1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

Clio, "Extempore, on seeing Mr. Cunningham's Monument in St. John's Church yard, Newcastle" Newcastle Chronicle (1 November 1783).



Here, gentle Spirit! let me stay,
And view this monument of stone;
This frail memorial of a day,
Whose letters make thy exit known.

This monument, this solid base,
Shall mingle with thy native dust;
No vestige left to mark the place,
Where lately stood the sculptur'd bust.

But the sweet Muse shall weave the wreath
Of sprouting laurels to adorn
Thy placid brow; nor sullen Death
Thy name wrap in oblivion's urn.

This tender myrtle on thy tomb
I plant with kind unceasing woe;
That, as it droops, his final doom
Each passenger may see and know.

When daisies dank, and lilies sweet,
Bloom on the meadow's margent green;
Their flowers I'll strew upon thy feet,
And softer make thy clay-cold scene.

That little linnet on the spray,
Which daily chaunts on yonder yew,
Still wails with plaintive notes the day
Thou badst this life — a long Adieu!

Hail, gentle Shade! if now on high
Thou sit'st in radiant light array'd,
Cast on a youth a genial eye,
And then Farewell — thou gentle Shade!
Newcastle, Oct. 13, 1783.