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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 swain!
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold
Of other care they little reckoning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearer's feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
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 swollen 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,
130 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 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 enamelled eyes, That on the green turf suck the honied showers, 140 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 w cars:
Bid amarantus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
For so, to interpose a little ease,
I.et 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.
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,
Through the dear might of him that walked the waves,
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy 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,
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 shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thụs sang tie uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals gray ;
He touched the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay :
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay :
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue :
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.
(Anno Ætatis 17.) ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING OF
O FAIREST flower! no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
For he being amorous on that lovely dye
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
But killed, alas, and then bewailed his fatal bliss.
For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touched his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infámous blot
Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which ’mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held.
So mounting up in icy-pearled car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wandered long, till thee he spied from far:
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care.
Down he descencled from his snow-soft chair ;
But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace
Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding place.
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly loved mate,
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
But then transformed him to a purple flower:
Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low delved tomb;
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom?
Oh, no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that showed thou wast divine.
Resolve me then, O Soul most surely blest!
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
Tell me, bright Spirit! where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in the Elysian fields (if such there were),
Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight?
Wert thou some star which from the ruined roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which careful Jove in Nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some goddess fled
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectared head!
Or wert thou that just maid who once before
Forsook the hated earth, -Oh, tell me sooth, -
And camest again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling youth?
Or that crowned matron sage white-robèd Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood,
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?