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While Cynthia checks her dragon-yoke,
Gently o'er the accustomed oak.
Sweet bird, that shunnist the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy !
Thee, 'chantress, oft, these woods among,
I woo, to hear thy evening song:
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry, smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide, pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bowed,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft, on a plot of rising ground,
I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-watered shore,
Swinging slow, with sullen roar.
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still, removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bell-man's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp, at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice great Hermes; or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook ;
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometimes let gorgeous Tragedy,
In sceptred pall, come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what, though rare, of later age
Ennobled hath the buskined stage.
A MONODY ON EDWARD KING, [A COLLEGE COMPANION OF MILTON'S, WHO PERISHED BY SHIPWRECK.]
Yer once 'more, oh ye laurels, and once more,
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And, with forced fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion drear,
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 built the lofty rhyme.
He must not float upon his watery 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 feet 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 destined urn,
And, as he passes, turn
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nursed on the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade and rill.
Together both, ere the high hours appeared,
Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove a-field, and both together heard,
What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn,
Bathing our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star, that rose at evening bright,
Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Tempered to the oaten flute;
Rough satyrs danced, and fauns, with cloven heel,
From the glad sound would not be absent long;
And old Damætas loved to hear our song.
But, oh 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
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.
Ah 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 Neæra's hair ?
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise, -
That last infirmity of noble minds, -
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 the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. “But not the praise,"
Phæbus replied, and touched my trembling ears;
“Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to the world, nor in broad rumor 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.”
TRUTH. TRUTH, indeed, came once into the world with her Divine Master, and was a perfect shape, most glorious to look on; but
when he ascended, and his apostles after him were laid asleep, · then straight arose a wicked race of deceivers, who -- as that
story goes, of the Egyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the god Osiris - took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the careful search that Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down, gathering up limb by limb, still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons ! nor ever' shall do, till her master's second coming; he shall bring togeth. er every joint and member, and mould them into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection.
EDWARD HYDE, EARL OF CLARENDON. 1608—1674.
Lord Clarendon, in early life, devoted himself to the practice of law, but quitted it for public affairs, joining himself to the royalists. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Charles I., and accompanied Prince Charles in many of his wanderings; was one of his confidential counsellors after his restoration, and held from him the office of Lord Chancellor. With the Earldom of Clarendon, the king conferred on him the gift of £20,000. His great work is a History of the Rebellion, which is written in “ an easy, flowing, conversational style, and is generally esteemed for the lively description which the author gives, from his own knowledge and observation, of his most eminent contemporaries.” This history was not published until the public individuals of whom it speaks were dead. ESCAPE OF CHARLES II., AFTER THE BATTLE OF
WORCESTER. But when the night covered them, he found means to withdraw himself, with one or two of his own servants, whom he likewise discharged when it began to be light; and after he had inade them cut off his hair, he betook himself alone into an adjacent wood, and relied only upon Him for his preservation who alone could and did mimculously deliver him. .
· When the darkness of the night was over, after the king had cast himself into that wood, he discerned another man, who had gotten upon an oak in the same wood, near the place where the king had rested himself, and had slept soundly. The man upon the tree had first seen the king, and knew him, and came down to him, and was known to the king. He persuaded the king, - since it could not be safe for him to go out of the wood, and that, as soon as it should be fully light, the wood itself would probably be visited by those of the country who would be searching to find those whom they might make prisoners, – that he would get up into that tree where he had been, where the boughs were so thick with leaves that a man would not be discovered there without a narrower inquiry than people usually make in places which they do not suspect. The king thought it good counsel; and, with the other's help, climbed into the tree, and then helped his com. panion to ascend after him, where they sat all that day, and securely saw many who purposely came into the wood to look after them, and heard all their discourse, how they would use the king himself, if they could take him.