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My native nook of earth'! Thy clime is rude,
N the course of our biographical labours, it has
fallen to our lot to delineate a vast variety of cha racters. We have seen the statesman holding the reins of empire, the divine expatiating on subjects of the highest importance, and the literary man devising his schemes and executing his purposes for the instruction and entertainment of mankind. We are now, howa ever, called to contemplate a very singular phenome
Mr. Cowper possessed excellent talents was blessed with the most flattering connections-and yet was subject to the greatest evil that can afflict humanity. His history, indeed, imparts lessons of improve ment-it affords the strongest incentives for caution and humility.
WILLIAM COWPER, Esq. was born at Berkhamstead, in the county of Herts, about the year 1730, and his family had been long distinguished, both for
their talents and virtues, having attained to the g est respectability. Lord Chancellor Cowper was of his ancestors—by the remove of only three generations. His celebrity is well known to every intelligent lover of his country. The father of our poet held the living of Berkhamstead and appears to have been a man of amiable manners and strict integrity. The mother died at an early period—a circumstance which her son lamented in strains of affecting sensibility. Gray, the author of the Elegy in a Country ChurchYard, was similarly circumstanced-and displayed similar tokens of filial affection. These traits of feeling, on so tender an occasion, reflect great credit on their memory
Mr. Cowper, at the usual age, was sent to Westminster school, where he made an astonishing progress in his classical studies. How long he continued at this famous seminary we cannot tell, but certain it is, that the bustle of a public-school was ill suited to the modesty of his disposition. Whether he was disgusted with the overbearing conduct of the elder scholars, or whether he thought such a situation injurious to moral improvement, it is not in our power to say but he, from that period, conceived a dislike to almost every kind of publicity. In consequence of this prejudice, he never visited college and in other ways. supplied the defect of his education. His aversion to large schools, which he acquired during his stay at Westminster, is thus pointedly marked in the conclua sión of his Tirocinium, or Review of Schools,
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
Unless the world were all prepar'd to embrace
Mr. C. is by no means singular in his sentiments on this subject. Other writers on cducation, have expressed themselves equally strong respecting the tendency of large public seminaries—where the attention of the master cannot be great, and where exist the strongest temptations to the violation of morality.
When Mr. C. reached maturity-having previousiy entered himself at the Temple, by way of preparation he was appointed clerk to the house of lords. With the particular duties of this office we are unacquainted. However, we are informed, that it requires at least an occasional appearance before the housc—and this proved an insurmountable objection. Overpowered with this circumstance, he became extremely miserable, and, it is said, even attempted to put an end to his existence. So acute were bis feclings--so violent his sensations on this occasion. From this time, hav. ing relinquished his situation, he sought and couried the shade of privacy. The melancholy, however, of his temper, was by no means removed. The same sombrous hue continued to darken his prospects of futurity.
About this period he became more particularly intimate with the late Mr. Madan, of the Luck Hospi. tal, from whom he imbibed the principles of Methodism, and which were intended to soothe the perturbed state of his mind. For a time he was betterand gave way to emotions of joy. This cheerful interval was of short continuanca---he relapsed into his usual state of melancholy~which remained, in a less or greater degree, through life. Indeed, his was a most pitiable case-it is impossible that we can read the particulars of his indisposition, without the sinccrest commiseration. He cherished the idea that he was forsaken by his Creator though he was admired for
the purity of his morals, and the steadiness of his in-
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Look, where he comes-in this embower'd alcove,
The reader, though he cannot fail of commiserating the condition of our poet, yet will be surprised to find that, amidst all this distress, he applied to his literary studies with uncommon avidity. In his lucid intervals hc composed his Task, and other poems, with which the public has been so greatly and justly deligbred. We forbear to enter into the merits of this charming