« PreviousContinue »
Where the rude ax with heaved stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt ;
There in close covert by som brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from Day's garish eie,
While the bee with honied thie,
That at her flowry work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep ;
And let som strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portrature display'd,
Softly on my eyelids laid;
And, as I wake, sweet musick breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by som spirit to mortals good,
Or th’ unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloysters pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antick pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight
Casting a dimm religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow
To the full voic'd quire below
In service high and anthems cleer,
As may with sweetnes, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into extasies,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peacefull hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that Heav'n doth shew
And every herb that sips the dew;
Till old Experience do attain
To somthing like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee: will choose to live.
Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more,
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sear,
I com to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear
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 build the lofty rhyme.
He must not flote upon his watry bear
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 seat of Jove doth spring,
Begin, and somwhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse ;
So may som gentle Muse
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn,
And, as he passes, turn
And bid fair peace be to my sable shrowd ;
For we were nurst upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill;
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn,
We drove a field, and both together heard
What time the gray.fly winds her sultry horn,
Batt’ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star that rose at ev’ning bright
Towards Heav'ns descent had slop'd his westering wheel.
Mean while the rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to th' oaten flute,
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long,
And old Damätas lov'd to hear our song.
But O the heavy change, now thou art gon,
Now thou art gon, and never must return !
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves
With wilde thyme and the gadding vine o’regrown
And all their echoes mourn.
The willows and the hazle copses green
Shall now no more be seen
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft layes.
As killing as the canker to the rose,
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrop wear
When first the white thorn blows:
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds ear.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o’re the head of your lov'd Lycidas?
For neither were ye playing on the steep
Where your old bards, the famous Druids ly,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream.
Ay me! I fondly dream !
Had ye bin there—for what could that have don?
What could the Muse her self that Orpheus bore,
The Muse her self, for her inchanting son,
Whom universal Nature did lament,
When by the rout that made the hideous 'roar
His goary 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 shepherds trade,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better don, 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 mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious dayes ;
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,
Phoebus repli’d, and touch'd my trembling ears ;
Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to th’ world, nor in broad Rumour lies,
But lives and spreds aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfet witnes of all-judging Jove ;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in Heav'n expect thy meed.
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocall 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 fellon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain?
And question’d every gust of rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked 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 th' 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 inscrib’d with woe.
Ah! who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge ?
Last ame, and last did go,
The pilot of the Galilean lake;
Two massy keyes he bore of metals twain
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain);
He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake :
How well could I have spar'd for thee, young Swain,
Anow of such as for their bellies sake
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck’ning make
Then how to scramble at the shearers feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouthes ! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd ought els the least
That to the faithfull herdsmans art belongs !
What reeks 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 woolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed ;
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 bels, and flourets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the milde whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,
Throw hither all your quaint enameld eyes,
That on the green terf suck the honied showres,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowres.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-toe, and pale gessamine,
The white pink, and the pansie freakt with jeat,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attir'd woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive hed,
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 dally with false surmise,
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurl’d,
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 deny'd
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 ;
Ani, () ye Dolphins, waft the haples youth.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more,