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The LiederNet Archive
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From harmony, from heav'nly harmony

Language: English

From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
"Arise, ye more than dead."
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's pow'r obey.
From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Thro' all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

What passion cannot Music raise and quell!
When Jubal struck the corded shell,
His list'ning brethren stood around,
And, wond'ring, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell!

The Trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger,
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thund'ring Drum
Cries: "Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 't is too late to retreat."

The soft complaining Flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling Lute.

Sharp Violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.

But O! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach,
The sacred Organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heav'nly ways
To mend the choirs above.

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia rais'd the wonder high'r:
When to her Organ vocal breath was giv'n,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd,
Mistaking earth for heav'n.

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the blest above,
So, when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The Trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

Translation(s): FRE GER

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

In Händel's setting, each stanza is a separate movement:

1.    Overture: Larghetto e staccato—allegro—minuet
2.    Recitative (tenor): "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
3.    Chorus: "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
4.    Aria (soprano): "What passion cannot music raise and quell!"
5.    Aria (tenor) and Chorus: "The trumpet's loud clangour"
6.    March
7.    Aria (soprano): "The soft complaining flute"
8.    Aria (tenor): "Sharp violins proclaim their jealous pangs"
9.    Aria (soprano): "But oh! What art can teach"
10.   Aria (soprano): "Orpheus could lead the savage race"
11.   Recitative (soprano): "But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher"
12.   Grand Chorus with (soprano): "As from the power of sacred lays"

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] and Dave Evan Thomas


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2006-06-12T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2018-12-21T16:55:53
Line count: 64
Word count: 351

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De l'harmonie, de la céleste harmonie

Language: French (Français) after the English

De l'harmonie, de la céleste harmonie
Cet universel cadre a commencé :
Quand la nature sous un tas
D'atomes désordonnés gisait,
Et ne pouvait pas lever la tête,
La voix mélodieuse s'entendait d'en haut :
« Debout, toi qui es plus que mort. »
Alors le froid, le chaud, l'humide et le sec
En ordre sautèrent à leur place,
Et obéirent au pouvoir de la Musique.
De l'harmonie, de la céleste harmonie
Cet universel cadre a commencé :
D'harmonie en harmonie
À travers toute la portée des notes, ils coururent,
Le diapason fermant la marche.

Quelle passion la musique ne peut-elle élever et apaiser !
Quand Jubal frappa les cordes de la coque,
Ses frères qui l'écoutaient s'arrêtèrent
Et, émerveillés, sur leur visage tombèrent
Pour adorer ce son céleste.
Seul un dieu, pensèrent-ils, pouvait loger
À l'intérieur du trou de cette coque
Qui parlait si doucement et si bien.
Quelle passion la musique ne peut-elle élever et apaiser !

Le son de la trompette
Nous appelle aux armes,
Avec les notes aiguës de la colère
Et des alarmes mortelles.
Le double battement
Du tambour tonnant
Crie : « Écoutez ! l'ennemi arrive;
Chargez, chargez, il est trop tard pour faire retraite. »

La plainte douce de la flûte
Découvre en notes funèbres
Le malheur d'amants sans espoir,
Dont le luth mélodieux murmure le chant funèbre.

Les violons brutaux proclament
Leurs douleurs jalouses et leur désespoir,
Leur fureur, leur indignation frénétique,
Leur souffrance profonde et leur grande passion
Pour la belle dame pleine de dédain.

Mais Oh ! quel art peut apprendre,
Quelle voix humaine peut atteindre
La louange de l'orgue sacré ?
Des notes inspirant un amour saint,
Des notes qui volent sur des chemins célestes
Pour s'accorder avec les chœurs de là-haut.

Orphée pouvait mener les animaux sauvages ;
Et les arbres déracinés quittèrent leur place,
Suivant la lyre ;
Mais la brillante Cécile éleva la merveille plus haut :
Quand à l'orgue de ta voix le souffle fut donné,
On entendit un ange et il apparut aussitôt,
Prenant la terre pour le ciel.

Comme par le pouvoir de chants sacrés
Les sphères commencèrent à bouger,
et chantèrent la louange du grand Créateur
À tous les bienheureux ici-bas.
Ainsi quand la dernière et terrible heure
Dévorera ce spectacle en ruine,
La trompette retentira en haut,
Les morts vivront, les vivants mourront,
Et la Musique désaccordera le ciel .

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" = "Ode pour sainte Cécile"
"A Song for Saint Cecilia's Day" = "Un chant pour sainte Cécile"


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2018 by Guy Laffaille, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in English by John Dryden (1631 - 1700), written 1687 ENG GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Georg Friedrich Händel, David Evan Thomas. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2018-12-20T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2018-12-20T10:27:38
Line count: 64
Word count: 401