Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DANCING OF THE AIR, by JOHN DAVIES (1569-1626)

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE DANCING OF THE AIR, by                 Poet Analysis    
First Line: And now behold your tender nurse, the air
Last Line: As two at once encumber not the place.
Subject(s): Air; Nature

AND now behold your tender nurse, the air,
And common neighbor that aye runs around,
How many pictures and impressions fair
Within her empty regions are there found,
Which to your senses dancing do propound!
For what are breath, speech, echoes, music, winds,
But dancings of the air in sundry kinds?
For when you breathe, the air in order moves,
Now in, now out, in time and measure true;
And when you speak, so well she dancing loves,
That doubling oft, and oft redoubling new,
With thousand forms she doth herself endue:
For all the words that from your lips repair,
Are naught but tricks and turnings of the air.
Hence is her prattling daughter, Echo, born,
That dances to all voices she can hear:
There is no sound so harsh that she doth scorn,
Nor any time wherein she will forbear
The airy pavement with her feet to wear:
And yet her hearing sense is nothing quick,
For after time she endeth every trick.
And thou, sweet Music, dancing's only life,
The ear's sole happiness, the air's best speech,
Loadstone of fellowship, charming-rod of strife,
The soft mind's paradise, the sick mind's leech --
With thine own tongue thou trees and stones canst teach,
That, when the air doth dance her finest measure,
Then art thou born, the gods' and men's sweet pleasure.
Lastly, where keep the winds their revelry,
Their violent turnings, and wild whirling hays,
But in the air's translucent gallery,
Where she herself is turned a hundred ways,
While with these maskers wantonly she plays?
Yet in this misrule, they such rule embrace,
As two at once encumber not the place.

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