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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Violin

By Adoniram Judson Sage (1836–1902)

[Born in Massillon, Ohio, 1836. Died in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1902.]

OH, fair to see!

Fashioned in witchery!

With purfled curves outlining

Thine airy form, soft shining,

In mould like ripening maiden,

Budding and beauty-laden;

Thou’rt naught but wood and string,

Crowned with a carvèd scroll,

Yet when we hear thee sing

We deem thou hast a soul.

In some old tree

Was born thy melody—

Its boughs with breezes playing,

Its trunk to tempests swaying,

Carol of wild-birds singing,

The woodman’s axe loud ringing;

Light arch of forest limb

Curving thine every line,

Tones of the forest hymn

Grown ripe in thee like wine.

Lightly the bow,

As if with life aglow,

Thy mystic grace revealing,

Shall set the witches dancing;

With classic notes entrancing,

Touch deepest chords of feeling.

Thy secret caves resound

As where enchanting elves,

Flinging the echoes ’round,

Blithely disport themselves.

How wild thy glee!

How sweet thy harmony!

Murmur of light heart dreaming,

Voice of the valkyr screaming,

Song of the cascade’s dashings,

Dance of auroral flashings!

O weird and wondrous thing!

Whate’er thy mood of art,

To wail or laugh or sing,

Thou’rt monarch of the heart.