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YOUR Ladyship's peculiar intimacy with the poet Cowper, and your former residence at Weston, where every object is embellished by his muse, and clothed with a species of poetical verdure, give you a just title to have your name associated with his endeared memory.

But, independently of these considerations, you are recorded both in his poetry and prose, and have thus acquired a kind of double immortality. These reasons are sufficiently valid to authorize the present dedi

cation. But there are additional motives,-the recollection of the happy hours, formerly spent at Weston, in your society and in that of Sir George Throckmorton, enhanced by the presence of our common lamented friend, Dr. Johnson. A dispensation which spares neither rank, accomplishments, nor virtues, has unhappily terminated this enjoyment, but it has not extinguished those sentiments of esteem and regard, with which

I have the honor to be,

My dear Lady Throckmorton, Your very sincere and obliged friend, T. S. GRIMSHAWE.

Biddenham, Feb. 28, 1835.


Is presenting to the public this new and complete edition of the Life, Correspondence, and Poems of Cowper, it may be proper for me to state the grounds on which it claims to be the only complete edition that has been, or can be published.

After the decease of this justly admired author, Hayley received from my lamented brother-in-law, Dr. Johnson, (so endeared by his exemplary attention to his afflicted relative.) every facility for his intended biography. Aided also by valuable contributions from other quarters, he was thus furnished with rich materials for the execution of his interesting work. The reception with which his Life of Cowper was honored, and the successive editions through which it passed, afforded unequivocal testimony to the industry and talents of the biographer and to the epistolary merits of the Poet. Still there were many, intimately acquainted with the character and principles of Cowper, who considered that, on the whole, a very erroneous impression was conveyed to the public. On this subject no one was perhaps more competent to form a just estimate than the late Dr. Johnson. A long and familiar intereourse with his endeared relative had afforded him all the advantages of a daily and minute observation. His possession of documents, and intimate knowledge of facts, enabled him to discover the partial suppression

of some letters, and the total omission of others, that, in his judgment, were essential to the development of Cowper's real character. The cause of this procedure may be explained so as fully to exonerate Hayley from any charge injurious to his honor. His mind, however literary and elegant, was not precisely qualified to present a religious character to the view of the British public, without committing some important errors. Hence, in occasional parts of his work, his reflections are misplaced, sometimes injurious, and often injudicious; and in no portion of it is this defect more visible than where he at-. tributes the malady of Cowper to the operation of religious causes.

It would be difficult to express the painful feeling produced by these facts on the minds of Dr. Johnson and of his friends. Hayley indeed seems to be afraid of exhibiting Cowper too much in a religious garb, lest he should either lessen his estimation, alarm the reader, or compromise himself. To these circumstances may be attributed the defects that we have noticed, and which have rendered his otherwise excellent production an imperfect work. The consequence, as regards Cowper, has been unfortunate. People," observes Dr. Johnson, "read the Letters with the Task' in their recollection, (and vice versâ,) and are perplexed. They look for the Cowper of each in the other, and find him not; the

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correspondency is destroyed. The character of Cowper is thus undetermined; mystery hangs over it, and the opinions formed of him are as various as the minds of the inquirers." It was to dissipate this illusion, that my lamented friend collected the "Private Correspondence," containing letters that had been previously suppressed, with the addition of others, then brought to light for the first time. Still there remains one more important object to be accomplished: viz., to present to the British public the whole Correspondence in its entire and unbroken form, and in its chronological order. Then, and not till then, will the real character of Cowper be fully understood and comprehended; and the consistency of his Christian character be found to harmonize with the Christian spirit of his pure and exalted productions.

Supplemental to such an undertaking is the task of revising Hayley's life of the Poet, purifying it from the errors that detract from its acknowledged value and adapting it to the demands and expectations of the religious public. That this desideratum has been long felt, to an extent far beyond what is commonly supposed, the Editor has had ample means of knowing, from his own personal observation, and from repeated assurances of the same import from his lamented friend, the Rev. Legh Richmond.*

with the most finished taste. I have scarcely found a single word which is capable of be ing exchanged for a better. Literary errors I can discern none. The selection of words, and the construction of periods, are inimitable; they present as striking a contrast as can well be conceived to the turgid verbos ity which passes at present for fine writing, and which bears a great resemblance to the degeneracy which marks the style of Ammianus Marcellinus, as compared to that of Cicero or of Livy. In my humble opinion, the study of Cowper's prose may on this account be as useful in forming the taste of young people as his poetry. That the Let ters will afford great delight to all persons of true taste, and that you will confer a most acceptable present on the reading world by publishing them, will not admit of a doubt."

All that now remains is for the Editor to say one word respecting himself. He has been called upon to engage in this undertaking both on public and private grounds. He is not insensible to the honor of such a commission, and yet feels that he is undertaking a delicate and responsible office. May he execute it in humble dependence on the Divine blessing, and in a spirit that accords with the venerated name of Cowper! Had the life of his endeared friend, Dr. Johnson, been prolonged, no man would have been The time for carrying this object into effect better qualified for such an office. His amis now arrived. The termination of the copy-ple sources of information, his name, and his right of Hayley's Life of Cowper, and access to the Private Correspondence collected by Dr. Johnson, enable the Editor to combine all these objects, and to present, for the first time, a Complete Edition of the Works of Cowper, which it is not in the power of any individual besides himself to accomplish, because all others are debarred access to the Private Correspondence. Upwards of two hundred letters will be thus incorporated with the former work of Hayley, in their due and chronological order.

The merits of "The Private Correspondence" are thus attested in a letter addressed to Dr. Johnson, by a no less distinguished judge than the late Rev. Robert Hall.-"It is quite unnecessary to say that I perused the letters with great admiration and delight. I have always considered the letters of Mr. Cowper as the finest specimen of the epistolary style in our language; and these appear to me of a superior description to the former, possessing as much beauty, with more piety and pathos. To an air of inimitable ease and carelessness they unite a high degree of correctness, such as could result only from the clearest intellect, combimed

*Of the letters contained in the "Private Correspon lence" he emphatically remarked, "Cowper will never be clearly and satisfactorily understood without them."

profound veneration for the memory of Cowper, (whom he tenderly watched while living, and whose eyes he closed in death,) would have awakened an interest to which no other writer could presume to lay claim. It is under the failure of this expectation, which is extinguished by the grave, that the editor feels himself called upon to endeavor to supply the void; and thus to fulfil what is due to the character of Cowper, and to the known wishes of his departed friend. Peace be to his ashes! They now rest near those of his beloved Bard, while their happy spirits are reunited in a world where no cloud obscures the mind, and no sorrow depresses the heart and where the mysterious dispensations of Providence will be found to have been in accordance with his unerring wisdom and mercy.


It is impossible for the Editor to specify the various instances of revision in the narrative of Hayley, because they are sometimes minute or verbal, at other times more enarged. The object has been to retain the basis of his work, as far as possible. The introduction of new matter is principally where the interests of religion, or a regard to Cowper's character seemed to require it; and for such remarks the Editor is solely responsible.

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To Joseph Hill, Esq. Huntingdon and its amusements July 3, 1765....

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The origin of Cowper's acquaintance with Mr. New





28 Cowper's removal with Mrs. Unwin to Olney.. To Joseph Hill, Esq. Invitation to Olney. Oct. 20, 1767......

29 His devotion and charity in his new residence.. To Joseph Hill, Esq.



On the occurrences during his visit at St. Albans. June 16, 1768....... To the same. On the difference of dispositions; his love of retirement. Jan. 21, 1769.... To the same. On Mrs. Hill's late illness. Jan. 29, 1769

To the same. Declining an invitation. Fondness for retirement. July 31, 1769...

His poem in memory of John Thornton, Esq. His beneficence to a necessitous child...

To Mrs. Cowper. His new situation; reasons for mixture of evil in the world. 1769..




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To the same. Newton's Treatise on Prophecy; Reflections of Dr. Young on the Truth of Christianity. July 12, 1765....

To the same. On the Beauty and Sublimity of Scriptural Language. Aug. 1, 1765....

To Joseph Hill, Esq. Expected excursion. Aug. 14,


To Lady Hesketh. Pearsall's Meditations; definition of tath. Aug. 17, 1765....

To the same. The consolations of religion on the
death of her husband. Aug. 31, 1769..
Cowper's journey to Cambridge on his brother's ill-

To Mrs. Cowper. Daugerous illness of his brother. March 5, 1770.... The death and character of Cowper's brother.... 34 To Joseph Hill, Esq. Religious sentiments of his brother. May 8, 1770.........

34 To Mrs. Cowper. The same subject. June 7, 1770. To Joseph Hill, Esq. Expression of his gratitude for instances of friendship. Sept. 25, 1770.

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To the same. On a particular Providence; experience of mercy, &c. Sept. 4, 1765..........

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To the same. First introduction to the Unwin family; their characters. Sept. 14, 1765..........

To the same. Acknowledging obligations. July 2, 1772 55 To the same. Declining an invitation to London. Nov. 5, 1772....

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To Lady Hesketh. On solitude; on the desertion of his friends, March 6, 1766.......


cousin Martin. March 11, 1766....

To Mrs. Cowper. Mrs. Unwin, and her son; his


40 His translations from Madame de la Mothe Guion... To Joseph Hill, Esq. On Mr. Ashley Cooper's recov ery from a nervous fever. Nov. 12, 1776.. To the same. On Gray's Works. April 20, 1777... To the same. On Gray's later epistles. West's Letters. May 25, 1777........ To the same. Selection of books. July 13, 1777

To the same. Letters the fruit of friendship; his conversion. April 4, 1766........

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The composition of the Olney Hymns by Mr. Newton and Cowper...

The interruption of the Olney Hymns by the illness of Cowper...

His long and severe depression..

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To the Rev. W. Unwin. Reasons for not showing

his preface to Mr. Unwin. May 10, 1781....

To the same. Delay of his publication; Vincent
Bourne, and his poems. May 23, 1781...

To the Rev. John Newton. On the heat; on disem-
bodied spirits. May 22, 1781....

To the Rev. W. Unwin. Corrections of his proofs;
on his horsemanship. May 28, 1781...

To the same. Mrs. Unwin's criticisms; a distinguish-
ing Providence. June 5, 1781

To the same. On the design of his poems; Mr.
Unwin's bashfulness. June 24, 1781...

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To the Rev. John Newton. Progress of the print-

ing of his poem, "Retirement." Mr. Johnson's

corrections. Aug. 25, 1781....

To the same. Heat of the weather. Remarks on
the opinion of a clerical acquaintance concerning
certain amusements and music. Sept. 9, 1781.... 104

To Mrs. Newton. A poetical epistle on a barrel of

oysters. Sept. 16, 1781....

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State of affairs in America. Dec. 2, 1781... 114

To the Rev. John Newton. With lines to Sir Joshua
Reynolds. Political and patriotic poetry. Dec. 4,

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Letter to the Rev. John Newton, Dec. 17, 1781. Re-
marks on his poems on Friendship, Retirement,
Hercsm, and Etna: Nineveh and Britain.
To the Rev. William Unwin, Dec. 19, 1781. Idea of
a theocracy; the American war

To the Rev. John Newton; shortest day, 1781, On

a national miscarriage; with lines on a flatting-


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To the sume, last day of 1781. Concerning the print-
ing of ins Poems; the American contest.

To the Rev. William Unwin, Jan. 5, 1782. Dr. John-

800 critique on Prior and Pope.

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To the Rev. William Unwin, Jan. 17, 1782. Conduct
oferitics; Dr. Johnson's reinarks on Prior's Poems;
remarks on Dr. Johnson's Lives of the Poets; po-
etry suitable for the reading of a boy

To Joseph Hill, Esq., Jan. 31, 1782. Political reflec-

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