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WHAT is the existence of man's life
10 Which beats the bark with many a wave, Till he casts anchor in the grave. It is a flower—which buds and grows, And withers as the leaves disclose; Whose spring and fall faint seasons keer, 15 Like fits of waking before sleep, Then shrinks into that fatal mould Where its first being was enroll’d. It is a dream-whose seeming truth Is moralized in age and youth:
20 Where all the comforts he can share As wandering as his fancies are; Till in a mist of dark decay The dreamer vanish quite away. It is a dial—which points out
25 The sunset as it moves about; And shadows out in lines of night The subtle stages of Time's flight.
Till all-obscuring earth hath laid
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
10 Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long ; There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls His whispering stream: within the walls then view 15 The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred Great Alexander to subdue the world, Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next : There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand; and various-measured verse,
poem Phoebus challenged for his own : 25
30 High actions and high passions best describing : Thence to the famous orators repair, Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence Wielded at will that fierce democratie, Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece
35 To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.
EXTRACT FROM LYCIDAS.
RETURN, Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
The white pink, and the pansy freak’d with jet,
flower that sad embroidery wears :
25 Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide, Visit’st the bottom of the monstrous world ; Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep’st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great vision of the guarded mount 30 Looks towards Namanco's and Bayona's hold; Look homeward, angel, now, and melt with ruth: And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
35 Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor; So sinks the day-star
locks he laves, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
Go, lovely rose !
That now she knows,
Tell her that's young,
That hadst thou sprung
Small is the worth
Bid her come forth,
Then die ! that she
May read in thee: