1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Walter Churchey, in "Lines addressed to William Cowper, Esq." Poems and Imitations of the British Poets (1789) 793-95.



In rustic verse, so far beneath thy own!
Permit a Bard, superior to thyself
In grief alone, to nurse the cordial spark
That, while it sooths the sorrows of a friend,
Warms the possessor with supreme delight!
Forgive me, Bard (for thou indeed are such)
If in the social fervours of my soul,
I crav'd, I coveted thy friendship sweet,
Such as my own ideas long have nurs'd,
But nurs'd in vain — while to myself I cried—
O where, or when, in this self-loving world—
—In tears I said it — shall I find a friend! . . .
He deign'd to smile (forgive me, Critics! here)
On my poor labours, and a smile from him
Gave to my flatter'd heart a double bliss.
He heard me oft' well-pleas'd, for well he knew,
My motley thoughts came current from my heart;
Unvarnis'd with a gloze! his radiant eye
Would dart through all my sentiments at once,
Like the small nitrous spark, that, scarcely seen,
Touches the train, and sets it all ablaze!
He knew what was in man, explor'd him much,
And learn'd, like Socrates, to know himself:
The grave, the gay, the learned, and the good,
Sat listening round him, subjects to his sense!
In ev'ry line an equal to them all,
Yet unassuming, lovely as a child
That nothing knew: pride fell beneath his feet,
And anger stared to find it's empire gone
Within his breast....