1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

Mr. Tyson, "Verses to the Memory of W. Cunningham, the Pastoral Poet" The Times (1 December 1789).



For a Grace that is truly divine,
Or a Thought that is modest and free,
When I court, I'd but ask the sweet Nine,
For the like they bestow'd upon thee.

If an heir to thy innocent muse,
A tablet to virtue I'd rear,
But if not, I could never refuse
With my own, to say Cunningham's here.

He play'd on the pastoral reed,
Each Shepherdess danc'd in her turn,
But now does each Shepherdess bleed,
And for that do the Shepherds all mourn.

They say — "premature was his death,
And fate was for certain unkind,"—
But mourners, ne'er stay could the breath,
That breath'd from so feeling a mind!
Leeds, Nov. 24, 1789.