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Not a waste or needless sound
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall be your faithful guide
Through this gloomy covert wide;
And not many furlongs thence
Is your father's residence,
Where this night are met in state
.Many a friend to gratulate
His wish't presence: and beside,
All the swains, that there abide,
With jigs and rural dance resort;
We shall catch them at their sport,
And our sudden coming there
Will double all their mirth and cheer :-
Come, let us haste! the stars grow high;
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.
The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow town, and the President's castle;
then come in country Dancers; after then, the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, with the two BROTHERS and the LADY.
Spirit. Back, Shepherds! back; enough your play,
Till next sun-shine holiday;
Here be, without duck or nod,
Other trippings to be trod
Of lighter toes, and such court guise
As Mercury did first devise
With the mincing Dryades
On the lawns and on the leas.
This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother.
Noble lord, and lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight;
Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own :
Heav'n hath timely tri'd their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth;
And sent them here, through hard assays,
With a crown of deathless praise,
To triumph, in victorious dance,
O’er sensual Folly, and Intemperance.
The dances ended, the Spirit epiloguizes.
Spirit. To the ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that lie
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky :
There I suck the liquid air
All amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree.
Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Thither all their bounties bring,
That there eternal summer dwells;
And west winds, with musky wing,
About the cedarn alleys fling
Nard and Cassia's balmy smells.
Iris there with humid bow
Waters the odorous banks that blow
Flowers of more mingled hue
Than her purfld scarf can shew;
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List, mortals, if your ears be true)
Beds of hyacinth and roses,
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft; and on the ground
Sadly sits th’ Assyrian queen :
But far above, in spangled sheen,
Celestial Cupid, her fam'd son, advanc't,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranc't,
After her wand'ring labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride;
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy,—so Jove hath sworn.
But now my task is smoothly done,
I can fly, or I can run,
Quickly to the green earth's end,
Where the bow'd welkin slow doth bend;
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
Mortals that would follow me,
Love Virtue; she alone is free:
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heav'n itself would stoop to her.
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.
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, 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 nurst upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
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't, and Fauns with clov'n heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long,
And old Damoetas 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 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 wisard stream:
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?
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 Neaera'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,”
Phoebus repli’d, and touch't my trembling ears :
“Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistring 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’t the waves, and ask't 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
100 Built in th' 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,
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,
125 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 said ;But that two-handed engine at the door
130 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