1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, "English Worthies: Cowper" European Magazine 69 (March 1816) 223-24.



The domestic virtues are more pleasing and more valuable than mankind generally imagine. To them we must ascribe most of our happiness: they who for a time soar above or leave them soon wish to return to their abode. What pleasing emotions do travellers, warriors, and statesmen enjoy, when they meet their parents, their wives, their friends and children; how blessed is the man when they are around him. If this is admitted, how much we are indebted to such characters as Cowper, who, in the sweetest poetry, described the comforts of social intercourse, and called his fellow-creatures from the vanities and contentions of the world to dwell with men as brethren, to love wisdom and piety, and admire the works of nature. Every individual who reads his poems and letters will be wiser and better; for as he wrote he acted: and he who both teaches and practices virtue must indubitably convince, at least, those who wish to improve, or are open to conviction.