Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Mortals that would follow me, Love Virtue, she alone is free, She can teach you how to climb Higher than the sphery chime; Or if Virtue feeble were, Heav'n itself would stoop to her.

1020

XVII. LYCI.

XVII. 'L Y CI DA S.

In this monody the author bewails a learned friend *,

unfortunately drown'd in his passage from Chester on the Irish feas, 1637, and by occasion foretels the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their highth.

үЕ

ET once more, Oye Laurels, and once more

Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sere,
I come 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 seafon due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not fing for Lycidas ? he knew
Himself to fing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He muft not flote upon his watry bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,

15 That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring, Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.

* Mr. Edward King, fon of Sir John King Secretary for Ireland, a fellow-collegian and intimate friend of our author.

Hence

20

Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse,
So may some gentle Muse
With lucky words favor my

destin'd urn,
And as he passes turn,
And bid fair peace be to my fable shroud.
For we were nurst upon the self-fame hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.

Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 25
Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
We drove afield, and both together heard
What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn,
Battening our flocks with the freth dews of night
Oft till the star that rose, at evening, bright, 30
Tow’ard Heav'n's descent had nop'd his weltering

wheel. Mean while the rural ditties were not mute, Temper'd to the oaten Alute, Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel From the glad found would not be abfent long, 35 And old Damætas lov'd to hear our fong.

But O 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, 40 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,

45 Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,

Or

[ocr errors]

ye

Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the white-thorn blows;
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to thepherds' ear.

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd 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 wisard stream:

55
Ay me! I fondly dream
Had 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 goary 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 flighted shepherd's trade,

65
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 spi'rit doth raise 90
(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 th' abhorred shears,
And flits the thin-spun life. But not the praise,
Phoebus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears ;
& VOL. III.

M

Fame

75

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal foil,
Nor in the glittering foil
Set off to th' world, nor in broad rumor lies, So
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.

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honor'd flood, 85
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 ;

90 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 winds That blows from off each beaked promontory; They knew not of his story,

95 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

100 Built in th’ eclipse, and rigg’d with curses dark, That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.

Next Camus, reverend fire, went footing flow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet fedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 105 Like to that fanguin flower inscrib’d with woe. Ah! who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge ? Last came, and last did go,

The

« ПредишнаНапред »