Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
The Tunes Dan Harrison Used to Play
By William Henry Venable (1836–1920)
 
[Born near Waynesville, Warren Co., Ohio, 1836. Died Cincinnati, Ohio, 1920. From Melodies of the Heart. 1885.]

OFTTIMES when recollections throng
  Serenely back from childhood’s years,
Awaking thoughts that slumbered long,
  Compelling smiles or starting tears,
The music of a violin        5
Seems through my window floating in;
I think I hear from far away
The tunes Dan Harrison used to play.
 
Dan Harrison—I see him plain,
  Beside the roaring, winter hearth,        10
Playing away with might and main,
  His honest face aglow with mirth;
And when he laid his bow aside,
“Well done! well done!” he gayly cried;
Well done! well done! indeed were they,        15
The tunes Dan Harrison used to play.
 
I do not know what tunes he played,
  I cannot name one melody;
His instrument was never made
  In old Cremona o’er the sea;        20
And yet I sadly, sadly fear
Such tunes I never more may hear,
Some were so mournful, some so gay,
The tunes Dan Harrison used to play.
 
I have been witness to the skill        25
  Of many a master of the bow,
But none has had the power to thrill
  Like him I celebrate; and so
I sit and strive, not all in vain,
To hear his minstrelsy again;        30
And from the past I call to-day
The tunes Dan Harrison used to play.
 
And with the music, as it floats,
  Seraphic harping faintly blends;
I catch amid the mingling notes        35
  Familiar voices of old friends;
And all my pensive soul within
Is melted by the violin,
That yields, at fancy’s magic sway,
The tunes Dan Harrison used to play.        40
 
 
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