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wearied diligence, whilst leisure and opportunity and will be so; I know it will; I have felt that were afforded. Amongst his dying words were which I never felt before; and am sure that God these : Brother, I thought you wrong, yet wanted has visited me with this sickness, to teach me what to believe as you did. I found myself not able to I was too proud to learn in health. I never had believe, yet always thought I should be one day satisfaction till now, having no ground to rest my brought to do so. From the study of books, he was hopes upon; but now I have a foundation which brought, upon his death-bed, to the study of himself, nothing can shake. I have peace in myself; and if and there learnt to renounce his righteousness, and I live, I hope it will be that I might be a messenger his own most amiable character, and to submit him- of peace to others. I have learned that in a moself to the righteousness which is of God by faith. ment, which I could not have learned by reading With these views, he was desirous of death: satis- many books for many years. The light I have refied of his interest in the blessing purchased by the ceived comes late, but not too late, and it is a comblood of Christ, he prayed for death with earnest- fort to me that I never made the gospel truths a ness, felt the approaches of it with joy, and died in subject of ridicule. This bed would be to me a bed peace.”
of misery, and it is so; but it is likewise a bed of It afforded Cowper inexpressible delight to wit- joy, and a bed of discipline. Was ! to die this ness, in his brother's case, the consoling and anima- night, I know I should be happy. This assurance, ting power of those principles, which he had himself I hope, is quite consistent with the word of God. It found to be so highly beneficial. This had been the is built upon a sense of my own utter insufficiency, object of his most anxious solicitude, from the pe- and all-sufficiency of Christ. There is but one key riod that God was pleased to visit him with the con- to the New-Testament; there is but one interpreter. solations of his grace. From that time he took I cannot describe to you, nor shall I ever be able to occasion to declare to his brother what God had describe to you, what I felt when this was given to done for his soul; and neglected no opportunity of me. May I make good use of it! How I shudder attempting to engage him in conversation of a when I think of the danger I have just escaped! spiritual kind. On his first visit to him at Cam- How wonderful is it that God should look upon me! bridge, after he left St. Alban's, his heart being then Yet he sees me, and takes notice of all that I suffer. full of the subject, he poured it out to his brother I see him too, and can hear him say, “Come unto without reserve, taking care to show him, that what me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I he had received was not merely a new set of notions, will give you peace.” He survived this change only but a real impression of the truths of the gospel. a few days, and died happily, rejoicing in hope of His brother listened to his statements at first with the glory of God. some attention, and often labored to convince him, An event like this could not fail to make a deep that the difference in their sentiments was much less impression upon the tender spirit of Cowper, and real than verbal. Subscquently, however, he be- his feelings on the occasion were such as are not came more reserved; and though he heard patient- experienced by ordinary minds. The following letly, he never replied, nor ever discovered a desire to ter to his amiable cousin shows clearly the state of converse on the subject. At the commencement of his mind:-"You judge rightly of the manner in his affliction, little as was the concern he then felt which I have been affected by the Lord's late disfor his spiritual interests, the thoughts of God, and pensation towards my brother. I found it a cause of eternity, would sometimes force themselves upon of sorrow that I lost so near a relation, and one so his mind; at every little prospect of recovery, how-deservedly dear to me, and that he left me just when ever, he found it'no difficult matter to thrust them | our sentiments upon the most interesting subject beout again. It was evident that his mind was very came the same. "But it was also a cause of joy, that far from being set on things spiritual and heavenly, it pleased God to give me a clear and evident proof as on almost every subject but that of religion, he that he had changed his heart, and adopted him into could converse fluently. At every suitable opportu- the number of his children. For this I hold myself nity, Cowper endeavored to give a serious turn to the peculiarly bound to thank him, because he might discourse, but without any apparent success. Hav- have done all that he was pleased to do for him, and ing obtained his permission, he prayed with him yet have afforded him neither strength nor opportufrequently; still, however, he seemed as careless nity to declare it. He told me, that from the time and unconcerned as ever.
he was first ordained, he began to be dissatisfied On one occasion, after his brother had, with much with his religious opinions, and to suspect that there difficulty, survived a severe paroxysm of his disor- were greater things revealed in the Bible, than were der, he observed to him as he sat by his bed-side, generally believed or allowed to be there. From the " that, though it had pleased God to visit him with time when I first visited him, after my release from great afflictions, yet mercy was mingled with the St. Alban's, he began to read upon the subject. It dispensation. You have many friends that love you, was at that time I informed him of the views of diand are willing to do all they can to serve you, and vine truth, which I had received in that school of so, perhaps have many others in the like circum- affliction. He laid what I said to heart, and began stances; but it is not the lot of every sick man, how to furnish himself with the best writers on the conmuch soever he may be beloved, to have a friend troverted points, whose works he read with great that can pray for him.” He replied, “That is true; diligence and attention, carefully comparing them and I hope God will have mercy upon me.' His with the Scriptures. None ever truly and ingenulove to Cowper, from that time, became very re- ously sought the truth, but they found it. A spirit markable; there was a tenderness in it more than of earnest inquiry is the gift of God, who never was merely natural; and he generally expressed it says to any, Seek ye my face in vain. Accordby calling for blessings upon him in the most affec- ingly, about ten days before his death, it pleased tionate terms, and with a look and manner not to be the Lord to dispel all his doubts, to reveal in his described. One afternoon, a few days before he heart the knowledge of the Saviour, and to give died, he suddenly burst into tears, and said, with a him that firm and unshaken confidence in the ability loud cry, "O forsake me not!" Cowper went to the and willingness of Christ to save sinners
, which is bed-side, grasped his hand, and tenderly inquired invariably followed by a joy that is unspeakable why he wished him to remain. “O brother," said and full of glory.” he," I am full of what I could say to you; if I live, Of the character of his much beloved brother, you and I shall be more like one another than we whose death filled him with mingled emotions of have been; but whether I live or not, all is well, I joy and grief, Cowper has given the following inte
resting description:-“He was a man of a most | As such they are frequently applicable to every becandid and ingenuous spirit; his temper remarka- liever's feelings, and touch, unexpectedly, the most bly sweet, and in his behavior to me he had always secret springs of joy and sorrow, faith, fear, hope, manifested an uncommon affection. His outward love, trial, despondency and triumph. Some alconduct, so far as it fell under my notice, or I could lude to infirmities, the most difficult to be describlearn it by the report of others, was perfectly decented, but often the source of excruciating anguish and unblameable. There was nothing vicious in to the tender conscience. The 720 hymn, Book I. any part of his practice, but being of a studious, is written with the confidence of inspiration, and the thoughtful turn, he placed his chief delight in the authority of a prophet. The 96th hymn of the same acquisition of learning, and made such progress in book, is a perfect allegory in miniature, without a it, that he had but few rivals. He was critically failing point, or confusion of metaphor, from beskilled in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages; ginning to end. Hymn 51, Book III. presents a was beginning to make himself master of the Syri- transformation, which, if found in Ovid, might have ac, and perfectly understood the French and Italian, been extolled as the happiest of his fictions. Hymn the latter of which he could speak fluently. Learn- 12, Book II. closes with one of the hardiest figures ed, however, as he was, he was easy and cheerful to be met with out of the Hebrew Scriptures. None in his conversation, and entirely free from the stiff- but a poet of the highest order could have written it; ness which is generally contracted by men devoted verses cannot go beyond it, and painting cannot apto such pursuits.”
proach it. Hymn 38, Book II. is a strain of most “ I had a brother once;
noble simplicity, expressive of confidence the most Peace to the memory of a man of worth!
remote from presumption, and such as a heart at A man of letters and of manners too!
peace with God alone could enjoy and uiter. Who Of manners, sweet, as virtue always wears,
can read the 55th hymn, Book II. without feeling as When gay good humor dresses her in smiles!
if he could, at that moment, forsake all, take up his He grac'd a college, in which order yet
cross, and follow his Saviour? The 19th hymn, Was sacred, and was honor'd, lov'd, and wept
Book III. is a model of tender pleading, of believing, By more than one, themselves conspicuous there."
persevering prayer in trouble; and the following
one is a brief parody of Bunyan's finest passage, and Notwithstanding the cheerfulness with which is admirable of its kind. The reader might almost Cowper bore up under this painful bereavement, imagine himself Christian on his pilgrimage, the when it first occurred, owing to the happy circum- triumph and the trance are brought so home to his bostances related above, with which it was attended, som. Hymn 15, of the same book, is a lyric, of yet there is reason to believe that it made an im- high tone and character, and rendered awfully inpression upon his peculiarly sensitive mind,
more teresting, by the circumstances under which it was deep than visible; and it was not soon to be effaced. written in the twilight of departing reason."* It unquestionably diminished his attachment to the The benevolent heart of Cowper was delighted in world, and made him less unwilling to leave it. a high degree to co-operate with a man of Mr. NewWriting to his friend, Mr. Hill, at this time, he ton's talents and piety, in promoting the advancesays :-* I have not done conversing with terrestrial ment of religion in his neighborhood. It is deeply objects, though I should be happy were I able to to be regretted, that when he had only composed hold more continual converse with a friend above sixty-eight hymns, all of which were uncommonly the skies. He has my heart, but he allows a cor- excellent, and were afterwards published by Mr. ner of it for all who show me kindness, and there- Newton, in the Olney collection, he was laid aside fore one for you. The storm of 1763, made a wreck from the interesting employment by serious indispoof the friendships I had contracted in the course of sition. It pleased God, for reasons inscrutable to many years, yours only excepted, which has surviv- us, and which it would be impious to arraign, to vied the tempest."
sit the afflicted poet with a renewed attack of his It appears not improbable that his friend, Mr. former hypochondriacal complaint, more protracted, Newton, might have witnessed, in the morbid ten- and not less violent, than the one he had before exdency of his mind to melancholy, of which he then perienced. Just on the eve of the attack he com. discovered symptoms, some traces of the deep and inenced the following sublime hymn :extensive wound which his mind had received by this event, though his efforts to conceal it were in “ God moves in a mysterious way cessant. Hence, he wisely engaged him in a lite
His wonders to perform; rary undertaking, congenial to his taste, suited to
He plants his footsteps in the sea, his admirable talents, and, perhaps, more adapted
And rides upon the storm. to alleviate his distress than any other that could have been selected. Mr. Newton had felt the want
Deep in unfathomable mines of a volume of evangelical hymns, on experimental
Of never-failing skill, subjects, suited for public and private worship; he
He treasures up his bright designs, mentioned the subject to Cowper, and pressed him
And works his sovereign will. to undertake it, and the result was, a friendly compact to supply the volume between them, with an
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage
take understanding that Cowper was to be the principal
The clouds ye so much dread composer. He entered upon this work with great Are big with mercy, and shall break pleasure; and though he does not appear, previous In blessings on your head. to this, to have employed his poetical talents for a considerable time, yet the admirable hymns he com
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, posed, show with what ease he could write
But trust him for his grace ; doctrinal, experimental, or practical parts of Chris Behind a frowning providence tianity. One of our best living poets, whose wri He hides a smiling face. tings more frequently remind us of Cowper's than any we have ever read, in an essay on the poet's
His purposes all ripen fast, productions, remarks :-"Of these hymns, it must Unfolding every hour; suffice to say, that, like all his best compositions, they are principally communings with his own Essay on Cow per's Productions, by James Mont heart, or avowals of personal Christian experience. I gomery.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
mind, which covld formerly soar on the wings of But sweet will be the flower.
faith and love, to the utmost limits of Christian
knowledge and enjoyment, now sunk into the lowest Blind unbelief is sure to err,
depths of depression, and here seemed as if it would And scan His work in vain;
remain immovably fixed; rejecting, with deplorable God is his own interpreter,
firmness, every species of consolation that was atAnd he will make it plain.”
tempted to be administered.
Various causes have been assigned, by different
writers, for the melancholy aberration of mind of CHAPTER. VII.
which Cowper was now, and at other seasons of
his life, the subject; but none are so irreconcilaGreat severity of Cowper's mental depression. His presentiment of ble to every thing like just and legitimate rea
it. Ils consequences. Remarks upon its probable cause. Absurdity soning, as ihe attempt to ascribe it to religion. of attributing it, in any degree, to religion. Mrs. Unwin's great atten. That unjust views of the character of God, and of tion to him. His aversion to the company of strangers. Symptoms of the nature of the gospel, may never have been the his recovery. Domesticates three leverets. Amusement they afford him. Mr. Newton's removal from Olney Introduction of Mt. Bull
, predisposing causes of great and severe mental deto Cowper. His iranslation of Madame de la Guyon's poems, nt Mr. pression, we are not disposed to deny, though we Bull's request
. Commences his original productions, at the suggestion think this a case of very rare occurrence, and one in of Mrs. Unwin. Renews his correspondence with Mr. and Mrs. New. which the subject of it must be in a state of great ig. tod. Describes the state of his mind.
norance respecting the fundamental truths of reliWe are again arrived at another of those melan- gion, Ought this, however, when it does happen, to choly periods of Cowper's life, over which it must be be identified with religion, of which, at the best, it alike the duty of the biographer, and the wish of the can only be regarded as a mere caricature? There reader, to cast a veil. Mental aberration, whoever was evidently, in the case of Cowper, nothing that may be the subject of it, excites the tenderest com- allowances for expressions occasionally employed
bore the slightest resemblance to this. Making some miseration of all; but if there be a time when it may by him peculiar to the system which he had embe contemplated with emotions more truly distressing than another, it is when it attacks those who are braced, perhaps it will not be saying too much
to endowed with talents the most brilliant, with dispo. scriptural views of the gospel dispensation in all its
affirm, that no individual ever entertained more sitions the most amiable, and with piety the most ardent and unobtrusive. Such
and attributes of its great case in the present instance. To see a mind like Author, than this excellent man. The letters he wrote Cowper's enveloped in the thickest gloom of des- to his correspondents, and the hymns he composed, pondency, and for several years, in the prime of life, that his views of religion were at the remotest dis
prior to this second attack, prove unquestionably remaining in a state of complete inactivity and mi- tance from what can be termed visionary or enthusery, must have been distressing in no ordinary de- siastic; on the contrary, they were perfectly scriptugree.
ral and evangelical, and were, consequently, infiA short time previous to the afflictive visitation, nitely more adapted to support than to depress his Cowper appears to have received some presentiment mind. of its approach, and during a solitary walk in the fields, as was hinted above, he composed that beauti- marks: -"With regard to Cowper's malady, there
The living poet whom we have before quoted, reful hymn in the Olney collection with which we scarcely needs any other proof that it was not occaclosed our last chapter. On this occasion, acute as sioned by his religion than this, that the error on may have been his feelings, he must have experi- which he stumbled was in direct contradiction to enced an unshaken confidence in God; for it is his creed. He believed that he had been predestiscarcely possible to read this admirable production, nated to life, yet under his delusion imagined that however dark and distressing the dispensations of God, who cannot lie, repent, or change, had, in his Divine Providence towards us may be, without en- sole instance, and in one moment, reversed his own joying the same delightful emotions. About the same decree, which had been in force from all eternity. time, he composed the hymn entitled “ Temptation,"| At the same time, by a perversion of the purest printhe following lines from which will show how pow.ciples of Christian obedience, he was so submissive arfully his mind was then exercised:
to what he erroneously supposed was the will of God,
that, to have saved himself from the very destruc“The billows swell, the winds are high,
tion which he dreaded, he would not avail himself Clouds overcast my wintry sky;
of any of the means of grace, even presuming they Out of the depths to thee I call,
might have been efficacious, because he believed My fears are great, my strength is small. they were forbidden to him. Yet, in spite of the self
evident impossibility of his faith affecting a sound O Lord, the pilot's part perform,
mind with such a hallucination-though a mind preAnd guide and guard me through the storm ; viously diseased might as readily fall into that as Defend me from each threatening ill, the other; in spite of chronology, his first aberration Control the waves, say • Peace, be still. having taken place before he had 'tasted the good
word of God;' in spite of geography, that calamity Amidst the roaring of the sea,
having befallen him in London, where he had no My soul still hangs her hope on thee;
acquaintance with persons holding the reprobated Thy constant love, thy faithful care,
doctrines of election and sovereign grace; and in Is all that saves me from despair.'
spite of fact, utterly undeniable, that the only effec
tual consolations which he experienced under his He now relapsed into a state very much resem- first or subsequent attacks of depression, arose from bling that which had previously occasioned his re- the truths of the gospel;-in spite of all these unanmoval to St. Alban's. This second attack occurred swerable confutations of the ignorant and malignant in 1773: he remained in the same painful and me- falsehood, the enemies of Christian truth persevere lancholy condition, without even a single alleviation in repeating, that too much religion made poor of his sufferings, for the protracted period of five Cowper mad.'. If they be sincere, they are themyears; and it was five years more before he wholly selves under the strongest delusion; and I will be recovered the use of his admirable powers. His well if it prove not, on their part, a wilful one-it
will be well if they have not reached that last per- I was indefatigable in his efforts to administer consoversity of human reason, to believe a falsehood of lation to his depressed spirit. He once entertainec their own invention.”
him fourteen months at the vicarage, and, with untirThe remarks of Mr. Hayley, in his admirable ed perseverance, labored incessantly to dissipate the life of the poet, page 144, vol. 1, are, we think, liable dark cloud that had gathered over his mind; but lo to some objection. He says—“So fearfully and won every consolatory suggestion he was utterly deaf, derfully are we made, that man in all conditions concluding that God had rejected him, and that, con ought, perhaps, to pray that he never may be led to sequently, it was sinful for him even to wish for think of his Creator and of his Redeemer, either too mercy. How awful are the effects of mental disorlittle or too much, since human misery is often seen to ganization ! how easily does it convert that into poiarise equally, from an utter neglect of all spiritual son which was designed for solid food! how highly concerns, and from a wild extravagance of devo- ought we to prize, and how thankful ought we to be, tion."
for the uninterrupted enjoyment of our mental powIt is surely needless to observe, that the devotion ers! of Cowper was as much unlike what could, with any After enduring an accumulation of anguish, aldegree of propriety, be termed wild or extravagant, most inconceivable, for the long space of five years, as can well be imagined. To what description of unalleviated by a single glimpse of comfort, the indevotion Mr. Hayley would apply these epithets we teresting sufferer began at length gradually to reco, cannot tell, but surely not to that which is scriptu- ver. He listened to the advice of Mrs. Unwin, and rally evangelical, which was eminently the charac- allowed her, occasionally at least, to divert his mind ter of Cowper's and which is of a nature so heaven- from those melancholy considerations by which he ly and spiritual, so perfectly adapted to the circum- had so long been burdened. It now occurred to Mrs. stances of mankind, and withal so soothing and con- Unwin that he might probably find it beneficial to be soling, that it can never be carried to excess. The employed in some amusing occupation. She sugmore powerfully its influence is felt upon the mind, gested this to some of her neighbors, who all deplorthe more extensive must be the enjoyment it pro- ed the poet's case, felt a lively interest in his welfare, duces, unless when it pleases God, as in the case of and would gladly have done any thing in their powCowper, to disorganize the mental powers, and there- er, that was the least likely to mitigate his distress. by unfit it for the reception of that comfort which it The children of one of his neighbors had recently would otherwise experience.
given them, for a plaything, a young leveret; it was Mental disorganization may undoubtedly arise at that time about three months old. Understanding from an almost infinite variety of causes, many of better how to teaze the poor creature, than to feed it, which, as in the poet's case, must for ever elude our and soon becoming weary of their charge, they reasearch, though they are all under the control of that dily consented that their father, who saw it pining, God, who is the giver of life and its preserver. Real and growing leaner every day, should offer it to religion, however, which consists in a cordial recep-Cowper's acceptance. Beginning then to be glad of tion of the truth in the heart, can never produce it any thing that would engage his attention without in the remotest degree; evangelical devotion cannot fatiguing it, he was willing enough to take the pribe too intense, nor can we know too much of our soner under his protection, perceiving that, in the Creator and Redeemer. Contemplating the Divine management of such an animal, and in the attempt Being apart from the gospel of Christ, or through to tame it, he should find just that sort of employthe distorting medium of our own fancies, may pos- ment which his case required. It was soon known sibly, in some cases, produce depression; viewing among his neighbors that he was pleased with the him as he is presented to our minds in the Scriptures, present; and the consequence was, that in a short in all the plenitude of his goodness and benevolence, time, he had as many leverets offered him, as would is sure to be productive of consequences directly op- have stocked a paddock. He undertook the care of posite. Instead of there being any danger likely to three, which he named Puss, Tiney, and Bess. The arise from having our thoughts too much emp:oyed choice of their food, and the diversity of their dispoupon the character of God, we think a scripturally sitions, afforded him considerable amusement, and comprehensive view of his perfections the best pos- | their occasional diseases excited his sympathy and sible preservative from despair. To represent an tenderness. One remained with him during the excess of devotion as the cause of Cowper's malady, whole of his abode at Olney, and was afterwards in however slight a degree, is obviously opposed to celebrated in his unrivalled poem, the Task; and, every cousistent view of religion, and is assigning at its decease, honored with a beautiful epitaph that for its cause which was infinitely more likely from his pen; another lived with him nearly nine to become its only effectual cure.
years; but the third did not long survive the The melancholy condition to which Cowper was restraints of its confined situation. An admirably now reduced, afforded Mrs. Unwin an opportunity written narrative of these animals, from his own of proving the warmth of her affection for, and the pen, was inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine sincerity of her attachment to the dejected poet. He of that day, which has since been published at the now required to be watched with the greatest care, end of almost every edition of his works. vigilance, and perseverance; and it pleased God to For a considerable period, Cowper's only compa, endow her with all that tenderness, fortitude, and nions were Mrs. Unwin, Mr. and Mrs. Newton, and firmness of mind, which were requisite for the pro- his three hares. About this time, it pleased God to per discharge of duties so important. Her incessant remove Mr. Newton to another scene of labor. Deepcare over him, during the long fit of his depressively interested in the welfare of his afflicted friend, malady, could only be equalled by the pleasure she and aware of his aversion to the visits of strangers, experienced on seeing his pure and powerful mind Mr. Newton thought it advisable, before he left gradually emerge from that awful state of darkness Olney, to introduce to his interesting but most afflictin which it had been enveloped, into the clear sun-ed
friend, the Rev. Mr. Bull, of Newport Pagne). shine of liberty
and peace : she hailed his approach After some difficulty, Mr. Newton triumphed over to convalescence, slowly as it advanced, with the Cowper's extreme reluctance to see strangers, and mingled emotions of gratitude and praise.
Mr. Bull visited him regularly once a fortnight, and Cowper, throughout the whole of this severe gradually acquired his cordial and confidential esattack, was inaccessible to all, except his friend Mr. teem. Newton who, during the whole of its continuance, Of this gentleman, Cowper, in one of his letters, watched over him with the greatest tenderness, and gives the following playful and amusing description
"You are not acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Bull, confess, that through the weakness, the folly, and of Newport-perhaps it is as well for you that you corruption of human nature, this privilege, like all are not. You would regret still more than you do, other Christian privileges, is liable to abuse. There that there are so many miles interposed between us. is a mixture of evil in every thing we do; indulHe spends part of the day with us to-morrow. A gence encourages us to encroach, and while we exdissenter, but a liberal one; a man of letters and of ercise the rights of children, we become childish. genius; master of a fine imagination, or rather not Here, I think, is the point in which my authoress master of it; an imagination which, when he finds failed, and here it is that I have particularly guardhimself in the company he loves, and can confide in, ed my translation, not afraid of representing her as runs away with himn into such fields of speculation, dealing with God familiarly, but foolishly, irreveas amuse and enliven every other imagination that rently, and without due attention to his majesty, of has the happiness to be of the party. Aiother times, which she is somewhat guilty. A wonderful fault he has a tender and delicate sort of melancholy in for such a woman to fall into, who spent her life in his disposition, not less agreeable in its way. "No the contemplation of his glory, who seems to have men are better qualified for companions in such a been always impressed with a sense of it, and someworld as this, than men of such a temperament. Eve- times quite absorbed by the views she had of it." ry scene of life has two sides, a dark and a bright Mrs. Unwin, who still watched over her patient one; and the mind that has an equal mixture of me with the tenderest anxiety, saw with inexpressible ancholy and vivacity, is best of all qualified for the delight, the first efforts of his mind, after his long contemplation of either. He can be lively without and painful depression; and perceiving that translevity, and pensive without dejection. Such a man latiсn had a good effect, she wisely urged him to is Mr. Bull: but—he smokes tobacco-nothing is employ his mind in composing some original poem, perfect.”
which she thought more likely to become beneficial. Mr. Bull, who probably regarded the want of some Cowper now listened to her advice, and felt so powregular employment as one of the predisposing erfully the obligations under which he was laid to causes of Cowper's illness, prevailed upon him to her, for her continued attention and kindness, that he translate several spiritual songs, from the poetry of cheerfully complied with her request. The result Madame de la Mothe Guyon, the friend of the mild exceeded' her most sanguine expectation. A beauand amiable Fenelon. The devotion of these songs tiful poem was produced, entitled Table Talk; anois not of that purely unexceptionable character which ther, called the Progress of Error, was shortly commight be wished; and if devotional excitement had posed; TRUTH, as a pleasing contrast, followed it; been the cause of Cowper's malady, no recommen- this was succeeded by others of equal excellence, dation could have been more injudicious. The re- proving that the poet's mind had now completely sult, however, was beneficial to the poet, instead of emerged from that darkness in which it had so long being injurious, proving irresistibly that devotion been confined by his depressive malady. had a soothing, rather than an irritating effect upon It is interesting to observe, that Cowper's poems his mind.
were almost invariably composed at the suggesiion Much as Cowper admired these songs, for that of friends. He wrote hymns to oblige Mr. Newton; rich vein of pure and exalted devotion, which runs translated Madame Guyon's songs, to gratify his through the whole of them, he was not insensible to friend Mr. Bull, and composed the greater part of their defects, as will appear by the following re- his poems, to please Mrs. Unwin. The influence marks :--"The French poetess is certainly charge of friendship on his tender mind, was powerfully able with the fault you mention, though I think it affecting; and he ever regarded it as his happiest not so glaring in the piece I sent you. I have en inspiration. It kindled the warmth of his heart into deavored, indeed, in all the translations I have made, a flame, intense and ardent, stimulated into activity io cure her of the evil, either by the suppression of the rich, but dormant powers of his mind, and proexceptionable passages, or by a more sober manner duced those bursts of poetic feeling and beauty, of expression. Still, however, she will be found to which abound in his unrivalled compositions. have conversed familiarly with God, but I hope not Cowper regained his admirable talent for compofulsomely, nor so as to give reasonable disgust to a sition, both in poetry and in prose, and renewed his religious reader. That God should deal familiarly correspondence with some of his more intimate with them, or, which is the same thing, that he friends, long before his mind was wholly convalesshould permit man to deal familiarly with him, seems cent; and his letters, written at this period, afford not very difficult to conceive, or presumptuous to the best clue to the painful peculiarities of his case. suppose, when some things are taken into conside-On every other subject but that of his own feelings, ration. Wo to the sinner, however, that shall dare his remarks are in the highest degree pleasing; and to take a liberty with him that is not warranted by there was often a sprightliness and vivacity about his word, or to which he himself has not encouraged them, that seemed to indicate a state of mind at the him. When he assumed man's nature, he revealed remotest distance from painful; but whenever he himself as the friend of man. He conversed freely adverted to his own case, it was in a tone the most with him while he was upon earth, and as freely plaintive and melancholy. with him after his resurrection. I doubt not, there Immediately after the removal of his esteemned fore, that it is possible to enjoy an access to him even friends, Mr. and Mrs. Newton, he commenced a now, unencumbered with ceremonious awe, easy, correspondence with them, which he regularly kept delightful, and without restraint. This, however, up during almost the whole of his life. To Mrs. can only be the lot of those who make it the business Newton, soon after this event, he thus describes his of their lives to please him, and to cultivate commu- feelings on the occasion. “The vicarage-house benion with him; and then I presume there can be no came a melancholy object as soon as Mr. Newton danger of offence, because such a habit of the soul had left it; when you left it, it became more meis his own creation, and near as we come, we come lancholy; now it is actually occupied by another no nearer to him than he is pleased to draw us; if family, I cannot even look at it without being we address him as children, it is because he tells us shocked. As I walked in the garden last evening, he is our Father: if we unbosom ourselves to him I saw the smoke issue from the study chimney, and as our friend, it is because he calls us friends; if we said to myself, that used to be a sign that Mr. New. speak to him in the language of love, it is because ton was there, but it is so no longer. The walls of he first used it, thereby teaching us that it is the lan- the house know nothing of the change that has guage he delights to hear from his people. But I taken place, the bolt of the chamber door