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382 To the Rev. W. Bagot. On his children's recove-
ib. 424 To the same. Full of affectionate regard; on Hay-
July 22 ib.
420 To the same. On the beautiful scenery of Eartham;
regrets on leaving it,
Sept. 9 ib.
422 To the same. Same subject,
399 To Lady Hesketh. Mrs. Unwin's second attack,
400 To the same. The same subject,
May 24 ib.
Jan. 20 ib.
440 To W. Hayley, Esq. His dream respecting Milton,
June 4 ib. 442 To Mr. Thomas Hayley. On Mr. Thomas Hayley's
403 To the same. Same subject,
454 To the Rev. Mr. Greatheed. On Mr. Greatheed's in-
469 To the Rev. J. Jekyll Rye. On Mr. Hurdis's
457 To Lady Hesketh. On his lines and acknowledg-
Nov. 24 ib.
Aug. 20 396 476 To W. Hayley, Esq. Uneasy at not hearing from
459 To Mrs. Courtenay. The treatment of Bob Archer
Dec. 8 ib.
LIFE OF WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.
OF THE INNER TEMPLE.
WILLIAM COWPER was born at Berkhamstead, | of spirits, into a state of great mental disorder. Herts, November 26, 1731. His father, the rec- At this period, he was led into a deep consideration tor of the parish, was the reverend John Cowper; of his religious state; and, having imbibed the D. D., son of Spencer Cowper, one of the justices doctrine of election and reprobation in its most apof the common pleas, a younger brother of the lord palling rigor, he was led to a very dismal state of chancellor Cowper, He received his early educa-apprehension. We are told, "that the terror of tion at a school in his native county, whence he eternal judgment overpowered and actually disorwas removed to that of Westminster. Here he dered his faculties; and he remained seven months adquired a competent portion of classical know- in a continual expectation of being instantly plungledge; but, from the delicacy of his temperament, ed into eternal misery." In this shocking condiand the timid shyness of his disposition, he seems tion, confinement became necessary, and he was to have endured a species of martyrdom from the placed in a receptacle for lunatics, kept by the rudeness and tyranny of his more robust compan- amiable and well-known doctor Cotton of St. Alions, and to have received, indelibly, the impres- ban's. At length, his mind recovered a degree of sions that subsequently produced his Tirocinium, serenity, and he retired to Huntingdon, where he in which poem his dislike to the system of public formed an acquaintance with the family of the education in England is very strongly stated. On reverend Mr. Unwin, which ripened into the strictleaving Westminster, he was articled, for three est intimacy. In 1773, he was again assailed by years, to an eminent attorney, during which time religious despondency, and endured a partial alienhe appears to have paid very little attention to his ation of mind for some years, during which afflicprofession; nor did he alter on this point after his tion he was highly indebted to the affectionate care entry at the Temple, in order to qualify himself of Mrs. Unwin. In 1778, he again recovered; in for the honourable and lucrative place of clerk to 1780, he was persuaded to translate some of the the house of lords, which post his family interest spiritual songs of the celebrated madame Guion. had secured for him. While he resided in the In the same and the following year, he was also inducTemple, he appears to have been rather gay and ed to prepare a volume of poems for the press, which social in his intercourse, numbering among his was printed in 1782. This volume did not attract companions Lloyd, Churchill, Thornton and Col- any great degree of public attention. The princiman, all of whom had been his companions at pal topics are, Error, Truth, Expostulation, Hope, Westminster school, and the two latter of whom Charity, Retirement and Conversation; all of which he assisted with some papers in the Connoisseur. are treated with originality, but, at the same time, His natural disposition, however, remained timid with a portion of religious austerity, which, withand diffident, and his spirits so constitutionally in-out some very striking recommendation, was not, firm, that, when the time arrived for his assuming at that time, of a nature to acquire popularity. the post to which he had been destined, he was thrown into such unaccountable terror at the idea of making his appearance before the assembled peerage, that he was not only obliged to resign the appointment, but was precipitated, by his agitation
They are in rhymed heroics; the style being rather strong than poctical, although never flat or insipid. A short time before the publication of this volume, Mr. Cowper became acquainted with lady Austen, widow of sir Robert Austen, who subsequently
resided, for some time, at the parsonage-house at ly a more accurate representation of Homer than Olney. To the influence of this lady, the world the version of Pope; but English blank verse can is indebted for the exquisitely humorous ballad of not sufficiently sustain the less poetical parts of John Gilpin, and the author's master-piece, the Homer, and the general effect is bald and prosaic. Task. The latter admirable poem chiefly occupi- Disappointed at the reception of this laborious ed his second volume, which was published in work, he meditated a revision of it, as also the su1785, and rapidly secured universal admiration. perintendence of an edition of Milton, and a new The Task unites minute accuracy with great ele- didactic poem, to be entitled the Four Ages; but, gance and picturesque beauty; and, after Thom- although he occasionally wrote a few verses, and son, Cowper is probably the poet who has added revised his Odyssey, amidst his glimmerings of most to the stock of natural imagery. The moral reason, those and all other undertakings finally reflections in this poem are also exceedingly im- gave way to a relapse of his malady. His disorpressive, and its delineation of character abounds der extended, with little intermission to the close in genuine nature. His religious system, too, al- of life; which, melancholy to relate, ended in a though discoverable, is less gloomily exhibited in state of absolute despair. In 1794, a pension of this than in his other productions. This volume 300l. per annum was granted him by the crown. also contained his Tirocinium-a piece strongly In the beginning of 1800, this gifted, but afflicted written, and abounding with striking observations, man of genius, exhibited symptoms of dropsy, whatever may be thought of its decision against which carried him off on the 25th of April followpublic education. About the year 1784, he began ing. Since his death, Cowper has, by the care his version of Homer, which, after many impedi- and industry of his friend and biographer, Hayments, appeared in July, 1791. This work pos- ley, become known to the world, as one of the most sesses much exactness, as to sense, and is certain-easy and elegant letter-writers on record.
A. YOU told me, I remember, glory, built On selfish principles, is shame and guilt; The deeds that men admire as half divine, Stark naught, because corrupt in their design. Strange doctrine this! that without scruple tears The laurel, that the very lightning spares; Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust, And eats into his bloody sword like rust.
B. I grant that, men continuing what they are, Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war; And never meant the rule should be applied To him, that fights with justice on his side.
Let laurels drenched in pure Parnassian dews, Reward his memory, dear to every muse, Who, with a courage of unshaken root, In Honour's field advancing his firm foot, Plants it upon the line that Justice draws, And will prevail or perish in her cause. 'Tis to the virtues of such men, man owes.. His portion in the good that Heaven bestows. And when recording History displays Feats of renown, though wrought in ancient days, Tells of a few stout hearts, that fought and died, Where duty placed them, at their country's side; The man, that is not moved with what he reads, That takes not fire at their heroic deeds, Unworthy of the blessings of the brave, Is base in kind, and born to be a slave.
But let eternal infamy pursue
The wretch to nought but his ambition true,
Some royal mastiff panting at their heels,
Then grace the bony phantom in their stead
A. "Tis your belief the world was made for man; Kings do but reason on the self-same plan: Maintaining yours, you cannot theirs condemn, Who think, or seem to think, man made for them.
B. Seldom, alas! the power of logic reigns With much sufficiency in royal brains; Such reasoning falls like an inverted cone, Wanting its proper base to stand upon. Man made for kings! those optics are but dim, That tell you so—say, rather, they for him. That were indeed a king-ennobling thought, Could they, or would they, reason as they ought. The diadem, with mighty projects lined, To catch renown by ruining mankind, Is worth, with all its gold and glittering store, Just what the toy will sell for, and no more. Oh! bright occasions of dispensing good, How seldom used, how little understood! To pour in Virtue's lap her just reward; Keep Vice restrained behind a double guard;