1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, "Cowper and Homer" Public Advertiser (5 June 1786).



ZOILUS AND COWPER.
Zoilus of old with impotence of rage
Presum'd to censure Homer's matchless page,
But Cowper, arm'd with more malignant hate,
Misrepresents by trying to translate.
Thus open malice loses oft its aim,
While, screen'd by friendly Candor's specious name,
The artful tale with wily rancour fraught,
Each merit sinks, and heightens every fault.

MAC PHERSON AND COWPER.
Mac Pherson Homer's heavenly strain pourtrays
In prose as wild as Dithyrambic lays,
While Cowper's lines the Grecian bard disclose
In lays as tame as dull colloquial prose.
Decide, ye critics, which translates him worse,
Bombastic prose, or low lethargic verse.

POPE AND COWPER.
Pope deck'd the venerable bard of Greece
In tawdry trappings like a green-box piece:
Cowper to strip him of these trappings brags,
And clothes the venerable bard in rags.