“O bless the freedom that you never chose.
O trumpets that unguarded children blow
About the fortress of their inner foe.
O wear your tribulation like a rose.
Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.”
From: ‘Hymn to Saint. Cecilia’ by W.H. Auden (1907-1973)
The illustration is of the painting ‘Saint Cecilia’ (1895), by John William Waterhouse.
© The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation
The painting is based upon a verse in Tennyson’s poem ‘The Palace of Art’:
“Or in a clear-wall’d city on the sea,
Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
with white roses, slept Saint Cecily;
An angel look’d at her.”