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Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least
That to the faithful herdman'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, Alphéus, 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 enameli'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, And every flower that sad embroidery wears : Bid amarantus 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 hurl'd,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides
Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide,
Visitest 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
-And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth !
Weep no more, woeful 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
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 love.
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.
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and
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,
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.
67. ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY,
Mortality, behold and fear
What a change of flesh is here !
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heaps of stones;
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands,
Where from their pulpits seald with dust
They preach, “In greatness is no trust."
Here's an acre sown indeed
With the richest royallest seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin :
Here the bones of birth have cried
“Though gods they were, as men they died ! ”
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings
Here's a world of
and state Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
68. THE LAST CONQUEROR. Victorious men of earth, no more
Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind-in every shore
And your triumphs reach as far
As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War,
Each able to undo mankind,
Death's servile emissaries are ;
Nor to these alone confined,
He hath at will
More quaint and subtle ways to kill;
A smile or kiss, as he will use the art,
Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart.
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings;
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill: But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still :