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whose opinions appear very closely to have resembled the Poet's; and an intimacy arose which was only terminated by death. It can scarcely be doubted that this intercourse fostered Cowper's mental infirmity. All his letters at that period shew how entirely it was engrossed by one object, and form a remarkable contrast to the playfulness by which his subsequent correspondence is distinguished. The letter which he wrote to Mrs. Cowper is a sufficient exemplification of this remark:


"I HAVE not been behind hand in reproaching myself with neglect, but desire to take shame to myself for my unprofitableness in this, as well as in all other respects. I take the next immediate opportunity however of thanking you for yours, and of assuring you that instead of being surprised at your silence, I rather wonder that you, or any of my friends, have any room left for so careless and negligent a correspondent in your memories. I am obliged to you for the intelligence you send me of my kindred, and rejoice to hear of their welfare. He who settles the bounds of our habitations has at length cast our lot at a great distance from each other, but I do not therefore forget their former kindness to me, or cease to be interested in their well being. You live in the centre of a world I know you do not delight in. Happy are you, my dear friend, in

being able to discern the insufficiency of all it can afford, to fill and satisfy the desires of an immortal soul. That God who created us for the enjoyment of himself has determined in mercy that it shall fail us here, in order that the blessed result of all our inquiries after happiness in the creature may be a warm pursuit, and a close attachment to our true interest, in fellowship and communion with Him, through the name and mediation of a dear Redeemer. I bless his goodness and grace that I have any reason to hope I am a partaker with you in the desire after better things, than are to be found in a world polluted with sin, and therefore devoted to destruction. May he enable us both to consider our present life in its only true light, as an opportunity put into our hands to glorify him amongst men, by a conduct suited to his word and will. I am miserably defective in this holy and blessed art, but I hope there is at the bottom of all my sinful infirmities a sincere desire to live just so long as I may be enabled, in some poor measure, to answer the end of my existence in this respect, and then to obey the summons, and attend him in a world where they who are his servants here shall pay him an unsinful obedience for ever. Your dear mother is too good to me, and puts a more charitable construction upon my silence than the fact will warrant. I am not better employed than I should be in corresponding with her. I have that within which hinders me wretch

edly in every thing that I ought to do, but is prone to trifle, and let time, and every good thing run to waste. I hope however to write to her


"My love and best wishes attend Mr. Cowper, and all that inquire after me. May God be with you to bless you, and do you good by all his dispensations; don't forget me when you are speaking to our best Friend before his mercy seat.

"Yours ever, W. Cowper.

"N. B. I am not married."

The postscript was intended to contradict a rumour which was circulated, that Cowper had married Mrs. Unwin; and as she was not more than ten years older than himself, nothing but their exemplary characters prevented the connexion from being viewed with suspicion. All his biographers have attributed their attachment to friendship, excepting one, who states that Cowper intended to marry her; that the recurrence of his malady alone prevented it; and that he repeatedly declared, that if he ever entered a church again, it would be for the purpose of making her his wife.*

In March 1770, Cowper lost his brother, the Reverend John Cowper, to whose affectionate

Memoir of Cowper, by the Rev. S. Greathead, prefixed to an edition of his poems, 16mo. 1816.

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care he was much indebted during his illness at St. Albans, and whose loss he deeply deplored. The Poet did homage to his worth both in prose and verse, and the following lines must be familiar to his readers:

I had a Brother once:

Peace to the memory of a man of worth!
A man of letters, and of manners too!
Of manners, sweet as virtue always wears,
When gay good humour dresses her in smiles!
He graced a college, in which order yet

Was sacred, and was honour'd, loved, and wept
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there.

Towards the end of the year, 1770, Cowper again experienced a return of his calamity, which Hayley says produced a chasm in his correspondence of ten years; but this is not strictly correct, for though he may have suffered to some extent from 1770 to 1773, it was not until the last mentioned year that his complaint rendered him incapable of writing. This is evident from the statement of Hayley himself, as he says, that until that time, he assisted Newton in writing the Olney Hymns; and some letters from him to Mr. Hill, dated in August 1771, and June, July, and November, 1772, have been published.* Though these letters shew that he was then suffering from a heavy depression of spirits, they

* Private Correspondence of Cowper, edited by Dr. Johnson, 2 vols. 8vo. 1824.

afford no indication of insanity. The latest of them was dated on the 5th November, 1772:

"Believe me, my dear friend, truly sensible of your invitation, though I do not accept it. My peace of mind is of so delicate a constitution, that the air of London will not agree with it. You have my prayers, the only return I can make you, for your many acts of still-continued friendship. If you should smile, or even laugh at my conclusion, and I were near enough to see it, I should not be angry, though I should be grieved. It is not long since I should have laughed at such a recompense myself. But glory be to the name of Jesus, those days are past, and, I trust, never to return!"

Early in 1773, however, he experienced a severe paroxysm of despondency, and required all the zeal and tender firmness which he found in Mrs. Unwin. That admirable woman watched over him with the skill of a physician and the endearing kindness of a mother. For three years the sufferings of the patient and the vigilance of his nurse were extraordinary; but towards the end of the year 1776 Mrs. Unwin had the happiness to find her solicitude fully repaid by his gradual recovery. With that gentleness and tact which only a woman knows how to display, she gradually drew his mind from the subject that had overwhelmed it; and until he was sufficiently restored to take pleasure in literary pursuits, he found amusement in taming

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