How we cite our quotes:
Look homeward angel now, and melt with ruth (163)
If this angel is Lycidas, does this mean he has to mourn his own death? There are other places in the poem (166 especially) where the speaker seems to imply that Lycidas should continue to be sorrowful. Why might that be?
Weep no more, woeful shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry 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. (165-171)
The speaker tells the shepherds to stop being so sad, because Lycidas isn't dead. Nope, he is just reborn in heaven. That's not so sad at all, right?
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 forever from his eyes (178-181)
This passage picks up the themes from lines 165-171, where it isn't clear exactly what the word "sorrow" refers to. In this passage, "forever" is ambiguous, suggesting both cessation – Lycidas' tears have been wiped away for good – and continuance, as if the "saints" were wiping Lycidas' tears for all time. How do you read it?