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[A variation by William Collins, 1746.]


To fair Fidele's grassy tomb

Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each opening sweet of earliest bloom, And rifle all the blooming Spring.

No wailing ghost shall dare appear,

To vex with shrieks this quiet grove, But shepherd lads assemble here,

And melting virgins own their love.

No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green,

And dress thy grave with pearly dew.

The red-breast oft at evening hours.
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss and gather'd flowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.

When howling winds and beating rain,
In tempests shake thy sylvan cell;
Or 'midst the chase on every plain,

The tender thought on thee shall dwell.

Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed;
Belov'd till life can charm no more;
And mourn'd till Pity's self be dead.



By John Milton

Edward King was the son of Sir John King, who during the later years of Elizabeth and the reigns of the first two Stuarts was royal Secretary for Ireland. He was a young man of many accomplishments and much promise. In 1626, when only fourteen years of age, he entered Christ's College, Cambridge, where Milton, then in his third college year, was laying the foundation for his future illustrious career. King became at once a favorite among the students. He composed verses — some of which, written in Latin, are still preserved, and after graduation he was made a fellow and tutor in the college. It was the intention of himself and his friends that he should enter the Church, and his studies were all directed towards preparing him for that important and responsible position. Just at the time when the promises of his life seemed brightest, he decided upon making a visit to some of his friends in Ireland, and took passage on board a vessel at Chester for that purpose. When off the Welsh coast the ship struck upon a rock, and through the blow leaked and gaped. "While the other voyagers busied themselves in vain with mortal life," says a contemporary," King, aspiring after the immortal, threw himself upon his knees, and as he prayed was swallowed up by the waters along with the vessel, and gave his life to God, on the 10th of August, in the year of salvation 1637, of his life twenty-five.” A few months after this deplorable event a small volume of verses in honor of the young scholar was published in Cambridge. It contained thirty-six pieces (twenty-three of which were in Greek or Latin), and one of them was entitled Lycidas and signed J. M., with the date “ Novemb. 1637.”



1 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 2 forc'd fingers rude,

3 Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
4 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:
5 Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
Himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not float upon his watery bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind
Without the meed of some 6 melodious tear.

7 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 9 Muse

With lucky words favor my destin'd urn,

And, as he passes, turn

And bid fair peace be to my 10 sable shroud.


For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill,11 Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill ;




Together both, ere the 12 high lawns appear'd
Under the opening eye-lids of the 13 Morn,
We 14 drove afield, and both together heard
What time the gray-fly winds 15 her sultry horn,

16 Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, 30 Oft till the star that rose at evening bright

Toward heaven's descent had slop'd his 7 westering




Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute;
Temper'd to the 18 oaten flute,

Rough 19 Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long;
And 20 old Damotas lov'd to hear our song.

But, O the heavy change, now thou art gone,
Now thou art gone, and never must return!
Thee, shepherd, thee the 21 woods and desert caves
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,
And all their 22 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 23 canker to the rose,

Or 24 taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear
When the first white-thorn blows,

Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.


Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? For neither were ye playing on 26 the steep

Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,
Nor on the 27 shaggy top of Mona high,

Nor yet where 28 Deva spreads her wizard stream:
Ay me! I 29 fondly dream!

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