On the Calendar: St. Cecilia

Cecilia (Reni)

G. Reni, Saint Cecilia, 1606

In a garden shady this holy lady
With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
Like a black swan as death came on
Poured forth her song in perfect calm:
And by ocean’s margin this innocent virgin
Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
And notes tremendous from her great engine
Thundered out on the Roman air.

– W. H. Auden, “Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day”


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