The touch of Zephyr and of Spring has loosen'd Winter's thrall;
The well-dried keels are wheel'd again to sea:
The ploughman cares not for his fire, nor cattle for their stall,
And frost no more is whitening all the lea.
Now Cytherea leads the dance, the bright moon overhead;
The Graces and the Nymphs, together knit,
With rhythmic feet the meadow beat, while Vulcan, fiery red,
Heats the Cyclopian forge in Aetna's pit.
'Tis now the time to wreathe the brow with branch of myrtle green,
Or flowers, just opening to the vernal breeze;
Now Faunus claims his sacrifice among the shady treen,
Lambkin or kidling, which soe'er he please.
Pale Death, impartial, walks his round; he knocks at cottage-gate
And palace-portal. Sestius, child of bliss!
- should a mortal's hopes be long, when short his being's date? Lo here! the fabulous ghosts, the dark abyss,
- void of the Plutonian hall, where soon as e'er you go, No more for you shall leap the auspicious die
To seat you on the throne of wine; no more your breast shall glow
For Lycidas, the star of every eye.
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