1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

David Carey, "Verses composed on visiting the Tomb of Cunningham" Daily Advertiser and Oracle (10 September 1802).



Sweet Bard, while here, with fond respect,
I kneel beside thy lonely grave,
Dear victim of the world's neglect,
A wand'ring stranger's tear receive.

How oft, in childhood, have I sought
The oak-crown'd hill, the wild-wood shade,
Where, stretch'd along in tender thought,
Thy verse my truant hours delay'd.

Thy artless and melodious strain
Enamour'd sympathy awoke,
In numbers taught me to complain,
And bade me, first, the Muse invoke.

Far from the City's pride retir'd,
Unheedful of delusive Fame,
Thy gentle bosom ne'er aspir'd
Beyond a Sylvan Poet's name.

In village bow'rs, abodes of peace,
Amid a mute admiring throng,
Each native charm, each simple grace,
Thy fancy wove into her song.

The Hours that gild the orient Morn,
And kindle Noon's oppressive rays,
And Ev'ning's shad'wy brow adorn,
With inspiration crown'd thy lays.

The Queen of Night, by twilight pale,
On mountain, heath, and pathless wild,
By haunted stream, and lonely vale,
On thee, in radiant visions, smil'd.

Apart from vulgar eye conceal'd,
In annual glory deck'd anew,
The rural Seasons all reveal'd,
Their fairest beauties to thy view.

The wanton Boy, that rules the plains,
His tuneful reed to thee resign'd,
To sing the loves of rural swains,
Of hearts by moonlight vows entwin'd.

Content, that brightens ev'ry scene,
Was wont her fav'rite to beguile,
Till disappointment strode between,
And robb'd thee of her sweetest smile.

Unto thy dust, sweet Bard! adieu!
Thy hallow'd shrine I slowly leave;
Yet oft, at eve, shall Mem'ry view
The sun-beam ling'ring on thy grave.
Newcastle, Rigg-Market.
Corner of St. John's Lane, Aug. 16, 1802.