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With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening grey doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground:
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassellid horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless
But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Syrens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of necessity,
And keep unsteady nature to her law,
And the low world in measured motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze
The peerless height of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds; yet, as we go,
Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.
O'er the smooth enamellid green,
Where no print of step bath been,
Follow me as I sing
And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm, star-proof.
I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour, as befits
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
Nymphs and shepherds, dance no more
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks;
On old Lycæus, or Cyllene hoar,
Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
From the stony Mænalus
Bring your flocks, and live with us,
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the lady of this place.
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her,
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS, [Not to be found in any Edition of his Works, excepting the First
I AM old and blind-
Men point at me as smitten by God's frown,
Afflicted and deserted of my kind,
Yet I am not cast down.
I am weak, yet strong;
I murmur not that I no longer see;
Poor, old, and helpless, I the more belong,
Father supreme! to Thee.
O merciful One! When men are farthest, then Thou art most near When friends pass by, my weakness shun,
Thy chariot I hear.
Thy glorious face
Is beaming towards me, and its holy light
Shines in upon my lonely dwelling-place,
And there is no more night.
On my bended knee I recognise Thy purpose, clearly shown: My vision Thou hast dimmed, that I may ser Thyself; Thyself alone.
I have nought to fear;
This darkness is the shadow of Thy wing;
Beneath it I am almost sacred; here
Can come no evil thing.
Oh! I seem to stand Trembling, where foot of mortal ne'er hath been Wrapped in the radiance of Thy sinless land,
hath never seen. Visions come and go; Shapes of resplendent beauty round me throng, From angel lips I seem to hear the flow
Of soft and holy song.
It is nothing now, Wheu leaven is opening on my sightless eyes; When airs from Paradise refresh my brow,
The earth in darkness lies.
In a purer clime My being tills with rapture-waves of thought Roll in upon my spirit-strains sublime
Break over me unsought.
Give me now my lyre;
I feel the stirrings of a gift divine:
Within my bosom glows unearthly fire,
Lit by no skill of mine.
Yer once more, O ye laurels, and once inore,
Ye myrtlcs 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 dur;
For Lycidas is dead, ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his
Why would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew,
Himself, to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He rnust 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,