[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

wrote at this period abound with apologies for his fore me, and when they are finished, shall have alapparent neglect. He still, however, found time to most the whole eight-and-forty to revise. Judge advert to passing events, sufficiently to prove that then, my dear madam, if it is yet time for me to the bent of his mind remained decidedly serious. play, or to gratify myself with scribbling to those I To Mrs. King he thus writes:-"Mrs. Battison, love. No, it is necessary that waking I should be your late relative at Bedford, being dead, I was all absorbed in Homer, and that sleeping I should afraid you would have no more calls there; but the dream of nothing else.” marriage so near at hand, of the young lady you Busily engaged, however, as Cowper was with mention, with a gentleman of that place, gives me his translation, he found time to compose several hope again, that you may occasionally approach us, short, but beautiful poems, on various subjects, as as heretofore ; and that on some of these occasions they happened to occur to his mind. These were you will perhaps find your way to Weston. The eagerly sought after by his correspondents, and were «leaths of some and the marriages of others, make a forwarded to them respectively, as opportunities new world of it every thirty years. Within that offered, accompanied generally with the poet's acspace of time, the majority are displaced, and a new knowledgments of their comparative insignificance, generation has succeeded. Here and there one is at least in his own esteem. Several of these propermitted to stay a little longer, that there may not ductions were written to oblige his friends, for whom be wanting a few grave dons like myself, to make Cowper always had the highest regard, and whom the observation. The thought struck me very for- he felt pleased on all occasions to accommodate; cibly the other day, on reading a paper which came others were written at the request of strangers, whom hither in the package of some books from London. he was not unwilling, when it Jay fairly in his way, It contained news from Hertfordshire, and informed to oblige. On one occasion, the parish clerk of me among other things, that at Great Berkhamstead, Northampton applied to him for some verses, to be the place of my birth, there is hardly a family left annexed to some bills of mortality, which he was of all those wiih whom, in my early days, I was so accustomed to publish at Christmas. This singufamiliar. The houses no doubt remain, but the lar incident, so illustrative of Cowper's real genegreater part of their former inhabitants are now to rosity, he relates in the following most interesting be found by their grave-stones. And it is certain and sprightly manner :-"On Monday morning that I might pass through a town in which I was last, Sam brought me word that there was a man in once a sort of principal figure, unknowing and un- the kitchen, who desired to speak with me. I orknown. They are happy who have not taken up dered him in. A plain, decent, elderly-looking figure :heir rest in a world fluctuating as the sea, and pass- made its appearance, and being desired to sit, spoke ing away with the rapidity of a river. I wish from as follows: Sir, I am clerk of the parish of All my heart that you and Mr. King may long continue Saints, in Northampton; brother of Mr. C. the upas you have already long continued, exceptions from holsterer. It is customary for the person in my the general truth of this remark."

office to annex to a bill of mortality, which he pubLady Hesketh remained at Weston through the lishes at Christmas, a copy of verses. You would greater part of the winter of 1788–9, and contribut- do me a great favor, Sir, if you would furnish me ed much to revive Cowper's drooping spirits, and to with one.' To this I replied; 'Mr. C. you have cheer and animate him in his important undertak- several men of genius in your town, why have you ing; which seemed to engage more of his time the not applied to some of them ? There is a namenearer it approached to a finish. The close atten- sake of yours in particular, Mr. C. the statuary, tion which he found it indispensably necessary to who every body knows is a first rate maker of verbestow upon it, compelled him almost entirely to ses. He surely is the man, of all the world, for your relinquish his correspondence. And, as a letter purpose.' 'Alas! Sir,' replied he, 'I have heretofrom him was esteemed a treasure by all his friends, fore borrowed help from him, but he is a gentleman many of whom began to make complaints of being of so much reading, that the people of the town canneglected, he was often compelled, in those he did not understand him. I confess I felt all the force write, to advert to these complaints. We find him of the compliment implied in this speech, and was thus excusing himself for his apparent neglect:- almost ready to answer, perhaps, my good friend, “ The post brings me po letters that do not grumble they may find me unintelligible for the same reason. at my silence. Had not you, therefore, taken me But on asking him whether he had walked over to to task as roundly as others, I should, perhaps, have Weston on purpose to implore the assistance of my concluded that you were more indifferent to my muse, and on his replying in the affirmative, I felt epistles than the rest of my correspondents; of whom ny mortified vanity a little consoled, and pitying the one says, 'I shall be glad when you have finished poor man's distress, which appeared to be considerHomer; then possibly you will find a little leisure able, promised to supply him. The wagon has acfor an old friend.' Another says, 'I don't choose to cordingly gone this day to Northampton, loaded in be neglected, unless you equally neglect every one part with my effusions in the mortuary style. A fig else. Thus I hear of it with both ears, and shall, for poets who write epitaphs upon individuals; I till I appear in the shape of two great quarto vo- have written one that serves two hundred persons." lumes, the composition of which I confess engrosses On another occasion, Cowper thus writes to Mr. me to a degree that gives my friends, to whom I Hill, adverting to the numerous entreaties he somefeel myself much obliged for their anxiety to hear times received for the assistance of his muse." My from me, but too much reason to complain. John-muse were a vixen, if she were not always ready to son told Mr. Martyn the truth, when he said I had fly in obedience to your commands. But what can nearly completed Homer, but your inference from be done? I can write nothing in the few hours that that truth is not altogether so just as most of your remain to me of this day, that will be fit for your conclusions are. Instead of finding myself the more purpose: and, unless I could dispatch what I write at leisure, because my labor draws to a close, I find by to-morrow's post, it would not reach you in time. myself the more occupied. As when a horse ap- I'must add, too, that my friend the vicar of the next proaches the goal, he does not, unless he be jaded, parish, engaged me the day before yesterday, to furslacken his pace, but quickens it: even so it fares nish him by next Sunday with a hymn to be sung with me. The end is in view; I seem almost to on the occasion of his preaching to the children of have reached the mark, and the nearness of it in the Sunday-school; of which hymn I have not yet spires me with fresh alacrity. But be it known to produced å syllable. I am somewhat in the case of you, that I have still two books of the Odyssey be- Lawyer Dowling, in Tom Jones; and could I split

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

myself into as many poets as there are muses, I But vengeance hung not far remote, could find employment for them all."

For while he stretched his clamorous throat, These numerous engagements, however, did not

And heaven and earth defied; prevent the poet from recording his sentiments re Big with a curse too closely peni, specting any circumstance that occurred which he That struggled vainly for a vent, thought deserving notice. About this time the fol

He totter'd, reeld, and died. lowing melancholy event happened, which drew from him lines expressive of his entire abhorrence 'Tis not for us, with rash surmise, of cruelty, by whomsoever perpetrated, and whether To point the judgment of the skies; practised upon man or upon the lower order of ani

But judgments plain as this, mals. John A--, Esq. a young gentleman of large That, sent for men's instruction, bring fortune, who was passionately fond of cock-fighting, A written label on their wing, came to his death in the following awful manner.

'Tis hard to read amiss." He had a favorite cock, upon which he had won many large sums. The last bet he laid upon it he

It was Cowper's intention, after finishing his lost, ivhich so enraged him, that he had the bird tied translation, to publish a third volume of original to a spit, and roasted alive, before a large fire. The poems, which was to contain, in addition to a poem screams of the suffering anjinal were so affecting, he intended to compose, similar to the Task, entithat some gentlemen who were present attempted to tled “ The Four Ages," all the minor unpublished interfere, which so exasperated Mr. A—, that he productions of his pen. And it is deeply to be reseized the poker, and with the most furious vehe- gretted that he was not permitted to carry this demence declared that he would kill the first man sign into completion, as the interesting subject of the who interfered; but in the of his passionate different stages of man's existence would have been assertions, awful to relate, he fell down dead upon admirably adapted for a complete development of the spot. Cowper was so deeply affected by the cir- his poetic talents. cumstance, that he composed a poetic obituary on

The readiness of Cowper to listen to any alterathe occasion, which was inserted in the Gentle- tions in his productions, suggested by his corresman's Magazine for May, 1789, from which we ex- pondents, ought not to go unrecorded.' Tothe Rev. tract the following lines:

Walter Bagot he thus writes.--"My verses on the

Queen's visit to London, either have been printed, · This man (for since the howling wild

or soon will be in the world. The finishing to Disclaims him, man he must be styled)

which you objected, I have altered, and have substiWanted no good below:

tuted two new stanzas in the room of it. Two Genue he was, if gentle birth

others also I have struck out, another friend having Could make him such, and he had worth,

objected to them. I think I am a very tractable sori If wealth can worth bestow.

of a poet. Most of my fraternity would as soon Can such be cruel? such can be

shorten the noses of their children because they

were said to be too long, as thus dock their compoCruel as hell, and so was he ;

sitions, in compliance with the opinions of others. A tyrant, entertained With barbarous sports, whose fell delight

I beg that when my life shall be written hereafter, Was to encourage mortal fight,

my authorship's ductibility of temper may not be "Twixt birds to battle trained.


One feathered champion he possessed,
His darling far beyond the rest, --

Which never knew disgrace,
Nor e'er had fought, but he made flow
The life-blood of his fiercest foe-

The Cæsar of his race.

It chanced, at last, when on a day,
He pushed him to the desperate fray,

His courage drooped, he fled :
The master stormed, the prize was lost,
And, instant, frantic at the cost,

He doomed his favorite dead. He seized him fast, and from the pit Flew to the kitchen, snatched the spit,

And, Bring me cord, he cried ;
The cord was brought, and at his word,
To that dire implement, the bird,

Alive and struggling, tied.
The horrid sequel asks a veil,
And all the terrors of the tale

That can be, shall be sunk;
Led by the sufferer's screams aright,
His shocked companions view the sight,

And him with pity, drunk. All, suppliant, beg a milder fale, For the old warrior at the grate :

He, deaf to pity's call, Whirl'd round him, rapid as a wheel, His culinary club of steel,

Death menacing on all.

Mrs. Uowin much injured by a fall. Cowper's anxiety respecting

her. Continues incessantly engaged in his Homer. Expresses re-
gret that it should, in some measure, have suspended his corres-
pondence with his friends. Revises a small volume of poems for
children. State of his mind. Receives as a present from Mrs.
Bodham, a portrait of his mother. Feelings on the occasion. In-
teresting description of her character. His affectionate attachment
to her. Translates a series of Latin letters from a Dutel miuister
of the gospel. Continuance of his depression. Is attacked with a
nervous fever. Completion of his translation. Death of Mrs. New.
ton. His reflections on the occasion. Again revises his Horner.
His unalterable attachment to religion.

In the commencement of 1789, a circumstance occurred, which occasioned Cowper considerable uneasiness. Mrs. Unwin, his amiable inmate, and faithful companion, received so severe an injury by a fall, which she got when walking on a gravel path, covered with ice, that she was confined to her room for several weeks. Though she neither dislocated any joint, nor broke any bones, yet such was the effect of the fall, that it crippled her completely, and rendered her as incapable of assisting herself as a child. It happened providentially, that Lady Hesketh was at Weston, when this painful event occur. red. By her kind attention to Mrs. Unwin, and her no less tender care over her esteemed relative, lest his mind should be too deeply affected by this afflicting occurrence, she contributed greatly to the recovery of the former, and to the support of the latter. It was, however, several weeks before Mrs. Unwin recovered her strength sufficiently to attend to her domestic concerns. Her progress too, when she began to amend, was so slow, as to be almost

imperceptible, and her lengthened affliction, notwith- | ycleped Sir Newton, and the other Sir Cowper, who standing the precautionary measures adopted by loving each other heartily, would nevertheless sufherself, and by Lady Hesketh to prevent it, tended, ter the pains of an interrupted intercourse-his in a great degree, to depress the mind of Cowper. poems the cause. So, however, it has happened;

Early in the ensuing spring, Lady Hesketh was and though it would not, I suppose, extort from the compelled to return to town. Mrs. Unwin had not old bard a single sigh, if he knew it, yet lo me it then wholly recovered her strength; she was, how- suggests the serious reflection above mentioned. An ever, so far convalescent, as to resume the manage author by profession had need narrowly to watch ment of her domestic concerns, and to pay the same his pen, lest a line should escape it, which boy possi. kind attention to the poet's comfort as had distin-bility may do mischief, when he has been long dead guished all her former conduct towards him. The and buried. What we have done when we have greater part of the year 1789, Cowper was inces written a book, will never be known till the day of santly engaged, principally in translating Homer, judgment: then the account will be liquidated, and but occasionally, and indeed frequently, in compus- all the good that it has occasioned, and all the evil, ing original poems for the gratification of his friends, will witness either for or against us. I am now in or in the more difficult employment of revising the the last book of the Odyssey, yet have still, I supproductions of less gifted poets. The few letters he pose, half a year's work before me. The accurate wrote at this time abound with apologies for his revisal of two such voluminous poems can hardly seeming negligence, and with descriptions of the cost me less. I rejoice, however, that the goal is in manner in which he employed his time. To one prospect; for though it has cost me years to run of his correspondents he thus writes :—"I know that this race, it is only now that I begin to have a you are too reasonable a man to expect any thing glimpse of its termination.—That I shall never relike punctuality of correspondence from a transla- ceive any proportionable pecuniary recompense for tor of Homer, especially from one who is a doer al- my long labors, is pretty certain; and as to any so of many other things at the same time; for I la fame that I may possibly gain by it, that is a combor hard, not only to acquire a little fame for my- modity that daily sinks in value, in measure as the self, but io win it for others, men of whom I know consummation of all things approaches. In the day nothing, not even their names, who send me their when the lion shall dandle the kid, and a little child poetry, that by translating it out of prose into verse, shall lead them, the world will have lost all relish I may make it more like poetry than it was. I begin tó for the fabulous legends of antiquity, and Homer perceive that if a man will be an author, he must and his translator may budge off the stage togelive neither to himself nor to his friends so much ther." as to others whom he never saw nor shall see. I Some months afterwards, to the same correspondfeel myself in no small degree unworthy of the kind ent Cowper thus writes:-"On this fine first of Desolicitude which you express concerning me and my cember, under an unclouded sky, and in a room welfare, after a silence so much longer than you full of sunshine, I address myself to the payn.ent had reason to expect. I should, indeed, account of a debt, long in arrear, but never forgotten by me, myself inexcusable, had I not to allege in my de- however I may have seemed to forget it. I will not fence, perpetual engagements of such a kind as waste time in apologies; I have but one, and that could' by no means be dispensed with. Had Homer one will suggest itself unmentioned. I will only alone been in question, Homer should have made add that you are the first to whom I write, of severoom for you; but I have had other work in hand ral to whom I have not written many months, who at the same time, equally pressing and more labo- all have claims upon me, and who, I flatter myself, rious. Let it suffice to say, that I have not wilfully are all grumbling at my silence. In your case, perneglected you for a moment, and that you have haps I have been less anxious than in the case of never been out of my thoughts a day together. Hav- some others; because, if you have not heard from ing heard all this, you will feel yourself disposed myself, you have heard from Mrs. Unwin. From not only to pardon my long silence, but to pity me her you have learned that I live, that I am as well for the causes of it. You may, if you please, be- as usual, and that I translate Homer-three short lieve likewise, for it is true, that I have a faculty of items, but in which is comprised the whole detail remembering my friends even when I do not write of my present history. Thus I fared when you to them, and of loving them not one jot the less, were here; thus I have fared ever since you were though I leave them to starve for want of a letter here; and thus, if it please God, I shall continue to from me.”

fare for some time longer: for, though the work is In a letter to Mr. Newton, 16th August, 1789, done, it is not finished-a riddle which you, who Cowper thus describes the situation in which he are a brother of the press, will solve easily. I have was then placed, and the state of his mind at the been the less anxious on your behalf, because I have time :-"Mrs. Newton and you are both kind and had frequent opportunities to hear from you; and just in believing that I do not love you the less have always heard that you are in good health, and when I am long silent: perhaps a friend of mine happy. Of Mrs. Newton, too, I have heard more who wishes to be always in my thoughts, is never favorable accounts of late, which has given us both so effectually possessed of the accomplishment of the sincerest pleasure. Mrs. Unwin's case is, at that wish, as when I have been long his debtor; for present, my only subject of uneasiness, that is not then I think of him, not only every day, but day and immediately personal, and properly my own. She night, and indeed all day long. But I confess, at has almost constant head-aches, almost a constant the same time, that my thoughts of you will be pain in her side, which nobody understands, and more pleasant to myself, when I shall have exone- her lameness, within the last half year, is very little rated my conscience by giving you the letter, so amended. But her spirits are good, because suplong your due. Therefore, here it comes-little ported by comforts which depend not on the state worth your having, but payment such as it is, that of the body: and I do not know that, with all her you have a right to expect, and that is essential to pain, her appearance is at all altered, since we had my own tranquillity. That the Iliad and Odyssey the happiness to see you here, unless indeed it be should have proved the occasion of my suspending altered a little for the better. I have thus given you my correspondence with you, is a proof how little as circumstantial an account of ourselves as I could: we see the consequences of what we publish. Ho the most interesting matter, I verily believe, with mer, I dare say, hardly at all suspected, that, at the which I could have filled my paper, unless I could fag end of time, two personages would appear, one have made spiritual mercies to myself the subject.



In my next, perhaps I shall find time to bestow a / always feel in my heart a perhaps, importing that few lines on what is doing in France and in the we may possibly have met for ihe last time, and Austrian Netherlands; though, to say the truth, I that the robins may whistle on the grave of one of am much better qualified to write an essay on the us before the return of summer. Though I have siege of Troy, than to discant on any of these mo- been employed as described above, I am still thrumdern revolutions. I question if, in either of the ming Homer's lyre, that is to say, I am still emcountries just mentioned, full of bustle and tumult ployed in my last revisal; and to give you some as they are, there be a single character, whom Ho- idea of the intenseness of my toils, I will inform mer, were he living, would deign to make his hero. you that it cost me all the morning yesterday, and The populace are the herocs now, and the stuff of all the evening, to translate a single simile to my which gentlemen heroes are made, seems to be all mind. The transitions from one member of the expended.”

subject to another, though easy and natural in the The year 1790, found Cowper still indefatigably Greek, turn out often so intolerably awkward in an engaged in preparing his translation for the press. English version, that almost endless labor, and no In a letter to Mrs. King, 4th January, he thus little address, are requisite to gite them grace and writes :-"Your long silence has occasioned me a elegance. The under parts of the poem, (those, I thousand anxious thoughts about you. So long it mean, which are merely narrative,) 'I find the most has been, that whether I now write to a Mrs. King difficult. These can only be supported by the dicat present on earth, or already in heaven, I know tion, and on these, for that reason, I have bestowed

I have friends whose silence troubles me less, the most abundant labor. Fine similes, and fine though I have known them longer; because, if I speeches, are more likely to take care of themselves; hear not from themselves, I yet hear from others but the exact process or slaying a sheep and dressthat they are still living, and likely to live. But if ing it, is not so easy in our language, and in our your letters cease to bring me news of your welfare, measure, to dignify. But I shall have the comfort, from whom can I gain the desirable intelligence ? as I before said, to reflect, that whatever may be The birds of the air will not bring it, and third per- hereafter laid to my charge, the sin of idleness wil. son there is none between us by whom it might be not-justly, at least, it never will. In the mear. conveyed. Nothing is plain to me in this subject, time, I must be allowed to say, that not to fall short but that either you are dead, or very much indis- of the original in every thing is impossible. I thank posed, or, which would perhaps affect me with as you for your German clavis, which has been of condeep, a concern, though of a different kind, very siderable use to me; I am indebted to it for a right much offended. The latter of those suppositions I understanding of the manner in which Achilles think the least probable, conscious as I am of an prepared pork, mutton, and goats' flesh, for the enhabitual desire to ofiend nobody, especially a lady, iertainment of his friends, on the night when they and a lady, too, who has laid me under so many ob- came deputed by Agamemnon to negotiate a reconligations. But all the three solutions above men- ciliation. A passage of which nobody in the world tioned are very uncomfortable; and if yon live, and is perfectly master, myself only, and Schaulfelbercan send me one that will cause me less pain than gerus excepted, nor ever was, except when Greek either of them, I conjure you, by the charity and was a living language.” benevolence which I know influence you on all oc About this time, Mrs. King appears to have been casions, to communicate it without delay. It is pos- informed that it was Cowper's intention to leare sible, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, Weston, and that Mrs. Unwin had been making that you are not become perfectly indifferent to me, inquiries after a house at Huntingdon. Adverring and to what concerns me. I will, therefore, add a to this report, in a letter to that lady, he thus writes: word or two on the subject which once interested -" The report that informed you of inquiries made you, and which is, for that reason, worthy to be by Mrs. Unwin, after a house at Huntingdon, was mentioned, though truly for no other. I am well, unfounded. We have no thought of quitting Wes. and have been so (uneasiness on your part except- ton, unless the same Providence that led us hither ed) both in mind and body ever since I wrote to you should lead us away. It is a situation the most eli. last

. I have still the same employment-Homer in gible, perfectly agrecable to us both, and to me in the morning, and Homer in the evening, as con- particular, who write much, and walk much, and stant as the day goes round. In the spring, I hope consequently love silence and retirement. If it has to send the Iliad and the Odyssey to the press. So a fault, it is that it seems to threaten us with a cer. much for me and my occupations."

tainty of never seeing you. But may we not hope It would scarcely be supposed that a person per- that when a milder season shall have improved forming such an Herculean task as that of trans- your health, we may yet, notwithstanding the disTuting Homer, would have troubled himself to iance, be favored with Mr. King's and your comcompose, or even to revise, a volume of hymns for pany? A better season will likewise improve the children. The following extract, however, will roads, and exactly in proportion as it does so, will, show that, anxious as Cowper was to finish his Ho- in effect, lessen the interval between us. I know mer, he could nevertheless allow his attention to not if Mr. Martyn be a mathematician, but most be, in a great measure, diverted from it, at least for probably he is a good one, and he can tell you that a time, when he thought he could employ his talents this is a proposition mathematically true, though usefully:-"I have long been silent, but you have rather paradoxical in appearance.” had the charity, I hope and believe, not to ascribe In a letter to Mr. Newton, 5th February, 1790, my silence to a wrong cause. The truth is, I have Cowper again plaintively describes the state of his been too busy to write to any body, having been ob- mind.—“Your kind letter deserved a speedier anliged to give my early mornings to the revisal and swer, but you know my excuse, which were I to recorrection of a little volume of hymns for children, peat always, my letters would resemble the fag end written by I know not whom: this task I finished of a newspaper, where we always find the price of yesterday, and while it was in hand, wrote only to stocks, detailed with little or no variation." When my cousin, anıd:0 her rarely. From her, however, January returns, you have your feelings concerning I knew that you would hear of my well-being, which me, and such as prove the faithfulness of your made me less anxious about my debts to you than I friendship. I have mine also concerning myself, could have been otherwise. The winter has been but they are of a cast different from yours. Yours mild; but our winters are in general such, that when have a mixture of sympathy and tender solicitude, a friend leaves is in the beginning of that season, I / which makes them, perhaps, not altogether unplea

sant. Mine, on the contrary, are of an unmixed | lar witness of the great fidelity of the copy. I renature, and consist, simply and merely, of the most member too, a multitude of the maternal tenderalarming apprehensions. Twice has that month re- nesses which I received from her, and which have turned upon me, accompanied by such horrors, as I endeared her memory to me beyond expression. have no reason to suppose ever made part of the ex- There

is, I believe, in me, more of the Donne than perience of any other man. I accordingly look for- of the Cowper, and though I love all of both names, ward to it, and meet it with a dread not to be ima- and have a thousand reasons to love those of my gined. I number the nights as they pass, and in the own name, yet I feel the bond of nature draw me morning bless myself that another night is gone, vehemently to your side. I was thought, in the and no harın has happened. This may argue, per- days of my childhood, much to resemble '

my mohaps, some imbecility of mind, and indeed no small ther, and in my natural temper, of which, at the degree of it; but it is natural, I believe, and so na- age of fifty-eight, I must be supposed a competent tural as to be necessary and unavoidable. I know judge, can trace both her, and my late uncle, your that God is not governed by secondary causes, in father. Somewhat of his irritability, and a little, I any of his operations; and that, on the contrary, would hope, both of his, and of her, I know they are all so many agents in his hand, which not what to call it, without seeming to praise mystrike only when he bids them. I know, conse- self, which is not my intention; but speaking to quently, that one month is as dangerous to me as you, I will even speak out, and say good nature. another; and that in the middle of summer, at noon- Add to all this, I deal much in poetry, as did our day, and in the clear sunshine, I am, in reality, un- venerable ancestor, the Dean of St. Paul's, and I less guarded by Him, as much exposed as when fast think I shall have proved myself a Donne at all asleep at midnight, and mid-winter. But we are points. The truth is, whatever I am, and wherever not always the wiser for our knowledge, and I can I am, I love you all." no more avail myself of mine, in this case, than if To Lady Hesketh he thus adverts to the circumit were in the head of any other man, and not in my stance :-"I am delighted with Mrs. Bobham's own. I have heard of bodily aches and ails, that kindness in giving me the only picture of my mohave been particularly troublesome when the sea- ther that is to be found, I suppose, in all the world. son returned in which the hurt that occasioned I had rather possess it than the richest jewel in the them was received. The mind, I believe, (with my British crown, for I loved her with an affection, that own, however, I am sure it is so,) is liable to simi- her death, fifty years since, has not in the least lar periodical affection. But February is come; abated. I remember her too, young as I was when January, my terror, is passed; and some shades of she died, well enough to know that it is a very exthe gloom that attended his presence have passed act resemblance of her, and as such it is to me inwith him. I look forward with a little cheerfulness valuable. Every body loved her, and with an amito the buds and the leaves that will soon appear, and able character so impressed on all her features, say to myself, till they turn yellow I will make my every body was sure to do so.”. self easy. The year will go round, and January To John Johnson, Esq., 28th February, 1790, he will approach. I shall tremble again, and I know thus records his feelings on this occasion. “I was it; but in the mean time I will be as comfortable as never more pleased in my life than to learn, and to I can. Thus, with respect to peace of mind, such learn from herself, that my dearest Rose is still alive. as it is, that I enjoy. I subsist

, as the poor are vul- Had she not engaged me to love her by the sweetness garly said to do, from hand to mouth; and of a of her character when a child, she would have done it Christian, such as you once knew me, am, by a effectually now, by making me the most acceptable strange transformation, become an epicurean phi- present in the world, my own dear mother's picture. losopher, bearing this motto un my mind- Quid I am perhaps the only person living who rememsit futurum cras, fuge quærere."

bers her, but I remember her well, and can atTowards the end of this month, Cowper received test on my own knowledge, the truth of the resemas a present, from Mrs. Bobham, a cousin of his, blance. Amiable and elegant as the countenance then residing in Norfolk, his mother's portrait. The is, such exactly was her own; she was one of the following extracts will show the powerful impres-tenderest parents, and so just a copy of ber, is theresion which this circumstance made upon his tender fore to me invaluable: "I wrote yesterday to my mind:-"My dearest Rose,* whom I thought with Rose, to tell her all this, and to thank her for her ered and fallen from the stalk, but whom I find kindness in sending it! Neither do I forget your still alive: nothing could give me greater pleasure kindness who intimated to her that I should be than to know it, and to learn it from yourself. I happy to possess it. She invites me into Norfolk, loved you dearly when you were a child, and love but alas! she might as well invite the house in you not a jot the less for having ceased to be so. which I dwell: for, all other considerations and imEvery creature that bears any affinity to my mother pediments apart, how is it possible that a translator is dear to me, and you, the daughter of her bro- of Homer should lumber to such a distance ? But ther, are but one remove distant from her. I love though I cannot comply with her kind invitation, I you, therefore, and love you much, both for her have made myself the best amends in my power, by sake, and for your own. The world could not have inviting her, and all the family of Donnes, 10 Wesfurnished you with a present so acceptable to me as ton.” To Mrs. King, on the same interesting octhe picture you have so kindly sent me. I received casion, he writes: "I have lately received from a it the night before last, and received it with a trepi- female cousin of mine in Norfolk, whom I have not dation of nerves and spirits, somewhat akin to what seen these five-and-twenty years, a picture of my I should have felt had the dear original presented own mother. She died when I wanted two days of herself to my embraces. I kissed it, and hung it being

six years old; yet I remember her perfectly, where it is the last object that I see at night, and, of find the picture a strong resemblance of her, and becourse, the first that I open my eyes upon in the cause her memory has been ever precions to me, I morning. She died when I had completed my have written a poem on the receipt of it; a poem sixth year, yet I remember her well

, and am an ocu- which, one excepted, I had more pleasure in writ

ing than any that I ever wrote. That one was ad* Mrs. Bobham's name is Anne, but Cowper always to come down to breakfast, and who has supplied

dressed to a lady whom I expect in a few minutes called her Rose, when a child, and was aware that she to me the place of my own mother-my own invaluwould remember his doing so.

able mother, these six-and-twenty years.


« 前へ次へ »