Sarah Orne Jewett

Two Musicians

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When one with skillful fingers swift as wind
Swept to and fro along the glittering keys,
I said: I wish I were away from these
Clattering and noisy players! but resigned
Myself to listen, and I tried to seize
Upon some meaning in the tune I heard.
But in my ears the harsh notes rang and whirred;
It was as if I listened carelessly
Among a crowd of people coarse and rude,
Who talked in shrillest tones of grudge or feud,
Though only seldom one could catch a word.
Even their voices were a bore to me;
I pictured their dull faces, till released
From such companions, when the music ceased.
But when the second player struck a note
And fingered softly out a gentle air—
It was like coming from that turmoil where
I waited, to a light Venetian boat,
Idly to glide among the shadows, there
Where one may drift and dream; and suddenly
One deep sweet voice sang such a song to me.
I listened, and I followed far away—
No music ever sent me so astray,—
I never could call back the tale it told,
But all the world seemed lost, as when, one day,
I laid me down upon a high cliff's crest,
Warm with the sunshine, there alone to rest,
While far below the great waves shoreward rolled.

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Sarah Orne Jewett