Is there a charm, ye powers above (Henry Carey)

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  • (Posted 2022-05-15)  CPDL #69244:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-05-15).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 144 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: Is there a charm, ye powers above
Composer: Henry Carey
Lyricist: Anon, probably the composercreate page
Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: solo high
Genre: SecularArt song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1746
Description: This version, with this figured bass, from "Universal Harmony", London, 1746. The song appeared in several similar collections.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Is there a charm, ye pow'rs above,
To ease a wounded breast;
Thro' reason's glass to look at love,
To wish and yet to rest?
Let wisdom boast, 'tis all in vain,
An empire o'er the mind;
'Tis beauty, beauty holds the chain
And triumphs o'er mankind.

Thrice happy birds, who on the spray
Unartful notes prolong:
Your feather'd mates reward the lay,
And yield to pow'rful song.
By nature fierce, without control,
The human savage ran;
Till love refin'd his stubborn soul,
And civilized the man.

Verse turns aside the tyrant's rage,
And cheers the drooping slave;
It wins a smile from hoary age,
And disappoints the grave.
The force of numbers must succeed,
And soothe each other ear;
Tho' my fond cause should Phoebus plead,
He'd find a Daphne here.

Did heav'n such wondrous gifts produce
To curse our wretched race;
Say, must we all the heart accuse,
And yet approve the face?
Thus in the sun, bedropp'd with gold,
The basking adder lies;
The swain admires each shining fold,
Then grasps the snake and dies.