1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

William Hawkins, "Colin: a Pastoral. On the Death, and in imitation of Mr. John Cunningham" Middlesex Journal (23 May 1776).



Give ear, oh ye swains, to my lay,
Since Colin, alas! is no more;
Let's languish and pine all the day,
In sorrow his loss to deplore:
For he was the pride of the plain,
The garden, the grove and the field;
But "lost is the pastoral strain,"
Since he no more beauties can yield.

Ye warblers, that bill on each spray,
Ye lambkins, that wantonly roam,
Come round, and attend to the lay—
Then "bleat and your master bemoan;"
For a tender good shepherd was he,
So true and so kind to his trust,
With mildness he e'er painted thee,
No swain sure was ever so just.

His manner how soft and serene!
How pleasing his shape and his air!
No mortal like him e'er was seen,
No mortal with him could compare:
For he was so gentle and kind,
That bird's cluster'd round in a throng,
And all in full harmony join'd,
Whenever he echo'd his song.

But, ah! the dear Colin is gone!
No longer he sings thro' the grove;
No longer beneath the gay thorn*
He pours forth his accents of love:
Then farewell! oh favourite bard!
Adieu! my dear Colin! adieu!
Thy worth I shall ever regard,
To thy fame I will ever be true.

Mr. Cunningham would frequently lie about in the fields, under a hedge or tree, in which situation he wrote many of his pastorals.