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too ceremonious and pedantic, to stoop to 1792. IIe published many theological treacommon life. Satire is the poetry of a na- tises, mostly controversial, but is now only tion highly polished.
known by A Commentary on the Book of The importance of the female character Psalms, 1771, 2 vols. 4to ; Oxf., 1776, 2 vols. was not yet acknowledged, nor were women 4to; with Essay, by Rev. Ed. Irving, Glasg., admitted into the general commerce of so- 3 vols. 12mo; Lond., 1836, 3 vols. 12mo; ciety. The effect of that intercourse had 1818, 2 vols. 12mo; 1848, 8vo; 1852, 8vo; not imparted a comic air to poetry, nor soft- 1856, 8vo; and other editions. Discourses ened the severer tone of our versification 1779-91, 4 vols. 8vo. Works, with Life, by with the levities of gallantry and the famil- W. Jones, 1795–99, 6 vols. 8vo; 1809, 6 vols. iarities of compliment, sometimes, perhaps 8v0; 1812, 6 vols. 8vo; 1824, 3 vols. Svo; operating on serious subjects, and imper. 1831, 2 vols. 8vo; 1845, 2 vols. 8vo. ceptibly spreading themselves in the gen
“This Commentary on the Psalms is his capital eral habits of style and thought. I do performance, and the one by which he will be known not mean to insinuate that our poetry has so long as piety and elegant learning are loved in suffered from the great change of manners, England. "It is altogether a beautiful work. The which this assumption of the gentler sex, preface is a masterpiece of composition and good or rather the improved state of female ed
Perhaps be carries his applications to ucation, has produced, by giving elegance the Messiah and his church occasionally rather far;
but this is less hurtful than the opposite extreme, and variety to life, by enlarging the sphere which has more generally been adopted.”—ORME: of conversation, and by multiplying the Bibl. Bib. topics and enriching the stores of wit and humour; but I am marking the peculiarities THE BEAUTIES OF THE PSALMS. of composition, and my meaning was to suggest that the absence of so important a cir
Greatness confers no exemption from the cumstance from the modes and constitution cares and sorrows of life; its share of them of ancient life must have influenced the frequently bears a melancholy proportion to contemporary poetry.
its exaltation. This the Israelitish monarch All or most of these circumstances con experienced. He sought in piety that peace tributed to give a descriptive, a picturesque, viated the disquietudes of state with the ex
which he could not find in empire, and alleand a figurative cast to the poetical language. This effect appears even in the prose compo
ercises of devotion. sitions of the reign of Elizabeth. In the
His invaluable Psalms convey those comsubsequent age prose became the language Composed upon particular occasions, yet de
forts to others which they afforded to himself. of poetry. In the mean time general knowledge was
signed for general use ; delivered out as increasing with a wide diffusion and a hasty services for Israelitics under the Law, yet rapidity. Books began to be multiplied, no less adapted to the circumstances of and a variety of the most useful and rational Christians under the Gospel, they present topics had been discussed in our own lan- religion to us in the most engaging dress; guage. But science had not made too great communicating truths which philosophy advances. On the whole we were now ar
could never investigate, in a style which rived at that period, propitious to the opera- poetry can never equal; while history is tions of original and true poetry, when the made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation coyness of fancy was not always proof lends all its charms to paint the glories of against the approaches of reason ; when redemption. Calculated alike to profit and genius was rather directed than governed to please, they inform the understanding, by judgment; and when taste and learning elevate the affections, and entertain the imhad so far only disciplined imagination as agination. Indited under the influence of to suffer its excesses to pass without censure
Him to whom all hearts are known, and all or control for the sake of the beauties to events foreknown, they suit mankind in all which they were allied.
situations, grateful as the manna which deThe History of English Poetry.
scended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gath
ered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose GEORGE HORNE, D.D.,
their fragrancy: but these unfading plants
of paradise become, as we are accustomed a divine of the Hutchinsonian school, born to them, still more and more beautiful; their 1730, became President of Magdalene Col- bloom appears to be daily heightened ; fresh lege, Oxford, 1768, Vice-Chancellor of the odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted University of Oxford, 1776, Dean of Canter from them. He who hath once tasted their bury, 1781, Bishop of Norwich, 1790, died excellencies will desire to taste them yet
again ; and he who tastes them oftenest will taste. I have scarcely found a single word which relish the best.
is capable of being exchanged for a better. . And now, could the author flatter himself
In my humble opinion the study of Cow per's prose
may on this account be as useful in forming the that any one would take half the pleasure in
taste of young persons as his poetry.”—Rev. reading the following exposition which he
Robert Hall To Rev. Dr. Jounsox. hath taken in writing it, he would not fear the loss of his labour. The employment THE FUTURE STATE OF THE IIEAtuen. detached him from the bustle and hurry of life, the din of politics, and the noise of
Monday, April 23, 1781. folly ; vanity and vexation flew away for a To the Rev. John Newton. season, care and disquietude came not near My Dear Friend,—Having not the least his dwelling. He rose fresh as the morning doubt of your ability to execute just such a to his task; the silence of the night invited preface as I should wish to see prefixed to him to pursue it; and he can truly say that my publication, and being convinced that food and rest were not preferred before it. you have no good foundation for those which Every Psalm improved infinitely upon his you yourself entertain upon the subject, I acquaintance with it, and no one gave him neither withdraw my requisition, nor abate uneasiness but the last; for then he grieved one jot of the earnestness with which I that his work was done. Happier hours made it. I admit the delicacy of the occathan those which have been spent in these sion, but am far from apprehending that meditations on the Songs of Sion he never you will therefore find it difficult to succeed. expects to see in this world. Very pleas- | You can draw a hair-stroke where another antly did they pass, and moved smoothly man would make a blot as broad as a sixand swiftly along: for when thus engaged, pence, he counted no time. They are gone, but With respect to the Ileathen and what I have left a relish and a fragrance upon the have said about them, the subject is of that mind, and the remembrance of them is sweet. kind which every man must settle for himA Commentary on the Book of Psalms: self, and on which we can proceed no further Preface.
than hypothesis and opinion will carry us. I was willing, however, to obviate an objec
tion I foresaw, and to do it in a way not deWILLIAM COWPER,
rogatory from the truth of the Gospel, yet
at the same time as conciliatory as possible born 1731, from his tenth to his seventeenth to the prejudices of the objector. After all, year was educated at Westminster School, indeed, I see no medium : either we must where he acquired an intimate acquaintance suppose them lost, or if saved, saved by virwith the classics ; nominally studied, but tue of the only propitiation. They seem to really neglected, law for three years, and me, on the principles of equity, to stand in afterwards resided for eleven years at the much the same predicament, and to be Temple, and in the last of those years (1763) | entitled (at least according to human apwas appointed Reading Clerk and Clerk of prehensions of justice) to much the same the Committees in the House of Lords, but allowance as Infants: both partakers of a by his dread of appearing at the bar of the sinful nature, and both unavoidably ignoHouse for examination was driven to at- rant of the remedy. Infants I suppose unitempts at suicide; subsequently resided in versally saved, because impeccable; and retirement, chiefly at Olney, and after re
the virtuous leathen, having bad no opporpeated attacks of melancholia, died in 1800. tunity to sin against Revelation, and having Cowper is chiefly known as a poet, -as the made a conscientious use of the light of author of Truth, Table Talk, Ilope, Charity, Nature, I should suppose saved too.—But I Conversation, etc. (all published in one vol- drop a subject on which I could say a good ume, Lond., 1782. 8vo), John Gilpin, 1782, deal more, for two reasons : first, because I The Task. Lond., 1784, 12m0,--and increased am writing a letter, and not an essay; and, his fame by bis translation of the Iliad and secondly, because after all I might write Odyssey of Ilomer, in English Blank Verse, about it, I could come to no certain conLond., 1791, 2 vols. 4to, 2d edit., 1802, 4 vols. clusion. 8vo ; but his Letters entitle him to a high I once had thoughts of annexing a few position among the English Prose Writers. smaller pieces to those I have sent you ;
but having only very few that I account as “I have always considered the Letters of Mr. worthy to bear the company, and those for Cowper as the finest specimen of the epistolary the most part on subjects less calculated for style in our language.... To an air of inimitable ease and carelessness they unite a high degree of utility than amusement, I changed my mind. correctness, such as could result only from the If hereafter I should accumulate a sufficient clearest intellect, combined with the most finished number of these minutiæ to make a miscel.
laneous volume, which is not impossible, I of both have done my best to send my arrow may perhaps collect and print thein. to the mark. My readers will hardly have
I am much obliged for the interest you begun to laugh before they will be called take in the appearance of my Poems, and upon to correct that levity, and peruse me am much pleased by the alacrity with which with a more serious air. As to the effect, you do it. Your favourable opinion of them I leave it alone in His hands who alone affords me a comfortable presage with re- can produce it: neither prose nor verse spect to that of the public; for though I can reform the manners of a dissolute make allowance for your partiality to me age, much less can they inspire a sense and mine, because mine, yet I am sure you of religious obligation, unless assisted and would not suffer me unadmonished to add made efficacious by the power who supermyself to the multitude of insipid rhymers intends the truth he has vouchsafed to imwith whose productions the world is already part. too much pestered.
You made my heart ache with a sympa
thetic sorrow when you described the state ON HIS OWN POEMs.
of your mind on occasion of your late visit
Oct. 19, 1781. into Hertfordshire. Had I been previously To MRS. COW PER.
informed of your journey before you made My dear Cousin,-Your fear lest I should it I should have been able to have foretold think you unworthy of my correspondence, all your feelings with the most unerring on account of your delay to answer, may certainty of prediction. You will never change sides now, and more properly belongs cease to feel upon that subject : but with to me. It is long since I received your last, your principles of resignation, and acquiesand yet I believe I can say truly, that not a cence in the divine will, you will always post has gone by me since the receipt of it feel as becomes a Christian. We are forthat has not reminded me of the debt I owe bidden to murmur, but we are not forbidden you, for your obliging and unreserved com- to regret; and whom we loved tenderly munications both in prose and verse, espe- while living we may still pursue with an cially for the latter, because I consider them affectionate remembrance without having as marks of your peculiar confidence. The any occasion to charge ourselves with rebeltruth is, I have been such a verse-maker lion against the sovereignty that appointed myself, and so busy in preparing a volume a separation. A day is coming when I am for the press [Truth, Table Talk, llope, confident you will see and know that mercy Charity, Conversation, etc., Lond., 1782, to both parties was the principal agent in 8vo] which I imagine will make its appear. a scene the recollection of which is still ance in the course of the winter, that I painful.
W. C. hardly had leisure to listen to the calls of any other engagement. It is, however, fin
LORD Tuvrlow, JOSEPHUS, AND Tacitus. ished, and gone to the printer's, and I have nothing now to do with it but to correct the
Nov. 24, 1783. sheets as they are sent to me, and consign To The Rev. WILLIAM UNWIN. it over to the judgment of the public. It is MY DEAR WILLIAM,—An evening unexa bold undertaking at this time of day, when pectedly retired, and which your mother so many writers of the greatest abilities have and I spend without company (an occurgone before, who seem to have anticipated | rence far from frequent), affords me a favourevery valuable subject, as well as all the able opportunity to write by tomorrow's graces of poetical embellishment, to step post, which else I could not have found. forth into the world in the character of a You are very good to consider my literary bard, especially when it is considered that necessities with so much attention, and I luxury, idleness, and vice have debauched feel proportionally grateful. Blair's Lecthe public taste, and that nothing hardly is tures (though I suppose they must make welcome but childish fiction, or what has a part of my private studies, not being at least a tendency to excite a laugh. I ad captam fæminarum) will be perfectly thought, however, that I had stumbled upon welcome. some subjects that had never before been You say you felt my verses.
I assure poetically treated, and upon some others to you that in this you followed my example, which I imagined it would not be difficult for I felt them first. A man's lordship is to give an air of novelty by the manner of nothing to me, any farther than in connextreating them. My sole drift is to be use- ion with qualities that entitle him to my ful; a point which, however, I knew I should respect. If he [Lord Thurlow) thinks himin vain aim at unless I could be likewise self privileged by it to treat me with neglect, entertaining. I have therefore fixed these I am his humble servant, and shall never be two strings upon my bow, and by the help / at a loss to render him an equivalent.
I will not, however, belie my knowledge of GEORGE WASHINGTON, mankind so much as to seem surprised at a treatment which I had abundant reason to
the illustrious Commander-in-Chief of the expect. To these men, with whom I was
American armies during the Revolutionary once intimate, and for many years, I
war, born on Pope's Creek, county of Westlonger necessary, no longer convenient, or
moreland, Virginia, Feb. 22, 1732, died at in any respect an object. They think of Mount Vernon, Dec. 14, 1799, wrote a great me as of the man in the moon; and whether deal and wrote very well; and therefore
not for the first time-we rank him with I have a lantern, or a dog and faggot, or whether I have neither of those desirable
authors. accommodations, is to them a matter of per- “ He read little, but with close attention. Wbata fect indifference: upon that point we are
ever he took in hand be applied himself to with agreed; our indifference is mutual; and ease; and his papers which have been preserved were I to publish again, which is not pos- power of writing correctly,--always expressing
show how he almost imperceptibly gained the sible, I should give them a proof of it.
himself with clearness and directness, often with L'Estrange's Josephus has lately fur- felicity of language and grace.”—George Bannished us with evening lectures. But the croft: Hist. of the United States, vol. vii., 1858. historian is so tediously circumstantial, and the translator so insupportably coarse
ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF TRENTON. and vulgar, that we are all three weary of him. How would Tacitus have shone upon
HEAD-Quarters, Morristown, Dec. 27, 1776. such a subject! great master as he was of TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. the art of description, concise without ob- Sır.--I have the pleasure of congratulascurity, and affecting without being poetical. ting you upon the success of an enterprise But so it was ordered, and for wise reasons which I had formed against a detachment of no doubt, that the greatest calamities any the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was people ever suffered, and an accomplish- executed yesterday morning. ment of one of the most signal prophecies The evening of the twenty-fifth I ordered in the Scripture, should be recorded by one the troops intended for this service to parade of the worst writers. The man was a tem- back of McKonkey's ferry, that they might porizer too, and courted the favour of his begin to pass as soon as it grew dark, imagRoman masters at the expense of his own ining we should be able to throw them all creed; or else an infidel, and absolutely over, with the necessary artillery, by twelve disbelieved it. You will think me very a o'clock, and that we might easily arrive at ficult to please : I quarrel with Josephus Trenton by five in the morning, the distance for the want of elegance, and with some of being about nine miles. But the quantity our modern historians for having too much. of ice made that night impeded the passage With him, for running right forward like a of the boats so much that it was three o'clock gazette, without stopping to make a single before the artillery could all be got over; observation by the way; and with them for and near four before the troops took up pretending to delineate characters that ex- their line of march. isted two thousand years ago, and to dis- This made me despair of surprising the cover the motives by which they were in- town, as I well knew we could not reach it fluenced, with the same precision as if they before the day was fairly broke. But as I had been their contemporaries. Simplicity was certain there was no making a retreat is become a very rare quality in a writer. without being discovered, and harassed on In the decline of great kingdoms, and where re-passing the river, I determined to push refinement in all the arts is carried to an on at all events. I formed my detachment excess,
I suppose it is always rare. The into two divisions, one to march by the Jatter Roman writers are remarkable for lower or river road, the other by the upper false ornament: they were yet no doubt or Pennington road. As the divisions had admired by the readers of their own day : nearly the same distance to march, I ordered and with respect to authors of the present each of them, immediately upon forcing the æra the most popular among them appear out-guards, to push directly into the town, to me equally censurable on the same ac- that they might charge the enemy before count. Swift and Addison were simple ; they had time to form. Pope knew how to be so, but was fre- The
division arrived at the enemy's quently tinged with affectation ; since their advanced post exactly at eight o'clock: and day I hardly know a celebrated writer who in three minutes after I found, from the deserves the character.
fire on the lower road, that that division had Your mother wants room for a postscript, | also got up. The out-guards made but small so my lecture must conclude abruptly. opposition, though, for their numbers, they
Yours, W. C. behaved very well, keeping up a constant
retreating fire from behind houses. We severe night, and their march through a presently saw their main body formed ; but violent storm of snow and hail, did not in from their motions, they seemed undeter- the least abate their ardour: but when they mined how to act.
came to the charge each seemed to vie with Being hard pressed by our troops, who the other in pressing forward : and were I had already got possession of their artillery, to give a preference to any particular corps they attempted to file off by a road on their I should do great injustice to the others. right, leading to Princeton. But, perceiving Colonel Baylor, my first aide-de-camp, their intention, I threw a body of troops will have the honour of delivering this to in their way ; which immediately checked you ; and from him you may be made acthem. Finding, from our disposition, that quainted with many other particulars. His they were surrounded, and that they must spirited behaviour upon every occasion reinevitably be cut to pieces if they made any quires me to recommend him to your parfurther resistance, they agreed to lay down ticular notice. their arms.
The number that submitted in I have the honour to be, etc., G. W. this manner was twenty-three officers and eight hundred and eighty-six men. Colonel
The Battle of PRINCETON. Rahl the commanding officer, and seven others, were found wounded in the town.
PLUCKEMIN, January 5, 1777. I do not exactly know how many they had TO THE PRESIDENT OF Congress. killed ;
but I fancy not above twenty or Sir, I have the honour to inform you thirty, as they never made any regular. that since the date of my last from Trenton, stand. Our loss is very trilling indeed, - I have removed with the army under my only two officers and one or two privates command to this place. The difficulty of wounded.
crossing the Delaware, on account of the ice, I find that the detachment consisted of made our passage over tedious, and gave the the three Hessian regiments of Lanspach, enemy an opportunity of drawing in their Kniphausen, and Rahl, amounting to about several cantonments, and assembling their fifteen hundred men, and a troop of British whole force at Princeton, Their large light horse: but immediately upon the be- piquets advanced towards Trenton,—their ginning of the attack, all those who were great preparations, and some intelligence I not killed or taken pushed directly down had received, --added to their knowledge towards Bordentown. These would like that the first of January brought on a dissowise have fallen into our hands could my lution of the best part of our army, -gave plan have been completely carried into exe- me the strongest reasons to conclude that an cution.
attack upon us was ineditating. Our situaGeneral Ewing was to have crossed before tion was most critical and our force small. day at Trenton ferry, and taken possession To remove immediately was again destroyof the bridge leading out of town: but the ing every dawn of hope which had begun to quantity of ice was so great that, though he revive in the breasts of the Jersey militia ; did every thing in his power to effect it, he and to bring those troops which had first could not get over. This difficulty also crossed the Delaware, and were lying at hindered General Cadwallader from crossing Crosswix's, under General Cadwallader, and with the Pennsylvania militia from Bristol. those under General Mifflin at Bordentown He got part of his foot over: but finding it (amounting in the whole to about three impossible to embark his artillery, he was thousand six hundred), to Trenton, was to obliged to desist.
bring them to an exposed place. One of the I am fully confident that, could the troops two, however, was unavoidable: the latter under Generals Ewing and Cadwallader have was preferred, and they were ordered to join passed the river, I should have been able, us at Trenton, which they did, by a night. with their assistance, to have driven the march, on the first instant. enemy from all their posts below Trenton. On the second, according to my expec But the numbers I had with me being in- tation, the enemy began to advance upon us. ferior to theirs below me, and a strong bat- and, after some skirmishing, the head of talion of light infantry being at Princeton their column reached Trenton about four above me, I thought it most prudent to re- o'clock, whilst their rear was as far back as turn the same evening with the prisoners Maidenhead. They attempted to pass
Sanand the artillery we had taken. We found pink Creek, which runs through Trenton, no stores of any consequence in the town. at different places; but finding the fords
In justice to the officers and men, I must guarded, halted and kindled their fires. add that their behaviour upon this occasion | We were drawn up on the other side of the reflects the highest honour upon them. The creek. In this situation we remained till difficulty of passing the river in a very dark, cannonading the enemy, and receiving