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BY

WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.

OF THE INNER TENPLE.

In three Uolumes.

COMPRISING

u Variety of Pieces

NOT INSERTED IX TOP MER EDITIONS.

To which is prefixed A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE.

VOL. I.

Sicut aqur tremuluin labria ubi lumen ahenis
Sole repercussum, aut radiantis imagine lunæ,
Omnia pervolitat late loca, jarnque sub auras
Erigitur, summique ferit laquearia tecti.

VIRG. ÆN. VIIL
So water, trembling in a polish'd vase,
Reflects the beam that plays upon its face ;
The sportive light, uncertain where it falls,
Now strikes the ruos, now flashes on the walls,

AMHERST, N. H. PRINTED BY JOSEPH CUSHING, Sold by him at his Bookstore ; by Manning & Loring No. 2, and by Lincoln & Edmands, No. 53, Cornhill, Bustun.

1 1808.

697IZI

PREFACE

TO THE

FIRST VOLUME.

WHEN an Author, by appearing in print, requests an audience of the public, and is upon the point of speaking for himself, whoever presumes to step before him with a preface, and to say, “ Nay, but hear me first,” should have something worthy of attention to offer, or he will be justly deemed officious and impertinent. The judicious reader has, probably, upon other occasions, been beforehand with me in this reflection : and I am not very willing it should now be applied to me, however I may seem to expose my: self to the danger of it. But the thought of having my own name perpetuated in connexion with the name in the title page, is so pleasing and flattering to the feelings of my heart, that I am content to risk something for the gratification.

This Preface is not designed to commend the Poems to which it is prefixed. My testimony would be insufficient for those who are not qualified to judge prop

erly for themselves, and unnecessary to those who are, Besides, the reasons which render it improper and unseemly for a man to celebrate his own performances, or those of his nearest relatives, will have some influence in suppressing much of what he might otherwise wish to say in favour of a friend, when that friend is indeed an alter idem, and excites almost the same emotions of sensibility and affection as he feels for himself.

It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of some persons, in whom the sight of the Author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and scenes, which, through length of time, they had almost forgotten. They will be reminded of one, who was once the companion of their chosen hours, and who set out in early life with them in the paths which lead to literary honours, to influence and afflueuce, with equal prospects of success. But he was suddenly and powerfully withdrawn from those pursuits; and he left them without regret ; yet not till he had sufficient

opportunity of counting the cost, and of knowing the val. ue of what he gave up If happiness could have been foued in classical attainments, in an elegant taste, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and genius, and in the esteem and converse of such persons as, in these respects, were most congenial with himself, he would have been happy. But he was not.-He wondered (as thousands in a similar situation still do) that he should .continue dissatisfied, with all the means apparently conducive to satisfaction within his reach.-But in due

course.

tour, the cause of his disappoinment was discovered to him. He had lived without God in the world. In a memorable hour, the wisdom which is from a. bove visited his heart. Then he felt himself a wan. derer, and then he found a guide. Upon this change of views, a change of plan and conduct followed of

When he saw the busy and the gay world in its true light, he left it with as little reluctance, as a prisoner, when called to liberty, leaves his dun.. geon. Not that he became a Cynic or an Ascetic, A heart, filled with love to God, will assuredly breathe benevolence to men. But the turn of his temper inclining him to rural life, he indulged it, and the providence of God evidently preparing his way, and marking out his retreat, he retired into the coun. try. By these steps the good hand of God, unknown to me, was providing for me one of the principal blessings of my life ; a friend and a counsellor, in whose company for almost seven years, though we were sel. dom seven successive waking hours separated, I always found new. pleasure. A friend, who was not only a comfort to myself, but a blessing to the affectionate poor people, among whom I then lived.

Some time after inclination had thus removed him from the hurry and bustle of life, he was still more secluded by a long indisposition, and my pleasure was succeeded by a proportionable degree of anxiety and

But a hope, that the God whom he serye

concern,

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