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As killing as the eanker 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 blow;
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. .
• Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseles
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 wizard stream:
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,
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,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ?
Were it not better done, as other use,
To sport with Amarylis 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 scorn delights, and live laborious day;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes to blind Fury with th' 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 glist'ring 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 honour'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 winds,
That blows from off each beaked promontory:
They knew not of his story ; ..
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,
Built in th' eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sank 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 wo. 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, (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,) He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake; How well could I have spar'd 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 reck'ning make, Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest; Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to
hold A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs ;
What recks it them? What need they? They are
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 said:
But that two handed engine at the door
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 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 attir'd 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, To strew the Laureate hearse where Lyciad 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, 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 tow'rd 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; - 1
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 walk'd the waves
Where other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears th' unexpressive nuptial song,
In the bless'd kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That, 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. .
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills, While the still morn went out with sandals gray, , He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills, i And now was dropp'd into the western bay; At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue: To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.
ON THE NEW FORCERS OF CONSCIENCE
UNDER THE LONG PARLIAMENT.*
BECAUSE you have thrown off your Prelate-Lord,
And with stiff vow renounc'd his Liturgy,
To seize the widow'd whore Plurality
From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorr'd;
Dare ye for this abjure the civil sword
To force our consciences that Christ set free
And ride us with a classic hierarchy,t
Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rotherford ?I
Men whose life, learning, faith and pure intent,
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul,
Must now be named and printed Heretics
By shallow Edwardsy and scoteh what d'ye call :!l
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your blots and packing worse than those of Trent;
is ; That so the parliament
May, with their wholesome and preventive shears,
Clip your phylacteries, though balk your ears,
And succour our just fears, When they shall read this clearly in your charge, New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large.
* This poem is supposed to have been made when the Directory was established, and disputes ran high between the Presbyterians and Independents in 1645, the latter pleading for a toleration, and the former against it.
+ In the Presbyterian form of government there are congrega. tional, classical, provincial, and national assemblies.
I It is not known who is meant by A. S. Mr. Samuel Rotherford was Professor of Divinity at St. Andrew's, and one of the Scotch commissioners to the Westminister assembly.
9 Mr. Thomas Edwards, author of the Gangræna.
Il Either Mr. Alexander Henderson or Mr. George Gillespie, both commissioners to the Westminister assembly.