Riddling With the Animals

A verse from the psalm from yesterdays evening office as being playing round my head all night.

I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

Psalm 49:4

As usual my brain has been doing a bouncing act all over the place first to the opening lines to Willima Congreve’s ‘The Mourning Bride’:

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.

It sounded like some deep muscle massage therapy, just like solving the riddle with the harp.

Then I started to think of music, which type would help solve a riddle?  Pieces of music started to flit around my head most were discarded being too distracting for various reasons then for some reason Saint-Saens with his ‘Carnival of Animals’ stuck.

It starts of with the royal march of the lions a smooth power chasing away anything that might distract.  However before the lions themselves lull you into distraction the chickens and roosters arrive with their scratching to bring you back to the riddle.  A quick run with the wild asses to focus the mind before having to listen intently to the quiet tortoise hesitantly ponder along as the riddle is mulled over.  As is always best in these cases some more pondering from a slightly different perspective as the lumbering elephants take over.  Then, well then some bouncing up and down with the kangaroos realising you are on the cusp of something before joining the harps in the aquarium to glide up and down testing a solution.  The eureka scream with the mules, before a gradual realisation that the cuckoo in the woods has come along and you might have hatched the wrong egg!  The other birds come along revisiting of the original riddle and the solution swooping and flitting between each part.  Then come the apes or pianists with their ordered scales putting the riddle back in the right order before the fossils tap at your head trying to knock out the solution that is already there.   Then the swan arrives gracefully leading you back to the solution from the harps and everything becomes calm as the riddle is realised as solved.  All that is left is to celebrate with the finale!

No knots or rocks but I can’t help wondering if the popular misquote of Congreve ‘Music soothes the savage beast’ led me unknowingly to that piece of music.


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