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room for a very meagre abstract. He was born at Berkhamstead, in Hertfordshire, on the 26th of November, 1731. His father the Rev. John Cowper, D. D. Rector of that place, and one of the chaplains to George 11. was the son of Spencer Cowper, Chief Justice of Chester, and the nephew of the Lord Chancellor Cowper. On the death of his mother, which happened when he was only six years of age, he was placed under the care of Dr. Pitman, who had established himself as a Teacher in that neighbourhood, who appears to have been very ill qualified for his business, allowing a license to the strong to trample upon the weak, in such a de gree as seems to have made the gentle and unassuming poet (to be) most perfectly wretched. After two years endurance under this worthy knight of the Taws, owing to the appearance of specks upon his eyes, he was placed in the family of a female Oculist in London, where he remained two years more without receiving any benefit from her medical exertions. He was now removed to Westminster school, where his extreme sensi. bility, still subjected him to the deepest suffering from the persecution of his school-fellows. Here, however, he acquired considerable eminence as a scholar, and at the age of eighteen, returned to Berkhamstead, where he remained only a few months; being articled with a Mr. Chapman, a solicitor in London. The study of the law, however, seems not to have suited the inclinations of Cowper, and, by his own confession, the three years of his apprenticeship were consumed in idleness. Nor does it appear that twelve years more spent in the temple, were any better improved. When he had attained the age of thirty-two years, his friends procured him an appointment as a clerk in the house of Lords, when his fears for an examination before that honourable house, actually reduced him to a state of insanity, and he was placed at St. Albans, under the care of Dr. Cotton, with whom he remained a considerable time after his recovery. He afterward removed to Huntingdon and became an inmate in the family of the Rev. Mr. Unwin, where he remained till within a little of his death, which happened in the month of April, 1800, when he had reached, not. withstanding great delicacy of constitution, nearly his 70th year. Many speculations have been indulged concerning that settled gloom, always bordering upon and frequently carried all the length of real madness, that hung over the mind of Cowper, a mind at the same time benevolent, cultivated, and pure in no ordinary degree. Nothing appears to us more evi. dent, than that it arose in a great measure from the errors of his education, and the misdirection or the total neglect of his talents. The following extract shews that he himself was perfectly sensible of the cause, and it claims the most serious attention of ail who have any influence in directing the views or any charge in the education of the young.
“ The colour of our whole life is generally such as the three or four first years in which we are our own masters make it. Then it is that we may be said to shape our own destiny, and to treasure up for ourselves a series of future successes or disappointments. Had I employed my time as wisely as you, in a situation very similar to yours, (he is writing to Mr. Rose, who held a respectable place in the administration of the government of the country,) I had never been a poet perhaps, but I might by this time have acquired a character of far greater importance in society, and a situation in which my friends would have
been better pleased to see me. But three years misspent in an attorney's office, were almost of course followed by several more equally misspent in the temple, and the con. sequence has been, as the Italian epitaph says, “Sto qui. - The only use I can make of myself now, at least the best, is to serve in terrorem to others when occasions may happen to offer, that they may escape (so far as my admonitions can have any weight with them,) 'my folly and my fate."
His late Majesty bestowed upon him a pension of £300 per annum, but by the time he received it, his disorder had gained a fatal ascendency over him, and it never appeared to give him the smallest satisfaction.
A great part of his life, and particularly the latter years thereof, from the prevalence of his malady, was spent in indescribable agony, which all the attention of his friends could do nothing to remove. The only mitigation of his anguish, was when he could be enticed to listen to a story read or repeated, and with this view, his kind and worthy kinsman, the Rev. Mr. Johnson, exhausted all the libraries within his reach; he also in this state read over to him all his own writings, which he listened to with apparent attention, except John Gilpin, which he could on no ac. count be brought to hear. The following little Poem, said to be the last of his compositions, will be read with melancholy interest, by all who can be moved by the view of unfortunate genius, and afflicted worth.
Obscurest night envolv'd the sky,
Th’ Atlantic billows roar'd;
Wash'd headlong from on board,
No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went,
With warmer wishes sent.
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Or courage die away;
He shouted: nor his friends had fail'd
To check the vessels course,
That, pitiless perforce,
Some succour yet they could afford;
And such as storms allow,
Delay'd not to bestow.
Nor, cruel as it seem'd, could he
There haste himself condemn,
Alone could rescue them;
He long survives who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld;
His destiny repellid:
At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before
Could catch the sound no more:
No poet wept him: but the page
Of narrative sincere,
Is wet with Anson's tear;
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
A more enduring date:
No voiee divine the storm allay'd,
No light propitious shone;
We perish'd each alone.
THE BATTLE OF HARLAW.
Frae Dunidier as I cam throuch,
Doun by the hill of Banochie, Alangst the lands of Garioch :
Grit pitie was to heir and se The noys and dulesum hermonie, That evir that dreiry day did daw,
Cryand the Corynoch on hie, Alas! Alas! for the Harlaw.
I marvlit quhat the matter meint,
All folks war in a fiery fairy!
Zit quietly I did me carrie.
But sen the days of auld King Hairie, Sic slauchter was not herde nor sene,
And thair I had nae tyme to tairy,
To Inverury as I went,
Requeisting him to make me quaint,
Of the beginning and the event, That happenit thair at the Harlaw;
Then he entreited me tak tent, And he the truth sould to me schaw, Grit Donald of the Yles did claim,
Unto the lands of Ross sum richt, I And to the Governour he came,
Thaim for to haif gif that he micht;
Quha saw his interest was but slicht: And thairfore answerit with discain;
He hastit hame baith day and nicht,
Of that answer Duke Robert gaif,
All the hale lands of Ross to haif,
Or ells be graithed in his graif.
Nor be abusit like a slaif,
That all his weir-men should convene, Ilk ane well harnisit frae hand,
To meit and heir quhat he did mein;
He waxit wrath and vowit tein Sweirand he wald surpryse the North,
Subdew the brugh of Aberdene, Mearns, Angus, and all Fyfe to Forth. Thus with the weir-men of the Yles,
Quha war ay at his bidding bown, With mony maid, with fors and wyls,
Richt far and neir baith up and doun:
Throw mount and muir, frae town to town, Allangst the lands of Ross he roars,
And all obey'd at his bandown,
For nae resistans durst they mak,
Be fors of arms to beir him bak;
They sould him for thair chiftain tak,
All men to meet at Inverness,
Frae Arthursyre into Speyness.
And further mair, he sent express, To schaw his colours and ensenzie,
To all and sindry, mair and less, Throchout the bounds of Byne and Enzie. And then throw fair Strathbogie land,
His purpose was for to pursew, And quhasoevir durst gainstand,
That race they should full fairly rew.
Then he bade a' his men be trew, And him defend by fors and slicht,
And promist them rewardis anew, And mak' them men of mekle micht.