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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, 125
But swoll'n 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. 135 Ye Valleys low, where the mild whispers use Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing bruoks, On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks, Throw hither all your quoint enamelld 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 freak'd with jet, The glowing violet,

145 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 daffodillies fill their cups with tears,

150 To strow 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 hurl'd, 155 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,

124. Scrannel ; harsh. 128. An allusion, it is probable, to tue supposed attempts at this period to introduce again the superstitious observances of the Roman church, which Archbishop Laud, it was thought, favoured.

142. Rathe; early.

Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,

160 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,

1C6 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 170 Flames in the forehead of the morning sky; So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the waves, Where, other gloves and other streams along, With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,

175 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, 180 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.

185 Thus sang the uncouth swain to th' oaks and rills, While the still morn went out with sandals grey, He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: And now the sun bad stretch'd out all the hills, 190 An now was dropt into th western bay: At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue : To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.

160. Bellerus; the Land's Ens, it is supposed, so called from an old Cornish giant. -Namancos and Bayona, fortresses on the coast of Spain.




(Anno Ætatis 17.)


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 kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.
For since grim Aquilo his charioteer
By boisterous rape th' Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,

If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away th' infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld, [held
Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was
So mounting up in icy-pearled car

Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he spy'd from far:
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care.
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,

But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace 21
Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding-place.
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilume did slay his dearly loved mate,
Young Hyacinth born on Eurota's strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land ;

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23. Apollo, it is said by the poets, slew Hyacinth while playing at quoits, and afterwards changed him into the flower bearing his


But then transform'd 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, 30 Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed, Hid from the world in a low delved tomb; Could Heav'n for pity thee so strictly doom?

Oh no! for something in thy face did shine Above mortality, that shew'd thou wast divine. 35 Resolve me then, oh 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 th' Elysian fields (if such there were) 40

O say me true, if thou wert mortal wight, {flight. And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof Of shaked Olympus by mischance did'st fall; Which careful Jove in Nature's true behoof 45 Took and in fit place did reinstall ? Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall


Or sheeny Hear'n, and thou some goddess fled Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head? Or wert thou that just maid who once before 50 Forsook the hated earth, 0 tell me sooth, And cam'st again to visit us once more? Or wert thou that sweet smiling youth ? Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth? 54

Or any other of that heav'nly brood [good ? Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, Who having clad thyself in buman weed,

44. Shaked Olympus; in allusion to the war of the giaats who besieged Jupiter.

50. That inst mail; Astrea, the goddess of justice.

53. I am inclined to think that Truth only is meant both in this and in the following exj.ression, and that it is, therefore, hot necessary to introduce, as the commentators lave done, mercy or youth, in this line. Truth, for its purity, clear and unsoiled beauty, has all the characteristics of sweet smiling youth : tor its gravity and unchanging steadiness it has the marks of matrons grace. The poet night lence very beautifully express a doubt as to whether he was to call it a youth or a matron.

To Earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
And after short abode fly back with speed,

GD As if to shew what creatures Heav'ı, doth breed,

Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heav'n aspire ? But oh, why didst thou not stay here below To bless us with thy Heav'n-loved innocence, 65 To slake bis wrath whom sin hath made our foe To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence,

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart? But thou canst best perform that office where thou art. Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child, 71 Her false imagined loss cease to lament, And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild; Think what a present thou to God has sent, And render him with patience what he lent; 75

This if thou do, he will an offspring give That till the world's last end shall make thy name to live.


(Anno Etatis 19.) At a Vacation Exercise in the college, part Latin,

part English. The Latin speeches ended, the

English thus began. Hail, native Language, that by sinews weak Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak, And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips, Half-unpronounced, slide through my infant-lips, Driving dumb Silence from the portal door, 5 Where he had mutely sat two years before: Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask, That now I use thee in my latter task : Small loss it is that hence can come unto thee, I know my tongue but little grace can do thee: 10 Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first, Believe me, I have thither pack'd the worst : And, if it happen as I did forecast, The dantiest dishes shall be served up last. 68. These verses were written while there was a great

plague raging

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