1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On the Death of Hugh Mulligan.

Poems, by Edward Rushton.

Edward Rushton


A pastoral elegy in five double-quatrain stanzas. Edward Rushton laments the passing of fellow Liverpool poet Hugh Mulligan, author of Poems chiefly on Slavery and Oppression (1788). Little seems to be recorded about Mulligan, not even the date of his death, which we learn from this poem occured amid poverty and distress: "Tho' the clouds that had sadden'd his days, | Were scatter'd and ting'd near the close; | Tho' he saw a few comforting rays, | Twas too late, and he sunk to repose." The use of this measure for such purposes originated in Cunningham's "Corydon, a Pastoral to the Memory of William Shenstone." Both Cunningham and Mulligan were Irishmen. The "few comforting rays" that gladdened Mulligan's life are identified in the New-York Weekly Museum as "The notice of Dr. Corry, and W. Roscoe, Esq."

Critical Review: "Mr. Rushton has the praise of having written the popular and pathetic ballad of the 'Neglected Tar.' His poems of the light kind have considerable merit; where he attempts the ode, he fails, The Ode to the Memory of Chatterton is among the worst; but the Verses to the Memory of Burns are the best in this collection" S3 7 (April 1806) 439.

Literary Journal: "If the poems are not to be placed in the first ranks in the scale of excellence, the greater part of them are such as will be read with considerable interest, and thus, considering the present low ebb of the waters of the Pierian spring, of which our modern poets stand so much in need, and obtain so little, is perhaps no small praise" NS 1 (May 1806) 559.



A Bard from the MERSEY is gone,
Whose carols with energy flow'd;
Whose harp had a wildness of tone,
And a sweetness but rarely bestow'd.
Then say — ye dispensers of fame,
Of wreathes that for ages will bloom,
Ah! say, shall poor MULLIGAN'S name,
Go silently down to the tomb?

When the lordly are call'd from their state,
The marble their virtue imparts,
Yet the marble, ye insolent great,
Is often less cold than your hearts.
When the life of the warrior is o'er,
His deeds every tongue shall rehearse.
And now a pale Bard is no more,
Ah! would you deny him a verse!

The thrush from the icicl'd bough,
Gives his song to the winterly gale,
And the violet, 'midst half melted snow,
Diffuses its sweets thro' the vale.
And thus, while the minstrel I mourn
'Mid the blasts of adversity pin'd,
While he droop'd all obscure and forlorn,
He pour'd his wild sweets on the wind.

Tho' the clouds that had sadden'd his days,
Were scatter'd and ting'd near the close;
Tho' he saw a few comforting rays,
Twas too late, and he sunk to repose.
So the bark, that fierce winds has endur'd,
And the shocks of the pityless wave,
Finds a harbour, yet scarcely is moor'd,
When she sinks to the dark oozy grave.

To the turf where poor MULLIGAN lies,
The lover of genius shall stray,
And there should a rank weed arise,
He shall pluck the intruder away.
But lowly, and simple, and sweet,
Ah! should the wild violet appear,
He will sigh o'er an emblem so meet,
And will water its cup with a tear.

[pp. 28-30]