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Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well
For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,
But, oh! the heavy change, now thou art gone,
As killing as the canker to the rose,
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Alas! what boots it with uncessant care
() fountain Arethuse, and thou honourd 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 beakéd 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 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 li 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); He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake : “How 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 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
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
-But that two-handed engine at the door
Return, Alphéus ; 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 enamelld eyes That on the green turf suck the honey'd 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 amarantus 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 hurld, Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides Where thou p«rhaps, under the whelming tide, Visitest the bottom of the monstrous world ; Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great Vision of the guarded mount Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold, --Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth; -And, ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth !
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, 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 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, 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 che 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 Doric 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.
ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Mortality, behold and fear