William Cowper

  • Between Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose;
    The spectacles set them, unhappily, wrong;
    The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,
      To whom the said spectacles ought to belong.

    So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause,
      With a great deal...

  • Showing How He Went Farther Than He Intended, and Came Safe Home Again

    JOHN GILPIN was a citizen
      Of credit and renown,
    A trainband captain eke was he
      Of famous London town.

    John Gilpin’s spouse said to her dear—
      “Though wedded we have been...

  • From “The Timepiece”: “The Task,” Book. II.
    ENGLAND, with all thy faults, I love thee still,—
    My country! and, while yet a nook is left
    Where English minds and manners may be found,
    Shall be constrained to love thee. Though thy clime
    Be fickle, and thy year...

  • God moves in a mysterious way
      His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea,
      And rides upon the storm.

    Deep in unfathomable mines
      Of never-failing skill,
    He treasures up His bright designs,
      And works His sovereign...

  • Written When the News Arrived; 1782

    TOLL for the brave,—
      The brave that are no more!
    All sunk beneath the wave,
      Fast by their native shore.

    Eight hundred of the brave,
      Whose courage well was tried,
    Had made the vessel heel,...

  • From “The Timepiece”: “The Task,” Book II.

      O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness,
    Some boundless contiguity of shade,
    Where rumor of oppression and deceit,
    Of unsuccessful or successful war,
    Might never reach me more! My ear is pained,
    My soul is...

  • During His Solitary Abode in the Island of Juan Fernandez

    I AM monarch of all I survey,—
      My right there is none to dispute;
    From the centre all round to the sea,
      I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
    O Solitude! where are the charms
      That sages...

  • From “The Task,” Book I.
    TEN thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
    The livelong night: nor these alone, whose notes
    Nice-fingered Art must emulate in vain,
    But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
    In still repeated circles, screaming loud,

  • From “The Winter Morning Walk:” “The Task,” Bk. V.

    ’T IS the morning, and the sun with ruddy orb
    Ascending fires the horizon; while the clouds,
    That crowd away before the driving wind,
    More ardent as the disc emerges more,
    Resembles most some city in a...

  • From “The Task,” Book VI.
      NOT to understand a treasure’s worth
    Till time has stol’n away the slighted good,
    Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
    And makes the world the wilderness it is.