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WILLIAM COWPER
English poet
(1731 - 1800)
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How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance, that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.
      - [Prayer]

How readily we wish time spent revoked, that we might try the ground again where once--through inexperience, as we now perceive--we missed that happiness we might have found!
      - [Past]

How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude;
  But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
    Whom I may whisper--solitude it sweet.
      - [Solitude]

How! leap into the pit our life to save?
  To save our life leap all into the grave.
      - [Suicide]

I crown thee king of intimate delights,
  Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
    And all the comforts that the lowly roof
      Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
        Of long, uninterrupted evening, know.
      - [Winter]

I was a poet too; but modern taste
  Is so refined and delicate and chaste,
    That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms,
      Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
        Thus, all success depending on an ear,
          And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
            If sentiment were sacrific'd to sound,
              And truth cut short to make a period round,
                I judg'd a man of sense could scarce do worse
                  Than caper in the morris-dance of verse.
      - [Verse]

In man or woman, but far most in man,
  And most of all in man that ministers,
    And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe
      All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn:
        Object of my implacable disgust.
      - [Clergymen]

In the vast, and the minute, we see
  The unambiguous footsteps of the God,
    Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing
      And wheels His throne upon the rolling worlds.
      - [Creation]

It is the primal curse, but softened into mercy, made the pledge of cheerful days and nights without a groan.
      - [Work]

Lands, intersected by a narrow frith,
  Abhor each other. Mountains interpos'd
    Make enemies of nations, who had else,
      Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.
      - [Enemies]

Learning itself, received into a mind
  By nature weak, or viciously inclined,
    Serves but to lead philosophers astray,
      Where children would with ease discern the way.
      - [Learning]

Lives spent in indolence, and therefore sad.
      - [Indolence]

Man in society is like a flow'r,
  Blown in its native bed. 'Tis there alone
    His faculties expanded in full bloom
      Shine out, there only reach their proper use.
      - [Society]

Man may dismiss compassion from his heart,
  But God will never.
      - [Compassion]

Mansions once
  Knew their own masters, and laborious hinds,
    That had surviv'd the father, serv'd the son.
      Now the legitimate and rightful lord
        Is but a transient guest, newly arrived,
          And soon to be supplanted. He that saw
            His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,
              Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price
                To some shrewd sharper ere it buds again. Estates are landscapes, gazed upon awhile,
                  Then advertised and auctioneer'd away.
      - [Extravagance]

Marble and recording brass decay,
  And, like the 'graver's memory, pass away;
    The works of man inherit, as is just,
      Their author's frailty, and return to dust;
        But Truth divine forever stands secure,
          Its head as guarded, as its base is sure;
            Fixed in the rolling flood of endless years,
              The pillar of the eternal plan appears;
                The waving storm and dashing wave defies,
                  Built by that Architect who built the skies.
      - [Truth]

Men engage in it compell'd by force,
  And fear, not courage, is its proper source,
    The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
      Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer.
 * * * * *
Am I to set my life upon a throw
  Because a bear is rude and surly?
    A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
      Will not affront me, and no other can.
      - [Dueling]

Misery still delights to trace
  Its semblance in another's case.
      - [Misery]

Most satirists are indeed a public scourge;
  Their mildest physic is a farrier's purge;
    Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirr'd,
      The milk of their good purpose all to curd.
        Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
          By lean despair upon an empty purse.
      - [Satire]

My sister and my sister's child,
  Myself and children three,
    Will fill the chaise: so you must ride
      On horseback after me.
      - [Proverbs]

My soul is sick with every day's report of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.
      - [Wrong]

Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God.
      - [Nature]

No man was ever scolded out of his sins.
      - [Scolding]

Not to understand a treasure's worth till time has stole away the slighted good, is cause of half the poverty we feel, and makes the world the wilderness it is.
      - [Absence]

Oh, popular applause! what heart of man
  Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms?
    The wisest and the best feel urgent need
      Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales;
        But swell'd into a gust--who then, alas!
          With all his canvas set, and inexpert,
            And therefore, heedless, can withstand thy power?
      - [Popularity]


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