Music, Feeling, and Palpitation

Mr Hinckley

To a lady who fancied she would sing better, could she pacify the palpitation of her heart.

Partly written during the performance of Mrs Stuart’s Comala at H. Hinckley’s, Upper Guilford St, 14 May 1811 by J. H.

 Ah could my panting heart be still,
And fluttering nerves obey my will!
In vocal strains I’d tell my tale,
Nor trembling terror aught avail.
But since a child of feeling I,
And doomed to sensibility,
My faltering voice denies control,
Nor breathes the thrilling of my soul.

 Sweet siren, think not feeling strange
To music’s soul impassioned change!
New charms she steals from hearts like thine,
And swells with rapture all divine.
Were feeling banished from thy strain,
Thy witching airs were tuned in vain;
Naught such ecstatic joy imparts,
As thrilling notes from feeling hearts.

 Were heaven embodied in a word,
’Twould harmony divine record;
In melody with feeling joined
Lives the pure heaven-created mind;
Sever soft feeling from thy song,
Charms which to thine so sweet belong,
The living soul’s no longer there,
And e’en thy notes were empty air.

 Some talk of pleasure’s paradise,
Where souls shall taste their favorite joys;
Loud din of arms, or fiery steeds,
Or social walks o’er smiling meads,
Sweet flow’rets cull ’mid heavenly bowers,1
And dwell in fairy-cups of flowers,
Or with soft Houris eager sip
Sweet nectar from the rosy lip.

 And if to me were fancy given
To picture forth my own blest heaven,
In rapid thought my mind should move
Through science, friendship, music, love,
And all the treasured bliss of Earth
Etherealized by heavenly birth,
To joy more keen exalted high,
Concentered, throned in ecstasy.

 These lightly touch, to others turn,
And stretch beyond thought’s utmost bourn;
But most with music I would stray,
With hymns divide the imaged day,
List to Comala’s seraph graces,2
Still still behold those heavenly faces,
And while thy notes new joy impart,
Feel each soft thrilling of thy heart.

  1. Dr. Smith P.L.S. in his last botanic lecture at the Royal Institute. 

  2. Three ladies who sang in that piece.