1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Noel Clarke Mundy

John Edwards, in Tour of the Dove (1821; 1825) 14, 78-80n.



Ah that some clump remained of mossy piles,
Some vestige of that Temple of the wood,
Which once resounded through its verdant aisles
With Mundy's lyre. Then all was fair and good;
And Needwood Forest in its glory stood:
Free ranged the deer, and every beast of chase;
There couched the pheasant o'er her nestling brood;
The song-birds carolled; hummed the insect race;
And sights and sounds of wildness tenanted the place.

The hand is powerless now, the lyre unstrung,
That charmed the dingles with exulting tones;
That from the hollies where retired it hung,
Was reached once more, to chant in tuneful moans,
The Fall of Needwood with its stately cones!
Yes, Needwood Forest now is but a name;
And Mundy sleeps beneath the tomb's grey stones:
Yet still, besides his Bust, survives to fame,
His Verse, by genius haloed with her purest flame....

The death of such men as the late F. N. C. Mundy, Esq. is a public loss; and the Bust which has been erected to his memory, affords a proof of the general estimation with which he was regarded. But his virtues have obtained for him a more precious memorial in the hearts of his surviving countrymen; and the traits of his genius, displayed in the poems of Needwood Forest, and the Fall of Needwood, will be admired so long as a taste for simple melody and genuine pathos shall prevail. His bust, which is now the ornament of our County Hall, is the production of F. Chantry, Esq.; on the tablet beneath it, is the following elegant and nervous inscription, from the classic pen of Sir Brook Boothby, Bart.

THIS EFFIGY
IS CONSECRATED BY HIS COUNTRYMEN
TO THE MEMORY OF
FRANCIS NOEL CLARKE MUNDY,
WHO HAVING MODESTLY DECLINED
THEIR UNANIMOUS OFFER
TO ELECT HIM AS THEIR REPRESENTATIVE IN
PARLIAMENT,
CONTINUED TO PRESIDE
ON THE BENCH OF JUSTICES IN THIS HALL
WITH A CLEARNESS OF JUDGMENT,
AND AN INTEGRITY OF DECISION,
WELL WORTHY
OF BEING GRATEFULLY RECORDED.
THIS EXCELLENT MAN
ADMIRED FOR THE ELEGANCE OF HIS LITERARY
PRODUCTIONS,
BELOVED FOR THE GENTLENESS OF HIS MANNERS,
REVERED FOR HIS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE VIRTUES,
LIVED HAPPILY AT HIS PATERNAL SEAT
AT MARKEATON
TO THE AGE OF 76 YEARS.
MAY HIS EXAMPLE EXCITE EMULATION!