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all races and times have given them speech.

The singing note in English poetry was heard oftenest between the birth of Shakespeare in 1554 and the death of Herrick in 1674. There were masters of musical verse before Shakespeare, and there have been many since Herrick, but they have not been primarily singing poets; their verses have not seemed to be trembling on the verge of song. The verbal harmonies of Swinburne are as capacious and varied as any in literature, but they do not seem to be waiting for the composer to set them to music. In the century after Shakespeare's birth there was a joy in life which, in the face of tragedy on the stage and in affairs, was a common emotion among poets; there was an unabashed delight in beauty in

nature and in women; above all, there was an almost universal knowledge of music and skill in singing. The air was full of songs which were known to people of all classes; practically the whole populace could read music and sing it in parts at sight. Poetry and music were still mated, and words were coupled with notes almost instinctively.

It was this singing habit of the English people, probably, that made the period from Shakespeare to Dryden so rich in the poetry that trembles on the verge of music; for in every period in which an art flowers with prodigal richness it is significant that, while the practice of it may be confined to a few, the love of it and joy in it are shared by the many. Our thoughtful, earnest, care-burdened age has produced noble medi

tative poems like "In Memoriam," deeply felt and finely phrased poems like the "Commemoration Ode," rhapsodies charged with imaginative power like "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," delicate and tender lyrics like Aldrich's "Nocturne "; but its poets have rarely sung as the birds sing in the dawn, forgetful of the night that has gone and care-free of the day that has come.


Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;

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