Page images

tem, much tried by circumstances, often ill-managed by his friends, and by himself, and sustained so long in existence, chiefly by his profound sense of religion, by the force of a most masculine understanding, and by one of the best bodily constitutions that poet ever possessed. At this last, we especially wonder. He lived seventy years in that atmosphere of misery; and not only lived, but wrote thousands of the most humorous, refined, and beautiful letters; translated into stern, clear verse, the two masterpieces of Grecian poetry; and created a mass of original song, as remarkable for its healthy tone, as for its richness, vigour, simplicity, and freedom! Truly William Cowper was still more a marvellous, than he was a mild and gentle spirit,-stronger, even, than he was amiable -a very Prometheus chained to his rock, let us call him,-the rock being his rugged, deep-rooted woe; the chain his lengthened life; and himself the Titan, in his earnestness, lofty purpose, and poetic power.


Si te fortè meæ gravis uret sarcina chartæ

HOR. Lib. i. Epist. 13.


True glory and false, 1-Man not made for kings, but kings for man, 47— Kingly glories of England, 63-Quevedo's sarcasm on royalty, 94-Kings not to be envied, but pitied, 108-The objects of vulgar animadversion, 152-Britons' scorn of arbitrary power, 205-French character, as contrasted with English, 235-Blessings of freedom, 261-Restraint of just laws necessary to true liberty, 311-Riot the result of unrestrained freedom, 319-Patriots; tribute to Chatham, 337-Political dangers of England, 363-To be averted only by penitence and prayer, 391-National corruption portends national destruction, 415-Public events instruments of judgment in the hand of Providence, 439-The true poet gifted in part with the prophetic office, 481-Lofty subjects necessary to poetic excellence, 507-Homer, Virgil, Milton, 557-Progress of poetic genius, 569— Religion the highest theme of poetry, 718.

A. You told me, I remember, glory, built
On selfish principles, is shame and guilt ;
The deeds that men admire as half divine,
Stark naught, because corrupt in their design.
Strange doctrine this! that without scruple tears
The laurel that the very lightning spares,
Brings down the warrior's trophy to the dust,
And eats into his bloody sword like rust.

B. I grant that, men continuing what they are,
Fierce, avaricious, proud, there must be war;
And never meant the rule should be applied
To him that fights with justice on his side.

[blocks in formation]


« PreviousContinue »