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 with denial 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 afield, and both together heard
What time the gray 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 Damaetas 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,
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie;
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream:
Ay me! I fondly dream!
Had ye been there, for what could that have done?
What could the 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 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 Neaera's hair?
Fame is 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 blaze,
Comes the blind fury with the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise,"
Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears;
"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies,
But lives and spreads aloft by those 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 Arethuse, and thou honoured flood,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds,
That strain I heard was of a higher mood:
But now my oat proceeds,
And listens to the herald of the sea
That came in Neptune's plea;
He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds,
What hard mishap had doomed this gentle swain?
And questioned every gust of rugged wings,
That blows from off each beaked promontory:
They knew not of his story,
And sage Hippotades their answer brings,
That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed,
The air was calm, and on the level brine
Sleek Panope with all her sisters played.
It was that fatal and perfidious bark
Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next 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 inscribed with woe.
"Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, "my dearest pledge?"
Last came, and last did go,
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 shearer's feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learned aught else the least
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs!
What reeks 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 swollen 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, 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 flowerets 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 enamelled eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honeyed 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 freaked with jet,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strow the laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurled,
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 toward 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 walked the waves,
Where other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy 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 the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals gray,
He touched the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay:
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
And now was dropped into the western bay;
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue,
Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.


En! iterum laurus, iterum salvete myricae
Pallentes, nullique hederae quae ceditis aevo.
Has venio baccas, quanquam sapor asper acerbis,
Decerptum, quassumque manu folia ipsa proterva,
Maturescentem praevortens improbus annum.
Causa gravis, pia cansa, subest, et amara deum lex;
Nec jam sponte mea vobis rata tempora turbo.
Nam periit Lycidas, periit superante juventa
Imberbis Lycidas, quo non praestantior alter.
Quis cantare super Lycida neget? Ipse quoque artem
Norat Apollineam, versumque imponere versu
Non nullo vitreum fas innatet ille feretrum
Flente, voluteturque arentes corpus ad auras,
Indotatum adeo et lacrymae vocalis egenum.
Quare agite, o sacri fontis queis cura, sorores,
Cui sub inaccessi sella Jovis exit origo:
Incipite, et sonitu graviore impellite chordas.
Lingua procul male prompta loqui, suasorque morarum
Sit pudor: alloquiis ut mollior una secundis
Pieridum faveat, cui mox ego destiner, urnae:
Et gressus praetergrediens convertat, et "Esto"
Dicat "amoena quies atra tibi veste latenti:"
Uno namque jugo duo nutribamur: eosdem
Pavit uterque greges ad fontem et rivulum et umbram.
Tempore nos illo, nemorum convexa priusquam,
Aurora reserante oculos, caepere videri,
Urgebamus equos ad pascua: novimus horam
Aridus audiri solitus qua clangor asili;
Rore recentes greges passi pinguescere noctis
Saepius, albuerat donec quod vespere sidus
Hesperios axes prono inclinasset Olympo.
At pastorales non cessavere camoenae,
Fistula disparibus quas temperat apta cicutis:
Saltabant Satyri informes, nec murmure laeto
Capripedes potuere diu se avertere Fauni;
Damaetasque modos nostros longaevus amabat.
Jamque, relicta tibi, quantum mutata videntur
Rura - relicta tibi, cui non spes ulla regressus!
Te sylvae, teque antra, puer, deserta ferarum,
Incultis obducta thymis ac vite sequaci,
Decessisse gemunt; gemitusque reverberat Echo.
Non salices, non glauca ergo coryleta videbo
Molles ad numeros laetum motare cacumen:-
Quale rosis scabies; quam formidabile vermis
Depulso jam lacte gregi, dum tondet agellos;
Sive quod, indutis verna jam veste, pruinae
Floribus, albet ubi primum paliurus in agris:
Tale fuit nostris, Lycidam periisse, bubulcis.
Qua, Nymphae, latuistis, ubi crudele profundum
Delicias Lycidam vestras sub vortice torsit?
Nam neque vos scopulis tum ludebatis in illis
Quos veteres, Druidae, Vates, illustria servant
Nomina; nec celsae setoso in culmine Monae,
Nec, quos Deva locos magicis amplectitur undis.
Vae mihi! delusos exercent somnia sensus:
Venissetis enim; numquid venisse juvaret?
Numquid Pieris ipsa parens interfuit Orphei,
Pieris ipsa suae sobolis, qui carmine rexit
Corda virum, quem terra olim, quam magna, dolebat,
Tempore quo, dirum auditu strepitante caterva,
Ora secundo amni missa, ac foedata cruore,
Lesbia praecipitans ad litora detulit Hebrus?
Eheu quid prodest noctes instare diesque
Pastorum curas spretas humilesque tuendo,
Nilque relaturam meditari rite Camoenam?
Nonne fuit satius lusus agitare sub umbra,
(Ut mos est aliis,) Amaryllida sive Neaeram
Sectanti, ac tortis digitum impediisse capillis?
Scilcet ingenuum cor Fama, novissimus error
Illa animi majoris, uti calcaribus urget
Spernere delicias ac dedi rebus agendis.
Quanquam - exoptatam jam spes attingere dotem;
Jam nec opinata remur splendescere flamma:-
Caeca sed invisa cum forfice venit Erinnys,
Quae resecet tenui haerentem subtemine vitam.
"At Famam non illa," refert, tangitque trementes
Phoebus Apollo aures. "Fama haud, vulgaris ad instar
Floris, amat terrestre solum, fictosque nitores
Queis inhiat populus, nec cum Rumore patescit.
Vivere dant illi, dant increbrescere late
Puri oculi ac vox summa Jovis, cui sola Potestas.
Fecerit ille semel de facto quoque virorum
Arbitrium: tantum famae manet aethera nactis."
Fons Arethusa! sacro placidus qui laberis alveo,
Frontem vocali praetextus arundine, Minci!
Sensi equidem gravius carmen. Nunc cetera pastor
Exsequor. Adstat enim missus pro rege marino,
Seque rogasse refert fluctus, ventosque rapaces,
Quae sors dura nimis tenerum rapuisset agrestem.
Compellasse refert alarum quicquid ab omni
Spirat, acerba sonans, scopulo, qui cuspidis instar
Prominet in pelagus; fama haud pervenerat illuc.
Haec ultro pater Hippotades responsa ferebat:
"Nulli sunt,nostro palati carcere venti.
Straverat aequor aquas, et sub Jove compta sereno
Lusum exercebat Panope nymphaeque sorores.
Quam Furiae struxere per interlunia, leto
Fetam ac fraude ratem, - malos velarat Erinnys, -
Credas in mala tanta caput mersisse sacratum."
Proximus huic tardum senior se Camus agebat;
Cui setosa chlamys, cui pileus ulva: figuris
Idem intertextus dubiis erat, utque cruentos
Quos perhibent flores, inscriptus margine luctum.
"Nam quis," ait, "praedulce meum me pignus ademit?"
Post hos, qui Galilaea regit per stagna carinas,
Post hos venit iturus: habet manus utraque clavim,
(Queis aperit clauditque) auro ferrove gravatam.
Mitra tegit crines; quassis quibus, acriter infit:
"Scilicet optassem pro te dare corpora leto
Sat multa, o juvenis: quot serpunt ventribus acti,
Vi quot iter faciunt spretis in ovilia muris.
Hic labor, hoc opus est, pecus ut tondente magistro
Praeripiant epulas, trudatur dignior hospes.
Capti oculis, non ore! pedum tractare nec ipsi
Norunt; quotve bonis sunt upilionibus artes.
Sed quid enim refert, quove eat opus, omnia nactis?
Fert ubi mens, tenue ac deductum carmen avenam
Radit stridentem stipulis. Pastore negato
Suspicit aegra pecus: vento gravis ac lue tracta
Tabescit; mox foeda capit contagia vulgus.
Quid dicam, stabulis ut clandestinus oberrans
Expleat ingluviem tristis lupus, indice nullo?
Illa tamen bimanus custodit machina portam,
Stricta, paratque malis plagam non amplius unam."
En, Alphee, redi! Quibus ima cohorruit unda
Voces praeteriere: redux quoque Sicelis omnes
Musa voca valles; huc pendentes hyacinthos
Fac jaciant, teneros huc flores mille colorum.
O nemorum depressa, sonant ubi crebra susurri
Umbrarum, et salientis aquae, Zephyrique protervi;
Queisque virens gremium penetrare Canicula parcit:
Picturata modis jacite huc mihi lumina miris,
Mellitos imbres queis per viridantia rura
Mos haurire, novo quo tellus vere rubescat.
Huc ranunculus, ipse arbos, pallorque ligustri,
Quaeque relicta perit, vixdum matura feratur
Pnimula: quique ebeno distinctus, caetera flavet
Flos, et qui specie nomen detrectat eburna.
Ardenti violae rosa proxima fundat odores;
Serpyllumque placens, et acerbo flexile vultu
Verbascum, ac tristem si quid sibi legit amictum.
Quicquid habes pulcri fundas, amarante: coronent
Narcissi lacrymis calices, sternantque feretrum
Tectus ubi lauro Lycidas jacet: adsit ut oti
Saltem aliquid, ficta ludantur imagine mentes.
Me miserum! Tua nam litus, pelagusque sonorum
Ossa ferunt, queiscunque procul jacteris in oris;
Sive procellosas ultra Symplegadas ingens
Jam subter mare visis, alit quae monstra profundum;
Sive (negavit enim precibus te Jupiter udis)
Cum sene Bellero, veterum qui fabula, dormis,
Qua custoditi montis praegrandis imago
Namancum atque arces longe prospectat Iberas.
Verte retro te, verte deum, mollire precando:
Et vos infaustum juvenem delphines agatis.
Ponite jam lacrymas, sat enim flevistis, agrestes.
Non periit Lycidas, vestri moeroris origo,
Marmorei quanquam fluctus hausere cadentem.
Sic et in aequoreum se condere saepe cubile
Luciferum videas; nec longum tempus, et effert
Demissum caput, igne novo vestitus; et, aurum
Ceu rutilans, in fronte poli splendescit Eoi.
Sic obiit Lycidas, sic assurrexit in altum;
Illo, quem peditem mare sustulit, usus amico.
Nunc campos alios, alia errans stagna secundum,
Rorantesque lavans integro nectare crines,
Audit inauditos nobis cantari Hymenaeos,
Fortunatorum sedes ubi mitis amorem
Laetitiamque affert. Hic illum, quotquot Olympum
Praedulces habitant turbae, venerabilis ordo,
Circumstant: aliaeque canunt, interque canendum
Majestate sua veniunt abeuntque catervae,
Omnes ex oculis lacrymas arcere paratae.
Ergo non Lycidam jam lamentantur agrestes.
Divus eris ripae, puer, hoc ex tempore nobis,
Grande, nec immerito, veniens in munus; opemque
Poscent usque tuam, dubiis quot in aestubus errant.
Haec incultus aquis puer ilicibusque canebat;
Processit dum mane silens talaribus albis.
Multa manu teneris discrimina tentat avenis,
Dorica non studio modulatus carmina segni:
Et jam sol abiens colles extenderat omnes,
Jamque sub Hesperium se praecipitaverat alveum.
Surrexit tandem, glaucumque retraxit amictum;
Cras lucos, reor, ille novos, nova pascua quaeret.