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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 boat 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 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 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 mitr'd locks, and stern bespake. How well coul. I have spared for thee, yoring
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!
Of other care they little reckoning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
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 !
What recks it them? What need they? They aro
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, 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
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 wild 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 honey'd 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
flower that sad embroidery wears :
Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew 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 hurld,
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 towards 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; 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 the unexpressive nuptial song
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and lcte.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and, 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.
the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills
While the still morn went out with sandals gray;
He touched the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay :
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay:
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue :
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY.
Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee; for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower;
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground: and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
ON HIS BLINDNESS. When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he, returning, chide :
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ? I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, 'God doth not need Either man's work, or his own gifts ; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without rest : They also serve who only stand and wait.'
Cyriac, this three years day these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;