All fears of famine for the passing day;
His legs enclosed in buskins, and his head
In its tough casque of leather, forth he led,
And yoked his steers, a dull obedient pair,
Then drove afield, and plunged the pointed share.


March 20, 1799

Obscurest night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roared,

When such a destined wretch as I,
Washed headlong from on board,

Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,

His floating home for ever left.

No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he, with whom he went,

Nor ever ship left Albion's coast
With warmer wishes sent.

He loved them both, but both in vain,

Nor him beheld, nor her again.

Not long beneath the whelming brine,

Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,

Or courage die away;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.

He shouted: nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,

But so the furious blast prevailed,
That pitiless perforce,

They left their outcast mate behind,

And scudded still before the wind.

Some succour yet they could afford;

And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,

Delayed not to bestow.
But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.

Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,

Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them;

Yet bitter felt it still to die

Deserted, and his friends so nigh.

He long survives, who lives an hour

In ocean, self-upheld;
And so long he, with unspent power,

His destiny repelled;
And ever as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried—" Adieu!"

At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before

Had heard his voice in every blast,
Could catch the sound no more:

For then, by toil subdued, he drank

The stifling wave, and then he sank.

No poet wept him ; but the page

Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,

Is wet with Anson's tear:
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalise the dead.

I therefore purpose not, or dream,

Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme

A more enduring date:
But misery still delights to trace
Its 'semblance in another's case.

No voice divine the storm allayed,
No light propitious shone,

When, snatched from all effectual aid,
We perished, each alone:

But I beneath a rougher sea,

And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.


Hie sepultus est

later suorum lacrymas



Unicus, unice dilectus,

Qui floris ritu succisus est semihiantis,

Aprilis die septimo,

1780, ALt. 10.

Care, vale! Sed non Eeternum, care, valeto!

Namque iterum tecum, sim modo dignus, ero.
Turn nihil amplexus poterit divellere nostras,

Nee tu marcesces, nee lacrymabor ego.


Farewell !" But not for ever," Hope replies,
Trace but his steps and meet him in the skies!
There nothing shall renew our parting pain,
Thou shalt not wither, nor I weep again.


I AM just two and two, I am warm, I am cold,
And the parent of numbers that cannot be told.
I am lawful, unlawful—a duty, a fault,
I am often sold dear, good for nothing when bought;
An extraordinary boon, and a matter of course,
And yielded with pleasure when taken by force.


A Riddle by Cowper

Made me swear like a trooper;
But my anger, alas ! was in vain;

For remembering the bliss

Of beauty's soft Kiss,
I now long for such riddles again. J. T.



Perfida, crudelis, victa et lymphata furore,

Non armis, laurum Gallia fraude petit. Venalem pretio plebem conducit, et urit

Undique privatas patriciasque domos.
Nequicquam conata sua, fcedissima sperat

Posse tamen nostra nos superare manu.
Gallia, vana struis! Precibus nunc utere! Vinces,

Nam mites timidis supplicibusque sumus.


False, cruel, disappointed, stung to the heart,
France quits the warrior's for the assassin's part,
To dirty hands a dirty bribe conveys,
Bids the low street and lofty palace blaze.
Her sons, too weak to vanquish us alone,
She hires the worst and basest of our own.
Kneel, France! a suppliant conquers us with ease,
We always spare a coward on his knees.

Cowper had sinned with some excuse,

If, bound in rhyming tethers,
He had committed this abuse

Of changing ewes for wethers ;1

1 I have heard about my wether mutton from various quarters. It was a blunder hardly pardonable in a man who has lived amid fields and meadows, grazed by sheep, almost these thirty years. I have accordingly satirised myself in two stanzas which I composed last night, while I lay awake, tormented with pain, and well dosed with laudanum. If you find them not-very brilliant, therefore, you will know how to account for it.—Letter to JoseM- Hill, April 15, I792.

But, male for female is a trope,
Or rather bold misnomer,

That would have startled even Pope,
When he translated Homer.



Anno Domini 1787.

Pallida Mors iequo pulsat pede paupgrum tabemas,

Regumque turres. Horace.

Pale Death with equal foot strikes wide the door
Of royal halls and hovels of the poor.

While thirteen moons saw smoothly run

The Nen's barge-laden wave,
All these, life's rambling journey done,

Have found their home, the grave.

Was man (frail always) made more frail

Than in foregoing years?
Did famine or did plague prevail,

That so much death appears?

No; these were vigorous as their sires,

Nor plague nor famine came;
This annual tribute Death requires,

And never waives his claim.

Like crowded forest-trees we stand,

And some are marked to fall;
The axe will smite at God's command,

And soon shall smite us all.

Green as the bay tree, ever green,

With its new foliage on,
The gay, the thoughtless, have I seen,

I passed,—and they were gone.

Read, ye that run, the awful truth
With which I charge my page!

A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.

No present health can health insure

For yet an hour to come;
No medicine, though it oft can cure,

Can always balk the tomb.

And oh! that humble as my lot,

And scorned as is my strain,
These truths, though known, too much forgot,

I may not teach in vain.

1 Composed for John Cox, parish clerk of Northampton.

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So prays your Clerk with all his heart,

And, ere he quits the pen,
Begs you for once to take his part,

And answer all—Amen!


For the Year 1788.

Quod adest, memento
Componere epquus. Catera fluminis
Ritu feruntur. Horace.

Improve the present hour, for all beside
Is a mere feather on a torrent's tide.

Could I, from Heaven inspired, as sure presage
To whom the rising year shall prove his last,

As I can number in my punctual page,
And item down the victims of the past;

How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet
On which the press might stamp him next to die;

And, reading here his sentence, how replete

With anxious meaning, heavenward turn his eye J

Time then would seem more precious than the joys
In which he sports away the treasure now;

And prayer more seasonable than the noise
Of drunkards, or the music-drawing bow.

Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink
Of this world's hazardous and headlong shore,

Forced to a pause, would feel it good to think,
Told that his setting sun must rise no more.

Ah self-deceived! Could I prophetic say
Who next is fated, and who next to fall,

The rest might then seem privileged to play;
But, naming none, the voice now speaks to all.

Observe the dappled foresters, how light
They bound and airy o'er the sunny glade;

One falls—the rest, wide scattered with affright,
Vanish at once into the darkest shade.

Had we their wisdom, should we, often warned,
Still need repeated warnings, and at last,

A thousand awful admonitions scorned,
Die self-accused of life run all to waste?

Sad waste! for which no after-thrift atones!

The grave admits no cure for guilt or sin; Dewdrops may deck the turf that hides the bones,

But tears of godly grief ne'er flow within.

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