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At a Symphony

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Oh, I would have these tongues oracular
Dip into silence, tease no more, let be!
They madden, like some choral of the free
Gusty and sweet against a prison-bar.
To earth the boast that her gold empires are,
The menace of delicious death to me,
Great Undesign, strong as by God’s decree,
Piercing the heart with beauty from afar!
Music too winning to the sense forlorn!
Of what angelic lineage was she born,
Bred in what rapture?—These her sires and friends:
Censure, Denial, Gloom, and Hunger’s throe.
Praised be the Spirit that thro’ thee, Schubert! so
Wrests evil unto wholly heavenly ends.

Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (The Library of America, 1993)
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At a Symphony

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