[Page 351]

[ed.] "John Newton (1725–1807), after starting life as a slave-trader, had left the sea and discovered a vocation to the priesthood. In the face of great difficulty he educated himself in theology, and in 1764 found a bishop willing to ordain him despite his evangelical views. He immediately became curate of Olney, under the Earl of Dartmouth's patronage. His force of character, his boldness, and his ready pen quickly made him a leader of the Evangelical party, a position which he retained for more than thirty years. Cowper, so close in faith, so different in nature, became his devoted friend. Newton, for his part, was deeply attached to Cowper, but many have doubted whether he gave adequate consideration to Cowper's sensitivities. He persuaded Cowper, always fearful of public appearances, to take part in large prayer meetings and religious discussions. He urged Cowper to compose hymns for their joint collection." (Baird/Ryskamp [1980-95], vol. 1, xvi.) (AH)

An Invitation into the Country.

1 THE swallows in their torpid state,
2 Compose their useless wing,
3 And bees in hives as idly wait
4 The call of early spring.
5 The keenest frost that binds the stream,
6 The wildest wind that blows,
7 Are neither felt nor fear'd by them,
8 Secure of their repose.
9 But man all feeling and awake
10 The gloomy scene surveys,
11 With present ills his heart must ach,
12 And pant for brighter days.
[Page 352]
13 Old winter halting o'er the mead,
14 Bids me and Mary mourn,
15 But lovely spring peeps o'er his head,
16 And whispers your return.
17 Then April with her sister May,
18 Shall chase him from the bow'rs,
19 And weave fresh garlands ev'ry day,
20 To crown the smiling hours.
21 And if a tear that speaks regret
22 Of happier times appear,
23 A glimpse of joy that we have met
24 Shall shine, and dry the tear.


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Title (in Source Edition): To the REV. MR. NEWTON. An Invitation into the Country.
Themes: friendship
Genres: address

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Source edition

Cowper, William, 1731-1800. Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. London: printed for J. Johnson, 1782, pp. 351-352. [4],367,[1]p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T14895; OTA K027775.000) (Page images digitized by the University of California Libraries.)

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