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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?

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 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,
Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.”

0, 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 ?

58. Orpheus, torn in pieces by the Bao- | than these; nor more justly instructive chanalian women, called the rout.

and inspiring. 75. Fry, Destiny. 67. As others use. Warton supposes 76. But not the praise. "But the praise that Milton here bad refereuce to the is not intercepted." While the poet, in Scotch poet Buchanan, who unbecom the character of a shepherd, is moralizingly prolonged his amorous descant to ing on the uncertainty of human life, graver years. Amaryllis and Næra are Phoebus interposes with a sublime strain, two of Buchanan's ladly-lores, and the above the tone of pastoral poetry. He golden hair of the latter makes quite a then in an abrupt and ellipti al aposfigure in his verses. In his last Elegy trophe, at "O fountain Arethuse," has. he raises the following extravagant tie tily recollerts himself, and apologizes to tion on the luxuriant tanyles of this lady's his rural Muse, or in other words to Are hair. Cupid is puzzled how to subdue thusa anil Mincius, the celebrated stream thie icy poet. His arrows can do no- of Bucolic song, for having so suddenly thing. At length he hits upon the stra- departed from pastoral allusions, and the tavein of cutting a coluen lock from tenor of his subject.-T. WARTON. Neera's hea l. while she is asleep. with 85. Arethuse; see note to line 31 of which the poet is bound, and thus entan- " Arcades.” Mincius is a stream in Cisalgled he is delivered a prisoner to Neara, pine Gaul, that flows into the l'o. near

70. Fume is the spur. No lines have Mantua, and is often mentioned by Virgil been more often cited and more popular 91. The felon winds, the cruel winds.

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And question'd every gust of rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked promontory:
They knew not of his story;
And sage Ilippotades 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 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, inscribed 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;

The golden opes, the iron shuts amain:
Ile shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake:-
IIow well could I have spared for thee, young swain,
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
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
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least 120
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs


94. Beaked promontory, one projecting the Hyacinth, said to have sprung from like the beak of a bird.

the blood of the youth of that pame, killed 96. Hippolades, & patronymic noun, by Apollo. Ovid, a favourite author with applied 10 tolus, the god of winds, and Milton, in describing this event, Met. son of Ilippotas,

Lib. x. Fab. vi. line 54,) uses almost the 99. Panope, one of the Nereids.

same language 100. That fatal bark. The ship in which

"Ipse suos gemitus folils inscribit: et, ai, ai, * Lycidas" was wrecked.

Flos habet inscriptum." 103. Camus, the river Cam, that flowed

That is, “the God himself inscribes oy Cambridge university, where Lycidas

his own lamentations upon its leaves, Mr. King) was educated.

i and the flower has ai, ai, written upon 101. The hairy manlle and sedge bon

it;" or, as Pliny explains it, its veins and net may refer to the rushy or ready banks

| fibres so run as to make the figure ai, of the Cam; and the figures dim, to the

the Greek interjection of grief. in istinct and dusky streaks or serige leaves or flagg, when beginning to wither.

107. Dearest pledge. Children were

called by the Romans pignora, "plelses." Warton remarks that perhaps the poet

109. The prill: l'eter. Too musey keys: himself had no very clear or determinate

Alludin' to Matt. xvi. 19. idea; but in obscure and mysterious

114. Milton here animadverts on the expressions, leaves something to be sur

endowment of the church, at the same pied or explained by the reader's imagi

time insinunting that they were shared otiin 106. Sanguine flower. " Commentators."

by those only who sought the emolu.

ments of the sacred office, to the exclu. es Coleridge says, “ have a notable trick

sion of a learved and consejentious clergy. of passing siccissimis pouibus (with the

Thus in Pariise Lost (iv. 192:) driest feet) over really difficult places," and no one has remarked upon the So clomb the first grand thief into God's fold; * tlower" here alluded to. I think it is Su, since, into his church lewd hirelingsclinada

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Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw:
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed;
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 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 honied 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-attired 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 herse 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;
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,





124. Scrannel, thin, lean, meagre.

133. That shrunk. In other words, 129. Nothing sed. Here Milton proba-“that silenced my pastoral poetry.” The bly alludes to those prelates and clergy Sicilian muse is now to return, with all of the established church who enjoyed her store of rural imagery.-T. WARTOX. fat salaries without performing any du 136. Use, to frequent, to inbabit. ties; who sheared the sheep but did | 138. Swart-star, the dorstar, so called not feed them.” Sed, for said.

because it turns the coinplexion swart, 130 and 131. In these lines our anthor or brown. So Browne, in his pastorals, anticipates the execution of Archbishop “the swart plowman." Laud, by a two-handed engine, that is, 151. Ah me! Here Mr. Dunster obthe axe; insinuating that his death serves, the burst of grief is intinitely would remove all grievances in religion, beautiful, when properly connected with and complete the reformation of the what preredes it, and to which it refers. church.-- WARTOX. The sense is, “ But 158. Monstrous world ; that is, the sea, there will soon be an end of all these the world of monsters. evils; the axe is at hand to take off the 1 159. Moist vows, our vows accompanied head of him who has been the great with tears. abettor of these corruptions of the gos- 160. Bellerus was the name of a Corpel. This will be done by one stroke." | nish giant. On the south-western shores of Cornwall there is a stupendous pile 163. Here is an apostrophe to the angel of rock-work called the giant's chair;" Michael, seated on the guarded mount and not far from Land's End is another * Oh angel, look no longer seaward to most romantic projection of rock, called Namancos and Bayona's hold: rather St. Michael's Mount. There was a tradi- turn your eyes to another ohjeet: look tion that the “ Vision" of St. Michael, homeward or land waru: Jook towards seated on this crag, or St. Michael's chuir, | your own coast now, and view with pity appeared to some hermits. The sense the corpse of the shipwrecked Lycidas, of this and the following lines connected floating thither."-T. WARTOX. with the preceding, is this "Let every 165, Wep no more. Milton, in this sudflower be strewed on the hearse where den and beautiful transition from the Lycidas lies, so as to flatter ourselves for gloomy and mournful strain into that a moment with the notion that his corpse of hope and comfort, imitates Spenser, is present; and this (ah me!) while the in hi Eleventh Ecloque, where, bewail. reas are wafting it here and there, whe | ing the death of some maiden of great ther beyond the liebrides, or near these blood in terms of the utmost grief and shores of Cornwall, &c.

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; 166
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery 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, 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,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.

Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals gray;
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay:
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,

And now was dropt into the western bay:
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue:
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.


dejection, be breaks out all at once in the 162. Vamumos is marked in the early same manner-THYER. editions of Merritor's Atlas as in Galli. 181. And wipe the lears. Isa. xxv. 8;

ia, on the north-west coast of Spain, Rev. vii. 17. near Cape Finisterre. Buyont is the 188. Sops, the holes of a flute. strong castle of the French, in the south 189. This is a Dorick lay because Theo westeru extremity of France, near the critus and Moschus had respectively Pyrenees. In that same atlan this castle written a Bucolic on the deaths of Daptimakes a very conspicuous figure.

nis and Bion.

The particular beauties of this charming pastoral are too striking to need much descanting upon; but what gives the greatest grace to the wbole, is that natural and agreeable wildness and irregularity which run quite through it, than which nothing could be better suited to express the warm affection which Milton had for his friend, and the extreme vrief he was in for the loss of him. Grief is eloquent, but not formal.—THYER.

Addison says, that he who desires to know whether he has a true tasto for history or not, should consider whether he is pleased with Livy's manner of telling a story; so, perhaps it may be said, that he who wishes to know whether he has a true taste for poetry or not, should consider whether he is highly delighted or not with the perusal of Milton's “Lycidas.” If I might venture to place Milton's works, according to their degrees of poetic excellence, it should be perhaps in the following order: Paradise Lost, Comus, Samson Agonistes, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso. The last three are in such an exquisite strain, says Fenton, that though he had left no other monuments of his genius behind him, his name had been immortal.-Jos. Warton.

In this piece there is perhaps more poetry than sorrow : but let us read it for its poetry. It is true, that passion plucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, nor calls upon Arethuse and Mincius, nor tells of “rough Satyrs with cloven heel :" but poetry does this; and in the hands of Milton does it with a peculiar and irresistible charm. Subordinate poets exercise no invention, when they tell how a shepherd has lost his companion, and must feed his flocks alone, without any judge of his skill in piping: but Milton dignifies and adorns these common artificial incidents with unexpected touches of picturesque beauty, with the graces of sentiment, and with the novelties of original genius. It is objected “here is no art, for there is nothing new." To say nothing that there may be art without novelty, as well as novelty without art, I must reply that this objection will vanish, if we consider the imagery which Milton has raised from local circumstances. Not to repeat the use he has made of the mountains of Wales, the Isle of Man, and the river Dee, near which Lycidas was shipwrecked ; let us recollect the introduction of the romantic superstition of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, which overlooks the Irish Sea, the fatal scene of his friend's disaster.

But the poetry is not always unconnected with passion. The poet lavishly describes an ancient sepulchral rite, but it is made preparatory to a stroke of tenderness: he calls for a variety of flowers to decorate his friend's hearse, supposing that his body was present, and forgetting for a while that it was floating far off in the ocean. If he was drowned, it was some consolation that he was to receive the decenc This is a pleasing deception: it is natural and pathetic. But the real catastrophe recurs; and this circumstance again opens a new vein of imagination.

Dr. Johnson censures Milton for his allegorical mode of telling that he and Lycidas studied together, under the fictitious images of rural employments, in which, he says, there can be no tenderness; and prefers Cowley's lamentation of the loss of Harvey, the companion of his labours, and the partner of his discoveries. I know not, if in this similarity of subject Cowley bas more tenderness; I am sure he has less poetry: I will allow that he has more wit, and more smart similes. The sense of our author's allegory on this occasion is obvious, and is just as intelligible as if he had used plain terms. It is a fiction, that, when Lycidas died, the woods and caves were deserted, and overgrown with wild thyme and luxuriant vines, and that all their echoes mourned; and that the green copses

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