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TO THE

REV. W. CAWTHORNE UNWIN. [With this poem Cowper closed his first volume. He wrote it in 1781, while engaged in correcting the proofs of the others, and appended it to the work as a tribute of affection.]

UNWIN, I should but ill repay

The kindness of a friend,
Whose worth deserves as warm a lay

As ever friendship penn'd,
Thy name omitted in a page,
That would reclaim a vicious age.

A union form'd, as mine with thee,

Not rashly, nor in sport,
May be as fervent in degree,

And faithful in its sort,
And may as rich in comfort prove,
As that of true fraternal love.

The bud inserted in the rind,

The bud of peach or rose,
Adorns, though differing in its kind,

The stock whereon it grows,
With flower as sweet, or fruit as fair,

As if produced by Nature there.

Not rich, I render what I may,

I seize thy name in haste,
And place it in this first essay,

Lest it should prove the last.
'Tis where it should be in a plan
That holds in view the good of man.

The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,

Should be the poet's heart ;
Affection lights a brighter flame

Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend,
I sink the poet in the friend.

CATHARIN A.

ADDRESSED TO MISS STAPLETON,

AFTERWARDS MRS COURTNEY.

THE FIRST PART.

She came — she is gone — we have met

And meet perhaps never again; The sun of that moment is set,

And seems to have risen in vain. Catharina has fled like a dream —

(So vanishes pleasure, alas !) But has left a regret and esteem,

That will not so suddenly pass.

The last evening ramble we made,

Catharina, Maria, and I, Our progress was often delay'd

By the nightingale warbling nigh. We paused under many a tree,

And much she was charm’d with a tone Less sweet to Maria and me,

Who had witness'd so lately her own.

My numbers that day she had sung,

And gave them a grace so divine, As only her musical tongue

Could infuse into numbers of mine. The longer I heard, I esteem'd

The work of my fancy the more, And even to myself never seem'd

So tuneful a poet before.

Though the pleasures of London exceed

In number the days of the year, Catharina, did nothing impede,

Would feel herself happier here; For the close woven arches of limes

On the banks of our river, I know, Are sweeter to her many times

Than all that the city can show.

So it is, when the mind is endued

With a well judging taste from above, Then, whether embellished or rude,

'Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,

May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and valleys, diffuse

A lasting, a sacred delight.

Since then in the rural recess

Catharina alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess

The scene of her sensible choice ! To inhabit a mansion remote

From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note

To measure the life that she leads.

With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,

To wing all her moments at home,
And with scenes that new rapture inspire

As oft as it suits her to roam,
She will have just the life she prefers,

With little to wish or to fear,
And ours will be pleasant as hers,

Might we view her enjoying it here.

FRIENDSHIP.

[The original of this poem was composed while the translation of Madame Guyon occupied the author's attention, and, with that work, was presented to the Rev, Mr Bull, who subsequently published it, with the version of the French poetess. The piece, written as it now appears, was finished in 1780, as a conclusion for Cowper's first volume. This design, for some reason not explained, he abandoned, and the poem was not published till after his death.]

What virtue, or what mental grace,
But men unqualified and base

Will boast it their possession ?
Profusion apes the noble part
Of liberality of heart,

And dulness of discretion.

If every polish'd gem we find,
Iluminating heart or mind,

Provoke to imitation;
No wonder friendship does the same,
That jewel of the purest flame,

Or rather constellation.

No knave but boldly will pretend
The requisites that form a friend,

A real and a sound one;
Nor any fool he would deceive,
But prove as ready to believe,

And dream that he had found one.

Candid, and generous, and just,
Boys care but little whom they trust,

An error soon corrected, —
For who but learns in riper years,
That man, when smoothest he appears,

Is most to be suspected ?

But here again a danger lies,
Lest, having misapplied our eyes,
And taken trash for treasure,

We should unwarily conclude
Friendship a false ideal good,

A mere Utopian pleasure.

An acquisition rather rare
Is yet no subject of despair;

Nor is it wise complaining,
If either on forbidden ground,
Or where it was not to be found,

We sought without attaining.

No friendship will abide the test
That stands on sordid interest,

Or mean self-love erected ;
Nor such as may a while subsist,
Between the sot and sensualist,

For vicious ends connected.

Who seek a friend, should come disposed To exhibit in full bloom disclosed

The graces and the beauties That form the character he seeks, For 'tis a union that bespeaks

Reciprocated duties.

Mutual attention is implied,
And equal truth on either side,

And constantly supported;
'Tis senseless arrogance to accuse
Another of sinister views,

Our own as much distorted.

But will sincerity suffice ?
It is, indeed, above all price,

And must be made the basis ;
But every virtue of the soul
Must constitute the charming whole,

All shining in their places.

A fretful temper will divide
The closest knot that may be tied,

By ceaseless sharp corrosion ;

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