Home Add to Favorite Contact Submit  
             27 September, 2022

Category:  Articles » Self Improvement » Inspirational


November 22 - St Cecilia's Day, and Dryden's Poem 'Alexander's Feast'

         Views: 2978
2008-08-30 07:30:37     
Article by Bhaskar Banerjee

Saint Cecilia, a Roman virgin and martyr (230A.D.) is traditionally the patron saint of music and the inventor of the organ. Dryden's poem Alexander's Feast is written in celebration of St Cecilia's Day on 22 November 1697.

The poem opens with Alexander the Great, son of Philip, King of Macedon, seated along with Thais, the young and lovely Athenian courtesan, enjoying the banquet in the Persian city Persepolis in celebration of his victory over the Persian King Darius III in 331B.C. We are introduced to the court musician Timotheus with his lyre and then told that Alexander was in fact the son of Jove, King of the gods, and Olympia. Thus, "the sovereign of the world" begot the conqueror of the world.

Timotheus sings in praise of Bacchus and the scene is filled with drunken revelry. Since drinking is the sweet pleasure of the soldier, Alexander grows in vain and fights all his battles again in his mind. Seeing the madness in Alexander's eyes Timotheus changes his song into one designed to create a mood of pity. He sings of the fall of Darius, the Persian King, who was great and good, but was deserted by his own followers and his slain body left exposed to bare earth. The joy of victory evaporates from Alexander, and he sighs and starts shedding tears. Pity prepares the mind for love, and love is the subject of Timotheus' next song. Alexander gazes at the fair lady Thais and sighs. Finally, oppressed with wine and love the "vanquished hero" sinks upon Thais' breast.

Timotheus now shifts the music to a louder strain and rouses a sleeping Alexander to action. "Revenge," cries Timotheus. The ghosts of the Greek soldiers slain in the battle cry out for revenge. The music fires Alexander with a great zeal to destroy. Thais leads Alexander to burn Persepolis. In this she is like Helen, whose passion for the Trojan prince Paris resulted in the Greeks burning Troy.

At last came St Cecilia, inventor of the organ. Inspired by God, she enlarges the bounds of music by adding length to musical notes. Cecilia is superior to Timotheus, Dryden declares. Old Timotheus should yield the prize to her, or at least divide the crown.

"He raised a mortal to the skies
She drew an angel down."

Timotheus raised Alexander to the skies creating in the King's mind the delusion of divine status. But Cecilia's music brought an angel down from heaven.

In Alexander's Feast music is shown to have a mighty range of influence. Timotheus draws his master Alexander to varying moods: pride, bacchanalian revelry, martial zeal, pity, love, and religious devotion. The rhythms and sounds in the refrains of each stanza echo the hero's changing emotions.

Do you, readers think it proper to give a "rating" in comment? Thanks a bunch.

Bhaskar Banerjee runs iBongo Inc. as a Business Development Manager for iBongo Inc. and manages a recently developed website http://www.Rajasthan.iBongo.com He is dedicated and works hard to ensure success.

URL: http://www.rajasthan.ibongo.com
Print article      Bookmark this page
Related Articles 
Mind-Blowing Facts to Inspire You (Popularity: ): Did you know that:* Every breath we breathe in 10 to the power of 22 atoms. * In less than one year you replace 98% of the atoms in your body. * You create a new liver every 6 weeks. * You create a new stomach lining every 5 days. * You create a new skin once per month. * You create a new skeleton every 3 months. * The brain cells you are using to ...
How is Your Faith Muscle? (Popularity: ): Your faith muscle must be exercised to build strength, endurance, sustenance, and resistance.Strength - to carry the dream.Endurance - to continue to the length of time it takes to get to the final birthing of the dream.Sustenance - to uphold you and encourage you to keep moving forward in spite of the distance, the weight of the dream, the pressure, disappointments, discouragements and setbacks.Resistance - to deflect negativity - doubts, ...
So What? Tips to Losing Inhibitions (Popularity: ): It's a beautiful thing when you finally come to realize that what people think about you doesn't really matter. This year, my word for the year is "SO!"One of the hugest problems I have personally always had is wanting to please others, and be liked by everyone. Oh, it's such an enslaving thing to live for peoples acknowledgments, because what happens is either of the following:1. You become repressed- living ...
Are You Trying to Conquer Your Goliath, With Little Success? (Popularity: ): Perhaps you're working from the wrong mold.David was the runt of his family. His elder brothers were a part of the Israelite army; skilled fighters, while David cared for sheep.The Israelite army was on the battleground with the Philistine army, and David rose up early the morning, left his sheep with a keeper, to take provisions to his brothers.Goliath, the Philistine champion, was 'strutting his stuff', against the Israelite army, ...
Are You Cheating the Earth of Your Talents and Abilities? (Popularity: ): Every person that comes to the earth is given particular talents and abilities for that time period and era that he or she enters the earth.Each individual is equipped with talents and abilities to provide for their sustenance on the earth, and for the benefit of others, as well, leaving a heritage for their children to continue on, and a legacy from which others in society may benefit.As in a ...

Related Business 
Dryden Flight Research Center (Popularity: ): Located at Edwards, California, Dryden is NASA's primary installation for flight research. Projects at Dryden over the past 50 years have lead to major advancements in the design and capabilities of many civilian and military aircraft.
First National Bank of Dryden (Popularity: ): A community bank offering services from two locations in Dryden, New York.
Versace, Lou - A Poem a Day (Popularity: ): Easy to understand poems, with a new one each day. Includes a bio and reviews.
Veterans Day (Popularity: ): Veterans Day 2010 – Online information of Veterans Day 2010, Ideas, Veterans Day Activities, 2010 Parade, Veterans Day Celebrations, Quotes, Veterans Day dates and more. Veterans Day is celebrated on 11th November, the anniversary of signing of Armistice that finished World War I.
Feast Your Eyes Inc. (Popularity: ): Feast Your Eyes! Inc. is a catering and event design company, specializing in corporate events, weddings, receptions and barbecues. If you’re looking for innovative event design and contemporary cuisine, contact Feast Your Eyes!
Valentine's Day Gift Guide (Popularity: ): Valentines Day also known as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is observed on February 14 each year. It has evolved into an occasion in which lovers express their love for each other by presenting gifts and exchanging romantic cards.
CyberTypicon (Popularity: ): Freeware has a Melkite calendar from 1960-3000. For each day, it tells you the name and class of the feast (if any), the tone, whether it is a fast day, and suggests a typicon for the Divine Liturgy. Web site requires Java for navigation. Software requires about 5.5M disk space.
Earth Day (Popularity: ): Small site with the history of Earth Day and a poem.
Favorite Poem Project (Popularity: ): Started by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, the Favorite Poem Project allows people to submit their favorite poems along with a personal story about why the poem means something to them. The site features a sampling of the poems, the poets, and stories from the people who have participated in the project.
The Day of the Daleks (Popularity: ): Official site for The Day of the Daleks, a charity fundraising event held in Liverpool, UK in November 2000.