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sent the packet to me, with other articles, according to the directions of that lady.
The Poems, though not equal to his later productions, yet appeared to me to possess the sweet muse of this delightful poet, in no small degree. Nevertheless, on first reading them, much as I know any productions of Cowper would gratify his many admirers, yet I did not feel disposed to make them public, fearing that my partiality might lead me to set a value upon them beyond their merit; and, knowing they could not add to his reputation, I was fearful of doing any thing to diminish the high character his poetry had so justly acquired. Not wishing, however, to deprive the public of any thing so interesting, and yet dreading to do any thing to lessen the fame of this admired Poet, I resolved to take the opinion of those whose judgement was superior to mine, and so necessary to guide me in a point of this delicate nature. Under this impression, I placed them in the hands of some friends highly distinguished for talents and judgement.
Sanctioned by such authority, I shall feel most happy in having it in my power to gratify the admirers of Cowper with these his early productions, trusting they will afford as much delight to their readers, as they have to
Your obedient servant,
4. The satire on his cousin Martin Madan, which was the first thing Cowper published in a separate form, came to my knowledge by mere accident, before those letters in which it is mentioned were entrusted to me. In a volume of Kippis's Biographia Britannica, which I had sent for from a London catalogue, and which had been a presentation copy to its first possessor, I found the reader may imagine with what surprise as well as pleasure-the following note, left in it by him as a marker.
FOR ISAAC REID, ESQ. 11, STAPLE'S INN.
I find the Poem of Mr. Cowper's, to which I alluded this morning, is entitled Anti-Thelyphthora, was printed in quarto by Johnson, in 1781, and is noticed in the sixty-fourth volume of the Monthly Review, p. 229.
Mr. Hayley will be much obliged by the loan of Webb's Art of Poetry.
I am, dear Sir,
Very faithfully yours,
Chancery Lane, Tuesday.
Immediate enquiry was of course made; the poem was found in the British Museum, and a transcript taken from it for the press. I was enabled to correct this in the proofs by a copy of the original quarto pamphlet, for which I am obliged to Mr. Peace, of the Bristol Library, the (then unknown) friend to whom (in the first volume of this edition) I acknowledged my obligations for an Index to the Task, and for the collection of parallel passages with which his wellstored memory supplied him. It will be seen by them how thoroughly Cowper's mind was imbued with Milton.
Concerning the Anti-Thelyphthora, it suffices here to state that the papers in the Monthly Review which so effectually demolished Martin Madan's arguments were written by Badcock; and that Cowper wished the authorship of the satire might remain secret, because of his relationship to the person against whom it was aimed. What more I have to say of that remarkable person must be reserved for another place.
5. I have now only to give the original title of the first volume, and Mr. Newton's Preface, which having been printed with it, was withdrawn at the publisher's request, but restored at the writer's, eight years afterwards.
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, ESQ.
Sicut aquæ tremulum labris ubi lumen ahenis
VIRG. EN. VIII.
So water trembling in a polish'd vase,
Nous sommes nés pour la vérité, et nous ne pouvons souffrir son abord; les figures, les paraboles, les emblémes, sont toujours des ornements nécessaires pour qu'elle puisse s'annoncer; et, soit qu'on craigne qu'elle ne découvre trop brusquement le défaut qu'on voudroit cacher, ou qu'enfin elle n'instruise avec trop peu de ménagement, on veut, en la recevant, qu'elle soit déguisée. CARACCIOLI.
PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, No. 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.
MR. NEWTON'S PREFACE.
WHEN an author by appearing in print, requests an audience of the public, and is upon the point of speaking for himself, whoever presumes to step before him with a Preface, and to say, "Nay, but hear me first," should have something worthy of attention to offer, or he will be justly deemed officious and impertinent. The judicious reader has probably, upon other occasions, been beforehand with me in this reflection: and I am not very willing it should now be applied to me, however
I may seem to expose myself to the danger of it. But the thought of having my own name perpetuated in connexion with the name in the title page, is so pleasing and flattering to the feelings of my heart, that I am content to risk something for the gratification.
This Preface is not designed to commend the Poems to which it is prefixed. My testimony would be insufficient for those who are not qualified to judge properly for themselves, and unnecessary to those who are. Besides, the reasons which render it improper and unseemly for a man to celebrate his own performances, or those of his nearest relatives, will have some influence in suppressing much of what he might otherwise wish to say in favour of a friend, when that friend is indeed an alter idem, and excites almost the same emotions of sensibility and affection, as he feels for himself.
It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of some persons, in whom the sight of the Author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and scenes, which through length of time they had almost forgotten. They will be reminded of one, who was once the companion of their chosen hours, and who set out with them in early life in the paths which lead to literary honours, to influence and affluence, with equal prospects of success. But he was suddenly and powerfully withdrawn from those pursuits, and he left them without regret; yet not till he had sufficient opportunity of counting the cost, and of knowing the value of what he gave up. If happiness could have been found in classical attainments, in an elegant taste, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and genius, and in the esteem and converse of such persons, as in these respects were most congenial with himself, he would have been happy. But he was not.-He wondered (as thousands in a similar situation still do) that he should continue dissatisfied, with all the means apparently conducive to satisfaction within his reach.-But in due time the cause of his
disappointment was discovered to him :--He had lived without God in the world. In a memorable hour the wisdom which is from above visited his heart. Then he felt himself a wanderer, and then he found a guide. Upon this change of views, a change of plan and conduct followed of course. When he saw the busy and the gay world in its true light, he left it with as little reluctance as a prisoner, when called to liberty, leaves his dungeon. Not that he became a cynic or an ascetic ;—a heart filled with love to God will assuredly breathe benevolence to men. But the turn of his temper inclining him to rural life, he indulged it, and the providence of God evidently preparing his way and marking out his retreat, he retired into the country. By these steps the good hand of God, unknown to me, was providing for me one of the principal blessings of my life; a friend and a counsellor, in whose company for almost seven years, though we were seldom seven successive waking hours separated, I always found new pleasure; a friend who was not only a comfort to myself, but a blessing to the affectionate poor people, among whom I then lived.
Some time after inclination had thus removed him from the hurry and bustle of life, he was still more secluded by a long indisposition, and my pleasure was succeeded by a proportionable degree of anxiety and concern. But a hope, that the God whom he served would support him under his affliction, and at length vouchsafe him a happy deliverance, never forsook me. The desirable crisis, I trust, is now nearly approaching. The dawn, the presage of returning day, is already arrived. He is again enabled to resume his pen, and some of the first fruits of his recovery are here presented to the public. In his principal subjects the same acumen, which distinguished him in the early period of life, is happily employed in illustrating and enforcing the truths, of which he received such deep and unalterable impressions in his maturer years. His satire, if it may be called so, is benevolent, (like the operations of the skilful