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his lot who dares be singularly good.
The intelligent among them and the wise
are few, and glory scarce of few is raised.-
They err, who count it glorious to subdue
by conquest far and wide, to over-run
large countries, and in field great battles win,
great cities by assault. What do these worthies,
but rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave,
peaceable nations, neighbouring or remote,
made captive, yet deserving freedom more
than those their conquerors? who leave behind
nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove,
and all the flourishing works of peace destroy;
then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods,
great Benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,
worshipped with temple, priest and sacrifice.
One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;
till conqueror Death discover them scarce men,
rolling in brutish vices and deformed,
violent or shameful death their due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good,
it may by means far different be attained,
without ambition, war, or violence;
by deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
by patience, temperance.
LL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!"
for the soul is dead that slumbers,
and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest !
and the grave is not its goal;
'Dust thou art, to dust returnest,'
was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
is our destined end or way;
but to act, that each to-morrow
finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and time is fleeting,
and our hearts, though stout and brave,
still, like muffled drums, are beating
funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
in the bivouac of life,
be not like dumb, driven cattle!
be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
let the dead Past bury its dead!
act,—act in the living Present!
heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
we can make our lives sublime,
and, departing, leave behind us
footprints on the sands of time;-
footprints, that perhaps another,
sailing o'er life's solemn main,
a forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
with a heart for any fate;
still achieving, still pursuing,
learn to labour and to wait.
1025 THE BLESSINGS OF A SHEPHERD'S LIFE
GOD! methinks it were a happy life,
to be no better than a homely swain;
to sit upon a hill, as I do now,
to carve out dials quaintly, point by point,
thereby to see the minutes how they run,—
how many make the hour full complete,
how many hours bring about the day;
how many days will finish up the year,
how many years a mortal man may live.
When this is known, then to divide the times,—
so many hours must I tend my flock;
so many hours must I take my rest;
so many hours must I contemplate;
so many hours must I sport myself;
so many days my ewes have been with young;
so many weeks ere the poor fools will yean;
so many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
so minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
pass'd over to the end they were created,
would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.
Ah, what a life were this! how sweet! how lovely!
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade
to shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
to kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
O, yes, it doth; a thousand-fold it doth.
And to conclude, the shepherd's homely curds,
his cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
his wonted sleep under a fresh tree's shade,
all which secure and sweetly he enjoys,
is far beyond a prince's delicates,
his viands sparkling in a golden cup,
his body couchéd in a curious bed,
when care, mistrust and treason waits on him.
IPPOLYTUS a iolly huntsman was,
he all his peeres in beauty did surpas:
but ladies love, as losse of time, forbore:
his wanton stepdame loved him the more:
but when she saw her offred sweets refused
her love she turned to hate and him before
his father fierce of treason false accus'd,
and with her gealous termes his open eares abusd;
Who, all in rage, his seagod syre besought
some cursed vengeaunce on his sonne to cast:
from surging gulf two monsters streight were brought;
with dread whereof his chacing steedes aghast
both charett swifte and huntsman overcast.
His goodly corps, on ragged cliffs yrent,
was quite dismemberd, and his members chast
scattered on every mountaine as he went,
that of Hippolytus was lefte no moniment.
His cruell stepdame, seeing what was donne,
her wicked daies with wretched knife did end,
in death avowing th' innocence of her sonne.
Which hearing, his rash syre began to rend
his heare, and hasty tonge that did offend:
tho gathering up the reliques of his smart,
by Diane's means, who was Hippolyts friend,
them brought to Esculape, that by his art
did heale them all againe, and ioyned every part.
Such wondrous science in mans witt to rain
when Jove avizd, that could the dead revive,
and fates expired could renew again,
of endlesse life he might him not deprive:
but unto hell did thrust him downe alive,
with flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore:
where long remaining he did alwaies strive
himselfe with salve to health for to restore,
and slake the hevenly fire that raged evermore.
PROMETHEVS AD CAVCASVM AFFIXVS
ITANUM soboles, socia nostri sanguinis,
generata Cælo, aspicite religatum asperis
vinctumque saxis, navem ut horrisono freto
noctem paventes timidi adnectunt navitæ.
Saturnius me sic infixit Jupiter,
Jovisque numen Mulcebri ascivit manus.
Hos ille cuneos fabrica crudeli inserens
perrupit artus: qua miser sollertia
transverberatus castrum hoc furiarum incolo.
Jam tertio me quoque funesto die
tristi advolatu aduncis lacerans unguibus
Jovis satelles pastu dilaniat fero.
Tum jecore opimo farta et satiata affatim
clangorem fundit vastum et sublime avolans
pinnata cauda nostrum adulat sanguinem.
Quum vero adesum inflatu renovatum est jecur,
tum rursum tetros avida se ad pastus refert.
Sic hunc custodem mosti cruciatûs alo,
qui ne perenni vivum foedat miseria.
Namque, ut videtis, vinclis constrictus Jovis,
arcere nequeo diram volucrem a pectore.
Sic me ipse viduus pestes excipio anxias
amore mortis terminum anquirens mali;
sed longe a leto numine aspellor Jovis.
Atque hæc vetusta, sæclis glomerata horridis,
luctifera clades nostro infixa est corpori,
ex quo liquatæ solis ardore excidunt
guttæ, quæ saxa assidue instillant Caucasi.
1028 TO THE MEMORY OF THE PRINCE CONSORT
HESE to his Memory-since he held them dear, perchance as finding there unconsciously
some image of himself—I dedicate,
I dedicate, I consecrate with tears—
these Idylls. And indeed He seems to me
scarce other than my own ideal knight,
who reverenced his conscience as his king;
whose glory was, redressing human wrong;
who spake no slander, no, nor listen'd to it;
who loved one only and who clave to her—'
her-over all whose realms to their last isle,
commingled with the gloom of imminent war,
the shadow of his loss drew like eclipse,
darkening the world. We have lost him he is gone :
we know him now; all narrow jealousies
are silent; and we see him as he moved,
how modest, kindly, all accomplish'd, wise,
with what sublime repression of himself,
and in what limits, and how tenderly;
not swaying to this faction or to that;
not making his high place the lawless perch
of wing'd ambitions, nor a vantage-ground
for pleasure; but thro' all this tract of years
wearing the white flower of a blameless life,
before a thousand peering littlenesses,
in that fierce light which beats upon a throne,
and blackens every blot; for where is he
who dares foreshadow for an only son
a lovelier life, a more unstain'd, than his?
or how should England dreaming of his sons
hope more for these than some inheritance
of such a life, a heart, a mind as thine,
thou noble Father of her Kings to be,