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It was a moment of great peril; for,--despite the traditionary awe that had gathered over this instrument of music, and the dirges which spiritual fingers were said to play on it,--the devoted sister had solemn thoughts of thrumming on its chords for Clifford's benefit, and accompanying the performance with her voice.
Mendicants were of course assembled by the score, together with strolling soldiers returned from Palestine, (according to their own account at least,) pedlars were displaying their wares, travelling mechanics were enquiring after employment, and wandering palmers, hedge-priests, Saxon minstrels, and Welsh bards, were muttering prayers, and extracting mistuned dirges from their harps, crowds, and rotes.
His long improvised dirges will ring for ever in my ears.
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of "Never -- nevermore.
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of "never--never more
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never--nevermore.
Phantom ships are on the sea, the dead of twenty centuries come forth from the tombs, and in the dirges of the night wind the songs of old forgotten ages find utterance again.
Is it but the mermaids singing deep below the waving waters; or sad spirits, chanting dirges for white corpses, held by seaweed?
The mother and daughter are singing together a wild and melancholy dirge, common as a funeral hymn among the slaves:
And now it is the time; from Hell's abyss Come thirsting Tantalus, come Sisyphus Heaving the cruel stone, come Tityus With vulture, and with wheel Ixion come, And come the sisters of the ceaseless toil; And all into this breast transfer their pains, And (if such tribute to despair be due) Chant in their deepest tones a doleful dirge Over a corse unworthy of a shroud.
The nine muses also came and lifted up their sweet voices in lament--calling and answering one another; there was not an Argive but wept for pity of the dirge they chaunted.
When they had borne the body within the house they laid it upon a bed and seated minstrels round it to lead the dirge, whereon the women joined in the sad music of their lament.