Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

LYCIDAS.

In this MONODY, the Author bewails a learned Friend', un

fortunately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish Seas, 1637. And by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their highth.

YEt once more, O ye laurels, and once more
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude;
And, with forced fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year:
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due :
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
Who would not sing for Lycidas? He knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not float

upon

his

watery bier Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well, That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring ; Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.

| Edward King, Esq. the son of Sir John King, knight, secretary for Ireland. He was sailing from Chester to Ireland, on a visit to his friends in that country, when in calm weather, not far from the English coast, the ship struck upon a rock, and suddenly sunk to the bottom with all that were on board, August 10, 1637. Mr. King was a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.

Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse:
So may some gentle Muse
With lucky words favor my destined urn;
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 appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the grey-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

wheel. Meanwbile the rural ditties were not mute, Temper’d to the oaten flute: Rough Satyrs danced; and fauns, with cloven heel, From the glad sound would not be absent long ; And old Damætas loved to hear our song.

But, О 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 flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, When first the white-thorn 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, Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. Ah me! I fondly dream! Had ye been there--for what could that have done? What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, The Muse herelf, for her enchanting 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, 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 scoru 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 shears, And slits the thin-spun life. “But not the praise," Phæbus 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 rumor 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 honor'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 a 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 and last did go,

[pledge ?” 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' sake (swain, Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? 2 Æolus, the son of Hippotas.

Last came,

Of other care they little reckoning make,
Than' how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest. shold
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd 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, swoln 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 fed :
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.”

Return, Alpheus! the dread voice is pass’d, That shrunk thy streams: 'return, Sicilian Muse ! And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Their bells, and flowrets of a thousand hues. Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use Of shades, aod 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 :

« ZurückWeiter »