1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Nathaniel Cotton

Robert Southey, in Life and Works of Cowper (1835-37) 1:148-49.



Dr. Cotton was moreover a man of letters. His Visions in Verse used to be one of those books which were always in print, because there was a certain demand for them as presents for young people. His various pieces in prose and verse were collected and published in two volumes after his death; and from this edition his poems were incorporated in Dr. Anderson's Collection of the British Poets. The well-known stanzas entitled The Fireside still hold and are likely to retain a place in popular selections. He was an amiable, mild, good man, verging at that time to old age, who many years before had lost a dearly beloved wife, and on that occasion felt what happily for himself he had long believed, "that no system but that of Christianity is able to sustain the soul amidst all the distresses and difficulties of life. The consolations of philosophy only are specious trifles at best; all cold and impotent applications to the bleeding heart. But the religion of Jesus, like its gracious Author, is an inexhaustible source of comfort in this world, and gives us the hope of everlasting enjoyment in the next." Thus he expressed himself in reply to a letter of consolation from Doddridge upon his loss.