Last updated: Oct. 20, 1999
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Georg Friedrich Händel


An Ode

Words by Newburgh Hamilton


1. Overture

2. Recitative

From harmony, from heav'nly harmony,
This universal frame began.

3. Accompagnato

When nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
"Arise! Ye more than dead."
Then cold, and hot, and moist and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And music's pow'r obey.

4. Chorus

From harmony, from heav'nly harmony,
This universal frame began,
From harmony to harmony,
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man.

5. Air

What passion cannot music raise and quell!
When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His list'ning brethren stood around,
And wond'ring, on their faces fell,
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot music raise and quell!

6. Air (tenor) and Chorus

The trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger,
And mortal alarms.
The double, double, double beat
Of the thund'ring drum
Cries: "Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge! 'Tis too late to retreat."

7. March

8. Air

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling lute.

9. Air

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depths of pain, and height of passion,
For the fair disdainful dame.

10. Air

But oh, what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heav'nly ways
To join the choirs above.

11. Air

Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees, unrooted, left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre.

12. Accompagnato

But bright Cecilia raised the wonder high'r:
When to her organ, vocal breath was giv'n,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd,
Mistaking earth for Heav'n.

13. Solo (soprano) and Chorus

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the bless'd above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.

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