1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

Primrose, "To the Memory of the late Mr. Cunningham" Newcastle Chronicle (23 October 1773).



Say, shepherds, since Corydon's dead,
What music can gladden your plains!
The pride of Simplicity's fled,
And fled are the pastoral strains.

When Nature's gay aspect declin'd,
Nor verdure around you was seen,
'Twas he that retain'd on your mind
The tints of the daisy-deck'd green.

His music — how artless and sweet,
When piping your rural abode:
And if the gay seasons he'd greet,
With rapture your bosoms have glow'd.

He gave you the softest solace,
If virgins he rang'd in a scene;
For elegance, beauty and grace,
They rivall'd the Cyprian Queen.

When morn's rosy reign he'd explore,
What imagery wou'd he display!
Then make the wing'd foresters soar,
To welcome the chariot of day.

The violet, the woodbine, and rose,
And others — the pride of the flow'rs,
In chaplets he'd aptly dispose,
To deck the gay nymphs in your bow'rs.

Oft to the fond swains he defin'd,
The merits of friendship and love;
And bade them "(in sooth he was kind,")
For constancy look to the dove.

Benificence glow'd in his lays,—
An alien his bosom to strife;
He rose to the summit of praise,
He dropt 'ere the winter of life.

Go, shepherds, his numbers rehearse,
Some allay for your grief you will find;
And still, by his elegant verse,
A transcript retain of his mind.
Newcastle.