1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:342.



Johnson ridicules those praises of solitude which break out from the heart of Cowley, as if they were insincere. Because he hated solitude himself, he thought no one else could love it. Cowley had lived in the bustle of a court, and seen all its falsehoods and impertinencies. We may be sick of our own thoughts at last, and perhaps require some change; but no one who knows the force of language can doubt Cowley's sincerity, unless he be blind with prejudice. There is scarcely any great poet who has not sung the praises of solitude with earnestness.