1766 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

Author of the Cook's Tale, "To Mr. Cunningham, on his Pastorals" Public Advertiser (23 May 1766).



Accept, sweet Poet, of a friendly Muse,
Nor let thy Modesty the Theme refuse,
Tho' unadorn'd, yet honest is the Lay;
Music I own I love, but cannot play;
Stranger to Art and Thee, to Notice dead,
Whose Verse but for thy Name would not be read.
How are we charm'd to hear thy oaten Reed,
And think we see thy Flocks and Cattle feed;
Each rural Scene so well described admire,
Enjoy the Country by a City Fire.
Such native Sweetness, easy, happy Strains,
The Language only of th' Arcadian Plains;
While others labour at the past'ral Line,
Faint Copies they at best, but Nature thine.
Such beauteous Landscapes, Gay and Philips drew;
Their flow'ry laureat Wreaths descend to you
As Heir of Fame, unrival'd long to wear
Among blythe Nymphs and Shepherds every where,
Resume thy Pipe, indulge thy fav'rite Vein,
As long as Taste or Sense with us remain,
Thy Works can never fail to entertain.
Covent-Garden Theatre, May 20.