1922 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

Iolo Williams, in By-Ways around Helicon (1922) 33.



When, since his death, any anthologist has ever thought of quoting from Cunningham it has usually been some song or ballad, such as Kitty Fell, or The Holiday Green, which has been selected. As several of these are easily accessible in Professor Arbor's The Goldsmith Anthology, I will not quote any of them here (and incidentally, as far as I am aware, Arber was the only anthologist who ever included Cunningham, but there may have been others; so we will let the plural, implied at the beginning of this paragraph, stand). In his life Cunningham was most famous for his pastorals, which are said to have brought him the esteem of the great Shenstone. They sound rather dog-trot, jiggetty affairs, now, despite certain occasional lines which record impressions obviously taken from nature at first hand.