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cal of love.
LYCIDAS.*—John Milton. JOHN MILTON (1608-1674) among English poets ranks next to Shakspeare. His youth was spent in long and very earnest study; and to what he thus acquired, he added still more by travelling in foreign countries. He was Latin Secretary to Oliver Cromwell, and for the last twenty-two years of his life was totally blind. Chief poems : L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, Comus, Lycidas, Samson Agonistes ; Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, in which he has discarded rhyme, and given us the most splendid specimen of blank verse in the language. Laurel is a symbol YEt once more, O ye laurels,* and once more, of glory. Myrtle, dedicated to Ye myrtles * brown, with ivy * never sere, * Venus, was symboli. I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude ; *
And, with forced fingers rude, Ivy, represented lasting friendship
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 5 Sere, dry, faded, Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, withered. Crude, unripe.
Compels me to disturb * your season due: To disturb, &c., to For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, disturb before
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew
He must not float upon his watry bier
Unwept, and welter * to the parching wind, Meed, reward.
Without the meed * of some melodious tear. * Melodious tear, a la- Begin then, Sisters * of the sacred well, 15 mentation in verse.
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; Sisters, &c., the nine Muses, supposed to Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string; have lived at the foot Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse : the classical abode of So may some gentle Muse the gods.
With lucky words * favour my destined urn; Muse, poet.
And, as he passes, turn, Lucky words, &c., with words of good And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.* omen do the same
For we were nursed upon the selfsame hill, kindly office for me when I am in my
Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. grave.
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
What time the grey fly winds her sultry horn,
Oft till the star, that rose evening bright, Westering, going to Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering* wards the west.
* Lycidas : in this poem Milton bewails a learned friend, Edward King, unfortunately drowned in his passage from Chester, on the Irish Sea, 1637. The name Lycidas was adopted from the Greek poet Theocritus.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
[heel Oaten Aute, the shep
herds' pipe, made of Rough Satyrs * danced, and Fauns * with cloven dry oat straws. 35 From the glad sound would not be absent long; Satyrs. and Fauns, And old Damætas * loved to hear our song.
according to the an
cients, were demiBut, О the heavy change, now thou art gone, gods, half man, halt Now thou art gone, and never must return !
goat, who attended
upon Bacchus, Thee, shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves, Damætas, one of Vir40 With wild thyme and the gadding* vine o'ergrown, gil's characters, but And all their echoes, mourn :
here referring to their
college tutor. The willows, and the hazel copses green,
Gadding, winding Shall now no more be seen
about, straggling. Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. 45 As killing as the canker * to the rose,
Canker, something Or taint-worm to the weanling * herds that graze, away.
that gnaws, or eats Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, Weanling, When first the white-thorn blows;
newly weaned. Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds' ear. 50 Where were ye, nymphs,* when the remorseless Nymphs, goddesses
poets. Nor on the shaggy top of Mona * high,
Mona, the Isle of 55 Nor yet where Deva * spreads her wizard stream: Anglesea.
Deva, the river Dee, Ay me! I fondly dream,
in olden times said Had ye been there : for what could that have done? to have What could the Muse herself that Orpheus * bore, brpheus was the son
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, of Calliope, the Muse 60 Whom universal nature did lamen
of Epic poetry.
a river in the south
of Turkey. 65 To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade, Boots, here
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ? profits.
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair ?
(That last infirmity of noble minds)
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 75 Cornes the blind Fury * with the abhorred shears, Fury, Atropos, one And slits the thin - spun life. “But not the
Phobus, Apollo, the Phæbus * replied, and touch'd my trembling
“Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
lastly, Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.” gives a final decision.
O fountain Arethuse, * and thou honour'd flood, 85 Arethuse, a celebrated fountain" near Syra- Smooth-sliding Mincius,* crown'd with vocal
reeds! coast of Sicily.
That strain I heard was of a higher mood :
That came in Neptune's * plea ;
He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon * winds, Felon, wicked, cruelWhat hard mishap * hath doom'd * this gentle Mishap, ill-luck, mis
swain ? * Doomed, condemned And question'd every gust of rugged wings Swain, a young man. That blows from off each beaked
promontory: His story, what had They knew not of his story ;
95 happened to him.
And sage Hippotades * their answer brings, Hippotades, Æolus,
That not a blast was from his dungeon * stray'd : Dungeon,
close, The air was calm, and on the level brine deep prison. Panope, one of the Sleek Panope * with all her sisters play'd. fifty sea-nymphs. It was that fatal and perfidious * bark, Perfidious, treach
Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. Camus, river Next Camus,* reverend sire, went footing slow, * bridge is built.
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Footing slow, allud. Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 105 ing to the slow, slug. Like to that sanguine flower * inscribed with woe. gish course of the Cam.
“Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, “my dearest Sanguine flower, the hyacinth. Pledge, child,
Last and last did go.
came, Pilot, &c., St. Peter, The pilot * of the Galilean lake ;
the Two massy keys he bore of metals twain Church, who had a boat on the Sea of (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain), * Galilee.
He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake : Amain, with force.
“How well could I have spared for thee, young
swain, Enow, enough, Enow * of such, as for their bellies' sake plenty:
Creep. and intrude,* and climb into the fold ! Intruder to
115 without permission.
Uf other care they little reckoning make,
ruler of the winds.
the Cam, on which Cam.
Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know
Sheep-hook, alluding 120 A sheep-hook,* or have learn'd aught * else to the bishop's crozier, the least
which is in shape like
a shepherd's crook. That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs ! Aught, anything. What recks it them ?* What need they? They What recks, &c., what
does it matter to are sped ;
them. And, when they list, their lean and flashy * songs Sped, provided for. Grate on their scrannel * pipes of wretched straw; Flashy, showy, with
out any real value. 125 The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
Scrannel, producing But, swollen with wind and the rank * mist they a weak screeching
Rank, here means a
Draw, breathe into.
Contagion, a catching 130 But that two-handed engine at the door
disease. Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.”
Return, Alpheus,* the dread voice is past, Alpheus, a stream in That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, be connected with
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Arethusa. 135 Their bells and flowerets * of a thousand hues. Flowerets, little
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Swart star, the dog.
Sparely, rarely, sel
dom, sparingly. 140 That on the green turf suck the honey'd showers, Quaint, curious lookAnd purple all the ground with vernal flowers. ing, fanciful,
Rathe, early. The white pink, and the pansy freak'd * with jet, Freaked, spotted on 145 The glowing violet,
mourning attire 150 And daffodillies fill their cups with tears, To strew the laureat hearse
* where Lycid lies.
Laureat hearse, anFor, so to interpose a little ease,
ciently a monument
to the memory of the Let our frail* thoughts dally* with false surmise; dead, the laurel-covAy me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
Frail, weak. 155 Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurld, Dally, delay, linger. Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Hebrides, two groups
of islands on the west
Mount, Cornwall :
anciently called Bel. 160 Sleep’st by the fable of Bellerus * old,
of the whale tribe.
when he sets.
on the sea,
Where the great vision of the guarded mount Namancos, near Cape Looks toward Namancos * and Bayona's * hold: Finisterre, in Spaion Look homeward, angel, now, and melt with ruth :* the south-west coast And, O ye dolphins,* waft the hapless youth. of France. Ruth, pity, mercy.
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, 165 Dolphin, an animal For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead, about ten feet long, Sunk though he be beneath the wat’ry floor ; Day star, the sun,
So sinks the day-star * in the ocean bed,
And yet anon * repairs his drooping head,
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the
waves; waves, the miracle of our Lord walking Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar * pure his oozy * locks he laves, 175 Nectar, the drink of And hears the unexpressive * nuptial song, the gods ; very pleasant, sweet drink In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. Oozý, muddy, slimy. There entertain * him all the saints above, Laves, washes. Unexpressive, not to
In solemn troops, and sweet societies, be expressed, beyond That sing, and, singing, in their glory move, 180 description.
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. Nuptial song, song a wedding.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ; Entertain, to amuse Henceforth thou art the genius * of the shore, Genius, the guardian In thy large recompense, and shalt be good spirit.
To all that wander in that perilous * flood. 185 Perilous, dangerous.
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and
While the still morn went out with sandals gray;
of various quills, Quills, pipes. Þoric, one of the four With eager thought warbling his Doric* lay : dialects of the ancient And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills, 190 Greek language.
And now was dropt into the western bay :
Good name, in man and woman,