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The concluding lines may be considered script of the verses cannot but interest the as an omen of that celebrity which such a reader. writer, in the process of time, could not fail
Some fretful tempers wince at every touch; to obtain. How just a subject of surprise You always do too little or too much : and admiration is it, to behold an author You speak with life, in hopes to entertain; starting under such a load of disadvantages, Your elevated voice goes through the brain : and displaying on the sudden such a variety You full at once into a lower key; of excellence! For, neglected as it was for That's worse the drone-pipe of an humble bee ! & few years, the first volume of Cowper exhib- The southern sash admits too strong a light; its such a diversity of poetical powers as have You rise and drop the curtain :-now it's night. very rarely indeed been known to be united He shakes with cold ;-you stir the fire and strive in the same individual. He is not only great Serve him with ven’son, and he chooses fish ;
To make a blaze :-that's roasting him alive. in passages of pathos and sublimity, but he With sole, that's just the sort he would not is equally admirable in wit and humor. Af
wish. ter descanting most copiously on sacred sub- He takes what he at first profess’d to loath; jets, with the animation of a prophet and And due time feeds heartily on both; the simplicity of an apostle, he paints the Yet, still o'erclouded with a constant frown, ludicrous characters of common life with the He does not swallow, but he gulps it down. comic force of a Moliere, particularly in his Your hope to please him vain on every plan, poem on Conversation, and his exquisite por- Alas! his efforts double
Himself should work that wonder, it he can. triuit of a fretful temper; a piece of moral He likes yours little and his own still less. painting so highly finished and so happily cal. Thus, always teazing others, always teaz’d, culated to promote good humor, that a tran- His only pleasure is—to be displeas'd.
PART THE SECOND.
Mr. Bull, to whom the following poetical epistle is addressed, has already been mentioned as the person who suggested to Cowper the translation of Madame Guion's Hymns. Cowper used to say of him, that he was the master of a fine imagination, or, rather, that he was not master of
So seldom sought with invocation,
TO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL.*
Oluey, June 22, 1782.
• Private correspondence.
O Nymph of Transatlantic fame,
So may no blight infest thy plains,
that, when a great empire is falling, and he And no unseasonable rains,
has pronounced a sentence of ruin against it, And so may smiling Peace once more the inhabitants, be they weak or strong, wise Visit America's sad shore;
or foolish, must fall with it. Iam rather conAnd thou, secure from all alarms Or' thund'ring drums and glitt'ring arms,
firmed in this persuasion by observing that Rove uncontined beneath the shade
these luminaries of the state had no sooner Thy wide-expanded leaves have made; fixed themselves in the political heaven, than So may thy votaries increase,
the fall of the brightest of them shook all And fumigation never cease.
the rest. The arch of their power was no May Newton, with renew'd delights,
sooner struck than the key-stone slipped out Perform thine odorif rous rites,
of its place, those that were closest in conWhile clouds of incense half divine
nexion with it followed, and the whole buildInvolve thy disappearing shrine; And so may sinoke-inhaling Bull
ing, new as it is, seems to be already a ruin. Be always filling, never full.
If a man should hold this language, who W.C. could convict him of absurdity? The Mar
quis of Rockingham is minister-all the world
rejoices, anticipating success in war and a TO THE REV, WILLIAM UNWIN.
glorious peace. The Marquis of Rocking
Olney, July 16, 1782. ham is dead all the world is afflicted, and My dear Friend,-Though some people relapses into its former despondence. What pretend to be clever in the way of propheti- does this prove, but that the Marquis was cal forecast, and to have a peculiar talent of their Almighty, and that, now he is gone, they sagacity, by which they can divine the meaning know no other? But let us wait a little, of a providential dispensation while its conse- they will find another. Perhaps the Duke of quences are yet in embryo, I do not. There Portland, or perhaps the unpopular is at this time to be found, I suppose, in the whom they now represent as a devil, may obcabinet, and in both houses, a greater assem-tain that honor. Thus God is forgot, and blage of able men, both as speakers and when he is, his judgments are generally his counsellors, than ever were contemporary in remembrancers. the same land. A man not accustomed to Ilow shall I comfort you upon the subject trace the workings of Providence, as record of your present distress? Pardon me that I ed in Seripture, and that has given no atten- find myself obliged to smile at it, because, tion to this particular subject, while employed who but yourself would be distressed upon in the study of profane history, would assert such an occasion? You have behaved poboldly, that it is a token for good, that much litely, and, like a gentleman, you have hosmay be expected from them, and that the pitably offered your house to a stranger, who country, though heavily atllicted, is not yet could not, in your neighborhood at least, have to be despaired of, distinguished as she is by been comfortably accommodated anywhere so many characters of the highest class. Thus else. He, by neither refusing nor accepting he would say, and I do not deny that the an offer that did him too much honor, has event might justify his skill in prognostics. disgraced himself, but not you. I think for God works by means: and, in a case of great the future you must be more cautious of laynational perplexity and distress, wisdom and ing yourself open to a stranger, and never political ability seem to be the only natural again expose yourself to incivilities from un means of deliverance. But a mind more re- archdeacon you are not acquainted withi. ligiously inclined, and perhaps a little tinc- Though I did not mention it, I felt with tured with melancholy, might with equal prob- you what you suffered by the loss of Miss ability of success hazard a conjecture di- ; I was only silent because I could minrectly opposite. Alas! what is the wisdom ister no consolation to you on such a subjeet, of man, especially when he trusts in it as the but what I knew your mind to be already only god of his contidence? When I con- stored with. Indeed, the application of comsider the general contempt that is poured fort in such cases is a nice business, and perupon all things sacred, the profusion, the dis- haps when best managed might as well be sipation, the knavish cunning, of some, the let alone. I remember reading many yeurs rapacity of others, and the impenitence of all, ago a long treatise on the subject of consoI am rather inclined to fear that God, who lation, written in French, the author's name I honors himself by bringing human glory to forgot, but I wrote these words in the marshame, and by disappointing the expectations gin. Special consolation! at least for a of those whose trust is in creatures, has sig- Frenchman, who is a creature the most easily nalized the present day as a day of much hu- comforted of any in the world! man sufficiency and strength, has brought We are as happy in Lady Austen, and she together from all quarters of the land the in us, as ever-having a lively imagination, most illustrious men to be found in it, only and being passionately desirous of consolidathat he may prove the vanity of idols, and I ting all into one family (for she has taken
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
her leave of London), she has just sprung a them at first, but a loud hiss engaged me to project which serves at least to amuse us and attend more closely, when behold—a viper! to make us laugh; it is to hire Mr. Small's the largest that I remember to have seen, house, on the top of Clifton-hill, which is rearing itself, darting its forked tongue, and large, commodious, and handsome, will hold ejaculating the aforesaid hiss at the nose of a us conveniently, and any friends who may kitten, almost in contact with his lips. I ran occasionally favor us with a visit; the house into the hall for a hoe with a long handle, is furnished, but, if it can be hired without with which I intended to assail him, and rethe furniture, will let for a trifle—your sen- turning in a few seconds, missed him: he timents if you please upon this demarche ! was gone, and I feared had escaped me. Still,
I send you my last frank-our best love however, the kitten sat watching immoveably attends you individually and all together. I on the same spot. I concluded, therefore, that give yon joy of a happy change in the season, sliding between the door and the threshold, and myself also. I have filled four sides in he had found his way out of the garden into less time than two would have cost me a the yard. I went round immediately, and week ago; such is the effect of sunshine there found him in close conversation with upon such a butterfly as I am.
the old cat, whose curiosity being excited by Yours,
W. C. so novel an appearance, inclined her to pat
his head repeatedly with her fore foot, with her claws however sheathed, and not in anger, but in the way of philosophic inquiry and ex
amination. To prevent her falling a victim Olney, Ang. 3, 1782.
to so laudable an exercise of her talents, I My dear Friend,—Entertaining some hope interposed in a moment with the hoe, and that Mr. Newton's next letter would furnish performed upon him an act of decapitation, me with the means of satisfying your inquiry which, though not immediately mortal, proved on the subject of Dr. Johnson's opinion, I so in the end. Had he slid into the passages, have till now delayed my answer to your where it is dark, or had he, when in the yard, last; but the information is not yet come, i met with no interruption from the cat, and Mr. Newton having intermitted a week more secreted himself in any of the out-houses, it than usual, since his last writing. When I is hardly possible but that some of the family receive it, favorable or not, it shall be con- must have been bitten; he might have been municated to you; but I am not over-sin- trodden upon without being perceived, and guine in my expectations from that quarter, have slipped away before the sufferer could Very learned and very critical heads are hard have distinguished what foe had wounded to ple:ise. He may perhaps treat me with him. Three years ago we discovered one in lenity for the sake of the subject and design, the same place, which the barber slew with but the composition, I think, will hardly es- a trowel. cape his censure. But though all doctors
Our proposed removal to Mr. Small's was, may not be of the same mind, there is one
as you may suppose, a jest, or rather a jocodoctor at least, whom I have lately discovered, serious matter. We never looked upon it as my professed adınirer. * He too, like John- entirely feasible, yet we saw in it something son, was with difficulty persuaded to read, so like practicability that we did not esteem having an aversion to all poetry, except the it altogether unworthy of our attention. It “Night Thoughts," which, on a certain occa- was one of those projects which people of sion, when being contined on board a ship lively imaginations play with and admire for he had no other employment, he got by heart. a few days, and then break in pieces. Lady He was however prevailed upon, and read me Austen returned on Thursday from London, several times over, so that it my volume had where she spent the last fortnight, and sailed with him instead of Dr. Young's, I whither she was called by an unexpected opperhaps might have occupied that shelf in his portunity to dispose of the remainder of her memory which he then allotted to the Doctor. lease. She has therefore no longer any con
It is a sort of paradox, but it is true: we nexion with the great city, and no house but are never more in danger than when we think at Olney. Her abode is to be at the vicarage, ourselves most secure, nor in reality more where she has hired as much room as she secure than when we seem to be most in wants, which she will embellish with her own danger. Both sides of this apparent contra- furniture, and which she will occupy as soon diction were lately verified in my experience: as the minister's wife has produced another passing from the greenhouse to the barn, 1 child, which is expected to make its entry in saw three kittens (for we have so many in October. our retinue) looking with fixed attention on
Mr. Bull, a dissenting minister of New. something which lay on the threshold of a port, a learned, ingenious, good-natured, pious door nailed up. I took but littlo notice of friend of ours, who sometimes visits us, and
whom we visited last week, put into my
. Dr. Franklin.
REQUEST OF LADY AUSTEN.
hands three volumes of French poeiry, com- And rob our household of our only cat, posed by Madame Guion—a quietist, say That was of age to combat with a rat; you, and a fanatic, I will have nothing to do with outstretched hoe I slew him at the door, with her.—'Tis very well, you are welcome And taught him NEVER TO COME TUERE NO MORE. to have nothing to do with her, but, in the meantime, her verse is the only French verse
Lady Austen became a tenant of the viI ever read that I found agreeable; there is a carage at Olney. When Mr. Newton occuneatness in it equal to that which we applaud, pied that parsonage, he had opened a door in with so much reason, in the compositions of the garden-wall
, which admitted him in the Prior. I have translated several of them, most commodious manner to visit the seand shall proceed in my translations till i questered poet, who resided in the next have filled a Lilliputian paper-book I happen house. Lady Austen had the advantage of to have by me, which, when filled, I shall pre- her society, both to Cowper and to Mrs.
intercourse; and so captivating was sent to Mr. Bull. He is her passionate ad- Unwin, that these intimate neighbors might mirer; rode twenty miles to see her picture be almost said to make one family, as it bein the house of a stranger, which stranger politely insisted on his acceptance of it, and came their custom to dine always together, it now hangs over his chimney. It is a strik- alternately in the houses of the iwo ladies. ing portrait, too characteristic not to be a
The musical talents of Lady Austen in. strong resemblance, and, were it encompassed liar sweetness and pathos, to suit particular
duced Cowper to write a few songs of pecuwith a glory, instead of being dressed in a nun's hood, might pass for the face of an
airs that she was accustomed to play on the angel.
harpsichord. We insert three of these, as Yours, W. C.
proofs that, even in his hours of social
amusement, the poet loved to dwell on ideas To this letter we annex a very lively lusus of tender devotion and pathetic solemnity. poeticus from the pen of Cowper, on the subjeet mentioned in the former part of the pre
SONG WRITTEN IN THE SUMMER OF 1783, AT THE ceding letter.
Air-"My fond shepherds of late," &c.
No longer I follow a sound;
No longer a dream I pursue :
Unattainable treasure, adieu !
I have sought thee in splendor and dress, Not deeining kittens worth a poet's care.
In the regions of pleasure and taste; But presently a loud and furious hiss
I have sought thee, and seem'd to possess Caus'd me to stop and to exclaim,“ What's this?"
But have proved thee a vision at last.
The voice of true wisdom inspires !
'Tis sufficient, if peace be the scope
Peace may be the lot of the mind
That seeks it in meekness and love; Only projecting, with attention due, (you ?"
But rapture and bliss are confined
To the glorified spirits above!
Air-" The lass of Pattie's mill."
When all within is peace,
How nature seems to smile!
Delights that never cease,
The live-long day beguile.
From morn to dewy eve, "I hope," said I, “the villian I would kill Has slipt between the door and the door's sill;
With open hand she showerg
Fresh blessings to deceive
And soothe the silent hours.
Gives Nature power to please;
Enlivens all it sees;
Can make a wint'ry sky To learn what this phenomenon might mean.
Seem bright as smiling May, Fill'd with heroic ardor at the sight,
And evening's closing eye And fearing every moment he would bite,
As peep of early day.
The vast majestic globe,
So beauteously array'd
With wond'rous skill display'd,
A dreary wild at best;
And longs to be at rest. The following song, adapted to the march in Scipio, obtained too great a celebrity not to merit insertion in this place. It relates to the loss of the Royal George, the flag-ship of Admiral Kempenfelt, which went down with nine hundred persons on board, (among whom was Rear-Admiral Kempenfelt,) at Spithead, August 29, 1782. The song was a favorite production of the poet's; so much 90, that he amused himself by translating it into Latin verse. We take the version from one of his subsequent letters, for the sake of unexing it to the original.
IN SUBMERSIONEM NAVIGU, CUI GEORGIUS, REGALE
Reddite amicis !
Tollere ad astra.
BONG, ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.
Toll for the brave!
The brave that are no more ! All sunk bencath the wave,
Fast by their native shore ! Eight hundred of the brave,
whose courage well was tried, Had inade the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.
A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
With all her crew complete.
Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His work of glory done.
No tempest gave the shock;
She ran upon no rock.
His fingers held the pen,
With twice four hundred men,
Once dreaded by our foes !
The tear that England owes.
And she may float again
And plough the distant main.*
His viciories are o'er;
Shall plough the wave no more. Attempts have recently been made to recover this alland some of the gune bave been raised, and feund wo be in excelent order.
Let the reader, who wishes to impress on his mind a just idea of the variety and extent of Cowper's poetical powers, contrast this heroic ballad of exquisite pathos with his diverting history of John Gilpin!
That admirable and highly popular piece of pleasantry was composed at the period of which we are now speaking. An elegant and judicious writer, who has favored the public with three interesting volumes relating to the early poets of our country,* conjectures, that a poem, written by the celebrated Sir Thomas More in his youth, (the merry jest of the Serjeant and Frere) may have suggested to Cowper his tale of John Gilpin ; but this singularly amusing ballad had a different origin; and it is a very remarkable fact, that, full of gayety and humor as this favorite of the public has abundantly proved itself to be, it was really composed at a time when the spirit of the poet was very deeply tinged with his depressive malady. It happened one afternoon, in those years when his accomplished friend, Lady Austen, made a part of his little evening circle, that she observed him sinking into increasing dejection.
* See Ellis's “Specimens of the early English Poets, with an historical sketch of the rise and progress of English poetry and language."