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Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn,
We drove afield; and both together heard
What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn;
Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star, that rose at evening bright,
Towards heaven's descent had sloped his westering
Meanwhile 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 DAMETUS loved to hear our Song.
But, O, the heavy change! Now, thou art gone!
Now, thou art gone; and never must return!
Thee, Shepherd[s]; 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-
Ay 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 inchanting 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 NEERA's hair?
Fame is the spur that, the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind!)
To spurn 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 th' abhorrèd shears! And slits the thin-spun life! But not the praise!' PHOEBUS 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 heaven, expect thy meed!'
O, fountain Arethuse; and thou honoured flood,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, 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,
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 every gust, of rugged wings,
That blows from off each beakèd promontory.
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 sank 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, 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
Anow 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. le Swa Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
or have learned aught else the least
That to the faithful Herdsman'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, with privy paw,
Daily devours apace; and nothing said!
But that two-handed engine, at the door
Stands ready, to smite once; and smite[s] 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 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 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 freaked 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 laureate 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 seas
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 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 toward Namancos and Bayona's hold) Look homeward, Angel, now; and melt with ruth! And, O, ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth!