The Monody of Lycaeus / J.S. Fletcher

Yet once again, ye groves of verdant spring 
Which near tlie fount of Arethuse do dwell, 
I come to taste tlie sweets of your delight, 
Or watch the dark plumed night 
Flit from your ebon shades with dreamy wing; 
With rural pipe and sylvan voice to sing, 
In tricked numbers pleasing the quaint ear. 
Or 'neath the whispering voices of the trees 
To catch the sunbeam fancies of the wind. 
Or mournful sigh unto the wandering breeze; 
Tet though I come with gently musing mind. 
My theme, which erst was one of joyous song. 
Mournful and full of fancies now must be. 
And dressed in colours of reflection drear. 
For he is dead that once was dear to me. 
And youthful memories round me quickly throng.

Ah! Lycaeus is gone, whose youthful feet 
Had climbed the summit of the sacred hill, 
Whose voice had sung in measures wildly sweet, 
By evening's stream, or morning's flashing rill. 
Alas! what boots the smoothly gliding verse 
To celebrate the virtues of the dead, 
Or mournful sigh unto the passing clouds, 
Or catch the wandering sunbeams as they fly 
To raise a tribute to his hallowed head. 

Whose hyacinthine locks were all unshorn. 
But then the deadly blight which laid thee low 
Sent us to wander o'er the vale forlorn. 
To wildly weep and wail thy hapless woe. 

Return, sweet memories of the voiceless past. 
And fill the mind with happy useless joys. 
Or sad remembrance of our youthful dreams 
When hand in hand we wandered by the wood. 
Or quenched our thirst at pleasant murmuring streams.
And oft at gentle morn we wond'ring stood 
Upon the summits of the eastern hills.

Where Humber rolled his golden tide beneath, 
And watched the flaming warfare of the sky; 
Or sipped the early dew from crystal rills, 
Which seemed to smile and then to babble by. 
Ah, me! those scenes for thee should haply sigh. 
Where thy sweet voice did merry music make 
With oaten pipe or rustic reed of straw. 
While many a cheerful echo round did wake 
To carol back the airy sylvan note. 
Like mystic voices from a fabled shore, 
Hydaspes, or the Ladon's banks remote; 
Where lilies blend with many a fairer flower, 
And golden winds in trembling music sigh 
O'er hyacinths and asphodels in bloom. 
Or gorgeous plants which quickly live and die.
Ah, sweetest shepherd! shall the hapless swains 
Who hung upon the sounds of thy soft note 
Now sadly weep thy fair and youthful face. 
Lost like Adonis in thine unripe youth? 
Ah, me! and what to us of joy remains. 
Or jocund laugh, or merry rustic note? 

For they were dull were they unshared by thee; 
And many a shepherd wails thy mournful fate,
"Alas!" Maecenas said, "and where is he 
Whose laughing voice my own hath oft reproved.
Impatient of the musty iron rule, 
And aye indulging in his boyish dreams?
For glad was he to leave the ancient school, 
And so to wander by the wooded streams, 
To think of nymphs, and wizards dark and drear." 
Next Thyrsis, swain sedate, did make his moan, 
And sighed that that young heart no more should beat; 
"Alas!" said he, "how oft thy dancing feet 
Have followed me into the mountain mist, 
To talk of lambs, and tell thy wondrous tales 
All unremembered by the rustic hind." 
Oh! thou fair haven, where his soul be cast 
To wander through thy forests clothed in green, 
And with some angel spirit him to guide 
The fairy-footed flowery aisles between, 
Take of the youthful boy a solemn care, 
Or keep him ever by the crystal flood, 
Where after his short life he quickly stood, 
And heard unknown delights beseech the ear. 
Thy spoil with flow'rets crown, and dewy wreaths 
All lovely with the morning's glittering gems. 

Or like the beauty of night's diadems. 
For him the solemn song shall soon delight — 
Yet while with thee 'tis day, with us 'tis night, 
For thy young mind is banished like a star 
Cast from the heaven of our devoted hopes. 
To wander 'neath the ambrosial shades afar. 
And there indulge in soft ethereal dreams, 
As quaintly imaged as thy native shore 
Of sombre vales and gently winding streams. 
But now the eve did wane, and twilight fair 
In her grey mantle wrapped the autumnal fields. 
And Cynthia, dressed in robe of dullest blue. 
With gentle hand expelled the busy day 
Who wandered forth with timid steps to stray, 
And headlong fall into the abyss of time; 
The sylvan pipe and sad unlearn'd rhyme 
Went from the shepherd's mind like some strange sight, 
While to his humble home he slowly fled, 
His mournful rhythm still lingering in his head, — 
So passed Hyperion from the autumn night.

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