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Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and His gory visage down the stream was sent, rill;

Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian Together both, ere the high lawns ap- shore? peared

Alas! what boots it with uncessant care Under the opening eyelids of the morn, To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's We drove a-field, and both together heard

trade, What time the gray-fly winds her sultry And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? horn,

Were it not better done, as others use, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, night,

Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair? Oft till the star that rose at evening Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth bright

raise Toward heaven's descent had sloped his (That last infirmity of noble mind) westering wheel.

To scorn delights and live laborious days; Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, But the fair guerdon when we hope to Tempered to the oaten flute;

find, Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with And think to burst out into sudden blaze, cloven heel

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorrèd From the glad sound would not be absent shears, long;

And slits the thin-spun life. “But not the And old Damætas loved to hear our song.

praise," But, oh! the heavy change, now thou art Phæbus replied, and touched my trembling

gone, Now thou art gone, and never must returu! “Fame is no plant that grows on mortal Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert soil, caves,

Nor in the glistering foil With wild thyme and the gadding vine Set off to the world, nor in broad rumor o'ergrown,

lies; And all their echoes, mourn.

But lives and spreads aloft by those pure The willows and the hazel copses green

eyes Shall now no more be seen,

And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
As killing as the canker to the rose,

Of so much fame in heaven expect thy
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that meed."

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honored Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe flood, wear,

Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal When first the white-thorn blows;

Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. That strain I heard was of a higher mood:
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the re- But now my oat proceeds,
morseless deep

And listens to the herald of the sea,
Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas? | That came in Neptune's plea.
For neither were ye playing on the steep He asked the waves, and asked the felon
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, winds,

What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona bigh,

swain? Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard And questioned every gust of rugged stream.

wings Ay me, I fondly dream!

That blows from off each beakèd promonHad ye been there—for what could that tory: have done?

They knew not of his story;
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus And sage Hippotades their answer brings,

That not a blast was from his dungeon
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, strayed;
Whom universal nature did lament,

The air was calm, and on the level brine
When by the rout that made the hideous Sleek Panope with all her sisters played.

It was that fatal and perfidious bark,










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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 dear

est pledge?Last came, and last did go, The pilot of the Galilean lake; Two massy keys he bore of metals twain 110 (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain). He shook his mitred locks, and stern be

spake: "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. Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know

how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learnt 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 spoln 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

130 Stands ready to smite once, and smite no



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 wood

bine, 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 sur

mise, Ay me, whilst thee the shores and sound

ing seas Wash far away, where'er 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,

160 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 0 ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep

165 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 span

gled 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

locks he laves, 175 And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,

his oozy




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.

135 Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use Of shades and wanton winds and gushing



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

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. 185
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 dropt into the western bay. At last he rose, and twitched his mantle

blue: Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.

My true account, lest he returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labor, light de

nied ?I fondly ask.

But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not

need Either man's work or his own gifts. Who

best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him- best.

His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without

rest; They also serve who only stand and



Of sun


TWENTY-THREE How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of

youth, Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth

year! My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom

shewith. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the

truth That I to manhood am arrived so near; And inward ripeness doth much less ap

pear, That some more timely-happy spirits

endu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,

It shall be still in strictest measure even

To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will

of Heaven; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

To CYRIACK SKINNER Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes,

though clear To outward view, of blemish or of spot, Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot; Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear

or moon or star throughout the year, Or man or woman. Yet I argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate

a jot Of heart or hope, but still bear up and

steer Right onward. What supports me, dost

thou ask? The conscience, friend, to have lost them

overplied In Liberty's defense, my noble task, Of which all Europe talks from side to side. This thought might lead me through the

world's vain mask Content, though blind, had I no better


ON HIS BLINDNESS When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days, in this dark world and

wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul

more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present

OF DARKNESS VISIBLE [From The Second Defense, 1654] Nor was I ever prompted to such exertions by the influence of ambition, by the lust of lucre or of praise; it was only by the conviction of duty and the feeling of patriotism, a disinterested passion for the extension of civil and religious liberty. Thus, therefore, when I was publicly solicited to write a reply to the Defense of the royal cause, when I had to contend with the pressure of sickness, and with the apprehension of soon losing the sight of my remaining eye, and when my medical attendants clearly announced that if I did engage in the work it would be irreparabiy


lost, their premonitions caused no hesi- cloud spread over the mind, which darkens tation and inspired no dismay. I would both the light of reason and of conscience; not have listened to the voice even of mine keeps from my view only the colored Esculapius himself from the shrine of surfaces of things, while it leaves me at Epidauris, in preference to the sugges- liberty to contemplate the beauty and stations of the heavenly monitor within my bility of virtue and of truth. How many breast; my

resolution unshaken, things are there besides which I would not though the alternative was either the loss willingly see; how many which I must see of my sight, or the desertion of my duty: against my will; and how few which I and I called to mind those two destinies, feel any anxiety to see! There is, as the which the oracle of Delphi announced to apostle has remarked, a way to strength the son of Thetis:

through weakness. Let me then be the most "Two fates may lead me to the realms of

feeble creature alive, as long as that feeblenight,

ness serves to invigorate the energies of my

rational and immortal spirit; as long as in If staying here, around Troy's wall I

that obscurity, in which I am enveloped, fight,

the light of the divine presence more clearly To my dear home no more must I return; But lasting glory will adorn my urn.

shines, then, in proportion as I am weak, I

shall be invincibly strong; and in proporBut, if I withdraw from the martial strife,

tion as I am blind, I shall more clearly see. Short is my fame, but long will be my life.”

0! that I may thus be perfected by feebleI considered that many had purchased a ness, and irradiated by obscurity! less good by a greater evil, the meed of glory by the loss of life: but that I might

OF CELESTIAL LIGHT procure great good by little suffering; that though I am blind, I might still discharge

(From Paradise Lost, III, 1-55] the most honorable duties, the performance of which, as it is something more durable Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstthan glory, ought to be an object of supe- born! rior admiration and esteem; I resolved, Or of the Eternal coeternal beam therefore, to make the short interval of May I express thee unblamed? since God sight, which was left me to enjoy, as bene- is light, ficial as possible to the public interest. And never but in unapproached light Thus it is clear by what motives I was gov- Dwelt from eternity-dwelt then in thee, erned in the measures which I took, and Bright effluence of bright essence increate! the losses which I sustained. Let then the Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal calumniators of the divine goodness cease stream, to revile, or make me the object of their Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the superstitious imaginations. Let them con- Sun, sider, that my situation, such as it is, is Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the neither an object of my shame or my re- voice gret, that my resolutions are too firm to be Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest shaken, that I am not depressed by any The rising World of waters dark and deep, sense of the divine displeasure; that, on the Won from the void and formless Infinite! other hand, in the most momentous periods, Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, I have had full experience of the divine Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long defavor and protection; and that, in the sol- tained ace and the strength which have been in- In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight, fused into me from above, I have been Through utter and through middle Darkness enabled to do the will of God; that I may borne, oftener think on what he has bestowed, With other notes than to the Orphean lyre than on what he has withheld; that, in short, I sung of Chaos and eternal Night, I am unwilling to exchange my conscious- Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture ness of rectitude with that of any other per- down son; and that I feel the recollection a treas- The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, ured store of tranquillity and delight. But, Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe, if the choice were necessary, I would, sir, And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou prefer my blindness' to yours; yours is a Revisit’st not these eyes, that roll in vain


To find thy piercing ray, and find no by this latter, the style, by certain vital dawn;

signs it had, was likely to live. But much So thick a drop serene hath quenched their latelier in the private academies of Italy, orbs,

whither I was favored to resort, perceiving Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more that some trifles which I had in memory, Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt composed at under twenty or thereabout, Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, (for the manner is, that every one must give Smit with the love of sacred song; but some proof of his wit and reading there,) chief

met with acceptance above what was looked Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, for; and other things, which I had shifted That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling in scarcity of books and conveniences to flow,

patch up amongst them, were received with Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget written encomiums, which the Italian is not Those other two equaled with me in fate, forward to bestow on men of this side the So were I equaled with them in renown, Alps; I began thus far to assent both to Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides, them and divers of my friends here at And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old: home, and not less to an inward prompting Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move which now grew daily upon me, that by Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird labor and intense study, (which I take to be Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid, my portion in this life,) joined with the Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the strong propensity of nature, I might peryear

haps leave something so written to afterSeasons return; but not to me returns times, as they should not willingly let it Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn die. Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, Time serves not now, and perhaps I Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; might seem too profuse to give any certain But cloud instead and ever-during dark account of what the mind at home, in the Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of spacious circuits of her musing, hath liberty

to propose to herself, though of highest Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge hope and hardest attempting; whether that fair,

epic form whereof the two poems of Homer, Presented with a universal blank

and those other two of Virgil and Tasso, Of Nature's works, to me expunged and are a diffuse, and the book of Job a brief rased,

model: or whether the rules of Aristotle And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. herein are strictly to be kept, or nature to So much the rather thou, Celestial Light, be followed, which in them that know art, Shine inward, and the mind through all her and use judgment, is no transgression, but powers

an enriching of art: and lastly, what king Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from or knight, before the conquest, might be thence

chosen in whom to lay the pattern of a Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell Christian hero. Of things invisible to mortal sight.

These abilities, wheresoever they be found, are the inspired gift of God, rarely

bestowed, but yet to some (though most THE POET's SERVICE TO THE STATE

abuse) in every nation; and are of power, [From Reason of Church Government,

beside the office of a pulpit, to inbreed and 1641]

cherish in a great people the seeds of virtue

and public civility, to allay the perturbaAfter I had for my first years, by the tions of the mind, and set the affections in ceaseless diligence and care of my father, right tune; to celebrate in glorious and (whom God recompense!) been exercised to lofty hymns the throne and equipage of the tongues, and some sciences, as my age God's almightiness, and what he works, and would suffer, by sundry masters and teach- what he suffers to be wrought with his ers, both at home and at the schools, it was providence in his church; to sing victorious found that whether aught was imposed me agonies of martyrs and saints, the deeds by them that had the overlooking, or be- and triumphs of just and pious nations, taken to of mine own choice in English, or doing valiantly through faith against the enother tongue, prosing or versing, but chiefly / emies of Christ; to deplore the general re

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