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Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to
A sheephook, or have learn’daught else, the least, [hold
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs! [sped ;
What recks it them? What need they? They are
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 swoll'n with wind, & 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, & smite no more."
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is pass'd,
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, & wanton winds, & 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 honied 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 amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffadillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureat herse where Lycid lies.
For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts daily with false surmise.
Ah me! whilst thee the shores, & sounding seas
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurla,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou, perhaps, under the whelming tide,
Visit'st 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 towards Namancos, and Bayona's hold ;
Look homeward, angel, now, & melt with 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, & with new-spangled ore, Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, (waves, Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the Where, other groves and other streams along, With nectar pure, his oozy locks he laves, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, In the bless'd 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 shores In thy large recompense, and shalt be good To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thus sang the uncouth swain, to the oaks & 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 dropp'd into the western bay; At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue: To morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
Hence, loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn, [unholy,
'Mongst horrid shapes, & shrieks, & sights Find out some uncouth cell, [wings,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous And the night-raven sings; [rocks,
There, under ebon shades, and low-brow'd As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess, fair and free,
In Heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth ;
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore :
Or whether, as some sager sing,
The frolic wind, that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses, wash'd in dew,
Fil'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful jollity,
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek :
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter, holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe:
And, in thy right hand, lead with thee
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And, if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise ;
Then to come, in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine :
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door,
Stoutly struts his dames before :
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering 'morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.
Some time walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight?
While the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower wets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn, in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landscape round it measures
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray ;
Mountains, on whose barren breast,
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim, with daises pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide ;
Towers, and battlements it sees,
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where, perhaps, some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thersis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ;
And then in haste her bower she leaves.
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes, with secure delight,
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound,
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play,
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the live-long day-light fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With ries told of many a feat,
How faery Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinch'd, and pull’d, she said,
And he, by friars' lantern led,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy fail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-labourers could not end;
Then lies him down, the lubbar fiend,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And, crop-full, out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lulld asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights, and barons bold
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear,
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry:
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves, by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child,