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Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering
wheel. Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, Temper'd to the oaten flute ; Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel From the glad sound would not be absent long; And old Damoetas loved to hear our song. 36
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 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
50 Closed o'er the head of your loved 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 wizard stream : Ay me! I fondly dream
56 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,
60 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 uncessant care To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ? 66 Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
69 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, 74 Comes the blind Fury with the abhorréd 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
79 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.' 84
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 ;
90 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 ;
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 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 105 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 110 (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 ! 115 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 ! 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 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 Their bells and flowerets 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 enamell'd eyes 139 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,
156 Where thou perhaps, 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,
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,
165 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 : 171 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
sang the uncouth swain totheoaks and rills, While the still morn went out with sandals grey ; 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 :
191 At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue : To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
67 ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Mortality, behold and fear,
10 That the earth did e'er suck in Since the first man died for sin : Here the bones of birth have cried Though gods they were, as men they died !' Here are sands, ignoble things,
15 Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings : Here's a world of pomp and state Buried in dust, once dead by fate.