On a Viola D'Amore
CARVED WITH A CUPID'S HEAD, AND PLAYED ON FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER MORE THAN A CENTURY.
What fairy music clear and light,
Responsive to your fingers,
Swells rippling on the summer night,
And amorously lingers
Upon the sense, as long ago
In days of rouge and rococo!
A century of silence lay
On strings that had not spoken
Since powdered lords to ladies gay
Gave, for a lover's token,
Fans glowing fresh from Watteau's art,
Well worth a marchioness's heart.
Your dormant music, tranced and bound,
Was like the Sleeping Beauty
Prince Charming in the forest found,
And kissed in loyal duty:
And when she woke her eyes' blue fire
Turned the dumb forest to a lyre.
Thus Amor with the bandaged eyes,
Fit symbol of hushed numbers,
Most musically wakes and sighs
After an age of slumbers:
Beneath your magic bow's control
The Viol has regained her soul.
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