Imatges de pÓgina
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LYCIDAS.

YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more,
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,

. come to pluck your berries harsh and crude;
And, with forc'd fingers rude,

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due :
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme."
He must not float upon his watery bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.
Begin then, sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring,
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse:
So may some gentle muse

With lucky words favour my destin'd urn;
And, as he passes, turn,

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.

For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd der the opening eye lids of the morn,

We drove a-field, and both together heard What time the grey fly winds her sultry horn, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night. ft till the star, that rose at evening bright, Toward heaven's descent had slop'd his westering wheel

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to the oaten flute;

Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long,
And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song.

But, O the heavy change, now thou art gone, Now thou art gone, and never must return! Thee, shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves, With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, And all their echoes, mourn:

The willows, and the hazel copses green,
Shall now no more be seen

Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.
As killing as the canker to the rose,

Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the white-thorn blows;

Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds' ear.

Where were ye, nymphs, when the remorseless deep

Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas ?
For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Where your old bards, the famous Draids, lie,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,

Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream :
Aye me! I fondly dream,

Had ye been there: for what could that have done What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bors The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, Whom universal nature did lament,

When, by the rout that made the hideous roar, His gory visage down the stream was sent, Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?

Alas! what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Were it not better done, as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair ? ́***

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Fame s the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble minds).
To scorn delights and live laborious days:
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise,"
Phoebus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears:
"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil

Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies:
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 11 of
Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed."
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds!
That strain I heard was of a higher
But now my oat proceeds,
And listens to the herald of the sea plows f
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That came in Neptune's plea

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And appotades their answer brings,

That a blast was from his dungeon stray'd: The air was calm, and on the level brinen? Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd.

It was that fatal and perfidious bark,

Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe.
Ah! who hath reft, quoth he, "my dearest
Last came, and last did go,
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The pilot of the Galilean lake:

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Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,) He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake : "How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain,

Enow of such, as for their bellies sake

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Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold!
Of other care they little reckoning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how
to hold

1 sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs! What recks it then? What need they? They are sped;

And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But, swoln with wild and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and fouttagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing fed :
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks ;
Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,

The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet,
The glowing violet,

The musk-rose, and the well-attir'd woodbine,

With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed.

And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.
For, so to interpose a little ease,

Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. Aye me! whilst thee the shores and sounding

seas...

Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,

Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide,
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
Where the great vision of the guarded mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward, angel, now, and melt with ruth:
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.

Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,

Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor;
Bo sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head.
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the

waves;

Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves.
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and, singing, in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,

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