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· LYCIDAS.

In this MONODY the author bewails a learned friend, unfortunately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637. And by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted clergy then in their height.

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YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more,
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never-sere,
I 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 wat'ry 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, axid 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 nurst upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill.

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Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 25
Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove afield; and both together heard
What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn,
Batt’ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star that rose, at ev'ning, bright,
Toward Heav'ns descent had slop'd his westering wheel.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to th' oaten flute;
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n 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, . 40
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 shepherd's 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 Druids lie, Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream: 55 Ay me, I fondly dream! Had ye been there.... for what could that have done? What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, 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 ?

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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 ?
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind),
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 th' abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. “But not the praise,'
Phæbus repli’d, and touch'd my trembling ears;
‘Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to th’ world, nor in broad rumour lies ;
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfet witness of all-judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in Heav'n 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 mood :
But now my oat proceeds,
And listens to the herald of the sea
That came in Neptune's plea;
He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ?
And question'd every gust of rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked promontory;
They knew not of his story,
And sage Hippotades their answer brings;
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd,
The air was calm, and on the level brine
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd,
It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
Built in th' eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.

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Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge,

105 Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe. 'Ah! who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge ?' Last came, and last did go, The pilot of the Galilean lake; Two massy keys he bore, of metals twain,

110 (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain) He shook his mitr'd locks, and stern bespake : 'How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain, Enow of such as for their bellies' sake, Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold?

115 Of other care they little reck’ning 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 A sheephook, or have learn'd aught else the least 120 That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs ! What recks it them? 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,

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But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread :
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed;
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 flowrets of a thousand hues.

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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 enameli'd eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honied showers,

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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 freakt 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 daffadillies 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.
Ay me! whilst thee the shores, and sounding seas
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd; 155
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 deni'd
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old;
Where the great vision of the guarded mount
Looks towards Namancos, and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth:
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more; 165
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed;
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore 170
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 ;

175 And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. There entertain him all the saints above,

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