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been treated in a philosophical manner; and as the author set out with liberal professions, his readers were induced to take for granted that he had thrown much new light on the subject. He is, however, original only in the manner in which he has contrived to throw a charm over a few acknowledged truths and common-place opinions. Instead of beginning by definition, and proceeding gradually to analyze the pleasure resulting from what are generally considered as the objects of true taste, he lets loose his imagination, invites his reader into fairy-land, and delights him by excursive remarks and allegorical details, but in a style which even Johnson, who had no great opinion of Cooper, allowed to be splendid and spirited.
In 1755, he published the Tomb of Shakspeare, a vision; and when the World was set up by Dodsley and Moore, he contributed two papers, which, with those he published in the Museum, afford a proof that in this species of writing he might have attained considerable fame, if he had avowed his productions. In 1756, he appears to have caught the alarm very general at that time among the enemies of administration, lest the Hessian troops, brought into the country to defend the kingdom from invasion, should be instrumental in subverting its liberties. Mr. Cooper was no politician, but he was a poet, and he determined to contribute his share of warning, in a poem entitled, The Genius of Britain, addressed to Mr. Pitt.
In 1758, he published Epistles to the Great, from Aristippus in Retirement, aud soon after The Call of Aristippus, addressed to Dr. Akenside, in a style of adulation pardonable only to the warmest feelings of friendship. Between him and Dr. Akenside all this might subsist: there was at least a perfect cordiality of sentiment in philosophy and politics. Both hated the ruling government as much as they admired the school of Shaftesbury. But their fate was different. Akenside had to make his way to practice through all the obstacles of party and prejudice. Cooper was a gentleman of easy fortune, enamoured of retirement, and who appears to have had no inducement to conceal what he thought, or retract what he had said.
Some other of his lesser pieces were published about this time; and in 1759, his translation of Gresset's Ver Vert, a mock heroic poem, in four cantos. In 1764, all these, with the exception of the Ver Vert and The Estimate of Life, which are now added, were published in one volume by Dodsley, whom he allowed to take that liberty, and who informs us, that they were originally written for the author's amusement, and afterwards published for the bookseller's profit.
If this has the appearance of vanity, it may at least be pardoned for its liberality. It does not appear that he ever sold any of his works, and during the publication of the Museum he was an indefatigable contributor. At this time, he had probably taken leave of the Muses, and was applying himself to the active and useful duties of a magistrate. He resided, however, occasionally in London, and was a constant attendant and frequent speaker at the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. Of this he had unsuccessfully endeavoured to become a vice-president, and felt his disappointment so keenly as to retire in disgust. He died at his house in MayFair, after a long and excruciating illuess, occasioned by the stone, April 14, 1769, in the forty-sixth year of his age.
Dr. Kippis, who knew him personally, informs us that he was a gentleman of polite address and accomplishments; and, if the general tenour of his works may be credited, he possessed an amiable and affectionate heart. His chief foible was vanity; but this
is more discoverable in his writings than it probably was in his life. Vanity, however, in an author is a foible to which the world cannot be easily reconciled; and the slighting opinion that has been sometimes passed on his poems may, I think, be as much attributed to the disgust of the critic, as to the demerit of the author. There are few of the minor poets who have higher claims to originality. The Epistles to Aristippus, his Songs, and the Father's Advice to his Son, although of unequal merit, contain many passages that are truly poetical. His veneration for some of the French poets, particularly Gresset, induced him to attempt a mode of versification in the Epistles, to which the English ear cannot easily become familiar, and which is not to be justified from any defect in the manliness or copiousness of the English language. Yet this study of the French writers, of no use in other respects, has rendered his translation of the Ver Vert almost a perfect copy of the original, and far superior to the coarse version since pub lished by the late Dr. Geddes. Of his other pieces, the Theagenes to Sylvia is a faint imitation, although servilely intended, of Pope's Eloisa; The Power of Harmony, designed as a philosophical illustration of the principles of Shaftesbury, will probably obtain few readers. The prevailing fault in all his pieces, and which he learned from adopting the careless versification borrowed from the French, is a licentious use of the clision, as in the words om'nous, foll'wing, and many others: his rhymes also are frequently defective. Why the Estimate of Life was omitted from Dodsley's edition of his works, I know not. It contains more true poetry than half the volume. It was originally published in the Museum, and afterwards in Dodsley's Collection of Miscel laneous Poems.
THE EDITOR'S PREFACE.
THE following poems having been very favourably received by the public when they first appeared,
at different times, in detached pieces, the author has been prevailed upon to permit me to collect them into this small volume.
When I requested him to give me a preface, he replied, "that to those whom such trifles afforded pleasure, a formal introduction would be unnecessary; that he wrote most of them, when he was very young, for his own amusement, and published them afterwards for my profit; and, as they had once answered both those ends, was very little solicitous what would be the fate of them for the future."
JOHN GILBERT COOPER.
EPISTLES TO HIS FRIENDS IN TOWN, FROM ARISTIPPUS IN RETIREMENT.
The species of poetry, in which the following epistles are written, has been used, with great success, among the French, by Chapelle, Chaulieu, La Fare, Gresset, Madame Deshouliéres, and others; but I do not remember to have seen it before in the English language. The unconfined return of the rhymes, and easiness of the diction, seem peculiarly adapted to epistolary compositions. The author professedly imitates the general manner of the above-mentioned writers, but he is more particularly obliged to Gresset, for two or three hints in his performance, which he has acknowledged in the marginal notes. The reader will not forget, that these four epistles were written originally under a fictitious character.
THE RETREAT OF ARISTIPPUS.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE of
EIZ'D with the rage of being great
(Exchanging happiness for state)
Where dwell th' high vulgar of the town,
Of town assemblies ne'er is heard,