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THE SONG. 21Q
I love that thou lovest,
Spirit of delight!
The fresh earth in new leaves drest,
And the starry night.
Here the third line of the stanza is a beautiful poetical image; but it is next to impossible to vocalise it, as nearly every word shuts the mouth in utterance. On the other hand, Burns may be singled out as supreme as a song-writer ; the firmness of his rhythm and the musical flow of his numbers have never been surpassed. And, besides, his happy selection of open-vowelled words recommends his compositions for vocal purposes. Such lines as:
Ye banks and braes o' bonny Doon, How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair ?
open the mouth as Italian words would.
The following remarks of Samuel Lover, himself no mean writer of tender and humorous songs, may be reproduced here :—" To awaken sympathy by the simplest words will go farther in a song than pomp of language and elaborate polish. But simplicity should never descend into baldness, or the stringing of nonsensical rhymes together. A song should have a thought in it, and that thought gracefully expressed at least; and if the tone of expression touch the head or the heart of the listener—appeal either to his fancy or his feeling— it has in it, I believe, the germ of success. If you preach too much, or philosophise too much, or if