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Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? 51
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: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 inchanting son,
Whom universal nature did lament,
When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His goary 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, 65
And strickly 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 spi'rit doth raise 70
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To fcorn 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, 75
And sits the thin-spun life. But not the praise,
Phobus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears;
Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glist’ring foil
Set off to th' world, nor in broad rumor lies, 80
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 Heav'n expect thy meed.
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honor'd flood, 85
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 fellon winds,
What hard mishap had 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,
95 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.
Next Camus, reverend fire, went footing flow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 105
Like to that sanguin flow'r 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 masly keys he bore of metals twain,
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain)
He shook his miter'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; (hold
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d ought else the least
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs! 121
What recks it them? What need they? They aresped;
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 engin 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
Their bells, and flourets of a thousand hues. 135
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 enamel's eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honied showers, 140
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 flow'r that sad embroidery wears :
Bid amarantus all his beauty shed;
And daffadillies fill their cups with tears, 150
To strow 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, 155
Whether beyond the flormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
Or whether thou to our moist vows deny’d,
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
160 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, woeful Shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead, . 166 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 Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 171 So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Through the dear might of him thatwalk'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, 180 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 food.. 185
Thus sang the uncouth swain to th'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 Doric lay :