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And, as he passes, turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade and rill.
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
Under the op'ning eye-lids of the morn,
We drove afield, 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'n's descent had sloped his west'ring
Mean while the rural ditties were not mute,
Tempered to th' oaten flute ;
Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long ;
And old Damætas 1 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 flow'rs, that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the whitethorn blows ;
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds' 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,2
One of the shepherds in Virgil's Eclogues. * “Perhaps Penmaenmawr, overhanging the sea opposite Anglo sea" (Keightley).
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona 1 high,
Nor yet where Deva o spreads her wisard stream:
Ay me ! I fondly dream !
Had ye been there—for what could that have
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 3 in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neära's 3 hair ?
Fame is the spur that the clear sp'rit 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,
Comes the blind Fury 4 with th' abhorrèd 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 glist'ring foil
Set off to th' 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 Heav'n expect thy meed."
: The River Dee.
• Names of shepherdesses in classical pastoral poetry.
• Atropos, not really a Fury, but one of the three Fates.
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood, Smooth-sliding Mincius,a crowned 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 4 That came in Neptune's plea ; He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds, What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle swain ? And questioned ev'ry gust of rugged wings That blows from off each beakèd promont'ry : They knew not of his story ; And sage Hippotades their answer brings, That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed ; The air was calm, and on the level brine Sleek Panope with all her sisters played. It was that fatal and perfidious bark, Built in th' eclipse, and rigged with curses dark, That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next Camus, rev'rend sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flow'r inscribed with woe.
Who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest
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 mitered locks, and stern bespake :
“ How well could I have spared for thee, young
Swain, · A fountain near Syracuse, the native place of the pastoral poet Theocritus.
: A river in Northern Italy, near the birthplace of Virgil.
: Oaten pipe, the symbol of pastoral poetry.
• Triton, son of Neptune.
..God of the river Cam, and the personification of Cambridge University.
& St. Peter. See Matt. xvi. 19.
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck’ning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths,-that scarce themselves know how
A sheep-hook, or have learned 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, swoll'n with wind and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread : Besides what the grim wolf 1 with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing said : But that Two-handed Engine 2 at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."
Return, Alpheüs, the dread Voice is passed, That shrunk thy streams ; return, Sicilian Muse, And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Their bells, and flow'rets of a thousand hues. 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 enamelled eyes, That on the green turf suck the honied show'rs, And purple all the ground with vernal flow'rs. 1 The Church of Rome; with special reference doubtless to the Romanising tendencies of Laud's party.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And ev'ry flow'r that sad embroid'ry wears :
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureat hearse 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
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide,
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous 1 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 3
Looks towards Namancos and Bayona's hold ;
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth ;
And, Oye Dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woeful Shepherds, weep no
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry 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
· The sea-depths inhabited by monsters. · St. Michael's
Mount, Cornwall, was anciently called Belleriam; and from this Milton coins the name Bellerus.
• St. Michael's Mount. St. Michael is said to have appeared as a “vision” on this Mount, which was therefore named after him.
. On the coast of Gallicia, or Northern Spain.