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of Johnson, this letter remained in his hands for a considerable time, and was not delivered to Cowper till six weeks after it had been written. Immediately on receiving it Cowper wrote to Mr. Hayley, explaining the cause of his long delayed reply, and from that time, an interchange of many most interesting letters took place, which subsequently led to a friendship the most cordial and ardent, which it was only in the power of death to dissolve. In a letter to Lady Hesketh, Cowper thus adverts to this circumstance:-“ Mr. Hayley's friendly and complimentary letter, from some unknown cause, at least to me, slept six weeks in Johnson's custody. It was necessary I should answer it without delay, accordingly I answered it the very evening on which I received it, giving him to understand, among other things, how much vexation the book seller's folly had cost me, who had detained it so long, especially on account of the distress that I knew it must have occasioned to him also. From his reply, which the return of the post brought me, I learn that in the long interval of my non-correspondence he had suffered anxiety and mortification enough; so much so that I dare say he made twenty vows never to hazard again either letter or compliment to an unknown author. What, indeed, could he imagine less, than that I meant by such obstinate silence to tell him that I valued neither him nor his praises, nor his proffered friendship; in short, that I considered him as a rival, and, therefore, like a true author, hated and despised him. He is now, however, convinced that I love him, as indeed I do, and I account him the chief acquisition that my verse has ever procured me. Brute should I be if I did not, for he promises me every assistance in his power.”

To Mr. Hayley, at the commencement of Cowper's correspondence with him, and after the above unpleasant occurrence had been satisfactorily accounted for, and amicably

settled, he thus expresses his anxiety that the friendship thus formed might be lasting :-“ God grant that this friendship of ours may be a comfort to us all the rest of our days, in a world where true friendships are rarities, and especially, where suddenly formed, they are apt soon to terminate. But, as I said before, I feel a disposition of heart towards you that I never felt for one whom I had never seen ; and that shall prove itself, I trust, in the event, a propitious omen. It gives me the sincerest pleasure that I hope to see you at Weston; for as to any migrations of mine, they must, I fear, notwithstanding the joy I should feel in being a guest of yours, be still considered in the light of impossibilities. Come, then, my friend, and be as welcome, as the country people say here, as the flowers in May. I am happy, I say, in the expectation, but the fear or rather the consciousness, that I shall not answer on a nearer view, makes it a trembling kind of happiness, and invests it with many doubts. Bring with you any books that you think may be useful to my commentatorship, for with you for an interpreter, I shall be afraid of none of them. And in truth if you think you shall want them, you must bring books for your own use also, for they are an article with which I am heinously unprovided; being much in the condition of the man whose library Pope describes, as -

....... “No mighty store!
His own works neatly bound, and little more.”

Mr. Hayley's projected visit, anticipated so fondly, both by himself and by Cowper, took place in May 1792.The interview between these talented individuals proved reciprocally delightful. Though Cowper was now in his sixty-first year, he felt none of the infirmities of advanced life, but was as active and vigorous, both in mind and body, as his best friends could wish him. Mrs. Unwin had nearly recovered from her late severe attack, and as her health was every day progressively improving, there seemed every probability of their enjoying a long continuance of domestic comfort. Mr. Hayley thus describes the manner in which he was received, and his sensations on the occasion.--" Their reception of me was kindness itself; I was enchanted to find that the manners and conversation of Cowper resembled his poetry, charming by unaffected elegance, and the graces of a benevolent spirit. I looked with affectionate veneration and pleasure on the lady, who, having devoted her life and fortune to the service of this tender and sublime genius, in watching over him with maternal vigilance, through so many years of the darkest calamity, appeared to be now enjoying a reward justly due to the noblest exertions of friendship, in contemplating the health, and the renown of the poet, whom she had the happiness to preserve. It seemed hardly possible to survey human nature in a more touching, and a more satisfactory point of view. Their tender attention to each other, their simple, devout gratitude for the mercies which they had experienced together, and their constant but unaffected propensity to impress on the mind and heart of a new friend, the deep sense which they incessantly felt, of their mutual obligations to each other; afforded me very singular gratification.”

This scene of exquisite enjoyment to all parties, as is frequently the case in a world like ours, was suddenly exchanged for one of the deepest melancholy and distress. Mr. Hayley has related the painful event with so much tenderness and simplicity, that we cannot do better than present it to our readers in his own words. —“ After passing our mornings in social study, we usually walked out together at noon; in returning from one of our rambles round the pleasant village of Weston, we were met by Mr. Greethead, an accomplished minister of the gospel, who resides at Newport Pagnel, and whom Cowper described to me in terms of cordial esteem. He came forth to meet us, as we drew near the house, and it was soon visible from his countenance and manner, that he had ill news to impart. After the most tender preparation that humanity could devise, he informed Cowper, that Mrs. Unwin was under the immediate pressure of a paralytic attack. My agitated friend, rushed to the sight of the sufferer; he returned to me in a state that alarmed me in the highest degree for his faculties: his first speech was wild in the extreme; my answer would appear little less so, but it was addressed to the predominant fancy of my unhappy friend, and with the blessing of heaven, it produced an instantaneous calm in his troubled mind. From that moment he rested on my friendship with such mild and cheerful confidence, that his affectionate spirit regarded me as sent providentially to support him in a season of the severest affliction.”

The best means to promote the recovery of Mrs. Unwin, that could have been used under similar circumstances, were resorted to. Happily, they proved to a considerable degree successful, and she gradually recovered both her strength and the use of her faculties. The effect of this attack, however, upon Cowper's tender mind, was in the highest degree painful. This will not perhaps be surprising, when it is recollected how sincerely he was attached to his afflicted inmate, and how deeply he interested himself in every thing that related to her welfare. The following beautiful lines will convey to the reader some idea of the exalted opinion he had formed of her character.”

“ Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,

Such aid from heaven as some have feigned they drew,

An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new
And undebased by praise of meaner things !
That ere through age or woe I shed my wings,
I may record thy worth, with honour due,
In verse as musical as thou art true —
Verse that immortalizes whom it sings !
But thou hast little need: there is a book,
By seraphs writ, with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look!
A chronicle of actions just and bright!
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
And since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine."

The following extracts from Cowper's correspondence, immediately after this painful event, describe satisfactorily the state of his mind : _“I wish with all my heart, my dearest cousin, that I had not ill news for the subject of this letter : my friend, my Mary, has again been attacked by the same disorder that threatened me last year with the loss of her, of which you were yourself a witness. The present attack has been much the severest. Her speech has been almost unintelligible from the moment that she was struck: it is with difficulty she can open her eyes; and she cannot keep them open, the muscles necessary for that purpose being contracted ; and as to self-moving powers from place to place, and the right use of her hand and arm, she has entirely lost them. I hope, however, she is beginning to recover : her amendment is indeed but very slow, as must be expected at her time of life. I am as well myself, and indeed better than you have ever known me in such trouble. It has happened well for me that, of all men living, the man best qualified to assist and comfort me, is here; though, till within these few days, I never saw him, and a few weeks since had no expectation that I ever should. You have already guessed that I mean Hayley-Hayley, who loves me as if he had

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