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Van Morrison’s song Moondance has these lines

“And I'm trying to please to the calling / Of your heart-strings that play soft and low.”

What are we to make of “please to the calling” -- an intransitive “please” followed not by an infinitive but by a prepositional “to.”

Is it one of those obsolete Scottish uses that OED lists for “please”?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's lyrics interpretation – FumbleFingers Jul 30 '15 at 15:45
  • I think it's saying he's trying to please the heart-strings. Written another way: The heart-strings are playing soft and low, calling out to the singer, and the singer is trying to please them. – VampDuc Jul 30 '15 at 16:58
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    Or maybe just “I’m trying to please [you, and I’m doing so] to the calling of your heart-strings.” Too bad. I was hoping there was a lesson here about some obsolete construction of intransitive “please.” Seems to be nothing of the sort. – John P. McCaskey Jul 30 '15 at 17:27
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    I still don't understand why a question about what a particular phrase in a song lyric means should be viewed as inherently off-topic. If someone asks what a phrase in a sentence from an essay means, we don't reflexively argue that the questioner is seeking "essay interpretation" and try to close it. I think that many questions involving phrases found in lyrics—including perhaps this one—can be answered analytically with regard to the sense or structure of the wording, without embarking on a flight of fancy, and that they are therefore valid questions to ask at this site. – Sven Yargs Jul 30 '15 at 20:05
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And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low

The poetry of the lyrics juxtaposes "please" and "to," and you might be tempted to think that "please to" is idiomatic. But it means

[As an accompaniment] to your heart-strings, I'm trying to please [you].

In other words

I'm trying to accommodate the subtle romantic signals that you're sending me.

Try working that into a love song.

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  • Yes, I was indeed looking for a “please to” idiom. I think you are right, though I’d lean toward "respond to” and “response” instead of “accommodate” and “accompaniment” to draw in the “calling”: “I am trying to please you, in response to the call of your heart-strings.” Thanks. Up vote. Answered. – John P. McCaskey Jul 30 '15 at 19:08

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