A Hymn in Praise of Music

Praise, pleasure, profit, is that threefold band,
Which ties men's minds more fast than Gordion's knot;
Each one some draws; all three none can withstand;
Of force conjoined, conquest is hardly got,
Then Music may of hearts a monarch be,
Wherein praise, pleasure, profit, so agree.

Praise-worthy Music is, for God it praiseth;
And pleasant, for brute beasts therein delight;
Great profit from it flows: for why? it raiseth
The mind o'erwhelmed with rude passions' might;
When against reason passions fond rebel,
Music doth that confirm, and those expel.

If Music did not merit endless praise,
Would heavenly spheres delight in silver round?
If joyous pleasure were not in sweet lays,
Would they in court and country so abound?
And profitable, needs we must that call,
Which pleasure linked with praise doth bring to all.

Heroic minds, with praises most incited,
Seek praise in Music, and therein excel;
God, man, beasts, birds, with Music are delighted;
And pleasant 'tis which pleaseth all so well.
No greater profit is than self-content;
And this will Music bring, and care prevent.

When antique poets Music's praises tell,
They say it beasts did please, and stones did move,
To prove more dull than stones, than beasts more fell,
Those men which pleasing Music did not love:
They feigned it cities built, and states defended,
To shew the profit great on it depended.

Sweet birds, poor men's musicians, never slake
To sing sweet Music's praises day and night:
The dying swans in Music pleasure take,
To shew that it the dying can delight:
In sickness, health, peace, war, we do it need,
Which proves sweet Music's profit doth exceed.

But I, by niggard praising, do dispraise
Praise-worthy Music in my worthless rime;
Ne can the pleasing profit of sweet lays
Any, save learned Muses, well define.
Yet all by these rude lines may clearly see,
Praise, pleasure, profit, in sweet Music be.
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