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Cowper is eminently the David of English poetry, pouring forth, like the great Hebrew bard, his own deep and warm feelings in behalf of moral and religious truth. “ His language," says Campbell, “ has such a masculine, idiomatic strength, and his manner, whether he rises into grace or falls into negligence, has so much plain and familiar freedom, that we read no poetry with a deeper conviction of its sentiments having come from the author's heart; and of the enthusiasm, in whatever he describes, having been un. feigned and unexaggerated. He impresses us with the idea of a being, whose fine spirit had been long enough in the mixed society of the world to be polished by its intercourse, and yet withdrawn so soon as to retain an unworldly degree of purity and simplicity.” And a writer in the Retrospective Review remarks, that “the delightful freedom of his manner, so acceptable to those who had long been accustomed to a poetical school, of which the ra lical fault was constraint; his noble and tender morality; his fervent piety; his glowing and well-expressed patriotism; his descriptions, unparal. leled in vividness and accuracy since Thomson; his playful humor and his powerful satire; the skilful construction of his verse, at least in the · Task,' and the refreshing variety of that fascinating poem,--all together conspired to render him highly popular, both among the multitude of common readers, and among those who, possessed of poetical powers themselves, were capable of intimately appreciating those of a real poet."

We might thus fill many pages with encomiastic remarks upon the poetry of Cowper, but the reader would rather taste of the original for himself.'


Happy the man, who sees a God employd
In all the good and ill that checker life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns; (since from the least
The greatest oft originate:) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose.
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surprised, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth, Philosophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous stil!,
Denies the power that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
That live an atheist life; involves the heaven
In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague

1 Read--Hayley's Life, a most interesting piece of biography--Grimshaw's Life, prefixed to bis edi. tion in 8 vols., and Southey's Life, prefixed to his edition in 15 vols. The latter is the best edition of the poct. Read, also, articles in the Edinburgh Review, il. 64, and iv. 273, and in the Quarterly xvi. 116, and xxx. 185. Also, an article in Jeffrey's Miscellantes. An admirable dissertation on the pro. gress of English poetry, from Chaucer tu Cowper, will be found in vol. 11. chap. 12, of Southey's edi tion of the pout. 3 A


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Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming Health.
He calls for Famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivellid lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce Philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs,
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects
Of action and reaction: he has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool! will thy discovery of the cause
Suspend the effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world!
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means,
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will ?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of Him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.

Task, II. 161.
I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long since. With many an arrow deep infix'd
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live.

Task, ill. 108

Philosophy, baptized
In the pure fountain of eternal love,
Has eyes indeed ; and viewing all she sees
As meant to indicate a God to man,
Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: Piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, child-like sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in His word sagacious. Such, too, thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna! And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale! for deep discernment praised,
And sound integrity, not more than famed
For sanctity of manners undefiled.

Task, s. 13.

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Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That he who made it and reveal'd its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age.
Some, more acute and more industrious still,
Contrive creation; travel nature up
To the sharp peak of her sublimest height,
And tell us whence the stars; why some are fixt,
And planetary some; what gave them first
Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light.
Great contest follows, and much learned dust
Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,
And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend
The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp
In playing tricks with nature, giving laws
To distant worlds, and trifling in their own.

Task, ill. 150.

There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart;
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
or brotherhood is sever'd, as the flax,
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not color'd like his own; and having power
T enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And worse than all, and most to be deplored,

1 In the early history of geology many good and plous people were concerned, lest such discoveries should be made ns would invalidate the Mosaic account of the creation. But how groundless have all their fears proved I Truth is one, and God's works can never be in conflict with his Word. OL the whole race of "spruce philosophers," as Cowper cnlls them, even the infidel Voltaire could thus write: "Philosophers put themselves, without ceremony, in the place of God, and destroy and renew the world after their own fashion." "From the time of Buffon," says Dr. Wiseman, in his learned Lectures on Science and Revealed Religion, "system rose beside system, like the moving pillars of the desert, advancing in threatening array; but like them they were fabrics of sand; and though in 1806 the French Institute counted more than EIGHTY such theories of geology hostile to Scripture bise tory, not one of them has stood till now, or deserves to be recorded." And Turner, in his learned work on Chemistry, says, “Of all the wonders of geology, none is so wonderful as the condidence of the several theorists."

2 Upon this and other pieces of Cowper, in behalf of the poor slave, the poet Campbell thus truthfully as well as feelingly remarks: “Poetical expositions of the horrors of slavery may, Indeed. seem very unlåely agents in contributing to destroy it; and it is possible that the most refined planter in the Wes! Indies, may look with neither shame nor compunction on his own image, ed posed in the pages of Cowper, as a being degraded by giving stripes and tasks to his fellow crei tures. But such appeals to the heart of the community are not lost. They fix themselves silently in the popular memory, and they become, at last, a part of that public opinion, whicn must, sooner or later, wrench the lash from the hand of the oppressor."-Specimena, vii. 364.

As human nature's broadest, foulest blor,
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
With stripes, that Mercy, with a bleeding heart,
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
Then what is man? And what man, seeing this,
And having human feelings, does not blush,
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.'

Task, H.S.

Yet wanting
Who needle
An inadvert
That crawis
But he that I
Will tread as
The creeping
And charged
A visitor un
Sacred to nea

Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere materials with which Wisdom builds,
Till smoothed, and squared, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems t'enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

Task, vi. 88.

The chainber,
A necessary a
Not so when,
And guiltless
Or take their
There they are
Or harms then
Disturbs the ec
Who, when sh
The sum is thi
Or safety inter!
Are paramoun
Else they are a
As free to live.
As God was fr
Who in bis sov
Ye, therefore,

To love it too.

I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Though graced with polish'd manners and fine sense,

Some seek
And make the
But war's a.
Kings should
To extort the
Of heroes, w
Are gratified
Because mei

1 When Cowper wrote these lines, nearly a million of African slaves tolled in the British colonies. But the English abolitionists, led on by Sharpe, and Clarkson, and Wilberforce, so earnestly pure trayed their wrongs and plead their cause, that the great heart of the pation became at lengra tom Aroused to the subject, and they were declared absolutely and unconditionally free on the isto gust, 1838.

It was predicted that theft, and plunder, and murder, would be the consequence, and the August wns anticipated by all with the most intense interest. It came and passed WHO solemnity of a Sabbath-day. The houses of worship were thronged the preceding evening come the advent of Liberty, and as the clock tolled out the hour of midnight, the assemblea poput bowed the knee in prayer and praise to the God who had bestowed it. Not a blow was s revenge- not an arm upraised in riot. Ten years have now elapsed, and they have borne witness to the constant and rapid improveux

mold improvement

ure are much better: nearly every family has a horse or xmple, and very many have several. They are willing to work steadily for me

steadily for moderate waves, and most of them remain on the estates of their former masters. Many have purchased by and it is estimated that there are now 20,000 freeholders among the emancipated peasantry or alone. Marriage is now “homorable" among them; the parental relation is better und its duties better performed; education is appreciated ; and churches have multiplied. The contribute Jiberally towards sustaining the ministration of the gospel among themselve

hemselves, and are already beginning to wtretch out their hands, and to send forth their missionaries to their ben Catherland. For these condensed facts I am indebted to Rev. C. S. Renshaw, for many year cotei missionary among the freedmen in Jamaica.

Tis libert
Of fleeting
And we ar
Except wh
Is evil; hu
Their prog
The eyesi
In those it
Bestial, a
To be the

Yet wanting sensibility,) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarn'd,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight,
And charged perhaps with venom, that intrudes,
A visitor unwelcome, into scenes
Sacred to neatness and repose, the alcove,
The chamber, or refectory, may die:
A necessary act incurs no blame.
Not so when, held within their proper bounds,
And guiltless of offence, they range the air,
Or take their pastime in the spacious field.
There they are privileged; and he that hunts
Or harms them there is guilty of a wrong,
Disturbs the economy of Nature's realm,
Who, when she form'd, design'd thein an abode.
The sum is this: If man's convenience, health,
Or safety interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs.
Else they are all the meanest things that are
As free to live, and to enjoy that life,
As God was free to form them at the first,
Who in his sovereign wisdom made them all.
Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons
To love it too.

Tusk, vi, 560.


Some seek diversion in the tented field,
And make the sorrows of mankind their sport.
But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings should not play at. Nations would do well
To extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their toy, the world.

Task, v. 185.


'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science; blinds
The eyesight of discovery; and begets,
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit
To be the tenant of man's noble form.

Task, v. 446.

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