« AnteriorContinuar »
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks,
Trip no more in twilight ranks,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
Such a rural queen
LYCIDAS. In this monody the Author bewails a learned Friend, unfortrenately drowned in his passage from Chester, on the Irish seas, 1637, and by occasion foretels the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their height. Yet once more, Oye Laurels, and once more Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sere, I come to pluck your berries barsh and crude, And with forced fingers rude 97. .Ladon, another beautiful river in Arcadia.-Lyceus, &c.
are celebrated mountains in the same country. * This beautiful little poem, which partakes as much of the character of the allegory as of the pastoral, was written in memorial of Edward King, son of Sir John King, Secretary for Ireland, who perished by shipwreck in a voyage to Dublin, ia the 25th year of his age. He was the fellow-collegian and most intimate friend of the poet, who at that time was destined, as well as himself, for holy orders. There are several allusions to the latter circumstance in the monody,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 5 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 10 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,
15 That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring, Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse, So may some gentle Muse With lucky words, favour my destined urn, 20 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 25 Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, We drove a-field, 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, 30 Towards Heaven's descent had sloped his westering
wheel. Meanwhile 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, 35 And old Damætas loved to hear our song.
But O the heavy change, now thou art gone, Now thou art gone, and never must return ! "hee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves, With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, And all their echoes, mourn ;
41 The willows, and the hazel copses green, Shall now no more be seen,
15. Sacred Well; the fountain Hippocrene, sacred to the Inuses, which springs from mount Helicon, on which there was au altar to Jupiter. 19. Muse, a metonomy for poet, see line 21.
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.
45 Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, When firet the white-thorn blows; Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
50 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: 35 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 enchanting son, Whom universal Nature did lament,
60 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, 05 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 70 (That last infirmity of noble minds) 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 shears, 75 And slits the thin-spun life. But not the praise, Phoebus reply'd, 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; 80 But lives and spreads asoft by those pure eyes
52. The steep; supposed to be Kerigy Drudion, a druid station in Deabighshire. -Mona; the isle of Anglesey.- Deva; the river Dee.
66. Meditate the Muse; a classical phrase ; thus Virgil, Ecl. 1. 2. Musam Meditar is.
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood, 85
90 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 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 sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge, 105 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
110 (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? 115 Of other care they little reck’ning make, Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest; (hold Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs ! 121
86. Mincius ; a river near Mantua, where Virgil was born 89. The herald; Triton.-Hippolades; Folcs, the son of Hippotas. -Panope; a sea nymph.-Camus;
the Cam. 109. The pilot ; Saint Peter.
What recksit them? what need they? they are sped;
The glowing violet, 145
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
124. Scrannel ; harsh. 128. An allusion, it is probable, to time supposed attempts at this eriod to introduce again the superstitious observances of the an church, which Archbishop aud, it was thought, favoured. 142. Rathe; early.