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“ Stick fast there, while I go and look.”
“ Don't go away for fear I should fall.
“ I have examined it every nook,
Come, wheel around;
The dirt we have found,
Now, sister Ann, the guitar you must take,
Set it and sing it, and make it a song ;
'Tis hobbling and lame,
Which critics won't blame,
TO MISS C, ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
[Presented to Miss Chester, the daughter of Mr Chester of Chichely, the brother-in-law of the Rev. Mr Bagot, so often mentioned in the Poet's letters. Written 1786.]
between east and west,
The day that gave them birth!
Revolving months restore,
And wish her born once more !
ADDRESSED TO LADY HESKETH.
With ribbon-bound tassel on high,
Ambitious of brushing the sky :
She gave it, and gave me beside,
The ribbon with which it is tied :
This wheel-footed studying chair,
Contrived both for toil and repose,
In which I both scribble and dose,
And rival in lustre of that
Fair Cassiopeïa sat:
These carpets, so soft to the foot,
Caledonia's traffic and pride!
Escaped from a cross-country ride !
Secure from collision and dust,
And periwig nicely adjust :
This moveable structure of shelves,
For its beauty admired and its use,
The gayest I had to produce;
My poems enchanted I view, * It is with this cap that Cowper is represented in his usual portraits.
And hope, in due time, to behold
My Iliad and Odyssey too :
This china, that decks the alcove,
Which here people call a buffet, But what the gods call it above,
Has ne'er been reveald to us as yet : These curtains, that keep the room warm,
Or cool, as the season demands, Those stoves that for pattern and form,
Seem the labour of Mulciber's hands,
All these are not half that I owe
To One, from our earliest youth To me ever ready to show
Benignity, friendship, and truth ; For time, the destroyer declared,
And foe of our perishing kind, If even her face he has spared,
Much less could he alter her mind.
Thus compass'd about with the goods
And chattels of leisure and ease, I indulge my poetical moods
In many such fancies as these ; And fancies I fear they will seem
Poets' goods are not often so fine ; The poets will swear that I dream,
When I sing of the splendour of mine.
THE MORALIZER CORRECTED.
A HERMIT, or, if 'chance you hold
Stoppled his cruse, replaced his book
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs !
True, answer'd an angelic guide,
the fruitless chase be lost,
A vicious object still is worse,
SUBJOINED TO THE YEARLY BILL OP MORTALITY, OF THE
PARISH OF ALL-SAINTS, NORTHAMPTON, A.D. 1787.
[The Mortuary Verses," often so beautiful, always so impressive, were supplied at the request of Samuel Cox, parish clerk of Northampton. In that town, as in several others in England, it is customary to publish yearly about Christmas the annual deaths in the parish. To these lists of mortality Cowper's stanzas were appended; and it is not easy to conceive greater condescension than such a man thus supplying exquisite and valuable poetry in place of the wretched effusions which usually accompany these records of death. But the occasion offered an opportunity of perhaps advancing the interests of religion and morality, and that was reward and motive sufficient. See letter to Lady Hesketh, November 27, 1787, vol. II.]
Pallida Mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas,
Pale death with equal foot strikes wide the door
While thirteen moons saw smoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,
Have found their home, the grave.
Was man (frail always) made more frail
Than in foregoing years ?