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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. 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 em. ployed than I should be in corresponding with ber. I have that within which hinılers 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
1 Memoir of Cowper, by the Rev. S. Greathead, prefixod po an editiol of his poems, 16mo. 1816. VOL. I.
care he was much indebted during his illr ess 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 fami. liar to his readers :
I had a Brother once:
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 show that he was then suf. fering from a heavy dep:ession of spirits, they
1 Private Correspondence of Cowper, edited by Dr. John son, 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 bave my prayers, the only return I can make you, for
your many acts of still-continued friend. ship. 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 vas sufficiently restored to take pleasure in lite. rary pursuits, he found amusement in taming
come hares His success he has himself de scribed, and one of the group is immortalized in “The Task.” In November, 1776, Cowper resumed his correspondence with Mr. Hill, and that letter, simple as it is, shows a wonderful improvement in the state of his mind. From that time his correspondence is marked by humour and playfulness, without any allusion to those solemn considerations to which every thing had hitherto given place. Hayley passes over the period between 1776 and 1780 in a few words, and has not given any of his letters until the latter year. The deficiency is, however, supplied by the Collection edited by Dr. Johnson, where his correspondence with Mr. Hill occurs. It related chiefly to literature, and contains Cowper's criticism on various books which Hill had lent him.
In January, 1778, he wrote to Mr. Hill in reference to his pecuniary affairs : "I shall be glad if you will let me know whether I am to understand by the sorrow you express, that any part of my former supplies is actually cut off, or whether they are only more tardy in coming in, than usual. It is useful, even to the rich, to know, as nearly as may be, the exact amount of their income; but how much more so to a man of my small dimensions. If the former should be the case, I shall have less reason to be surprised than I have to wonder at the continuance of then