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To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd food 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 siow, 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 (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 ; The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, 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 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 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,
ruth : -And, O 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
Where, other groves and other streams along,
There entertain him all the saints above
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
67 ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Mortality, behold and fear,
Though gods they were, as men they died !'
THE LAST CONQUEROR
Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
As night or day,
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War,
Each able to undo mankind, Death's servile emissaries are ; Nor to these alone confined,
He hath at will More quaint and subtle ways to kill ; A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
DEATH THE LEVELLER
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things ;
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill : But their strong nerves at last must yield ;
They tame but one another still :