by Ina Coolbirth
On Hearing Kelley’s Music to ‘Macbeth’
O melody, what children strange are these
From thy most vast, illimitable realm?
These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm
The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here
The night is, and the deeds that make night fear;
Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees
Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned,
Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land;
The incantation of the Sisters Three,
Nameless of deed and name – the mystic chords
Weird repetitions of the mystic words;
The mad, remorseful terrors of the Thane,
And bloody hands – which bloody must remain.
Last, the wild march; the battle hand to hand
Of clashing arms, in awful harmony,
Sublimely grand, and terrible as grand!
The clan-cries; the barbaric trumpetry;
And the one fateful note, that, throughout all,
Leads, follows, calls, compels, and holds in thrall.
Note: A recitation can be heard here.