THE MASTER HAND

It is something too strange to understand,
    How all the chords on the instrument,
Whether sorrowful, blithe, or grand,
Under the touch of your master hand
    Were into one melody blent.
Major, minor, everything---all---
Came at your magic fingers' call.

Why! famed musicians had turned in despair
    Again and again from those self-same keys;
They mayhap brought forth a simple air,
But a discord always crept in somewhere,
    In their fondest efforts to please;
Or a jarring, jangling, meaningless strain
Angered the silence to noisy pain.

"Out of tune," they would frown and say!
    Or "a loosened key" or "a broken string";
But sure and certain they were alway,
That no man living on earth could play
    Measures more perfect, or bring
Sweeter sounds or a truer air
Out of that curious instrument there.

And then you came. You swept the scale
    With a mighty master's wonderful art.
You made the minor keys sob and wail,
While the low notes rang like a bell in the gale.
    And every chord in my heart,
From the deep bass tones to the shrill ones above,
Joined into that glorious harmony---Love.

And now, though I live for a thousand years,
    On no new chord can a new hand fall.
The chords of sorrow, of pain, of tears,
The chord of raptures and hopes and fears,
    I say you have struck them all;
I say all the meaning put into each strain
By the Great Composer, you have made plain.

Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.


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