1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, in "Genius. Pronounced before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at their last Anniversary" General Repository and Review [Cambridge MA] 4 (October 1813) 383-84.



Known by his modest, yet majestic mien,
Next nature's simple moralist is seen.
The Christian's meekness and the poet's fire,
With blended charms his every look inspire.
Poet of OLNEY! thine was not the fate
To cringe to greatness, or to court the great;
To feel by want thy soul's warm current checked,
Or brave the colder winter of neglect;
But pure and ardent as thy deathless page,
Thy virtues cheered thy peaceful hermitage.
Yet there were hours to wring thy maddening brow,
When vice and penury would not be as thou!
When fancy's cruel light could only show
Terror's dark frown, the haggard form of woe.
The tenderest flowers yield soonest to the stroke,
The finest texture is the easiest broke.
The cataract roaring from some rock's rude height;
Displays the rainbow ere it rush from sight,
So o'er the tide that bore thee to thy doom,
Thy virtues beamed, and triumphed o'er thy tomb.