Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 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,
Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, [wheel.
Temper'd to the oaten flute;
Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad and would not be absent long;
And old Damætas loved to hear our song.

But, 0, 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 gadding vine o'er-grown,
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
Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas? [deep
For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie;
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high;

[ocr errors]

Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream.
Ay me! I fondly dream!

[done?
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 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 days; But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred sheers, And slits the thin-spun life.—But not the praise, Phoebus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears: Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil Set off to the 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 honour'd flood,

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 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 the 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, 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
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sakes [swain,
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!
Of other care they little reckoning made,

Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest ![to hold
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least
That to the faithful herdman'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 swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Wrought inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing fed:
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite po 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.
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 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 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 hurld; Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, Where thou, perhaps, under the whelming tide, Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world; Or whither thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great vision of the guarded mount Looks tow'rd Namancos and Bayona's hold; Look homeward, angel, now, and melt with truth: And, 0 ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.

Weep no more, woful 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, (waves;
Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the
Where, other groves and other streams along,

locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,

his oozy

With nectar pure

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »