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The pilot of the Galilean lake ;
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain);
He shook his mitred 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 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;
Bliud mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs !
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped ;
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The 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 grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing said;
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
Return, Alphèus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams ; return, Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells, and flow'rets 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 enamelld eyes
That on the green turf suck the honied showers
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the 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 laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
Ah me! whilst thee the shores, and sounding seas
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurld,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide,
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world ;
Or whether thou to our moist vows denied.
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
Where the great Vision of the guarded mount
Looks towards Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth :
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 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
locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing, in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ;
Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thus sang the uncouth swain to th' 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 Doric lay;
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the western bay:
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue ;
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care :
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, The short and simple annals of the Poor. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike th' inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Forgive, ye Proud, th' involuntary fault If Memory to these no trophies raise, Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Can storied urn or animated bust Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death ? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire, Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre. But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll ; Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage, And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark ́unfathom'd caves of ocean bear :
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbad : nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense, kindled at the Muse's flame
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray ;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Yet e'en those bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With ancouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
years, spelt by th’ unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply :
And many a holy text around she strews
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind ?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
E’en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries
E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate ;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.