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Cunningham's father was a wine-cooper at Dublin, who won
a prize in the Lottery, and was ruined by it, for he commenced wine-merchant with his new capital, and became a bankrupt. His son, who was then at the grammar-school at Drogheda, was taken from his studies in consequence, and began, like many young men in hopeless circumstances, to look to the Theatre for support. Voice, figure, manner,—every thing was against him; he became sensi. ble of his own unfitness for this way of life, but there was no alternative; and having made one unsuccessful effort to better himself, by attempting the trade of authorship in London, he returned contentedly to the stage. The places where he was employed were Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Alnwick, where, in spite of his situation, he seems to have been regarded with that respect whieh his worth and talents deserved. Cunningham was an interesting man, he had a true love for
the beauties of nature, his life was innocent, and, bumble as his lot was, he was contented and happy. His Poems have obtained considerable popularity, and are not unworthy of it.
O'ER the heath the heifer strays
Free (the furrowed task is done) VOL. 111.
Now the village windows blaze,
Burnish'd by the setting sun.
Now he hides behind the hill,
Sinking from a golden sky: Can the pencil's mimick skill,
Copy the refulgent dye ?
Trudging as the ploughmen go,
To the smoking hamlet bound, Giant-like their shadows grow,
Lengthen'd o'er the level ground.
Where the rising forest spreads
Shelter for the lordly dome, To their high-built airy beds,
See the rooks returning home!
· As the lark, with varied tune, ! ! Carols to the evening loud, Mark the mild resplendent moon,
Breaking through a parted cloud.
Now the hermit howlet peeps
From the barn, or twisted brake : And the blue mist slowly creeps,
Curling on the silver lake.
As the trout in speckled pride,
Playful from its bosom springs ; To the banks, a ruffled tide
Verges in successive rings.
Tripping through the silken grass,
O'er the path-divided dale, Mark the rose-complexion'd lass,
With her well-poised milking pail.
Linnets, with 'unnumber'd notes,
And the cuckoo bird with two, Tuning sweet their mellow throats,
Bid the setting sun adieu.
Pass'd Sawney with his budget,
The tinker forced to trudge it.
But Sawney shall receive the praise
His lordship would parade for ; One's debtor for his dapple greys,
And t'other's shoes are paid for,
O'er moorlands and mountains, rude, barren, and
bare, As wilder'd and weary'd I roam, A gentle young shepherdess sees my despair,
And leads me-o'er lawns to her home':
Yellow sheaves from rich Ceres her cottage had
crown'd, Green rushes were strew'd on her floor, Her casement sweet woodbines crept wantonly
We sate ourselves down to a cooling repast,
Fresh fruits! and she cull’d me the best;
I told my soft wishes : she sweetly reply'd,
(Ye virgins, her voice was divine!) I've rich ones rejected, and great ones deny'd, · But take me fond shepherd I'm thine..
Her air was so modest, her aspect so meek,
Se simple, yet sweet, were her charms, I kiss'd the ripe roses that glow'd on her cheek,
And lock'd the dear maid in my arms.
Now jocund together we tend a few sheep,
And if, on the banks of the stream, Reclined on her bosom, I sink into sleep,
Her image still softens my dream.
Together we range o'er the slow-rising hills,
Delighted with pastoral views, Or rest on the rock whence the streamlet distils,
And point out new themes for my Muse.
To pomp or proud titles she ne'er did aspire,
The damsel's of humble descent; The cottager, Peace, is well known for her sire, · And the shepherds have named her Content.
The Sheep and the Bramble Bush. A Fable. A thick twisted brake, in the time of a storm,
Seem'd kindly to cover a sheep: So snug, for a while, he lay shelter'd and warm,
It quietly soothed him asleep.