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Or when the ghost, sent back from shades below,
Fills the assassin's heart with vengeful woe,
When Troy, or Argos, the dire scene affords,
Or Creon's hall laments its guilty lords.
Nor always city-pent, or pent at home,
I dwell; but when spring calls me forth to roam,
Expatiate in our proud suburban shades
Of branching elm, that never sun pervades.
Here many a virgin troop I may descry,
Like stars of mildest influence, gliding by.
Oh forms divine! Oh looks that might inspire
Even Jove himself, grown old, with young
Oft have I gazed on gem-surpassing eyes,
Out-sparkling every star that gilds the skies.
Necks whiter than the ivory arm bestowed
By Jove on Pelops, or the milky road !
Bright locks, Love's golden snarel these falling low,
Those playing wanton o'er the graceful brow!
Cheeks too, more winning sweet than after shower
Adonis turn'd to Flora's favourite flower!
Yield, heroines, yield, and ye who shared the embrace
Of Jupiter in ancient times, give place!
Give place, ye turban'd fair of Persia's coast !
And ye, not less renown'd, Assyria's boast !
Submit, ye nymphs of Greece! ye, once the bloom
Of Ilion! and all ye, of haughty Rome,
Who swept, of old, her theatres with trains
Redundant, and still live in classic strains !
To British damsels beauty's palm is due ;
Aliens ! to follow them is fame for you.
Oh city, founded by Dardanian hands,
Whose towering front the circling realms commands,
Too blest abode ! no loveliness we see
In all the earth, but it abounds in thee.
The virgin multitude that daily meets,
Radiant with gold and beauty, in thy streets,
Outnumbers all her train of starry fires,
With which Diana gilds thy lofty spires.
Fame says, that wafted hither by her doves,
With all her host of quiver-bearing loves,
Venus, preferring Paphian scenes no more,
Has fix'd her empire on thy nobler shore.
But lest the sightless boy inforce my stay,
I leave these happy walls, while yet I may.
Immortal Moly shall secure my
From all the sorcery of Circæan art,
And I will even repass Cam's reedy pools
To face once more the warfare of the schools.
Meantime accept this trifle! rhymes though few,
Yet such, as prove thy friend's remembrance true!
DEATH OF THE UNIVERSITY BEADLE AT
COMPOSED BY MILTON IN THE SEVENTEENTH YEAR OF HIS AGE.
Ther, whose refulgent staff, and summons clear,
Minerva's flock long time was wont to obey,
Although thyself an herald, famous here,
The last of heralds, Death, has snatch'd
away. He calls on all alike, nor even deigns To spare
Thy locks were whiter than the plumes display'd
By Leda's paramour in ancient time,
But thou wast worthy ne'er to have decay'd,
Or Æson-like to know a second prime,
Worthy, for whom some goddess should have won
New life, oft kneeling to Apollo's son.
Commission'd to convene, with hasty call,
The gowned tribes, how graceful wouldst thou stand ! So stood Cyllenius erst in Priam's hall,
Wing-footed messenger of Jove's command;
And so Eurybates, when he address’d
To Peleus' son, Atrides' proud behest.
Dread queen of sepulchres! whose rigorous laws
And watchful eyes run through the realms below, Oh, oft too adverse to Minerva's cause,
Too often to the Muse not less a foe, Chuse meaner marks, and with more equal aim Pierce useless drones, earth's burthen and its shame! Flow, therefore, tears for him, from every eye,
All ye disciples of the Muses, weep!
Assembling, all, in robes of sable dye,
Around his bier, lament his endless sleep;
And let complaining elegy rehearse,
In every school, her sweetest, saddest verse.
DEATH OF THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
COMPOSED IN THE AUTHOR'S SEVENTEENTH YEAR.
SILENT I sat, dejected, and alone,
Making in thought, the public woes my own,
When, first, arose the image in
breast Of England's suffering by that scourge, the Pest! How Death, his funeral torch and scythe in hand, Entering the lordliest mansions of the land, Has laid the gem-illumined palace low, And levell’d tribes of nobles at a blow. I, next, deplored the famed paternal pair, Too soon to ashes turn'd, and empty air ! The heroes next, whom snatch'd into the skies, All Belgia saw, and follow'd with her sighs ; But thee far most I mourn'd, regretted most, Winton's chief shepherd, and her worthiest boast ! Pour'd out in tears I thus complaining said: “ Death, next in power to him who rules the dead ! Is't not enough that all the woodlands yield To thy fell force, and every verdant field, That lilies, at one noisome blast of thine, And even the Cyprian queen's own roses, pine, That oaks themselves, although the running rill Suckle their roots, must wither at thy will, That all the winged nations, even those Whose heaven-directed flight the future shows, And all the beasts, that in dark forests stray, And all the herds of Proteus are thy prey.
Ah envious ! arm’d with powers so unconfined !
Why stain thy hands with blood of human kind?
Why take delight, with darts, that never roam,
To chase a heaven-born spirit from her home?"
While thus I mourn'd, the star of evening stood,
Now newly risen above the western flood,
And Phoebus from his morning goal again
Had reach'd the gulfs of the Iberian main.
I wish'd repose, and on my couch reclined,
Took early rest, to night and sleep resign'd:
When-Oh for words to paint what I beheld !
I seem'd to wander in a spacious field,
Where all the champaign glow'd with purple light
Like that of sun-rise on the mountain height;
Flowers over all the field, of every
That ever Iris wore, luxuriant grew.
Nor Chloris, with whom amorous zephyrs play,
E'er dress’d Alcinous' garden half so gay.
A silver current, like the Tagus, rollid
O'er golden sands, but sands of purer gold;
With dewy airs Favonius fann'd the flowers,
With airs awaken'd under
Such, poets feign, irradiate all o'er
The sun's abode on India's utmost shore.
While I, that splendour and the mingled shade
Of fruitful vines, with wonder fixt survey'd,
At once, with looks that beam'd celestial grace,
The seer of Winton stood before my face.
His snowy vesture's hem descending low
His golden sandals swept, and pure as snow
New-fallen shone the mitre on his brow.
Where'er he trod a tremulous sweet sound
Of gladness shook the flowery scene around: