1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, "Cowper" The Theater, or Dramatic and Literary Mirror 2 (2 October 1819) 110.



Snar'd by the world, yet struggling to get free,
I seek a guide and comforter in thee,
Immortal Cowper! cleanser of the mind,
Unhappiest long, though purest of mankind.
I love thy page, — light, serious, prose, or verse,—
'Tis ever cogent, sweet, pathetic, terse:
Spotless invariably, oft sublime,
A destin'd conqueror, e'en o'er conquering Time,
It stands conspicuous 'thwart the public eye,
And tells life's travellers, as they saunter by,
The unsuspected worth of every day
That, fast as Time bestows, we cast away!

Through thee we quaff the inestimable stream,
Pure and exhaustless, that discards the dream
Of heart and intellect, to which — like those
Who cease to struggle with surrounding snows,
And welcome death in likeness of repose—
We're lur'd by Pleasure, tir'd of Virtue's pain,
But find her Vice, when the discovery's vain;
She seals our senses up — alas, few wake again!

Their Bard now reaps, in more congenial sphere,
The joy and peace he sow'd in grief and fear;
On earth still privileg'd God's word to spread;
To live more gloriously the longer dead;
Be read in every clime, and blest wherever read!