1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Harley, "To William Cowper, Esq; written in the Year 1792" Port Folio [Philadelphia] 4 (11 February 1804) 48.



Cowper! to thee, whose comprehensive mind
Looks nature through, whose animated lyre,
By plastic genius to thy hands consign'd,
No vulgar thoughts, no vulgar strains inspire,
My thanks sincere I pay — not that thy muse,
Borne on maonian wing, has dar'd to soar—
Not that thy vivid fancy-fashion'd views
Breathe the rich spirit of poetic lore,
But that fair freedom's self the theme supplies,
O'erlooks thy labours, and thy work refines,
Bids thee lament the trade where mercy dies,
And coward justice all his rights resigns.
Oh! when will Britain hear her awful voice,
Oh! when shall Afric's sons rejoice!