The Harper's Song

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The Harper's Song
written by John Masefield
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This sweetness trembling from the strings
The music of my troublous lute
Hath timed Herodias' daughter's foot;
Setting a-clink her ankle-rings
Whenas she danced to feasted kings.

Where gemmed apparel burned and caught
The sunset 'neath the golden dome,
To the dark beauties of old Rome
My sorrowful lute hath haply brought
Sad memories sweet with tender thought.

When night had fallen and lights and fires
Were darkened in the homes of men,
Some sighing echo stirred:--and then
The old cunning wakened from the wires
The old sorrows and the old desires.

Dead Kings in long forgotten lands,
And all dead beauteous women; some
Whose pride imperial hath become
Old armour rusting in the sands
And shards of iron in dusty hands,

Have heard my lyre's soft rise and fall
Go trembling down the paven ways,
Till every heart was all ablaze--
Hasty each foot--to obey the call
To triumph or to funeral.

Could I begin again the slow
Sweet mournful music filled with tears,
Surely the old, dead, dusty ears
Would hear; the old drowsy eyes would glow,
Old memories come; old hopes and fears,
And time restore the long ago.


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