ページの画像
PDF
ePub

:-"I say

The excellent remarks that are to be found in his reason, because a dream is merely a picture drawn letters, written at this period, show that he had some upon the imagination? I hold not with such lucid intervals, and that occasional gleams of light divinity. To love Christ is the greatest dignity of shot across the darkened horizon of his mind. It man, be that affection wrought in him how it may.” strikes me,” (he says on one occasion,) “as a very No person ever formed more correct views of observable instance of providential kindness to man, what really constitutes Christianity than Cowper, that such an exact accordance had been contrived nor could any one ever feel a greater aversion to a between his ear and the sounds with which, at least mere profession of it. In a letter to one of his corin a rural situation, it is almost every moment visit- respondents, the following remar occur:-" ed. All the world is sensible of the uncomfortable amen, with all my heart, to your observations on effect that certain sounds have upon the nerves, and religious characters. Men who profess themselves consequently upon the spirits: and if a sinful world adepts in mathematical knowledge, in astronomy, had been filled with such as would have curdled the or jurisprudence, are generally as well qualified as blood, and have made the sense of hearing a per- they would appear. The reason may be, that petual inconvenience, I do not know that we should they are always liable to detection, should they have had a right to complain. But now the fields, attempt to impose upon mankind, and therefore take the woods, and the gardens, have each their concerts, care to be what they pretend. In religion alone, a and the ear of man is for ever regaled by creatures, profession is often slightly taken up, and slovenly who, while they please themselves, at the same time carried on, because forsooth, candor and charity delight him. Even the ears that are deaf to the require us to hope the best, and to judge favorably gospel, are continually entertained, though without of our neighbor; and because it is easy to deceive appreciating it, by sounds for which they are solely the ignorant, who are a gre majoriiy, upon this indebted to its author. There is somewhere in in- subject. Let a man attach himself to a particular finite space, a world that does not roll within the party, contend furiously for what are properly called precincts of mercy, and as it is reasonable, and even evangelical doctrines, and enlist himself under the scriptural, to suppose that there is music in heaven, banner of some popular preacher, and the business is in these dismal regions perhaps the reverse of it is done. Behold a Christian! a saint! a phænix! In the found-tones so dismal, as to make wo itself more mean time perhaps his heart, his temper, and even insupportable, and even to acuminate despair.". his conduct, is unsanctified; possibly less exemplary

In a letter to Mr. Newton, the following serious than that of some avowed infidels. No matter, he reflections occur: -“People that are but little ac- can talk, he has the Bible in his pocket, and a head quainted with the terrors of divine wrath, are not well stored with notions. But the quiet, humble, much afraid of trifling with their Maker. But for modest, and peaceable person, who is in his practice my own part, I would sooner take Empledocles' what the other is only in his profession, who hates a leap, and fling myself into Mount Etna, than I noise about religion, and therefore makes none, would do it in the slightest instance, were I in cir- who, knowing the snares that are in the world, cumstances to make an election. In the Scripture keeps himself as much out of it as he can, and we find a broad and clear exhibition of mercy: it is never enters it but when duty calls, and even then displayed in every page. Wrath is, in comparison, with fear and trembling-is the Christian that will but slightly touched upon, because it is not so much always stand highest in the estimation of those who. a discovery of wrath as of forgiveness. But had bring all characters to the test of true wisdom, and the displeasure of God been the principal subject of judge of the tree by its fruits.”. the book, and had it circumstantially set forth that !n arvther letter on a similar subject, he thus measure of it only which may be endured in this wiites:-"It is indeed a melancholy consideration, life, the Christian world would perhaps have been that the gospel, whose direct tendency is to promote less comfortable; but I believe presumptuous med- the happiness of mankind in the present as well as dlers with the gospel would have been less frequently in the life to come, which so effectually answers the met with.”

design of its author, whenever it is well understood, To Mr. Unwin he thus writes :-"Take my word and sincerely believed, should, through the ignofor it—the word of a man singularly qualified to rance, the bigotry, the superstition, of its professors, give his evidence in this matter, who, having en- and the ambition of popes and princes, have projoyed the privilege some years, has been deprived duced incidentally so much mischief; only furnishof it more, and has no hope that he shall live to re- ing the world with a plausible pretext to worry each cover it—those that have found a God, and are per- other, while they sanctified the worst cause with the mitted to worship him, have found a treasure, of specious pretext of zeal for the furtherance of the which, highly as they may prize it, they have but best. Angels descend from heaven to publish peace very scanty and limited conceptions. These are between man and his Maker-the Prince of Peace my Sunday morning speculations—the sound of the himself comes to confirm and establish it; and war, bells suggested them, or rather gave them such an hatred, and desolation, are the consequence. Thouemphasis, that they force their way into my pen in sands quarrel about the interpretation of a book, spite of me; for ihough I do not often commit which none of them understand. He that is slain, them to paper, they are never absent from my dies firmly persuaded that the crown of martyrdom mind."

awaits hím; and he that slew him, is equally con“You express sorrow that your love of Christ vinced that he has done God service. In reality was excited in you by a picture. Could the most they are both mistaken and equally unentitled to the insignificant thing suggest to me the thought that honor they have arrogated to themselves. If a Christ is precious, I would not despise the thought. multitude of blind men should set out for a certain The meanness of the instrument cannot debase the city, and dispute about the right road till a battle nobleness of the principle. He that kneels to a ensued between them, the probable effect would be picture of Christ is an idolater; but he in whose that none of them would ever reach it: 'and such a heart the sight of such a picture kindles a warm re- fray, preposterous and shocking in the extreme, membrance

of the Saviour's suffering, must be a would exhibit a picture in some degree resembling Christian. Suppose that I dream as Gardiner did, the original of which we have been speaking. And that Christ walks before me, that he turns and why is not the world thus occupied at present ? only smiles upon me,

and fills my soul with ineffable love because they have exchanged a zeal that was no and joy. Will a man tell me that I am deceived, better than madness, for an indifference equally that I ought not to love or rejoice in him for such a pitiable and absurd.' The holy sepulchre has lost

its importance in the eyes of nations, called Chris- suspect, that has not a spiritual eye to discern it, that tians, not because the light of true wisdom has the fine gentleman might possibly be one whom his delivered them from a superstitious attachment Maker had in abhorrence, and the wreich last to the spot, but because he ihat was buried in it is mentioned dear to him as the apple of his eye? It no longer regarded by them as the Saviour of the is no wonder that the world, who only look at things world. The exercise of reason, enlightened by as they are connected with the present life, find philosophy, has cured them indeed of the misery of themselves obliged, some of them at least, to doubt an abused understanding, but together with the de- a providence, and others absolutely to deny it; lusion they have lost the substance, and for the sake when almost all the real virtue there is to be found of the lies that were grafted upon it, have quarrelled in it, exists in a state of neglected obscurity, and all with the truth itself. Here, then, we see the ne plus the vices cannot exclude them from the privileges ultra of human wisdom, at least in affairs of re- of worship and honor. But behind the curtain the ligion. It enlightens the mind with respect to non- matter will be explained; very little, however, tr essentials, but with respect to that in which the the satisfaction of ihe great." essence of Christianity consists, leaves it perfectly in the dark. It can discover many errors that in different ages have disgraced the faith, but it is only

CHAPTER X. to make way for one more fatal than them all, Publication of Cowper's second volune of poems. Manner in which which represents that faith as a delusion. Why it was received by the public. His feelings on the occasion. Gres those evils have been permitted shall be known self-abasement. Renewal of his correspondence with Lady Heshereafter. One thing, in the mean time, is certain,

keth. Acceptance of her proffered assistance. Her projected that the folly and phrenzy of the professed disciples

visit to Olney. Cowper's pleasing anticipations of its results. Her of the gospel, have been more dangerous to its inte

arrival. Cowper's remoral from Olney to Weston. His intimacy rests, than all the avowed hostilities of its adversa

with the Throckmortons. Happiness it afforded E.:m. ries, and perhaps for this cause these mischiefs Cowher's second volume of poems, the publicamight be suffered to prevail for a season, that its tion of which had been delayed much longer than divine original and nature might be the more illus-was expected, appeared, at length, in the summer trated, when it should appear that it was able to of 1785. His first volume, though it had not met with stand its ground for ages, against that most form- that success which might have been expected, had dable of all attacks--the indiscretion of its friends. nevertheless becn extensively circulated, and was The outrages that have followed this perversion of spoken of highly by some of the first literary chathe truth, have proved, indeed, a stumbling-block to racters of the age. It had therefore raised the exindividuals: the wise of this world, with all their pectations of the public, and had thus made way for wisdom, have not been able to distinguish between its successor, which no sooner made its appearance the blessing and the abuse of it. Voltaire was than it was eagerly sought after, and met with a offended, and Gibbon has turned his back, but the rapid and extensive sale. High as had been the flock of Christ is still nourished, and still increases, expectations of his friends, they fell far short of notwithstanding the unbelief of a philosopher is what he had accomplished in that brilliant display able to convert bread into a stone, and fish into a of real poetical talent everywhere to be found in the serpent."

Task. "The singularity of the title made its first The following very serious reflections occur in a appearance somewhat repulsive: its various and letter to Mr. Newton, about this time, adverting to matchless beauties were, however, soon discovered, the sufferings of the poor at Olney, whose distress- and it speedily raised the reputation of Cowper to ing circumstances on all occasions excited the ten- the highest summit of poetic genius, and placed derest sympathies of the poet :-“The winter sets in him among the first class of poets. • with great severity. The rigor of the season, and In a letter to Mr. Newton, he describes his feelings the advanced price of provisions, are very threat- on this occasion in such a manner as proves him to ening to the poor. It is well with those that can have been influenced by nothing like selfish or amfeed upon a promise, and wrap themselves up warm bitious motives; but by principles far more noble in the robe of salvation. A good fire-side and a and exalted :-“I found your account of what you well-spread table are but indifferent substitutes for experienced in your state of maiden authorship these better accommodations; so very indifferent, very entertaining, because very natural. I suppose that I would gladly exchange them both for the rags no man ever made his first sally from the press and the unsatisfied hunger of the poorest creature, without a conviction that all eyes and ears would that looks forward with the hope to a better world, be engaged to attend him, at least without a thouand weeps tears of joy in the midst of penury and sand anxieties lest they should not. But, however distress. What a world is this! How mysteriously arduous and interesting such an enterprise may be governed, and, in appearance, left to itself! One in the first instance, it seems to me that our feelings man, having squandered thousands at a gaming- on the occasion soon become obtuse. I can answer table, finds it convenient to travel; gives his estate at least for one. Mine are by no means what they to somebody to manage for him; amuses himself a were when I published my first volume. Iam even few years in France and Italy'; returns, perhaps, so indifferent to the maiter, that I can truly assert wiser than he went, having acquired knowledge, myself guiltless of the very idea of my book somewhich, but for his follies, he would never have ac- times for whole days together. God knows that my quired; again makes a splendid figure at home, shines mind, having been occupied more than twelve in the senate, governs his country as its minister, is years in the contemplation of the most distressing admired for his abilities, and if successful, adored, at subjects, the world, and its opinions of what I write, least by a party. When he dies he is praised as a is become as unimportant to me as the whistling demi-god, and his monument records every thing of a bird in a bush. Despair made amusement but his vices. The exact contrast of such a pic- necessary, and I found poetry the most agreeable ture is to be foand in many cottages at Olney. I amusement.

Had I not endeavored to perform my have no need to describe them, you know the cha- best, it would not have amused me at all. The racters I mean: they love God, they trust him, they mere blotting of so much paper would have been pray to him in secret, and though he means to reward but indifferent sport. God gave me grace alsu to them openly, the day of recompense is delayed. In wish that I mighi not write in vain. Accordingly, the mean time they suffer every thing that infirmity I have mingled much truth with some trifies; and and poverty can inflict upon them. Who would such truths as deserved at least to be clad as well

and as handsomely as I could clothe them. If the as in fact it has proved, a most agreeable surprise. world approve me not, so much the worse for them, For I can truly boast of an affection for you that but not for me; I have only endeavored to serve neither years nor intercepted intercourse have at all them, and the loss will be their own. And as to abated. I need only recollect how much I valueil their commendations, if I should chance to win you once, and with how much cause, immediately them, I feel myself equally invulnerable there. to feel a revival of the same value; if that can be The view that I have had of myself, for many said to revive, which at the most has only been doryears, has been so truly humiliating, that I think mant for want of employment. But I slander it The praises of all mankind could not hurt me. God when I say that it has slept. A thousand times have. knows that I speak my present sense of the matter I recollected a thousand scenes, in which our two at least most truly, when I say, that the admiration selves have formed the whole of the drama, with of creatures like myself seems to me a weapon the the greatest pleasure; at times, too, when I had no least dangerous that my worst enemy could employ reason to suppose that I should ever hear from you against me. I am fortified against it by such so- again. The hours that I have spent with you, were lidity of real self-abasement, that I deceive myself among the pleasantest of my former days, and are most egregiously if I do not heartily despise it. therefore chronicled in my mind so deeply as to fear Praise belongeth to God; and I seem to myself to no erasure. You say that you have often heard of covet it no more than I covet divine honors. Could me; that puzzles me. I cannot imagine from what I assuredly hope that God would at last deliver ma, quarter; but it is no matter. I must tell you, howI should have reason to thank him for all that I have ever, my dear cousin, that your information has suffered, were it only for the sake of this single been a little defective. That I am happy in my fruit of my affliction that it has taught me how situation is true ; I live, and have lived these twenty much more contemptible I am in myself than I ever years, with Mrs. Unwin, to whose affectionate care before suspected, and has reduced my former share of me, during the far greater part of that time, it is, of self-knowledge (of which at that time I had a under Divine Providence, owing that I live at all. tolerable good opinion) to a mere nullity, in compa- But I do not account myself happy in having been rison to what I have acquired since. Self is a sub- for thirteen of those years in a state of mind that has ject of inscrutable misery and mischief, and can made all that care and attention necessary; an alnever be studied to so much advantage as in the tention and a care, that have injured her health, dark; for as the bright beams of the sun seem to and which, had she not been uncommonly supportimpart a beauty to the most unsightly objects, so the ed, must have brought her to the grave. But I will light of God's 'countenance, vouchsafed to a fallen pass to another subject; it would be cruel to particucreature, so sweetens him and softens him for the larize only to give pain, neither should I by any time, that he seems both to others and to himself, means give a sable hue to the first letter of a corres. to have nothing selfish or sordid about him. But pondence so unexpectedly renewed. I must, howthe heart is a nest of serpents, and will be such ever tell you, my dear cousin, that dejection of spirits, while it continues to beat. If God cover the mouth which I suppose may have prevented many a man of that nest with his hand, they are hush and snug; from becoming an author, has made me one. I find but if he withdraw his hand, the whole family lift con-stant employment necessary, and therefore take up their heads and hiss, and are as active and veno- care to be constantly employed. Manual occupations mous as ever. This I always professed to believe do not engage the mind sufficiently, as I know by exfrom the time that I had embraced the truth, but I perience, having tried many. But composition, never knew it as I know it now. To what end 1 especially of verse, absorbs it wholly. I write, therehave been made to know it as I do, whether for the fore, generally three hours in the morning, and in benefit of others or for my own, or for both, or for the evening I transcribe. I read also, but less than neither, will appear hereafter."

I write, for I must have bodily exercise, and there. While Cowper looked upon his publication with fore never pass a day without it. so much indifference, his frienas regarded it with "I do not seek new friends, not being altogether very opposite feelings. Its rapid and extensive cir- sure that I should find them, but have unspeakable culation, not only delighted those who were inti- pleasure in being beloved by an old one. I hope mately associated with him, and had been witnesses that our correspondence has now suffered its last in. to the acute anguish of his mind, during his depres-terruption, and that we shall go down together to the sive malady, but it also gratified several of his for- grave, chattering and chirping as happily as such a mer associates and correspondents, and induced scene as this will permit. I am happy that my them to renew their communications with the poet. poems have pleased you. My volume has afforded Among these was Lady Hesketh, who was so charm-me no such pleasure at any time, either while I was ed with productions of his pen, that on her return writing it, or since its publication, as I have derived from abroad, where she had spent several years from yours and my uncle's favorable opinion rewith her husband, she renewed her correspondence specting it. I make certain allowances for partiality, with Cowper, and as she was now a widow and was and for that peculiar quickness of taste, with which handsomely provided for, she generously offered to you both relish what you like; and after all draw. render him any assistance he might want. Cow-backs upon those accounts duly made, find myselfrich per's reply to an affectionate letter she wrote him, in the measure of your approbation that still remains. shows the warmth of his affection towards those But above all I honor John Gilpin, since it was he who whom he loved. He thus writes :-"My dear cou- first encouraged you to write. I made him on purșin, it is no new thing for you to give pleasure. But pose to laugh at, and he served his purpose well; but I will venture to say that you do not often give am now indebted to him for a more valuable acmore than you gave me this morning. When I quisition than all the laughter in the world amounts came down to breakfast and found on the table, a to, the recovery of my intercourse with you, which letter franked by my uncle, and when opening that is to me inestimable. I am glad that I always loved frank, I found that it contained a letter from you, I you as I did. It releases me from any occasion to said within myself, this is just as it should be.' We suspect that my present affection for you is indebted are all grown young again, and the days that I for its existence to any selfish considerations. No, thought I should see no more, are actually returned. I ans sure I love you disinterestedly, and for your You perceive, therefore, that you judged well when own sake, because I never thought of you with any you conjectured that a line from you would not be other sensations than those of the truest affection, disagreeable to me. It could not be otherwise than even while I was under the persuasion, that I should

ance.

never hear from yon again. But with my present feel. I justed; and now I have nothing to do but to wish ings superadded to those that I always had for you, Ifor June; and June, my dear cousin, was never so find it no easy matter to do justice to my sensations. wished for since June was made. I shall have a I perceive myself in a state of mind, similar to that thousand things to hear, and a thousand to say, of the traveller described in Pope's Messiah, who, and they will all rush into my mind together, as he passes through a sandy desert, starts at the till it will be so crowded with things impatient to be sudden and unexpected sound of a waterfall.—Your said, that for some time I shall say nothing. But very generous offer of assistance has placed me in no matter-sooner or later they will all come out. a situation new to me, and in which I feel myself After so long, a separation, a separation which of late somewhat puzzled how to behave. When I was seemed so likely to last for life, we shall meet each once asked if I wanted any thing, and given deli- other as alive from the dead; and, for my own part, cately to understand that the inquirer was ready to I can truly say, that I have not a friend in the other supply all my occasions, I thankfully and civilly, world whose resurrection would give me greater but positively, declined the favor. I neither suffer pleasure. nor have suffered such inconveniences, as I had not "If you will not quote Solomon, my dearest coumuch rather endure, than come under an obligation sin, I will

. He says, and as beautifully as truly, to a person who is almost a stranger to me. But to "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the you I answer otherwise. I know you thoroughly, and desire cometh, it is a tree of life!' I feel how much the liberality of your disposition, and have that con- reason he had on his side when he made this obsersummate confidence in the sincerity of your wish to vation, and I am myself really sick of your delay. serve me, that delivers me from all awkward con- Well, the middle of June will not always be a thoustraint, and from all fear of trespassing by accept- sand years off; and when it comes, I shall hear you,

To you, therefore, I reply, yes. Whenso- and see you too; and shall not care a single farthing ever and whatsoever, and in what manner soever, if you do not touch a pen for a month. From this you please, and add moreover, that my affection for very morning, 15th May, 1786, I begin to date the the giver is such as will increase to me ten-fold the last month of our long separation; and confidently, satisfaction I shall have in receiving. You must and most comfortably hope, that before the fifteenth not, however, strain any points to your own incon- of June shall present itself, we shall have seen each venience or hurt; there is no need of it; but in- other. Is it not so ? and will it not be one of the dulge yourself in communicating (no matter what) most extraordinary eras of my extraordinary life? that you can spare without missing it, since by só A year ago, we neither corresponded, nor expected doing you will be sure to add to the comforts of my to meet in this world. But this world is a scene of life, one of the sweetest that I can enjoy—a token marvellous events, many of them more marvellous and a proof of your affection. At the same time, than fiction itself would dare to hazard : (blessed be that I would not grieve you by putting a check upon God !) they are not all of the distressing kind. Now your bounty, I would be as careful not to abuse it, and then, in the course of an existence, whose hue as if I were a miser, and the question were, not about is for the most part sable, a day turns up that makes your money but my own."

amends for many sighs, and many subjects of comThe happiest consequences resulted from the re- plaint. Such a day shall I account the day of your newal of Cowper's correspondence with this accom- arrival at Olney. "Wherefore is it (canst thou tell plished and excellent lady. After an interchange me?) that, together with all these delightful sensaof some of the most interesting letters that were ever' tions, to which the sight of a long absent dear friend written, she proposed at length to pay the sequester- gives birth, there is a mixture of something painful, ed poet a visit at Olney, and made arrangements flutterings and tumults, and I know not what acaccordingly.

companiments of our pleasure, that are in fact perThe following extracts from Cowper's letters to fectly foreign from the occasion ? Such I feel when her on this occasion will be read with pleasure, as a I think of our meeting, and such, I suppose, feel faithful record of the delight he anticipated from you; and the nearer the crisis approaches, the more this interview :-“I have been impatient to tell you, I am sensible of them. I know beforehand that they that I am impatient to see you again, Mrs. Unwin will increase with every turn of the wheels that partakes with me in all my feelings. Let me as- shall convey you to Olney; and when we actually sure you, that your kindness in promising us a visit, meet, the pleasure, and this unaccountable pain to has charmed us both. I shall see you again, I shall gether, will be as much as I shall be able to suphear your voice. We shall take walks together. I port. "I am utterly at a loss for the cause, and can will show you my prospects the hovėl, the alcove, only.resolve it into that appointment, by which it the Ouse, and its banks, every thing that I have de has been foreordained that all human delights shall scribed. I anticipate the pleasure of those days not be qualified and mingled with their coniraries. But very far distant, and feel a part of it this moment. a fig for them all! Let us resolve to combat with, My dear, I will not let you come till the end of May, and to conquer them. They are dreams; they are or the beginning of June, because before that time illusions of the judgment. Some enemy that hates my green-house will not be ready to receive us, and the happiness of human kind, and is ever industriit is the only pleasant room belonging to us. When ous to dash, if he cannot destroy it, works them in the plants go out, we go ir I line it with nets, and / us, and they being so perfectly unreasonable as they spread the floor with mats; and there you shall sit, are, is a proof of it. Nothing that is such can be with a bed of mignonette at yonr side, and a hedge the work of a good agent. This I know too by exof honeysuckles, roses, and jasmine; and I will perience, that, like all other illusions, they exist only make you a bouquet of myrtle every day. We now by force of imagination, are indebted for their pretalk of nobody but you—what we will do with you valence to the absence of their objects, and in a few when we get you, where you shall walk, where you moments after their appearance cease. So then this shall sleep, in short, every thing that bears the re- is a settled point, and the case stands thus. You motest relation to your well-being at Olney occupies will tremble as you draw near to Olney, and so shall all our talking time, which is all that I do not spend 1; but we will both recoHect that there is no reason at Troy. Mrs. Unwin has already secured for why we should, and this recollection will at least you an apartment, or rather two, just such as we have some little effect in our favor. We will likecould wish. The house in which you will find wise both take the comfort of what we know to be them is within thirty yards of our own, and opposite true, that the tumult will soon cease, and the pleato it. The whole affair is thus commodiously ad- sure long survive the pain, even as long, I trusi,

as we ourselves shall survive it. Assure yourself, Cowper had so well described in his letters, and my dear cousin, that both for your sake, since you their first meeting was, indeed, painfully pleasing; make a point of it, and for my own, I will be as phi- every sensation, however, that was in any degree losophically careful as possible, that these fine nerves painful, soon subsided, and gave place to such only of mine shall not be beyond measure agitated when as were pure and delightful. Mrs. Unwin was you arrive. In truth, there is a much greater proba- pleased with the sweetness of temper, agreeable bility that they will be benefited, and greatly, too. manners, and cheerful conversation of Lady HesJoy of heart, from whatever occasion it may arise, keth, and her ladyship was no less delighted with is the best of all nervous medicines; and I should the mild, amiable, and affectionate conduct of her not wonder, if such a turn given to my spirits should new companion; while Cowper's heart was gladhave even a lasting effect, of the most advantageous dened to have the advantage of daily intercourse kind, upon them. You must not imagine neither, with another highly cultivated mind. that I am, on the whole, in any great degree, sub The happy effect this change had upon Cowper's ject to nervous affections: occasionally I am, and spirits will be seen by the following extracts from have been these many years, much liable to dejec- his correspondence: “My dear cousin's arrival, as tion; but, at intervals, and sometimes for an inter- it could not fail to do, has made us happier than we val of weeks, no creature would suspect it. For I ever were at Olney. Her great kindness, in giving have not that which commonly is a symptom of such us her company, is a cordial that I shall feel the a case, belonging to me: I mean, occasional extra- effect of, not only while she is here, but while I live. ordinary elevation. When I am in the best health, She has been with us a fortnight.

She pleases my tide of animal sprightliness flows with great every body, and is, in her turn, pleased with every, equality, so that I am never, at any time, exalted in thing she finds here; is always cheerful and good proportion as I am sometimes depressed. My de tempered; and knows no pleasure equal to that of pression has a cause, and if that cause were to communicating pleasure to us, and to all around cease, I should be as cheerful thenceforth, and per- her. The disposition in her is the more comfortahaps for ever, as any man need be.

ble, because it is not the humor of the day, a sudden * Your visit is delayed too long, to my impatience, flash of benevolence and goodness, occasioned at least it seems so, who find the spring, backward merely by a change of scene, but it is her natural as it is, too forward, because many of its beauties turn, and has governed all her conduct ever since I will have faded before you will have an opportunity knew her first. We are consequently happy in her to see them. We took our customary walk yester- society, and shall be happier still to have you parday, and saw, with regret, the laburnums, syriangas, take with us in our joy. “I am fond of the sound of and guelder roses, some of them blown, and others bells, but was never more pleased with those of just upon the point of blowing, and could not help Olney than when they rang her into her new habiobserving, that all these will be gone before Lady tation. She is, as she ever was, my pride and my Hesketh comes. Still, however, there will be roses, joy; and I am delighted with every thing that means and jasmine, and honey suckles, and shady walks, to do her honor. Her first appearance was too and cool alcoves, and you will partake them with much for me; my spirits, instead of being gently us. But I want you to have a share of every thing raised, broke down with me, under the pressure of that is delightful here, and cannot bear that the ad- too much joy, and left me flat, or rather melanchovance of the season should steal away a single ly, throughout the day, to a degree that was mortipleasure before you come to enjoy it. I will ven- fying to myself, and alarming to her. But I have iure to say, that even you were never so much ex- made amends for this torture since; and, in point of pected in your life.

cheerfulness, have far exceeded her expectations, "I regret that I have made your heart ache so for she knew that sable had been my suit for many often, my dear cousin, with talking about my fits of years. By her help we get change of air and of dejection. Something has happened that has ļed scene, though still resident at Olney; and by her me to the subject, or I would have mentioned them means, have intercourse with some families in this more sparingly, Do not suppose that treat you country, with whom, but for her, we could never with reserve; there is nothing in which I am con- have been acquainted. Her presence here would cerned that you shall not be made acquainted with. at any time, even in her happiest days, have been a But the tale is too long for a letter: I will only add, comfort to me; but in the present day I am doubly for your present satisfaction, that the cause is not sensible of its value. She leaves nothing unsaid, exterior, that it is not within the reach of human nothing undone, that she thinks will be conducive aid, and that yet I have a hope myself, and Mrs. to our well-being; and so far as she is concerned, I Unwin a strong persuasion of its removal. I am have nothing to wish, but that I could believe her indeed even now, and have been for a considerable sent hither in mercy to myself;-then I should be time, sensible of a change for the better, and expect, thankful.” with good reason, a comfortable lift from you. Lady Hesketh had not long been at Olney before Guess then, my beloved cousin, with what wishes I she became dissatisfied with the poet's residence.. look forward to the time of your arrival, from whose She thought it a situation altogether unsuitable for coming I promise myself not only pleasure, bu a person subject to depression. Cowper himself had peace of mind, at least an additional share of it. often entertained the same opinion respecting, it: At present it is an uncertain and transient guest and both he and Mrs. Unwin had frequently wished with me; but the joy with which I shall see, and for a change, and had, indeed, been looking out for converse with you, at Olney, may, perhaps, make a house more agreeable to their taste. At that time it an abiding one."

a very commodious cottage, pleasantly situated in It is seldom that pleasure, anticipated with such the village of Weston Underwood, a mile and a warmth of feeling, fully answers our expectations. half distant from Olney, belonging to Sir John Human enjoyments almost invariably seem much Throckmorton, was unoccupied. It occurred to more valuable in prospect than in possession. Cow-Cowper, that this would be a very agreeable sumper's interview with his cousin, however, was alto- mer residence for his cousin; and on his mentiongether an exception, and proved a source of more ing it to her, she immediately engaged it, not for real delight to both parties than either of them had herself only, but for the future residence of the expected. As might naturally be supposed, after poet and his amiable companion, with whom she a separation of three-and-twenty years, they both had now made up her mind to become a frequent, experienced the full force of those emotions, which | if not a constant associate. The following extracts

« 前へ次へ »