:
The tranquil blossom on the tortured stem.
Reject me not, sweet sounds; oh, let me live,
Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,
A city spell-bound under the aging sun.
Music my rampart, and my only one.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven
 

To hear what work I believe inspired Edna to compose the above Elizabethan sonnet, turn off the second movement to Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata by clicking the player at the top of this page and then turn on the first movement to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony by clicking the player below.  I may have guessed wrong, but at least this is my rampart, even if not my only one!


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