1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Noel Clarke Mundy

John Bowyer Nichols, in Gentleman's Magazine 86 (July 1816) 8.



MR. URBAN,

I was highly gratified by the elegant tributes of respect in your last Part, pp. 293, 387, to the late F. N. C. Mundy, esq. As they cannot but excite the interest of your readers to peruse the Poem of Needwood Forest, I beg leave to refer them to Shaw's History of Staffordshire, vol. I. p. 68, where Mr. Shaw has given copious extracts from the Poem, with the following introduction:

"Francis Noel Clarke Mundy, of Marketon, in the county of Derby, esq. rented Ealand Lodge, in Needwood Forest, of Sir William (now Lord) Bagot, as a hunting seat, several years; where he not only pursued the diversions of the chace with all the enthusiasm and ardour of the keenest sportsman, but at intervals (inspired with the thousand natural charms around him) penned that beautiful Poem of Needwood Forest, which opens in a truly Miltonic strain.

"Mr. Mundy was descended from an old family of that name in the North part of this County, which formerly possessed Alstonfield and other estates there, granted to them in a singular manner. The above Poem, unfortunately for the general admirers of superior descriptive Poetry, was never published, but only a few copies printed for the use of his friends in the year 1776; since which, they of course being scarce and valuable, Mr. Jackson of Lichfield reprinted it, without the Author's consent, who, still retaining an insuperable objection to having it published, instead of exerting the rigour of the law against the printer, very generously satisfied him for the expence he had been at, and took all the copies. Notwithstanding all these circumstances, conscious that the world has too long been deprived of the beauties and merits of this Poem, I have presumed, in defiance of the too great modesty of the ingenious and worthy Author, and I fear at the hazard of forfeiting his acquaintance, to gratify my readers with some extracts, which being chiefly descriptive of forest scenery, and serving to enliven the duller parts of History, I hope he will pardon the liberty taken, especially as such an omission might by others be termed in me ignorance and stupidity."

Yours, &c.

B. N.