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Mother of a hundred Gods ?
Juno dares not give her odds ;
Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparalleld?/
As they came forward, the Genius of the wood appears
and turning toward them, speaks.
STAY, gentle Swains, for, though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned food, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluice
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse ;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd Nymphs, as
I know this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon :
For know, by lot from Jove I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton wiudings wove,
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush of the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening grey doth rise, 1 fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground:
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumb’ring leaves, or tassellid horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs inade to bless.
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Syrens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On wbich the fate of Gods and men is wound.
Sach sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of necessity,
And keep unsteady nature to her law,
And the low world in measur'd motion draw
After the heav'nly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze
The peerless height of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior band or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds: yet, as we go,
What'er the skill of lesser Gods 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 enamellid
green, Where no print of step hath heen,
Follow me, as I sing
And touch the warbled string
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm star proof.
I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
NYMPHS and Shepherds, dance no more
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks; On old Lycæus, or Cyllene hoar,
Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
From the stony Mænalns
Bring your flocks, and live with us;
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the lady of this place.
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
In this monody the author bewails a learned Friend, unfortu
nately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637, and by occasion fortels the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height.
YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And, with forc'd 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 prinie,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme,
He must not float upon his wat'ry bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
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
20 And, as he passes, turn, And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurst upon the self-same hill, Ped the same flock by fountain, shade and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
20 Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, Battning onr flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star that rose, at evening, bright,
30 Tow’ard Heav'n's descent had slop'd his wesťring wheel. Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, Temper'd to thoaten flute; Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel From the glad sound would not be absent long;
35 And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song.
But, О the heavy change, now thou art gone,
Now thou art gone, and never must return!
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert 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.
As killing as the canker to the rose,
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flow'rs, that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the white-thorn blows;
Such, Lycidas, tby loss to shepherds' ear.
19.“ So may some gentle Muse”....Muse in the masculine gender here meaps Poet,