1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Charles Lamb, "To the Poet Cowper on his Recovery from an Indisposition" The Monthly Magazine 2 (December 1796) 889.



Cowper, I thank my God, that thou art heal'd.
Thine was the sorest malady of all;
And I am sad to think that it should light
Upon the worthy head: but thou art heal'd,
And thou art yet, we trust, the destin'd man,
Born to reanimate the lyre, whose chords
Have slumber'd, and have idle lain so long;
To th' immortal sounding of whose strings
Did Milton frame the stately-paced verse;
Among whose wires with lighter finger playing
Our elder bard, Spencer, a gentler name,
The lady Muses' dearest darling child,
Enticed forth the deftest tunes yet heard
In hall or bower; taking the delicate ear
Of the brave Sidney, and the Maiden Queen.
Thou, then, take up the mighty epic strain,
Cowper, of England's bards the wisest and the best!