1886 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Judith Cowper Madan

Whitwell Elwin, in Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 9:416.



Judith Cowper, to whom these letters are addressed, was the only daughter of Spencer Cowper, Esq. (d. 1728), brother of the Lord Chancellor Cowper (d.1723) and grandfather of William Cowper the poet.

She died in Stafford Row, Westminster, 7 Dec., 1781, aged 80, having married, 7 Dec., 1723, Martin Madan Esq. (d. 1756), of Hertingfordbury, in Herefordshire, M.P. for Wootton Bassett, and Groom of the Bedchamber to Fred. Prince of Wales.

Their son, the Rev. Martin Madan (d. 1790) published a book in defence of polygamy, entitled "Thelyphthora" (1780), to which Cowper replied in "Anti-Thelyphthora, a Tale in Verse."

Judith Cowper was the author of several poems — "Abelard to Eloisa" (8vo., 1725), "The Progress of Poetry," "Verses on the Death of Mr. Hughes," (1719-30), prefixed to his Works, 2 vols, 12mo, 1735. Her acquaintance with Pope was evidently due to the compliments she had paid him in her "Progress of Poetry,"—

High on the radiant list, see Pope appears,
With all the fire of youth and strength of years;
Where'er supreme he points the nervous line,
Nature and art in bright conjunction shine.
How just the turns, how regular the draught,
How smooth the language, how refined the thought!
Secure beneath the shade of early bays,
He dar'd the thunder of great Homer's lays;
A sacred heat informed his daring breast,
And Homer in his genius stands confess'd:
To heights sublime he rais'd the ponderous lyre,
And our cold isle grew warm with Grecian fire.