1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Cunningham

George Saville Carey, "Verses on visiting the Tomb of Cunningham" Universal Magazine 111 (September 1802) 217-18.



Sweet Bard, while here, with fond respect,
I kneel before thy lonely grave,
Dear victim of the world's neglect,
A wand'ring stranger's tear receive.

How oft, in childhood, have I sought
The oak-crown'd hill, the wild wood shade,
Where stretch'd along in tender thought,
Thy verse my truant hours delay'd.

Thy artless and melodious strain
Enamour'd sympathy awoke,
In numbers taught me to complain,
And bade me, first, the muse invoke.

Far from the city's pride retir'd,
Unheedful of delusive fame,
Thy gentle bosom near aspir'd
Beyond a sylvan poet's name.

In village bow'rs, abodes of peace,
Amid a mute admiring throng,
Each native charm, each simple grace,
Thy fancy wove into her song.

The hours that gild the orient morn,
And kindle noon's oppressive rays,
And ev'ning's shad'wy brow adorn,
With inspiration crown'd thy lays.

The Queen of night by twilight pale,
On mountain, heath, and pathless wild,
By haunted stream, and lonely vale,
On thee in radiant visions smil'd.

Apart from vulgar eye conceal'd,
In annual glory deck'd anew,
The rural seasons all reveal'd
Their fairest beauties to thy view.

The wanton boy, that rules the plains,
His tuneful reed to thee resign'd,
To sing the loves of rural swains,
Of hearts by moonlights vows entwin'd.

Content, that brightens ev'ry scene,
Was wont her fav'rite to beguile,
Till disappointment strode between,
And robb'd thee of her sweetest smile.

Unto thy dust, sweet bard, adieu!
Thy hallow'd shrine I slowly leave;
Yet oft, at eve, shall Mem'ry view,
The sun-beam ling'ring on thy grave.