1791 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Thomas Clio Rickman, "Epistle to William Cowper, on the Publication of his Translation of Homer. Accompanied by a Poem of the Author's" 1791 ca.; Poetical Scraps (1803) 2:49-50.



Sir,
An humble bard's essay you'll see,
By this his youthful poesy.
One, who, by various fortune tost,
Each bliss has felt, each bliss has lost;
Who every precious joy has known,
And liv'd to see those joys all flown;
Who every trying grief has prov'd,
And liv'd to see those griefs remov'd.
Who far by sea and land has been,
And shifted oft' from scene to scene;
Who oft' with poverty has dwelt,
And each delight of plenty felt;
To whom, thank ever gracious heaven!
Domestic sweets again are given,
And tho' his worldly goods are few,
His blessings far such goods outdo;
For in his little cot is seen,
Rosy-cheek'd health, and peace serene;
Here taste and sentiment abide,
And love, and friendship, pure, reside.

This humble bard, in love with song,
Still places yours the first among;
And oft', to heighten all he has said,
Thy charming verse has lent its aid.

But to the point, ... I want to view,
Great HOMER, as drest out by you;
Buy him I cannot, and each friend
Or has him not, or will not lend:
Of you, this loan then may I ask,
Immortal author of the task.

It may not be unsatisfactory to the reader to acquaint him, that Mr. Cowper replied to these lines, very obligingly gave the author a copy of his Homer, and that the above bagatelle, opened a correspondence between them.