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A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
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
The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise,
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled ;
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth:
Weep no more, woful 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,
Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals grey :
He touched the tender stops of various quills,
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,
ON THE TOMBS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
MORTALITY, behold and fear
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within these heaps of stones;
Here they lie, had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands,
They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.'
With the richest royallest seed
That the earth did e'er suck in
Since the first man died for sin
Here the bones of birth have cried
'Though gods they were, as men they died!'
VICTORIOUS Men of earth, no more
Proclaim how wide your empires are ;
Though you bind-in every shore
And your triumphs reach as far
As night or day,
Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey
And mingle with forgotten ashes, when
Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War,
Each able to undo mankind,
Death's servile emissaries are;
He hath at will
More quaint and subtle ways to kill;
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
See where the victor-victim bleeds:
To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE
CAPTAIN, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee; for he knows the charms
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower:
Went to the ground: and the repeated air
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.