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Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
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 destin'd urn,
And as he passes turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurst upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel
But O 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 flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear When first the white-thorn blows,
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds ear.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless
Closed o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas?
For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Where your old Bards, the famous Druids, lie,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream. Ay me! I fondly dream!
ye been there-for what could that have done? What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, The Muse herself for her inchanting son, Whom universal Nature did lament,
When, by the rout that made the hideous roar, His goary visage down the stream was sent Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?
Alas! what boots it with incessant care
Were it not better done as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
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, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise(Phoebus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears;) "Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, "Nor in the glistering foil
"Set off to th' world, nor in broad rumour lies, "But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
"And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
"As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
"Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed."