Why is your mind thus all day long
Upon your music set;
Till reason's swallowed in a song,
Or idle canzonet?

I grant you, Melesinda, when
Your instrument was new,
I was well pleased to see you then
Its charms assiduous woo.

The rudiments of any art
Or mastery that we try,
Are only on the learner's part
Got by hard industry.

But you are past your first essays;
Whene'er you play, your touch,
Skilful and light, ensures you praise:
All beyond that's too much.

Music's sweet uses are, to smooth
Each rough and angry passion;
To elevate at once, and soothe:
A heavenly recreation.

But we misconstrue, and defeat
The end of any good;
When what should be our casual treat,
We make our constant food.

While, to the exclusion of the rest,
This single art you ply,
Your nobler studies are supprest,
Your books neglected lie.

Could you in what you so affect
The utmost summit reach;
Beyond what fondest friends expect,
Or skilfullest masters teach:

The skill you learned would not repay
The time and pains it cost,
Youth's precious season thrown away,
And reading-leisure lost.

A benefit to books we owe
Music can ne'er dispense;
The one does only sound bestow,
The other gives us sense.


About Charles Lamb


Charles Lamb was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb. Lamb has been referred to by E.V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as the most lovable figure in English literature. Lamb was honoured by The Latymer School, a grammar school in Edmonton, a suburb of London where he lived for a time; it has six houses, one of which, "Lamb", is named after Charles. Youth and Schooling Lamb was the son of Elizabeth Field and John Lamb. Lamb was the youngest child,... Read more...

Poet of the day

Kenneth Fearing (July 28 1902 - June 26, 1961) was an American poet, novelist, and founding editor of the Partisan Review. Literary critic Macha Rosenthal called him "the chief poet of the American Depression."

Fearing was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents divorced when he was a year old,...
Read more...

Poem of the day


I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I...
Read more...