1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Moses Browne

Robert Southey, in Life and Works of Cowper (1835-37) 1:243-44.



The earl had given this living [Olney] to Moses Brown, probably upon the recommendation of [James] Hervey, the author of the Meditations, under whose patronage Brown, who had been a pen-cutter by trade, and a dramatist, had taken orders. Moses Brown was a poet, whose poems have not been fortunate enough to obtain a place in the General Collections, though better entitled to it than some which are found there. He published an edition of Izaak Walton's delightful book, being himself an angler, and, as Izaak would have added, a very honest man. His Piscatory Eclogues are better known by name than any of his other writings. But though thus given to poetry, and addicted to the recreation which seems to have most attractions for a meditative mind, he had not been negligent in his vocation a fisher of men. Mr. Cecil says of him that he was "an evangelical minister, and a good man;" that "of course he had afforded wholesome instruction to the parishioners of Olney, and had been the instrument of a sound conversion in many of them;" that he had a numerous family, and met with considerable trials in it; that he too much resembled Eli in his indulgence of his children, and, that being under the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, he had therefore accepted the chaplaincy of Morden College, Blackheath, while vicar of Olney. It was in consequence of Moses Brown having thus been compelled to become a non-resident incumbent, that Mr. Newton [Cowper's friend], in the year 1764, had been ordained upon the curacy of Olney.