1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

D., "On reading Mr. C—m's Pastoral Poems. By a Young Lady" Newcastle Chronicle (1 June 1771)



Hail, gentle Bard! — such eloquence and ease
Flow from thy muse — she well deserves the bays.
O'er peaceful grots — low cots — and shady groves,
O'er ruin'd piles, thy pregnant fancy roves;
In every page new scenes of rapture rise,
To charm the sense — and give the soul surprize.
Could I — in thy soft accents tune my lays,
From morn to eve my song shou'd be thy praise;
On Fancy's wing I'd soar the utmost height,
But want of skill retards my eager flight,
Checks the rash sallies of my feeble pen,
And bids me take — my needle up again.

Reluctant I obey — the task resign,
And leave thee at Apollo's sacred shrine,
Who on thy brow the lawrel wreath shall twine.