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Analysis

Lycidas Allusions & Cultural References

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References:

This poem has more shout-outs than drive-time radio. The echoes, allusions, references, and sources in "Lycidas" are practically innumerable. We've included a number of the most important and mainstream sources, with specific citations for where you can track down Milton's allusion in its source text. When several sources mention the same thing, we have listed all of them, as in line 86. But remember, Shmoopers, there are even more allusions – especially classical ones – for the curious reader (see the "Detailed Summary" and "Symbols" sections for more information).

In order of the poem:

  • Virgil, Eclogues 10.3 (10)
  • Edmund Spenser, Shepherd's Calendar October 8 (33)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 6.27-28 (34)
  • Moschus, "Lament for Bion" 1-7; 27-35 (39-44)
  • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream I.i.184-5 (48-49)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 2.14-15 (67-68)
  • Tibullus, Elegies 3.2.11-12 (69)
  • Edmund Spenser, "Tears of the Muses" 454 (70)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 6.3-4 (77)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 7.12-13 (86)
  • Virgil, Georgics 3.14-15 (86)
  • Virgil, Aeneid 10.205-206 (86)
  • Virgil, Aeneid 1.52-63 (96-98)
  • Virgil, Aeneid 5.240 (99)
  • Virgil, Aeneid 8.31-34 (104)
  • Theocritus, Idylls 10.28 (106)
  • Moschus, "Lament for Bion" 6 (106)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.214-6 (106)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 3.27 (124)
  • Dante, Paradiso 29.106-7 (125-7)
  • Petrarch, Eclogues 9 (125-7)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses 5.572-641 (132ff.)
  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene III.vi.45 (149)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.824 (153)
  • William Shakespeare, Pericles 3.1.64 (157)
  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene III.vii.9 (163)
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet 4.1.25-7 (170)
  • Revelations 7:17 (181)
  • Revelations 21.4 (181)
  • Edmund Spenser, Shepherd's Calendar June 67 (188)
  • Virgil, Eclogues 1.83 (190)
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