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hood, whose family had for some time studied to add to his comforts, in a manner the most delicate and affectionate. It is, indeed, not easy to speak of the conduct of Cowper's friends in terms adequate to their merit, their kindness, sensibility, anci judgment. Their attentions exceeded much what we read of, and perhaps all that we commonly meet with under the name of friendship. In the midst of these fair prospects, however, he lost his. steady and beloved friend Mr. Unwin, who died in December of this year.

The translation of Homer, after innumerable in. terruptions, was sent to press about November, 1790, and published in 1791, in two quarto volumes ; the Iliad he inscribed to Earl Cowper, his young kinsman, and the Odyssey to the dowager Lady Spencer. Such was its success with the subscri. bers and with non-subscribers, that the edition was nearly out of print in less than six months. Yet, after all the labour he had employed, and all the anxiety he felt for this work, it fell so short of the expectation formed by the public, and of the perfection which he hoped he had attained, that, instead of a second edition, he began, at no long distance of time, what may be termed a new translation. To himself, however, his first attempt had been of great advantage, nor were any number of his years spent in more general tranquillity, than the five which he had dedicated to Homer.

One of the greatest benefits he derived from his attention to this translation, was the renewed conviction that labour of this kind, although with intermissions, sometimes of relaxation, and sometimes of anxiety, was necessary to his health and happi. ness: and this conviction led him very soon to accede to a proposal made by his bookseller, to undertake a magnificent edition of Milton's poetical works, the beauties of which had engaged his wonder at a very early period of life. These he was

now to illustrate by notes, original and selected, and be was to translate the Latin and Italian poems, while Mr. Fuseli was to paint a series of pictures, to be engraven by the first artists. To this scheme (when yet in its infancy) the public are indebted for the friendship which Mr. Ilayley contracted with Cowper, and one of its happiest consequences, a specimen of biograpby, minute, elegant, and highly instructive.

The edition of Milton went on but slowly. A revisal of Homer presented itself in the mean time, as a more urgent, as well as pleasing undertaking, and from 1792 we find our author employed in correcting, re-writing, and adding notes. In 1793, he appears to have been solely occupied in these labours, and wished to engage Mr. Hayley with him in a regular and complete revisal of bis Homer. Mr. Hayley, with every inclination for an office so agreeable, and a partnership so honourable, still imagined that at this time he might render more essential service to the poet by an application to his more powerful friends. His delicate office was undertaken in consequence of what he had ob. served in Cowper on a late visit to Weston. “He possessed completely at this period,” says his biographer, "all the admirable faculties of his mind, and all the native tenderness of his heart; but there was something indescribable in his appearance, which led me to apprehend that, without some signal event in his favour, to re-animate his spirits, they would gradually sink into hopeless dejection. The state of his aged and infirm companion (Mrs. Unwin) afforded additional ground for increasing solicitude. Her cheerful and beneficent spirit could hardly resist her own accumulated maladies, so far as to preserve ability sufficient to watch over the tender health of him, whom she had watched and guarded so long Imbecility of body and mind must gradually render this tender and


heroic woman unfit for the charge which she had so laudably sustained. The signs of such imbecility were beginning to be painfully visible.”

For some time, however, the fears of Mr. Cow. per's affectionate friend, appeared to be groundless. His correspondence, after the departure of Mr. Hayley, in November, 1793, bespoke a mind considerably at ease, and even cheerful and active. From various circumstances, the scheme of publishing an edition of Milton appears to have been totally relinquished, and as his enthusiasm for this undertaking had abated, he expresses considerable satisfaction that he could devote the whole of his time to the improvement of his translation of Ho.

A new scheme, more suitable to his original talents, had been suggested in 1791, by the Rev. Mr. Buchannan, curate of Ravenstone, a man of worth and genius. This was a poem, to be entitled The Four Ages, or the four distinct periods of Infancy, Youth, Manhood, and Old Age. For some time our poet meditated with great satisfaction on this design, and probably revolved many of the subordinate subjects in his mind. It seems to have been peculiarly calculated for his powers of reflection, his knowledge of the human heart, and bis exquisite talent for depicting life and manners ; and it was intended likewise to unite the fascinations of the graphic art. Mr. Hayley has published a fragment of this work, imperfect as the author left it, but more than enough to make us regret that his situation and the situation of his aged companion, soon forbade all hopes of its being executed.

In January, 1794, he informed his friend, Mr. Rose, that he had just ability enough to transcribe, and that he wrote at that moment under the pressure of sadness not to be described. In the expressive language of his biographer, “his health, his comfort, and his little fortune, were perishing Vol. XXXYI.


deplorably.” Mrs. Unwin had passed into a state of second childhood, and something seemed wanting to cheer the mind of Cowper, if possible, against the prospect of decaying comforts and competence. Application was accordingly made to those who had it in their power to procure what so much merit must have dignified, a pension ; but many months elapsed before effectual attention could be obtained. What power refused, however, was in some degree performed by friendship. Lady Hesketh, with her accustomed benevolence of character, and with an affection of which the instances are very rare, removed to Weston, and became the tender nurse of the two drooping invalids; of Mrs. Unwin, who was declining by years and infirmities, and of Cowper, who, in April, 1794, relapsed into his worst state of mental' inquietude.

At this time, in consequence of a humane and judicious letter from the Rev. Mr. Greathead, of Newport Pagnell, Mr. Hayley paid a visit to this house of mourning, but found his poor friend “too much overwhelmed by his oppressive malady to show even the least glimmering of satisfaction at the appearance of a guest, whom he used to receive with the most lively expressions of affectionate delight.” In this deplorable state be continued during Mr. Hayley's visit of some weeks, and the only circumstance which contributed in any degree to cheer the hearts of the friends who were now watching over him, was the intelligence that the king had been pleased to confer upon him such a pension as would insure an honourable competence for his life. Earl Spencer was the immediate agent in procuring this favour, and it would no doubt have added to its value, had the object of it known that he was indebted to one, who, of all his noble friends, stood the highest in his esteem. But he was now, for the remainder of his unhappy

life, beyond the power of knowing or acknowledging the benevolence in which his heart would have delighted. Mr. Hayley left him for the last time, in the spring of 1794, and from that period till the latter end of July, 1795, Cowper remained in a state of the deepest melancholy.

His removal from Weston now appeared to his friends a necessary experiment, to try what change of air and of objects might produce: and his young kinsman, the Rev. Mr. Johnson, undertook to convey him and Mrs. Unwin from that place to North Tuddenham, in Norfolk, where they arrived in the beginning of August, 1795, and resided till the nineteenth. Of Cowper's state during this time, all that we are told is, that he exhibited some regret on leaving Weston, and some composure of mind during a conversation of which the poet Thomson was the subject. He was able to bear considerable exercise, and on one occasion walked with Mr. Johnson to the neighbouring village of Mattishall, on a visit to his cousin, Mrs. Bodham. “On surveying his own portrait by Abbot, in the house of that lady, he clasped his hands in a paroxysm of pain, and uttered a vehement wish, that his present sensations might be such as they were when that picture was painted.”

After a short residence at Tuddenham, Mr. Johnson conducted his two invalids to Mundsley, a village on the Norfolk coast, where they continued till October, but without deriving any apparent benefit from the sea air. Some calm recollection of past scenes, however, returned enough to prompt him to write a letter to Mr. Buchannan, inquiring after matters at Wes on. But this was almost the last of his correspondence. In October, Mr. Johnson removed him and Mrs. Unwin to Deerham, which they left in November for Dunbam Lodge, a house situated on high ground, in a park about foyr miles from Swaffam.

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