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THIS Volume contains all the original Poems of Cowper, except the Olney Hymns; it includes, also, the translations from Milton, Vincent Bourne, Madame Guyon, and some miscellaneous Authors. The Text has been revised with care. Cowper was extremely watchful in preserving the measure of his verse, particularly distinguishing the dactyle from the spondee; with that view he introduced very frequent elisions, which his later Editors seem, with one consent, to have erased. These are now restored. The punctuation of the Poems presents many difficulties. "I know no
use of points," Cowper wrote to Mr. Unwin, "unless to direct the voice;" and his own inclination led him to claim for the author an authority quite independent of the grammarian. A man of fine taste may, indeed, regulate the inflection, the cadence, and the pause by the instinct of his own ear; but the general reader requires some distinctive guides. In the present
Volume I have endeavoured to supply them. The number and the length of the Poems prevented me from inserting many critical remarks; but the footnotes are numerous, and will be found, I hope, illustrative of the Poet. The introductory notice of Cowper is designed for a picture-sketch of his life. and genius.
St. Catherine's, Bear Wood,
October 9, 1854.
In Brevitatem Vitae Spatii Hominibus Concessi