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RECTOR OF BURTON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, AND VICAK OP
AN ESSAY ON THE GENIUS AND POETRY OF COWPER.
REV. J. W. CUNNINGHAM, A.M.
VICAR OF HARROW
A Portrait of the Editor's lamented brother-inlaw, and Cowper's kinsman, the Rev. Dr. Johnson, (so often referred to in the course of the present work,) being prefixed to this volume, it may be proper to state, that by the maternal line of the Donnes he was cousin to the Poet, by one remove, which was the reason why he was usually designated as Cowper's kinsman, his mother having been the daughter of the Rev. Roger Donne, rector of Catfield, Norfolk, own brother to Cowper's mother. His unremitting and watchful care over the poet, for several successive years, and during a period marked by a painful and protracted malady, his generous sacrifice of his time, and of every personal consideration, that he might administer to the peace and comfort of his afflicted friend—his affectionate sympathy, and uniform forgetfulness of self, in all the various relations of life—these virtues have justly claimed for Dr. Johnson the esteem and love of his friends, and the honourable distinction of being ever identified with the endeared name of Cowper. He was rector of the united parishes of Yaxham and Welborne, in the county of Norfolk, where he preached the doctrines of the Gospel with fidelity, and adorned them by the Christian tenor of his life and conduct. He married Miss Livius, daughter of the late George Livius, Esq., formerly at the head of the Commissariat, in India, during the government of Warren Hastings. The Editor was connected with him by marrying the sister of Mrs. Johnson. He departed in the autumn of the year 1833, after a short illness, and was followed to the grave by a crowded assemblage of his parishioners, to whom he was endeared by his virtues. He left his estimable widow and four surviving children to lament his loss. Cowper was engraved on his heart, and his Poems minutely impressed on his memory. Both, therefore, became a frequent theme of conversation ; and it is to these sources of information, that the writer is in debted for the knowledge of many facts and incidents that are incorporated in the present Edition.