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... .! bu i got } }, of many poets, whose memories have suffered from some biographers of a very different description, we may wish that the extensive series of poetical biography had been frequently enriched by the memoirs of such remembrancers, as feel only the influence of tenderness and truth. Some poets indeed of recent times have been happy in this most desirable advantage. The Scottish favourite of nature, the tender and impetuous Burns, has found in Dr. Currie, an ingenuous, eloquent, affectionate biographer; and in a lady also (whose memoir of her friend, the bard, is very properly annexed to his life) a zealous and graceful advocate, singularly happy in vindicating his character from invidious detraction. We may observe, to the honour of Scotland, that her national enthusiasm has for some years been very laudably exerted in cherishing the memory of her departed poets. But to return to the lady,who gave rise to this

remark! The natural diffidence of her sex, úníting with extreme delicacy of health, induced her" (eager as she is to promote the Čelebrity of her deceased relation) to shrink from the idea of submitting herself, as an author, to the formidable eye of the publićk. Her knowledge of the very cordial regard with which Cowper has honoured me, as one of his most confidential friends, led her to request, that she might assign to me that arduous office, which she candidly confessed she had not the resolution to assume. She confided to my care, such materials for the work in question, as her affinity to the deceased had thrown into her hands. In rė. ceiving a collection of many private letters, and of several posthumous little poems, in the well known characters of that beloved correspondent, at the sight of whose hand I have often exulted, I felt the blended emotions of melancholy regret, and of awful

pleasure! Yes; I was pleased that these af

because some incidents induce me to believe, that if their revered author had been solicited to appoint a biographer for himself, he would have assigned to me this honourable task : Yet honourable as I considered it, I was perfectly aware of the difficulties, and the dangers attending it: One danger indeed appeared to me of such a nature, as to re.quire perpetual caution, as I advanced : I mean the danger of being led, in writing as the biographer of my friend, to speak infinitely too much of myself. To avoid the offensive failing of egotism, I had resolved at first to make no inconsiderable sacrifice; and to suppress in his Letters every particle of praise bestowed upon myself. . I soon found it impossible to do so without injuring the tender and generous spirit of my friend. I have therefore suffered many expressions

of his affectionate partiality towards me to appear, at the hazard of being censured for inordinate vanity.—To obviate such a censure, I will only say, that I have endeavoured to execute what I regard as a mournful duty, as if I were under the immediate and visible direction of the most pure, the most truly modest, and the most gracefully virtuous mind, that I had ever the happiness of knowing in the form of a manly friend. It is certainly my wish that these Volumes may obtain the entire approbation of the world, but it is infinitely more my desire and ambition to render them exactly such, as I think most likely to gratify the conscious spirit of Cowper himself, in a superior existence. The person who recommended it to his female relation to continue her exemplary regard to the poet by appearing as his biographer, advised her to relate the particulars of his life in the form of Letters addressed to your Lordship:—He cited, on the oc: casion, a striking passage from the Memoirs of Gibbon, in which that great historian pays a just and a splendid compliment to one of the early English poets, who, in the tenderness, and purity of his heart, and in the vivid powers of description, may be thought to resemble Cowper.-The passage I allude to is this ;- The nobility of the Spencers “ has been illustrated and enriched by the " trophies of Marlborough, but I exhort' of them to consider the Fairy Queen as the se most precious jewel of their coronet.” If this lively metaphor is just in every point of view, we máy regard The Task as a jewel of pre-eminent lustre in the coronet belonging to the noble family of Cowper. Under the influence of this idea allow me, my Lord, to address to you such Memoirs of your admirable relation, as my own intimacy with him, and the kindness of those, who knew and

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