1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Corydon and Phyllis. A Pastoral. To the Memory of Mr. J. Cunningham.

Hibernian Magazine 5 (September 1775) 559.

William Holland


A pastoral elegy for John Cunningham in eight anapestic quatrains, signed "W. Holland P. Dublin." Cunningham, the most admired pastoralist of his day, worked as an actor in Edinburgh and Newcastle: "But see the sad shepherds appear, | The once happy swains of the Tweed; | Ye seasons, come follow his bier, | For now you are mourners indeed." Holland, a regular contributor of verse to the Hibernian Magazine, seems not to have known that Cunningham was born and raised in Dublin.



BOTH.
What means the sad silence around?
The herds from the coverts are fled;
What means the mute village bell's sound?
Say, Phillis, what shepherd is dead?

Alexis, the pride of our plain,
Who sung of our loves in the grove;
All nature admir'd his strain,
And call'd him the poet of love.

CORYDON.
He was next, my fond Phillis, to thee;
His life was a summer of love;
His fancy was easy and free,
And shone like the prospect above.

Not a tree on the plain but he lov'd,
He joy'd when the fond mother sung;
Not a branch in his life he remov'd,
For fear of disturbing their young.

PHYLLIS.
The sweets of the seasons perfume,
Were lovelier still in his lays;
Pastora was ever in bloom,
So fond was the nymph of his praise.

The beautiful tenants of May,
Rejoic'd when he courted the green;
His morning was lovely and gay,
His ev'ning was mild and serene.

CORYDON.
But see the sad shepherds appear,
The once happy swains of the Tweed;
Ye seasons, come follow his bier,
For now you are mourners indeed.

Come play we his Withering Rose,
The last of his elegant lays;
The pastoral current is froze,
His own can best picture his praise.

[p. 559]