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Away went Gilpin, and away
Went post-boy at his heels,
The lumbering of the wheels.
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
They raised the hue and cry: “Stop thief! stop thief!-a highwayman!"
Not one of them was mute;
Did join in the pursuit.
Flew open in short space;
That Gilpin rode a race.
For he got first to town;
He did again get down.
And Gilpin, long live he;
May I be there to see!
SONNET TO WILLIAM WILBERFORCE.
Hears thee by cruel men and impious callid
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose the enthrallid
Friend of the poor, the wrong d, the fetter-gall'd,
Thou hast achieved a part; hast gain d the ear
And weave delay, the better hour is near
That shall renıunerate thy toils severe,
ON THE RECEIPT OF HIS MOTHER'S PICTURE
O that those lips had language! Life has pa syd
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing Back to the season of life's happy spring, I pleased remember, and, while memory yet Holds fast her office here, can ne'er forget; Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail; Whose humorous vein, strong sense, and simple style, May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile; Witty, and well employ'd, and, like thy Lord, Speaking in parables his slighted word, I name thee not, lest so despised a name Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame: Yet even in transitory life's late day, That mingles all my brown with sober gray, Revere the man, whose Pilgrim marks the road, And guides the Progress of the soul to God. 'Twere well with most, if books, that could engage Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age; The man, approving what had charm'd the boy, Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy; And not with curses on his art, who stole The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.
Hence. He he he Lonebech, lecturned to be
1* The eloquence of Wilberforce was the voice of humanity. It was at the table of
This sentiments upon slavery. There was someth
repared to open the gates of mercy
ed the bulwarks with which varice had fort
Deyer yielded to the invitations of case, untill be bad driven a
alped the applause of all who beard it, and one passage, that in which
kas last witnes.applause of all who cemed to dlates of case, antich, avarice hehe war
e that in which he summor
SONNET TO WILLIAM WILBERFORCE.1
Tliy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
From exile, public sale, and slavery's chain.
Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the fetter-gall'd,
Fear not lest labor such as thine be vain.
Thou hast achieved a part; hast gain'd the ear
Of Britain's senate to thy glorious cause;
Hope smiles, joy springs, and though cold caution pause
By peace for Afric, fenced with British laws.
Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love
From all the just on earth, and all the blest above.
ON THE RECEIPT OF HIS MOTHER'S PICTURE
0 that those lips had language! Life has pass'd
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
0 welcome guest, though unexpected here!
1 will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own:
1 "The eloquence of Wilberforce was the voice of humanity. It was at the table of Bunnct Langton, that he made the public avowal of his senUmcnts upon slavery. There was something sublime In the spectacle of so young ft man preaching a new crusade. He declared himself the advocate of a forsaken race; and with almost unaided arm prepared to open the gates of mercy to mankind. Mackintosh said that he hod conferred upon the world a benefit never exceeded by human benevolence. He was neither daunted by opposlUon nor depressed by defeat. However exhausted by the struggle. If he touched. In Imagination at least, the ground where the ashes of the persecuted African reposed, his strength returned to him. The cry of blood ascended from the earth. Let his loll bo appreciated, and his dlfllculUcs acknowledged. What others have dared In the war of arms, he dared In the war of opinion. He attacked the bulwarks with which avarice had fonl/led the cruelUes of slavery; and never yielded to the Invitations of case, until he had driven a gap Into those barricades of Iniquity. His mind seemed to dilate with the majesty of his subject. His speech In 1789 gained the applanse of all who heard It; and one passage, that In which he summoned death, as his last witness, whose tremendous testimony was neither to be purchased nor refuted, reached the sublime. Burke admired It; Pitt and Fox eulogized It; and Bishop Portcus mentioned It to the po*l Mason, In terms of still warmer praise. In 1dm was beheld, for the first, If not for the last time, Uie noble spectacle of a man without patronage or office, to whom parliament listened with respect, and the country with reverence; having no friends but Uie good; no side but virtue."- WHImctt.
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.
My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed? Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son. Wretch even then, life's journey just begun* Perhaps thou gavest me, though unfelt, a kiss j Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss— Ah that maternal smile! it answers—Yes. I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day, I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away, And, turning from my nursery window, drew A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu I But was it such T—It was.—Where thou art gone, Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore, The parting word shall pass my lips no more! Thy maidens grieved themselves at my concern, Oft gave me promise of thy quick return. What ardently I wish'd, I long believed, And, disappointed still, was still deceived. By expectation every day beguiled, Dupe of to-morrow, even from a child. Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went, Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent, I learn'd at last submission to my lot, But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nursery floor; And where the gardener Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capt, Tis now become a history little known, That once we call'd the pastoral house our own. Short-lived possession 1 But the record fair, That memory keeps of all thy kindness there, Still outlives many a storm, that has effaced A thousand other themes less deeply traced. Thy nightly visits to my chamber, made That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, The biscuit, or confectionary plum; The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd; All this, and more endearing still than all, Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall, Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks, That humor interposed too often makes; All this still legible in memory's page, And still to be so to my latest age, Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay Such honors to thee as my numbers may; Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere, Not scorn'd in Heaven, though little noticed here.
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I prick'd them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile,)
Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart;—the dear delight
Seeras so to be desired, perhaps I might—
But no—what here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast
(The storms all weather'd and the ocean cross'd)
Shoots into port at some well-haven'd isle,
Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile.
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gny;
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reach'd the shore,
"Where tempests never beat nor billows roar j"
And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchor'd by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distross'd—
Mo howling blasts drive devious, tempest-toss'd,
Sails ripp'd, seams opening wide, and compass lost,
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet O the thought, that thou art safe, and he!
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned, and rulers of the earth,
But higher far my proud pretensions rise—
The son of parents pass'd into the skies.
And now, farewell!—Time unrevoked has run
His wonted course, yet what I wish'd is done.
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
1 seem to have lived my childhood o'er again;
To have renew'd the joys that once were mine,
Without the sin of violating thine;
And, while the wings of Fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic show of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft,—
Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.
Cowper's prose works are confined almost exclusively to his letters. Tiiene n.)W, without dispute, take the very first rank in English epistolary literature. » There is something in the sweetness and facility of the diction, and mow. perhaps, in the glimpse they afford of a pure and benevolent mind, that dif fuses a charm over the whole collection, and communicates an interest that cannot always be commanded by performances of greater dignity and ui» tension. From them we now know almost as much of Cowper as we do of those authors who have spent their days in the centre and glare of literary or fashionable society; and they will continue to be read long after the curiosity is gratified to which, perhaps,they owed their first celebrity; for the character with which they make us acquainted, will always attract by its rarity, and engage by its elegance. The feminine delicacy and purity of Cowper's manners and disposition, the romantic and unbroken retirement in which his life was passed, and the singular gentleness and modesty of his whole character, disarm him of those terrors that so often shed an atmosphere of repulsion around the persons of celebrated writers, and make us more indulgent to his weaknesses, and more delighted with his excellencies, than if he had been the centre of a circle of wits, or the oracle of a literary confederacy. The interest of this picture is still further heightened by the recollection of that tremendous malady, to the visitations of which he was subject, and by the spectacle of that perpetual conflict which was maintained, through the greater part of his life, between the depression of those constitutional horrors, and tlie Haycty that resulted from a playful imagination, and a heart animated by the mildest affections."1
Though it is impossible to have any just conception of the fascination of Cowper's epistolary style without reading a large portion of his letters, yet some faint idea may be formed of its ease, and grace, and charming power, from the following, which are all that our limited space will allow.
To the Rev. William Ukwih.
Amico Mio, September 21, 1779.
Be pleased to buy me a glazier's diamond pencil. I have glazed the two panes designed to receive my pine plants; but I cannot mend the kitchen windows, till, by the help of that implement, I can reduce the glass to its proper dimensions. If I were a plumber, I should be a complete glazier; and possibly the happy time may come, when I shall be seen trudging away to the neighboring towns with a shelf of glass hanging at my back. If government should impose another tax upon that commodity, I hardly know a business in which a gentleman might more successfully employ himself. A Chinese, of ten times my fortune, would avail himself of such an opportunity without scruple; and why should not I, who want money as much as any Mandarin in China? Rousseau would have been charmed to have seen me so occupied, and would have exclaimed with rapture, "that he had found the Emilius who (he supposed) had subsisted only in his own idea." I would recommend it to you to follow my example. You will presently qualify yourself for the task, and may not only amuse yourself at home, but even exercise your skill in mending the church windows: which, as it would save money to the parish, would
1 Edinburgh Review, vol. tv., pnfe 273.