In this monody the Author bewails a learned Friend, unfortunately
drowned in his passage from Chester, on the Irish seas, 1637; and by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in their height.
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 she 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 a-field, and both together heard
What time the gray-f winds her sultry horn.