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Like one that had been led astray Through the heaven's wide pathless way, And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud.

Oft on a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off curfew sound
Over some wide-watered shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar;
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still, removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,

Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm

To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold

What worlds or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptered pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine;
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskined stage.

But, O sad Virgin, that thy power Might raise Musaeus from his bower, Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing

Such notes as, warbled to the string,

Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek

And made Hell grant what Love did seek!
Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,

And who had Canace to wife

That owned the virtuous ring and glass;
And of the wondrous horse of brass
On which the Tartar king did ride :
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung
Of tourneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,

Not tricked and frounced as she was wont

With the Attic Boy to hunt,

But kercheft in a comely cloud

While rocking winds are piping loud,

Or ushered with a shower still,

When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves
With minute drops from off the eaves.
And when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,

Where the rude axe, with heaved stroke,

Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed haunt.
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honeyed thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such consort as they keep
Entice the dewy-feathered Sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid:

And, as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some Spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale
And love the high-embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow

To the full-voiced quire below

In service high and anthems clear,

As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstasies,

And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.

And may at last my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown and mossy cell Where I may sit and rightly spell

Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew;
Till old experience do attain

To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.

LYCIDAS

Elegy on a Friend drowned in the Irish Channel, 1637

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 forced fingers rude

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
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.
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 melodious tear.

Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well

That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence withdenial vain and coy excuse:

So may some gentle Muse

With lucky words favour my destined urn ;

And, as he passes, turn

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.

For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill:
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn,

We drove a-field, and both together heard
What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn,
Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star that rose at evening bright

Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering

wheel.

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Tempered to the oaten flute,

Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel
From the glad sound would not be absent long;
And old Damoetas loved to hear our song.

But, oh! 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 shepherd's ear.

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep

Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?

For neither were ye playing on the steep

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