1851 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

David Macbeth Moir, in Sketches of the Poetical Literature of the Past Half-Century (1851; 1856) 8-9.



A dawn of better things showed itself in Akenside and in Thomson, and expanded into daylight with Cowper. To him we are to look as the great regenerator of our modern poetry, for his star was towards its setting when that of Wordsworth arose. Throwing aside pedantic trammels and metrical sing-song, he dared, after his own fashion, to look upon and describe nature, as well as men and manners; and he gave to his pictures a freedom and a freshness which had been for centuries banished from poetical limnings.