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Such sweet compulsion doth in musick lie
O'er the smooth enamell'd green Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me, as I sing
And touch the warbled string,
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.
He must not float upon his watery bier
Begin then, Sisters1 of the sacred well,2
For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill,
But, 0 the heavy change, now thou art gone,
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
Had ye been there—for what could they have done?
Alas! what boots it with incessant care
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.