English is not usually thought of as a musical language. Italian is thought of as a musical language; Welsh is sometimes cited as a musical Ian-guage; but not English. Nevertheless, without wishing to enter into any controversy about the authority or otherwise of a poet’s own reading of his work, the fact that a recording ofT. S. Eliot reading “Journey of the Magi” is available, and that Benjamin Britten set this poem to music as Canticle IV, provides a rather rare opportunity to compare a poet’s reading with a composer’s setting of the same text. This may provide us with information on the relationship between language and music in general, and on the specific text under consideration here. In this essay,1 therefore, I shall compare an analysis of Eliot’s stress and intonation with Britten’s score; I shall first compare the stress patterns of the reading with the musical rhythm, and then the intonation patterns with the melodic line. This raises problems relating to the cohesion of the text, which are studied from the point of view of the semantic chains present in the poem and its thematic structure. Finally, I will consider how this thematic structure is treated in Britten’s setting.