1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

H. W., "On the Death of a late Pastoral Poet" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (6 September 1774).



Ye shepherds who pipe on the plain,
A moment attend to my verse;
Yet vain the attempt to explain,
How I mourn'd o'er poor Cunningham's hearse.

Ye virgins, who grace the gay green,
Despondence befits ye full well,
For never on earth was e'er seen,
A shepherd who lov'd you so well.

His song ever turn'd in your praise,
Your charms none so well did rehearse,
His Delia's, his Phillis's praise,
Harmoniously flow'd in his verse.

Then pick, oh ye nymphs and ye swains,
Of flowrets the fairest and best,
With the pride that enamels your plains,
Let the grave of your poet be drest.

For ah! he was gentle and mild,
His manners were artless and sweet,
The graces beam'd forth in his mind,
In his breast ev'ry virtue did meet.

But why stand we silently here?
To his tomb move we gently along;
And deck his soft sod with a tear,
Who was peerless in elegant song.