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Lycidas Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Milton Type: Poetry Views: 2868

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In this Monody the author bewails a learned Friend, unfortunately

drownedin his passage from Chester on the Irish Seas, 1637;


by occasion, foretells the ruin of our corrupted Clergy, then in

their height.

YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more,

Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,

I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,

And with forced fingers rude

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.

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

Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.

He must not float upon his watery bier

Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,

Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well

That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;

Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.

Hence with denial vain and coy excuse:

So may some gentle Muse

With lucky words favour my destined urn,

And as he passes turn,

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud!

For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,

Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill;

Together both, ere the high lawns appeared

Under the opening eyelids of the Morn,

We drove a-field, and both together heard

What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn,

Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night,

Oft till the star that rose at evening bright

Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel.

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute;

Tempered to the oaten flute,

Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel

From the glad sound would not be absent long;

And old Damoetas loved to hear our song.

But, oh! the heavy change, now thou art gone,

Now thou art gone and never must return!

Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves,

With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,

And all their echoes, mourn.

The willows, and the hazel copses green,

Shall now no more be seen

Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.

As killing as the canker to the rose,

Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,

Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,

When first the white-thorn blows;

Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep

Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?

For neither were ye playing on the steep

Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,

Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,

Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream.

Ay me! I fondly dream

RHad ye been there,S . . . for what could that have done?

What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,

The Muse herself, for her enchanting son,

Whom universal nature did lament,

When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,

His gory visage down the stream was sent,

Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?

Alas! what boots it with uncessant care

To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade,

And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ?

Were it not better done, as others use,

To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,

Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair?

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise

(That last infirmity of noble mind)

To scorn delights and live laborious days;

But, the fair guerdon when we hope to find,

And think to burst out into sudden blaze,

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,

And slits the thin-spun life. RBut not the praise,"

Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears:

RFame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,

Nor in the glistering foil

Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies,

But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes

And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;

As he pronounces lastly on each deed,

Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed."

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood,

Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds,

That strain I heard was of a higher mood.

But now my oat proceeds,

And listens to the Herald of the Sea,

That came in Neptune's plea.

He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds,

What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle swain?

And questioned every gust of rugged wings

That blows from off each beaked promontory.

They knew not of his story;

And sage Hippotades their answer brings,

That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed:

The air was calm, and on the level brine

Sleek Panope with all her sisters played.

It was that fatal and perfidious bark,

Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark,

That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.

Next, Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,

His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,

Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge

Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe.

Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, Rmy dearest pledge?"

Last came, and last did go,

The Pilot of the Galilean Lake;

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain.

(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain).

He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake:--

RHow well could I have spared for thee, young swain,

Enow of such as, for their bellies' sake,

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!

Of other care they little reckoning make

Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,

And shove away the worthy bidden guest.

Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold

A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least

That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!

What recks it them? What need they? They are sped:

And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs

Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,

But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,

Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread;

Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw

Daily devours apace, and nothing said.

But that two-handed engine at the door

Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."

Return, Alpheus; the dread voice is past

That shrunk thy streams; return Sicilian Muse,

And call the vales, and bid them hither cast

Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues.

Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use

Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,

On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,

Throw hither all your quaint enamelled eyes,

That on the green turf suck the honeyed showers,

And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.

Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,

The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,

The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet,

The glowing violet,

The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,

With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,

And every flower that sad embroidery wears;

Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,

And daffadillies fill their cups with tears,

To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies.

For so, to interpose a little ease,

Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise,

Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas

Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled;

Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,

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

Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold.

Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth:

And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.

Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,

For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,

Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor.

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,

Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves,

Where, other groves and other streams along,

With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,

And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,

In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.

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.

Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;

Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore,

In thy large recompense, and shalt be good

To all that wander in that perilous flood.

Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,

While the still morn went out with sandals grey:

He touched the tender stops of various quills,

With eager thought warbling his Doric lay:

And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,

And now was dropt into the western bay.

At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue:

Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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| Posted on 2017-07-06 | by a guest

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The poem LYCIDAS was written by John Milton as a tribute to his friend and college roomate Edward King. The poem describes how a young man was drowned in the sea and no one was there to save him. He questions Nymphs, muses etc that where they were or what were they doing when Lycidas was drowning. Later, Apollo enters and told him to calm down and explains that the fame on earth is nothing compared to the live on heaven. But this doesn't stop the speaker to spread the blame. He want to know who was watching over the sea when Lycidas was drowning. Milton expresses anger at the fact that his friend was lost and his body never recovered.

| Posted on 2013-12-01 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem LYCIDAS was written by John Milton as a tribute to his friend and college roomate Edward King. The poem describes how a young man was drowned in the sea and no one was there to save him. He questions Nymphs, muses etc that where they were or what were they doing when Lycidas was drowning. Later, Apollo enters and told him to calm down and explains that the fame on earth is nothing compared to the live on heaven. But this doesn't stop the speaker to spread the blame. He want to know who was watching over the sea when Lycidas was drowning. Milton expresses anger at the fact that his friend was lost and his body never recovered.

| Posted on 2013-12-01 | by a guest

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Can any one explain stanza by stanza.... More clearly..:(

| Posted on 2012-09-19 | by a guest

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This poem is a poem about a shephard mourning his dead friend and at same time wishing his friend was there for he could pay his respect to him, and furthermore asserting the fact that people should not weep wishing that his friend no but be happy becauce his fiend he believe is now the guidian of the sea to see people to and fro the sea. Nevertheless creating the awareness of the corruption in catholic churh and mourning the fact people of good deeds and spirit who are suppose to live to nourish the people quickly accent to the grave while the bad ones livelong to destroy earth and the people\'s art. He proceed by claiming the fact that his friend has die before his time using certain symbols and imageries to describe his thoughts and wish about spirit surrounding the events he is wraffling on; thereby morning his friend so that when too is died perhaps someone will do the same for him.

| Posted on 2012-03-28 | by a guest

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Edward King, portrayed as a shepherd named Lycidas, was a friend of Milton\'s. This poem is basically a elegy in which Milton mourns the death of his beloved friend. In this poem Milton talks about the tragedy of a poet who died way before his time at too early an age. In between his mourning, Milton digresses and talks about something completely unrelated, and then. as if he had woken up from a dream, he comes back to make his point. In this particular elegy the poet praises Lycidas\' worth as a poet and how unfortunate it was that the world has lost one of who could potentially have been the greatest poet of his time. Milton incorporated both Greek mythology and Christian elements to accentuate his points. In his lines though, Milton draws some sort of comfort in the hope of tomorrow and that he must move on with his life although he would have the memory of his friend forever engraved in his heart and mind, that (he ends with the comforting lines)\"At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue/Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.\" He says that even if Lycidas died in this world, he would forever rest in the green pastures of heaven.

| Posted on 2011-11-22 | by a guest

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I can\'t clearly understand the summary of the poem lycidas. can you please give the clear summary of the poem lycidas.

| Posted on 2011-09-10 | by a guest

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This a pastoral elegy. A pastoral elegy is a poem written usually involving death and heavenly rustic life. Due to its genre, pastoral elegies more than often features sheep or shepherds. In this case, Lycidas is the shepherd being talked about.
-look up what a Pastoral Elegy is, and than read and re-read Lycidas the actual poem :)

| Posted on 2011-02-16 | by a guest

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Stanza 1:
Opens with an address to \"plants\"
Plucks berries before they are ripe
-Lycidas died before his prime
-Milton chose weak plans which represents our vulnerability
\"shatter your leaves\"
-Talking about tragedy
-Including violence
\"forced fingers rude\"
-undesired act (I don\'t want to, but I have to)
-He\'s not up to the task of writing the poem.
Line 10
Worried Lycidas isn\'t going to be recognized. Milton has to write the poem because someone has to do it and he may as well be the one since he knew Edward King.
Line 13
Worried Edwards body is going to dry out. he wants people to cry so Edwards body will be preserved with their tears.
Stanza 2:
Sisters of the sacred well
-9 muses rise from fountain to help Milton find the creativity to write the poem.
line 19-22
-When I (Milton) die, maybe someone will do this for me
-He\'s doing this for Lycidas, hopefully someone will do it for him.
-Miltonic version of \"paying it forward\"
Ends with a vision of what stanza 3 will be like
Stanza 3:
1st stanza emphasizes violence - death
2nd stanza emphasizes peace - life
1st stanza-tossed on the waves
3rd stanza-frolicking in the fields
1st stanza-parched winds
3rd stanza-fresh dews of night
1st stanza - isolation
3rd stanza - together (line 25)
Stanza 4:
Similar to stanza 1
Focuses on death of other things
Apparent mode of realization
lines 45-48
All things are beautiful and can be tainted before their time.
Nature is weaping the loss of Lycidas as well
Nature will not be beautiful without Lycidas
Nature is devouring itself
Stanza 6:
Who gains from this?
You spend all your time being a poet and no one cares.
What do you get out of it?
Basically - why bother with poetry if you can go chase girls?
line 70-76
work hard to get fame but fury (fate) takes it away.
Put fun stuff aside to get fame and the second you get it, you die.
line 78-85 (Milton is interrupted by phoebus)
Phoebus says fame can\'t be seen so you\'re not going to get recognition from it when you\'re alive.
Only when you\'re dead.
Fame does not die when you die.
line 97
Talking in a godly way - not appropriate for pastoral verse. Tone it down.
line 92
Asks how Lycidas died.
Milton holds mueeting with witnesses and asks how he died.
line 100
It was the ships fault not a persons (or winds or gods)
Not done with investigation
Everyone has been mythological until the biblical st. Peter is introduced
line 108
St. peter in charge of gates of heaven
line 113-131
Shephard leading flock = pope and clergy
-now begins corrupted clurgy talk
-st. peter isn\'t happy
-of all the shephards, the good one dies.
-not feeding sheep when they ask for it (guidance of faith. Left to rot in hell when they should guide them to heaven)
line 126
empty phrases, hot air, and rot inwardly (image of lycidas floating along, taint worms, lines 45-48)
line 123
say a lot of nothing
flashy hot air
no substance but lots of spectacle
line 128-130
gain control of queen
two problems...
-naughty catholics
-church full of corrupted clurgy
line 114-115
only clurgy men in order to get into heaven
line 116-118
fat, lazy, glutenous sinners feeding themselves when they should be spiritually nourishing others.
incompetant boobs.
pastoral verse elogy allows Milton to rip on corrupted clurgy.
Stanza 9:
line 132
Godly voice back to pastoral voice
Flower passage
-pay tribute to person that has died
-difficult because lycidas is not there
stanza 10:
offers consolation
shepherds weep no more because lycidas is now guirdian of the seas.
he will guide them to the shore when sea is rough
compared to the sun which changes way he is being presented
just as sun sets, it rises once again brighter than when it set.
he is mounted high in heaven
he is mounted high through poem itself (issues of poetic fame)
how many of us will know about Edward King if not for this poem?

| Posted on 2010-11-21 | by a guest

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In this poem,the poet mourns about the death of his friend & it is assumed that \"the friend\" is Edward King,who also was a poet. He wrote some latin poems.

| Posted on 2010-11-15 | by a guest

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A good message posted by all of you and a good start to help the students looking for a support to study and read literature.
Well done all of you and all your team.

| Posted on 2010-07-29 | by a guest

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It's about the death of a friend and how he will live on for Milton. Portions of the poem also talks about the corruption of the Catholic church.

| Posted on 2010-07-11 | by a guest

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The topic theme is a shepherd who mourns his drowned friend.

| Posted on 2010-06-21 | by a guest

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| Posted on 2009-12-08 | by a guest

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in this poem milton resurrects socrates finale in the republic, moses's parting of the sea, jesus on the waves; "the rath primrose that forsaken dies" an allusion to jesus on the cross as he would have died without shakspeares death blow...

| Posted on 2008-10-12 | by a guest

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