Poems by William Cowper

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The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
A raven, while with glossy breast
Hear, Lord, the song of praise and prayer
The Lord receives his highest praise
Dear Anna,—Between friend and friend
Where Humber pours his rich commercial stream
Too many, Lord, abuse thy grace,
And dwells there in a female heart,
O how I love thy holy word,
Madam,—A stranger’s purpose in these lays
Dear Joseph,--five and twenty years ago--
‘Tis not that I design to rob
Here lies one who never drew
Say, ye apostate and profane,
I ransack’d for a theme of song,
Sweet stream that winds through yonder glade,
Reader! behold a monument
Another Leonora[1] once inspir'd
Naples, too credulous, ah! boast no more
Sir, when I flew to seize the bird
When the British warrior queen,
She came—she is gone—we have met—
Believe it or not, as you choose,
Qua nihil majus meliusve terris
Fierce passions discompose the mind,
Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
To be remember’d thus is fame,
To keep the lamp alive,
At length, my friend, the far-sent letters come,
Thee, whose refulgent staff and summons clear,
Silent I sat, dejected, and alone,
Hence, my epistle--skim the Deep--fly o'er
Time, never wand'ring from his annual round,
Who sent the Author a poetical epistle, in which he requested that his verses, if not so good as usual, might be excused on account of the many feasts to which his friends invited him, and which would not allow him leisure to finish them as he wished
As yet a stranger to the gentle fires
My God, till I received thy stroke,
To purify their wine, some people bleed
These are not dewdrops, these are tears,
Here lies, whom hound did ne’er pursue,
Here Johnson lies—a sage by all allow’d,
Though once a puppy, and though Fop by name,
Tears flow, and cease not, where the good man lies,
Laurels may flourish round the conqueror’s tomb,
What various hindrances we meet
Tantane, tam patiens, nullo certamine tolli
Hear, Lord, the song of praise and prayer,
When Hagar found the bottle spent,
What virtue, or what mental grace
Says the pipe to the snuff-box, I can’t understand
Almighty King! whose wondrous hand
This cap, that so stately appears,
Holy Lord God! I love thy truth,
There was a time when Ætna’s silent fire
Doceas iter, et sacra ostia pandas.
Weak and irresolute is man;
Winter has a joy for me,
Poets attempt the noblest task they can,
This cabin, Mary, in my sight appears,
Here, free from riot’s hated noise,
Other stones the era tell
Pause here and think: a monitory rhyme
My song shall bless the Lord of all,
My God, how perfect are thy ways!
The saints should never be dismay’d,
By whom was David taught
Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are,
Jesus, whose blood so freely stream’d,
As birds their infant brood protect,[1]
The Saviour, what a noble flame
Sometimes a light surprises
God moves in a mysterious way
Two Poets[1] (poets, by report,
William was once a bashful youth,
Farewell! endued with all that could engage
Sweet babe! whose image here express’d
Doom’d, as I am, in solitude to waste
In vain to live from age to age
Oh! to some distant scene, a willing exile
I was a grovelling creature once,
To Jesus, the Crown of my hope,
God of my life, to thee I call,
What is there in the vale of life
No strength of nature can suffice
Hark, my soul! it is the Lord:
If John marries Mary, and Mary alone,
The Saviour hides his face!
The lady thus address’d her spouse—
I thirst, but not as once I did,
Grace, triumphant in the throne,
I will praise thee every day,
Patron of all those luckless brains,
Come, peace of mind, delightful guest!
Israel, in ancient days,
Time was when I was free as air,
Go—thou art all unfit to share
Cowper had sinn’d with some excuse,
Thrive, gentle plant! and weave a bower
Quod adest, memento
- Placidâque ibi demum morte quievit.—Virg.
Ne commonentem recta sperne.—Buchanan.
Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
De sacris autem hæc sit una sententia, ut conserventur.
A Spaniel, Beau, that fares like you,
The suitors sinn’d, but with a fair excuse,
The birds put off their every hue
Oh, fond attempt to give a deathless lot
Jesus! where’er thy people meet,
In language warm as could be breathed or penn’d
I should have deem’d it once an effort vain
The Genius of the Augustan age
O sovereign of an isle renown’d
So then—the Vandals of our isle,
His master taken from his head,
Ye nymphs! if e’er your eyes were red
My lids with grief were tumid yet,
Learn ye nations of the earth
Survey my Features--you will own it clear
Am pius extrema veniens Jacobus ab arcto
Cum simul in regem nuper satrapasque Britannos
Cocoa-nut naught,
What portents, from what distant region, ride,
Written When The News Arrived. To the March in Scipio.
Could Homer come himself, distress’d and poor,
Ye sister Pow'rs who o'er the sacred groves
Round Thurlow’s head in early youth,
When, long sequester’d from his throne,
(in the manner of homer.)
O that those lips had language! Life has pass’d
When wit and genius meet their doom
I shall not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau[1]
Quales aerii montis de vertice nubes
When darkness long has veil’d my mind,
Video meliora proboque,
Sin has undone our wretched race,
Of all the gifts thine hand bestows,
There is a fountain fill’d with blood
Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth
Gracious Lord, our children see,
Lord, who hast suffer’d all for me,
When the blest seed of Terah's faithful Son,[1]
When Israel by Jehovah call'd
Between Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose,
Far from the world, O Lord, I flee,
Hackney’d in business, wearied at that oar,
“Write to Sardis,” saith the Lord,
To those who know the Lord I speak,
Dear Lord! accept a sinful heart,
Also written at the request of Lady Austen.
Written in the summer of 1783, at the request of Lady Austen, who gave the sentiment.
Deem not, sweet rose, that bloom’st’ midst many a thorn,
Drawn at Eartham in the 61st year of my age, and in the months of August and September 1792.
Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
On His Emphatical And Interesting Delivery Of The Defence Of Warren Hastings, Esq., In The House Of Lords.
Hayley—thy tenderness fraternal shown
In Returning A Poem Of Mr. Cowper’s, Lent To The Writer, On Condition She Should Neither Show It Nor Take A Copy.
Subjoined To The Yearly Bill Of Mortality Of The Parish Of All Saints, Northampton, Anno Domini 1787.
“Me too, perchance, in future days,
O Lord, my best desire fulfil,
A. You told me, I remember, glory, built
The billows swell, the winds are high,
Ah, how the Human Mind wearies herself
In Scotland’s realms, where trees are few,
Obscurest night involved the sky,
Honour and happiness unite
Muse—hide his name of whom I sing,
Close by the threshold of a door nail’d fast
The Lord will happiness divine
The Lord proclaims his grace abroad!
The Argument.
A New Song, to a Tune never sung before.
John Gilpin was a citizen
The noon was shady, and soft airs
Reasoning at every step he treads,
A Peasant to his lord yearly court,
The greenhouse is my summer seat;
An Illustration.
(a brief fragment of an extensive projected poem.)
Hear what God the Lord hath spoken,
How blest thy creature is, O God,
Sin enslaved me many years,
To tell the Saviour all my wants,
Thy mansion is the Christian’s heart,
Argument Of The First Book.
Argument Of The Second Book.
Argument Of The Third Book.
Argument Of The Fourth Book.
Argument Of The Ninth Book.
Argument Of The Fifth Book.
Argument Of The Seventh Book.
Argument Of The Eighth Book.
Argument Of The Tenth Book.
Argument Of The Eleventh Book.
Argument Of The Twelfth Book.
Argument Of The Thirteenth Book.
Argument Of The Fourteenth Book.
Argument Of The Twenty-Fourth Book.
Argument Of The Nineteenth Book.
Argument Of The Fifteenth Book.
Argument Of The Sixteenth Book.
Argument Of The Seventeenth Book.
Argument Of The Eighteenth Book.
Argument Of The Twentieth Book.
Argument Of The Twenty-First Book.
Argument Of The Twenty-Second Book.
Argument Of The Twenty-Third Book.
Two nymphs, both nearly of an age,
The Spirit breathes upon the Word,
The nymph must lose her female friend,
Thus says the prophet of the Turk,
Rebellion is my theme all day;
A hermit (or if ‘chance you hold
‘Twas in the glad season of spring,
What thousands never knew the road!
There is a field, through which I often pass,
Forced from home and all its pleasures,
The new-born child of gospel grace,
A nightingale, that all day long
A Philosopher, included in the same sentence of condemnation with several guilty persons among whom he had been apprehended, sent the following lines, composed suddenly in the moment when he was going to death, to a certain King whom had ignorantly c
The pine-apples, in triple row,
An Oyster, cast upon the shore,
Maria! I have every good
The poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade,
Si quid loquar audiendam.—Hor. Lib. iv. Od. 2.
A poet’s cat, sedate and grave
The rose had been wash’d, just wash’d in a shower,
My former hopes are fled,
Oh, happy shades—to me unblest!
Ye sons of earth, prepare the plough,
["The history of the following production is briefly this:--A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a subject. He obeyed, and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and, pu
Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
As one who, long in thickets and in brakes
Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge,
'Tis morning; and the sun, with ruddy orb
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
My soul is sad, and much dismay’d,
Breathe from the gentle south, O Lord,
What Nature, alas! has denied
To the Rev. William Cawthorne Unwin, Rector of Stock in Essex, the tutor of his two sons, the following poem, recommending private tuition in preference to an education at school, is inscribed, by his affectionate friend,
If Gideon’s fleece, which drench’d with dew he found
Christina, maiden of heroic mien!
Austin! accept a grateful verse from me,
[1]Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa, is an Italian Nobleman of the highest estimation among his countrymen, for Genius, Literature,and military accomplishments. To Him Torquato Tasso addressed his "Dialogue on Friendship," for he was much th
My halting Muse, that dragg'st by choice along
Kinsman beloved, and as a son, by me!
Angelus unicuique suus (sic credite gentes)
The twentieth year is well nigh past
The twentieth year is well-nigh past
How many between east and west
Strophe I
The bard, if e’er he feel at all,
A noble theme demands a noble verse,
Maria, could Horace have guess’d
Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,
My gentle Anne, whom heretofore,
Oh that Pieria's spring[1] would thro' my breast
Dear President, whose art sublime
Where hast thou floated, in what seas pursued
Whence is it that, amazed, I hear
That ocean you have late survey’d,
Unwin, I should but ill repay
June 22, 1782.
The swallows in their torpid state
How quick the change from joy to woe,
My rose, Gravina, blooms anew,
Hastings! I knew thee young, and of a mind,
Dear architect of fine chateaux in air,
O God, whose favourable eye
Lord, my soul with pleasure springs,
Pensantur trutinâ—Hor. Lib. ii. Ep. 1.
God gives his mercies to be spent;
Come, ponder well, for ‘tis no jest,
To watch the storms, and hear the sky
O Friendship! cordial of the human breast!
Spoken At The Westminster Election Next After His Decease.
Fortune! I thank thee: gentle goddess! thanks!
I am monarch of all I survey,
Oh! for a closer walk with God,
‘Tis my happiness below
This is the feast of heavenly wine,
Ere God had built the mountains,
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all