1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

J. W., "On the Death of Mr. John Cunningham" Newcastle Chronicle (13 November 1773).



DAMON.
Why weeps my Phoebe, why that flood of grief?
Can Damon to his fair give no relief?
Wipe off that pearly drop, the cause reveal,
And let your Damon all your sorrows feel.

PHOEBE.
Alas! dear Damon, all our joys are fled,
All comfort's gone, poor CORYDON is dead;
The prince of shepherds, who so sweetly sung,
That with his verse the hills and valleys rung,
Is now no more, — relentless death has slain
The bravest lad that ever grac'd the plain.

DAMON.
Sad news indeed! the blithest of the throng,
Whose soul was sweetly tun'd for past'ral song:
Our very flocks would come to graze the plain,
And list attentive to his charming strain:
"Hang down your heads, ye hills — weep out, ye springs,
On your sweet banks no more the shepherd sings."

PHOEBE.
Whene'er I head him sing his sweet CONTENT,
As we reclined on the mossy bent,
The longest day I wish'd it twice as long,
To hear the tuneful warbling of his song:
But now, alas, where shall I ease my grief!
E'en Damon's soothings cannot give relief.

DAMON.
Dear Phoebe, you and I must surely mourn
Our mutual loss, — but since there's no return,
Why should we rob his virtuous soul of rest?
He's now call up to sing among the blest:
His muse while here the paths of Nature trod,
Now warbles round the throne of Nature's God.

PHOEBE.
You've eas'd my mind and since his soul's at rest,
No more I'll weep, but make it my request,
That I again may hear his charming lay,
In yonder fields where dwells eternal day:
Come then, dear Damon, let us homeward go,
Hope future bliss, and banish present woe.
Hexham.