1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 207.



The success of Cowper's John Gilpin was helped by John Henderson, the actor, who chose it for recitation before it became famous. Mrs. Siddons heard it with delight; and in the spring of 1775 its success was the event of the season. Prints of John Gilpin filled the shop-windows; and Cowper, who was finishing The Task, felt that his serious work would be helped if it were published with his John Gilpin, of which he says, "I little thought, when I mounted him upon my Pegasus, that he would become so famous."