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Poetry
by John Dryden (1639(?)–1701)

Alexander’s Feast
Or the Power of Music;
An Ode in Honor of St. Cecilia’s Day


The mighty master smil’d, to see
That love was in the next degree:
’T was but a kindred-sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth’d his soul to pleasures.
“War,” he sung, “is toil and trouble;
Honor, but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying:
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying;
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee.”