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XVII.

L Y CI D A S. In this monody the author bewails a learned friend, un

fortunately drown'd in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637, and by occasion foretels the ruin of

our corrupted clergy, then in their highth. VET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more

1 Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never fere, I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, And with forc'd fingers rude Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 5 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 10 Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhime. He must not flote upon his watry bier Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well, 15 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 favor my destin'd urn, 20 And as he passes turn,

And

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurst upon the self-fame hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.

Together both, ere the high lawns appear’d 25
Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
We drove a field, and both together heard
What time the gray-fly winds her fultry horn,
Batt’ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star that rose, at evening, bright, 30
Tow’ard Heav'n's descent had slop'd his west'ring
Mean while the rural ditties were not mute, (wheel.
Temper'd to th’oaten flute,
Rough Satyrs danc’d, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad found would not be absent long, 35
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.

41 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,

45 Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, Or frost to flow’rs, that their gay wardrobe wear, When first the white-thorn blows; Such, Lycidas; thy loss to shepherds ear. Kk

Where

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 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, 75
And slits the thin-spun life. But not the praise,
Phæbus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears;

Fame

go

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal foil,
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

100 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 Kk 2

Like

Like to that sanguin flow'r inscrib'd with woe.
Ah! Who hath reft (quoth he) my deareft pledge?
Last came, and last did go,
The pilot of the Galilean lake,
Two maffy keys he bore of metals twain, 110
(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 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 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

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