1790 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Noel Clarke Mundy

Erasmus Darwin Junior, "Lines, on Mr. Mundy's Needwood Forest" 1790 ca.; Poetical Register for 1806-07 (1811) 206-08.



Where Needwood's banks embroider'd smile
On bright-hair'd Dove, the British Nile,
Pleas'd MUNDY fix'd his easel strong,
And stretch'd his canvas wide and long;
Broad o'er his hand the pallet lies,
With pencils for a thousand dyes.
He look'd, and drew, and look'd again,—
—Enamour'd Fancy snatch'd the pen,
Nymphs, Graces, Loves, around him throng,
With all the sisterhood of song:
Bright tints by Fairy hands were mix'd,
And Witchcraft etch'd the shades betwixt.

Delighted Flora pale and violet drew
The primrose pale and violet blue.
A Naiad spread the flake of snow,—
White foams the glittering stream below.
"Give me the pallet," Love demands,
And stretching forth his baby hands
Dipp'd with nice touch his keenest shaft
In all the blushing lakes, and laugh'd;
With sweetest grace the pencil flow'd,
With softest tints the canvas glow'd;
"I'll draw mamma," the wanton cries,
And TALBOT'S features charm our eyes!
With airy ease the white neck bends,
Lock after lock the hair descends:
O'er the fair form the graces spread
Their vest, and Hymen wreathes the head.

And then Thalia, muse of woe,
Move's o'er the woof her crayon slow.
Here, cold, bewilder'd, tir'd, forlorn,
The traveller sighs in vain for morn;
Stretch'd on the imprinted snow he lies,
And bends on heaven his stiffening eyes.
Their Friendship sits the shade beneath,
And twines for CLARKE a fadeless wreath;
Fresh Cypress with the flowers she weaves,
And many a tear-drop gems the leaves.
Next o'er the lawn a virgin throng
In sad procession moves along,
Lorn Loves inverted torches bear,
And Pity weeps o'er VERNON'S bier.

To shade the distant ground, and lay
The rising group in bolder day,
A Dryad chalks some dusky strokes,—
Behind umbrageous frown her oaks!
And SWILCAR, rent by many a storm,
Rears high in air his leafless form.

Pleas'd MUNDY stood with eager eyes,
And watch'd the living figures rise;
Smil'd as the varying colours flow'd,
And sigh'd by turns, and chill'd, and glow'd:
And to the admiring world has shewn
The immortal tablet for his own.