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for what could that have done?

Had been there
What could the 30 Muse herself that Orpheus bore,
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son
Whom universal Nature did lament,

When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His gory visage down the stream was sent,
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore? -
Alas! what 31 boots it with incessant care
To tend the homely, slighted shepherd's trade,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
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 32 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 3 blaze,
Comes the 34 blind Fury with abhorred shears
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise,"
Phoebus replied, and touch'd my 35 trembling ears;
"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the 36 glistering foil

Let off to the world, nor in broad rumor lies:
But lives and spreads aloft by those 37 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."

O fountain 38 Arethuse, and thou honor'd flood Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds! That strain I heard was of a higher mood;

But now my 39 oat proceeds,

And listens to the 40 herald of the sea




90 That came in Neptune's plea.

He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain?
And question'd every gust of 41 rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked promontory.
They knew not of his story;

And sage 42 Hippotades their answer brings,
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd;
The air was calm, and on the level brine

Sleek 43 Panope with all her sisters play'd. 100 It was that fatal and perfidious bark,


Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.

Next 45 Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,

Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe.

"Ah! who hath reft" (quoth he) "my dearest pledge?"

Last came, and last did go,

The 46 pilot of the Galilean lake;

110 Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,

(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,)

He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake:

"How well could I have spared for thee, young swain, Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake Creep and intrude and 47 climb into the fold? Of other care they little reckoning make Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest.

48 Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to


120 A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!

What 49 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 50 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 51 grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed:
But that 52 two-handed engine at the door

Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."
Return 53 Alpheus, the dread voice is past
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells and 54 flowrets 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 enamell'd eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the 55 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-attir'd woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffadillies fill their cups with tears,

To strew the 56 laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
For, so to interpose a little ease,

57 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
Visit'st the bottom of the 58 monstrous world;
Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,
160 Sleep'st by the fable of 59 Bellerus old,

Where the great vision of the guarded mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward, 6 angel, now, and melt with ruth,
And O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.


61 Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is 62 not dead,

Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor.
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his 63 drooping head,

170 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 waves,
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the 64 unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
65 There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
180 That sing, and, singing in their glory, move,
And 66 wipe the tears forever from his eyes.

Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
Henceforth thou art the 67 Genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.

Thus sang the 68 uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still Morn went out with sandals gray.
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his 69 Doric lay;
70 And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay.
71 At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue:
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.



John Milton was born in Bread street, London, December 9, 1608. He was educated at St. Paul's School, London, and at Christ's College, Cambridge. His first poem of importance was the Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, written in 1629. This was followed by L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, companion pieces, by the Arcades (1633), and by the dramatic poem Comus (1637). Lycidas was also written in 1637. From 1640 until the decline of the Commonwealth, Milton took an active part in politics, and his writings during this period were entirely prose. Paradise Lost, his greatest work, appeared in 1667. Paradise Regained and the tragedy Samson Agonistes were published in 1671. Milton died in 1674. See note on Adonais, iv. 9.

"Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:

Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,

So didst thou travel on life's common way,

In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart

The lowliest duties on herself did lay."— Wordsworth (1802).


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