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Such sweet compulsion doth in musick lie
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
And the low world in measured motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such musick worthiest were to blaze
The peerless highth of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferiour hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds : yet, as we go,
Whate'er the skill of lesser god can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.


O'er the smooth enamell'd green Where no print of step hath been,

Follow me, as I sing

And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm star-proof.

Follow me;
I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits

Her deity.
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.


Nymph and Shepherds, dance no more By sandy Ladon's1 lillied banks; On old Lycseus, or Cyllene hoar,

Trip no more in twilight ranks; Through Erymanth your loss deplore,

A better soil shall give ye thanks. From the stony Msenalus Bring your flocks, and live with us; Here ye shall have greater grace, To serve the Lady of this place. Though Syrinx2 your Pan's mistress were, Yet Syrinx well might wait on her,

Such a rural Queen All Arcadia hath not seen.

1 'Ladon,' &c.: ancient rivers.—2 'Syrinx:' see Ben Jonson's Syrinx.


L Y C I D A S.


In this Monody, the Author bewails a learned Friend,1 unfortunately 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,2 0 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 1 He knew

Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.

1 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, and was only twenty-five years of age at his death. He had been distinguished at college by his piety and learning; and the year after his death there appeared a collection of elegiac verses on his loss—three in Greek, nineteen in Latin, and thirteen in English—Milton's being the last in the collection. King had been intended for the Church.—* 'Once more:' meaning, I am again called back to poetry, by a distressing necessity, from other studies.

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He must not float upon his watery bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, Sisters1 of the sacred well,2
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 destin'd urn;
And, as he passes, turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.

For we were nurs'd 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 gray-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 slop'd his westering wheel.
Mean while the rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to the oaten flute;
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long;
And old Damcetas loved to hear our song.

But, 0 the heavy change, now thou art gone,
Now thou art gone, and never must return!
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desart 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.

1 'Sisters:' Muses. —* 'Sacred well:' Helicon.

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, Ljcidas, thy loss to shepherds' ear.

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?
For neither were ye playing on the steep,1
Where your old Bards, the famous Druids, lie,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona2 high,
Nor yet where Deva3 spreads her wisard stream:
Ay me! I fondly dream!

Had ye been there—for what could they have done?
What could the Muse4 herself that Orpheus5 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 Hebrus6 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 Amaryllis7 in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Nesera's hair 1
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,

1 'Steep:' the mountains of Denbighshire.—2 'Mona:' the Isle of Man.— * 'Deva:' the English Dee beside Chester, called 'wisard,' as the sacred boundary between Wales and England. —' 'The Muse:' Calliope.—5 'Orpheus :' torn in pieces by the Bacchanalians.—* 'Hebrus:' a river in Thrace. 7 'Amaryllis,' &c.: see Horace.

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