1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Memory of a late ingenious Pastoral Poet.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (2 September 1774).

Anonymous


An unsigned elegy for the pastoral poet John Cunningham (1729-1773) in five anapestic quatrains: "By the side of my Cunningham's hearse, | I've planted the laurel and bays; | No poet could equal his verse, | So artless, so soft, were his lays." Compare Cunningham's own "Corydon, a Pastoral to the Memory of William Shenstone."

Headnote: "Sir, the following tribute to the memory of one, who, as a man and a poet, is entitled to every praise, was written soon after the melancholy event to which it alludes, but never yet published. If you think it worthy of that honour, it is at your service. I am, &c."



Ye shepherds so blithsome and gay,
That pip'd and that danc'd on the mead,
No longer ye pipe and ye play,—
Your favourite Cunningham's dead.

Ye lambkins that skip o'er the plain,
Ye warblers that sing in the grove,
You endeavour to please, but in vain—
How vain are your efforts to move!

By the side of my Cunningham's hearse,
I've planted the laurel and bays;
No poet could equal his verse,
So artless, so soft, were his lays.

How oft o'er thy tomb have I sigh'd,
Of men and of poets thou best!
Like thee would 'twere said I had died,
As happy as thee, and as blest!

Oh! Cunningham, ceaseless I'll mourn,
At thy loss I shall ever repine;
My tears shall besprinkle thy urn,
Till my breast be as frozen as thine.

[unpaginated]