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And now, when he was about midway of the descent, distant strains of music began to fall upon his ear from the ball-room, where the court was dancing. They reached him faint and broken, but they touched the keys of memory; and through and above them, Otto heard the ranting melody of the wood-merchants' song. Mere blackness seized upon his mind.

Who has not heard music, often entirely new compositions, which somehow awakens memories of similar strains, scenes, places, faces, voices, lands, associations and events, sounding dimly on the strings of memory as the breezes of the harmony floats over them? Who has not gazed at some old painting, or piece of statuary, with the sense of having seen it all before?

Her beautiful head, too heavily weighted with braids and coils of raven blackness, swayed slumberously upon the dainty white neck, and he could not tell whether he better liked to see the dark lashes lying upon her cheeks or uplifted to reveal the magical eyes beneath. He was very much in love. The soft intoxicating strains of music went to his head like wine.

A sound of music touch'd mine ears, or rather Indeed entranced my soul; as I stole nearer, Invited by the melody, I saw This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute With strains of strange variety and harmony Proclaiming, as it seem'd, so bold a challenge To the clear choristers of the woods, the birds, That as they flock'd about him, all stood silent, Wondering at what they heard.

But at last the moment came; she started, and as she drew nearer and nearer her goal, her whole body strained forward, as a man dying of thirst strains toward a spring gleaming in the desert distance; once she sighed with that anticipation of relief that is a shiver.

I have known quite young children, in a dying state, when their parents have hesitated as to the expediency of referring, in the presence of the child, to the period of dissolution as near, in some paroxysm of distress at once soothed and quieted by the strains of agonizing prayer of the father, that relief might be afforded to the little sufferer, commending it to Jesus.

She was a fine instrument, capable of chords of tragedy as well as angelic strains. She saw that the little girl who was treating her so was dressed very poorly, that her dress was not only shabby, but actually dirty; that she, as well as the other girl whom she noticed, had her braid tied with an old shoe-string, and that a curious smell of leather pervaded her.

The gentleman who performed on an instrument which seemed a hybrid between a flute and a French horn, occasionally arrested his instrumental music to favour us with vocal strains, but he failed to compete successfully with the cymbals. I do not think the Menghyi was enraptured by the music of the strollers from Pegu, for he presently asked us whether we were ready to go to the pooey.

Some are vocal under a good influence, are pleasing whenever they are pleased, and hand on their happiness to others, as a child who, looking upon lovely things, looks lovely. Some leap to the strains with unapt foot, and make a halting figure in the universal dance.

All natural music is heard best at a distance; like the chiming of bells, and the music of the flute, and the wild confused strains of the bagpipes, for among artificial sounds these come the nearest to those made by nature. The "shrill sharps" of the thrush must be softened by distance to charm; and the skylark, when close at hand, has both shrill and harsh sounds scarcely pleasing.