Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXX. Sweet Sorrow
From ‘Lycidas’
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
[See full text.]

YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc’d fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.        5
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        10
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not flote upon his watry bear
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of som melodious tear….
  But O the heavy change, now thou art gon,        15
Now thou art gon, and never must return!
Thee Shepherd, thee the Woods, and desert Caves,
With wilde Thyme and the gadding Vine o’regrown,
And all their echoes mourn.
The Willows, and the Hazle Copses green,        20
Shall now no more be seen,
Fanning their joyous Leaves to thy soft layes.
As killing as the Canker to the Rose,
Or Taint-worm to the weanling Herds that graze,
Or Frost to Flowers, that their gay wardrop wear,        25
When first the White thorn blows;
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to Shepherds ear….
  Weep no more, woful Shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar,        30
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,        35
Through the dear might of him that walk’d the waves
Where other groves, and other streams along,
With Nectar pure his oozy Lock’s he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptiall Song,
In the blest Kingdoms meek of joy and love.        40
There entertain him all the Saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet Societies
That sing, and singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
 
 
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