Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Light in Sound, a Sound-Like Power in Light

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aeolian Harp is one of my favorite poems. Here, an excerpt from his words of art. Enjoy, and click on this link to hear how it sounds.

Aeolian Harp, an excerpt:

"And that simplest Lute,
Plac'd length-ways in the clasping casement, hark !
How by the desultory breeze caress'd,
Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong ! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Faery-Land,
Where Melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untam'd wing !
O ! the one Life within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance every where--

Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so fill'd ;
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument."

Several years ago I queried a harp maker about purchasing one, and the person I found online said (via email) that he didn't make them anymore. Judging from the links I've found on today's web, the aeolian harp is making a comeback. Click here to read, and hear, more about it. Henry David Thoreau built one, see a replica here.

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