Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Age.

CHAPTER XIV.

Increased attention to his translation . . . . . . . . 235

58 Revises, to oblige an entire stranger, a volume of hymns for

children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238

Serious reflections on the effects of winter . . . . . . 239

Gloomy and painful apprehensions ........ 241

Receipt of his mother's portait . . . . . . . . . . 242

Interesting description of his feelings on the occasion . . 243

Judicious advice to his cousin .......... 245

Translates Van Leer's Latin Letters . . . . . . . 246

Continuance of his melancholy depression . . . . . . 247

Advantages of a rural situation for the cultivation of religion 248

59 Short but very severe nervous attack . . . . . . . . 249

Sends his Homer to the press . . . . . . . . . 249

Immense labour he had bestowed upon it.... . 250

Sympathetic remarks to Mr. Newton on the death of his wife 251

Solicits Mr. Newton for a more regular correspondence . 252

Unabated attachment to religion ......... 254

CHAPTER XV.

Publication of his Homer . . . . . . . . . . . 255

Remarks respecting it . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256

Benefit it had been to him . . . . . . . . . . . 257

Prepares materials for his edition of Milton .....

Vindication of Milton, and remarks on Paradise Lost .. 260

Unsuccessful attempt to obtain from him original poetry .

Commencement of his intimacy with Mr. Hayley ...

60 Mrs. Unwin's first attack of paralysis .... ...

Continuance of his gloomy apprehensions ...... 265

Mr. Hayley's first visit to Weston . ........ 267

Anecdotes respecting Mr. Hayley's first letter to Cowper . 268

Pleasure Cowper derived from Mr. Hayley's visit ... 269

Mrs. Unwin's second paralytic attack . . . . . . . 271

Deep concern of Cowper on the occasion . . . . . . 272

Depressed state of his mind . .......... 274

Engages to pay Mr. Hayley a visit ........ 275

Anxiety respecting the journey. .........

Remarks on Mrs. Unwin's piety . . . . . . . . . 279

Playful feelings on sitting for his portrait ......

Age.

CHAPTER XVI.

Page

Journey to Eartham . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281

Manner in which he and Mr. Hayley employed themselves 283

State of his mind while there . . . . . . . . . . 284

Return to Weston, and interview with General Cowper . 285

Effects of the journey on his mind . . . . . . . . . 286

Ineffectual effort at composition . . . . . . . . . 289

Warmth of his affection for Mr. Hayley . . . . . . · 290

61 Preparation for the second edition of Homer..

Continuance of his depression . . . . . . . . . 295

Use of affliction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296

Declines a joint literary undertaking ........ 298

Willing to write with others a poem entitled The Four

Ages · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 301

CHAPTER XVII.

Mr. Hayley's second visit to Weston . . . . . . . 303

Lord Spencer's kind attention to the poet...... 303

62 Cowper's undiminished regard for Mrs. Unwin, and poetic

tribute to her worth ......... ... 305

Excellent critical remarks ...... ..... 207

Most severe attack of depression . . . . . . . . . 309

Lady Hesketh's kind attention ... .. . ..

Mr. Greatheed's visit and letter to Mr. Hayley ... 311

Mr. Hayley and his son's visit to Weston ...... 312

63 His Majesty's grant of a pension to the poet ....

Removal into Norfolk in the care of his kinsman ...

64 Takes possession of Dunham Lodge .......

Interest he took in Mr. Wakefield's Homer . . . . . 319

65 Death of Mrs. Unwin . . . . . . . . . . . . 320

Tablet to her memory . . . . . . . .

Dr. Johnson's great attention to the poet . . . . . . 322

Happy results of the Doctor's ingenuity. ..

66 Dowager Lady Spencer's visit to the poet .....

67 Stanzas, entitled “The Cast-away" ......... 325

Dr. Johnson's various efforts to afford him relief .. 326

68 The poet's last letter to Mr. Hayley · · · · · ·..

Is visited by Mr. Rose . . . . . . . . . . . . 328

Disconsolate state of his mind . . . . . . . . . . 329

• 314

. 316

313

[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

391

323

.

324

327

THE LIFE

OF

WILLIAM COWPER.

CHAPTER I.

His parentage — Loss of his mother — Poetic description of her cha

racter — First school — Cruelty he experienced there — First serious impressions — Is placed under the care of an eminent oculist Entrance upon Westminster School — Character while there Removal thence — Entrance upon an attorney's office — Want of employment there — Unfitness for his profession – Early melancholy impressions.

William Cowper was born at Great Berkhamstead, in Hertfordshire, November 15, 1731. His father, Dr. John Cowper, chaplain to King George the Second, was the second son of Spencer Cowper, who was Chief Justice of Cheshire, and afterwards a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas, and whose brother William, first Earl Cowper, was, at the same time, Lord High Chancellor of England. His mother was Anne, daughter of Roger Donne, Esq. of Ludham Hall, Norfolk, who had a common ancestry with the celebrated Dr. Donne, Dean of St. Paul's.

In reference to this lady, it has been justly observed, by one of the poet's best biographers, “ That the highest blood in the realm flowed in the veins of the modest and unassuming Cowper; his mother having descended through the families of Hippesley of Throughley, in Sussex, and Pellet, of Bolney, in the same county, from the several noble houses of West, Knollys, Carey, Bullen, Howard, and Mowbray, and so, by four different lines, from Henry the Third, king of England." Though, as the same writer properly remarks,“ distinctions of this nature can shed no additional lustre on the memory of Cowper, yet genius, however exalted, disdains not, while it boasts not, the splendour of ancestry; and royalty itself may be pleased, and perhaps benefited, by discovering its kindred to such piety, such purity, and such talents as his.”

Very little is known of the habits and disposition of Cowper's mother. From the following epitaph, however, inscribed on a monument, erected by her husband in the chancel of St. Peter's church, Great Berkhamstead, and composed by her niece, who afterwards became Lady Walsingham, she appears to have been a lady of the most amiable temper and agreeable manners :

Here lies, in early years bereft of life,
The best of mothers, and the kindest wife,
Who neither knew nor practised any art,
Secure in all she wished — her husband's heart.
Her love to him still prevalent in death,
Pray'd Heaven to bless him with her latest breath.
Still was she studious never to offend,
And glad of an occasion to commend;
With ease would pardon injuries received,
Nor e'er was cheerful when another grieved.
Despising state, with her own lot content,
Enjoyed the comforts of a life well spent;
Resigned when Heaven demanded back her breath,
Her mind heroic 'midst the pangs of death.
Whoe'er thou art that dost this tomb draw near,
O, stay awhile, and shed a friendly tear;
These lines, though weak, are as herself sincere.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »