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It was a long while before I could get Harris to take a more Christian view of the subject, but I succeeded at last, and he promised me that he would spare the friends and relations at all events, and would not sing comic songs on the ruins.
He could not sing, and although he loved to listen to the songs of others, "whenever he saw the harp come near him," we are told, "he arose out of shame from the feast and went home to his house." Away from the bright firelight out into the lonely dark he crept with bent head and lagging steps.
Yes, the conscience is clear and the song is clear, and so these little streams flow on, shining in the clear dawn of a golden past to which all poets and philosophers to come will turn with wistful eyes.
"It was on the evening before his departure, as he wished still once to visit the Lei and offer to the Nymph of the Rhine his Sighs, the tones of his Zither, and his Songs. He went, in his boat, this time accompanied by a faithful squire, down the stream.
I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the read- ing of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.
Nay, but of that lonely glass in the social solitude of the tavern,--alone, but not alone, for the glass is sure to bring a dream to bear it company, and it is a poor dream that cannot raise a song. And what greater felicity than to be alone in a tavern with your last new song, just born and yet still a tingling part of you.
"And when we grumbled, ever the Bug sang new songs. He said that Three-Legs and Pig-Jaw and the rest were strong men, and that that was why they had so much.
I do bethink me, Will, that thou didst use to have a pretty voice, and one that tuned sweetly upon a song. Prythee, give us one ere we journey farther."
Next, Song and Diction, for these are the medium of imitation.
"Sing me one last song," he whispered; "I shall feel very lonely when you are gone."
So it was, more by tone and emphasis and context of situation than by anything else, that Jerry came hazily to identify himself with names such as: Dog, Mister Dog, Adventurer, Strong Useful One, Sing Song Silly, Noname, and Quivering Love-Heart.
Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure.
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