Lycidas and Milo.

Flora's Banquet. A Collection of Poems. Vol. I.


A pastoral elegy in seventeen anapastic quatrains. The poem laments the passing of Matthew Garnett jun. of Belfast, member of the Belfast Musical Society, the Amicable Society, "an old and respectable club, wherein Volunteering first commenced in the North," and the Orange Lodge, Belfast, No. 257; 1:146n. The characters in this poem had previously appeared in another pastoral ballad, "The Shepherd's Despair" pp. 88-89. The deceased was evidently a poet: "Oh, melody! dare I proclaim, | How softly, how sweetly he sung? | Still chaste and sublime was his theme, | And verse came improv'd from his tongue." Garnett died 28 December, 1781.

Ah, MILO! — but let us retire,
From this too insensible throng,
And sit where sad echoes conspire
To cadence our woe-breathing song.

Yes, LYCIDAS, let us begone
To CORRYDON'S ozier-fenc'd shade,
Where Lagan rolls silent along,
And mingle our sighs for the dead.

O bear with my plaints, you who know
The sad, cureless cause of my grief!
Since forc'd all of bliss to forego,
Complaining alone brings relief.

Each beauty that charm'd so before,
When friendship endear'd the gay scene,
Can please my fond fancy no more:
—Ah! DAMON — the days we have seen!

How oft by yon time-worn oak,
That shadows the soft-flowing stream,
We've lean'd the coy muse to invoke,
Colleagu'd the joint sonnet to frame:

How oft by yon daisy-fring'd grove,
(When MIRA and LAURA were dear)
We've blended our success in love,
And lent mutual suff'rings a tear.

But fled is each cordial delight,
Which friendship so lately supply'd:
Amusements no longer invite;
With DAMON my happiness dy'd!

Our shepherd was skill'd in the schools,
To science, with success apply'd;
But, wedded to no rigid rules,
Made unerring nature his guide:

And nature, still just to her own,
Display'd all her charms to his eye;—
While blest, he enjoy'd not alone,
But taught his colleagues to enjoy.

Yon mountains that boldly aspire,
Yon cascade that thunders between;
Yon hills that still yielding retire,
And dip in the valley unseen:

Each picturesque scene that I view,
Each beauty creation supplies,
Awakes sad remembrance anew,
And checks the fond transports that rise.

What flute could with DAMON'S compare?
Still sweet, and for ever in tune;
At morning the soother of care,
The solace of friendship at noon.

Oh, melody! dare I proclaim,
How softly, how sweetly he sung?
Still chaste and sublime was his theme,
And verse came improv'd from his tongue.

Together, at the parting day,
How oft have we sought the deep grove,
Retir'd, to attune the soft lay,
Inspir'd by refinement and love.

But solitude now cannot charm,
Nor musick lost comfort restore;
Ev'n poetry ceases to warm
My fancy, since DAMON'S no more!