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PAGE Mary and John - - - - . 236 To Sir Joshua Reynolds . - - . 236 Pairing Time Anticipated . - - . 237 Epitaph on a Hare . - - - , 240 Sonnet to a Young Lady . - - . 241 Written in a Quarrel - - - . 242 The Symptoms of Love . - - . 243 Written after leaving her at New Burns . , 244 R. S. S. . - - - - . 245 Written in a Fit of Illness . - - . 246 Disappointment . - - - . 248 Ode. - - - - - . 248 Song - - - - - . 250 A Song - - - - - . 251 A Song . - - , - - . 252 The Certainty of Death . - - . 253 The Castaway - - - 254

Translations of the Latin and Italian Poems of

Milton. - - - - . 256 Translations from Wincent Bourne. - . 282 Translations of Greek Werses - - . 290 Epigrams Translated from the Latin - . 297 Translations from the French - - . 298 Translations from Virgil . - - . 318

Olney Hymns - - - - . 323

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ILLIAM COWPER was born on

the 26th of November 1731. His

father, the Rev. John Cowper,

D.D., was chaplain to King

George II., and rector of Berk

hampstead ; and the parsonagehouse of this little Hertfordshire town was the birthplace of the poet. His mother was a distinguished woman, of considerable amiability and power. Her maiden name was Anne Donne, and Dr. Johnson declared that this lady was descended from the several noble houses of West, Knollys, Carey, Bullen, Howard, and Mowbray; and so, by four different lines, from Henry III., King of England. The Doctor added, that “distinctions of this kind 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.” Cowper had the misfortune to lose his mother when he was only six years old, yet so deep and lasting was her influence upon his character and mind, that nearly fifty years after her death he said, “Not a week passes in which I do not think of her—such was the impression her tenderness made upon me, though the opportunity she had for showing it was so short.” The beautiful and pathetic poem written on the receipt of his mother's picture reveals the reverence which he felt for her. This loss was the more to be deplored on Cowper's account, because from his infancy he was a delicate child, with the tendency to melancholy which was afterwards so painfully developed. He was sent, immediately after his mother's death, to a school kept by Dr. Pitman, at Market Street, in Hertfordshire. The school was large, and he suffered many things in it, especially at the hands of a young bully about fifteen years old, who treated the weak child with more than the usual school-boy barbarity. Cowper always remembered the fear with which this young tyrant inspired him, and said that he was afraid to lift his eyes upon him higher than his knees, and knew him better by his shoe-buckles than by any other part of his dress. The cruelty of this boy was eventually discovered, and he was expelled from the school, where Cowper himself spent only two years. He was removed because he was threatened with blindness, specks having appeared on both eyes; and the next two years were passed in the house of an eminent oculist, where he was so far cured that he was able at ten years old to be sent to Westminster School. At fourteen he had an attack of the small-pox, which he said proved the best oculist, for after it had passed off, the specks in his eyes were found to have gone with it. He was not unhappy at Westminster School, although in after-life, when he wrote his scathing censure of public schools, he doubtless recalled some trials that he had endured there. He held a high place among the boys as an expert at cricket and football ; and his poems are proofs that he had pleasant associations connected with his boyhood:—


“Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
We love the play-place of our early days.”

It is true that with the morbid self-reproach which did much to rob his manhood of strength and beauty, he afterward described himself as a wicked boy, without any sentiments of contrition, and as a great adept in “the infernal art of lying ; but

those who were his school-fellows and teachers described him as a gentle, inoffensive boy, with a mild and amiable temper, far more kindly disposed and good than the average school-boy. He greatly lamented his own lack of religion, and also the absence of religious teaching in the school, although he bore testimony to the pains which Dr. Nichols took to prepare the boys for confirmation. He had some school-mates who became notable men afterward ; and at school he first exhibited his poetic tendency:—

“At Westminster, where little poets strive
To set a distich upon six and five,
Where discipline helps opening buds of sense,
And makes his pupils proud with silver pence,
I was a poet too.”

Cowper remained at Westminster until he was seventeen years old ; he then spent nine months at home, and was next sent to acquire the practice of the law with an attorney. That his master did not teach him religion as well as law was one of his causes of complaint in after years, when he complained of everything. He was articled to Mr. Chapman for three years, and his fellowclerk was the young man who afterwards became Lord Chancellor Thurlow, and was ever the poet's friend. Cowper said of this time—“I did actually

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