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“ For nearly twelve years we were seldom " separated for seven hours at a time, when we “ were awake, and at home:—The first six I « passed in daily admiring, and aiming to imi6 tate him: during the second six, I walked “pensively with him in the valley of the sha“ dow of death."
Mr. Newton records, with a becoming satisfaction, the evangelical charity of his friend: “ He loved the poor,” says his devout memorialist: “ He often visited them in their cot“tages, conversed with them in the most con“descending manner, sympathized with them, “ counselled and comforted them in their dis“ tresses; and those, who were seriously dis66 posed, were often cheered and animated by “ his prayers!” After the removal of Mr. Newton to London, and the departure of Lady Aus. ten, Olney had no particular attractions for Cowper; and Lady Hesketh was happy in promoting the project, which had occurred to him, of removing, with Mrs. Unwin, to the near and pleasant village of Weston. A scene highly favorable to his health and amusement! For, with a very comfortable mansion, it afforded him a garden, and a field of considerable extent, which he delighted to cultivate and embellish. With these he had advantages still more desirableeasy, perpetual access to the spacious and tran
quil pleasure grounds of his accomplished and benevolent landlord, Mr. Throckmorton, whose neighbouring house supplied him with society, peculiarly suited to his gentle and delicate spirit.
He removed from Olney to Weston in November 1786. The course of his life, in his new situation, (the spot most pleasing to his fancy!) will be best described by the subsequent series of his letters to that amiable relation, to whom he considered himself as chiefly indebted for this improvement in his domestic scenery. With these I shall occasionally connect a selection of his letters to other friends, and particularly the letters addressed to one of his most intimate correspondents, who happily commenced an acquaintance with the poet, in the beginning of the year 1787. I add, with pleasure, the name of Mr. Rose, the barrister, whose friendship I was so fortunate as to share, by meeting him at Weston, in a subsequent period; and whom I instantly learnt to regard, by finding that he held very justly a place of the most desirable distinction in the heart of Cowper.
TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.
Olney, June 19, 1786
My dear Cousin's arrival has, as it could not fail to do, made us happier than we ever were at Olney. Her great kindness in giving us her company is a cordial, that I shall feel the effect of not only while she is here, but while I live.
Olney will not be much longer the place of our habitation. At a village, two miles distant, we have hired a house of Mr. Throckmorton, a much better than we occupy at present, and yet not more expensive. It is situated very near to our most agreeable landlord, and his agreeable pleasure grounds. In him, and in his wife, we shall find such companions as will always make the time pass pleasantly while they are in the country, and his grounds will afford us good air, and good walking room in the winter; two advantages which we have not enjoyed at Olney, where I have no neighbour with whom I can converse, and where, seven months in the year, I have been imprisoned by dirty and impassable ways, till both my health, and Mrs. Unwin's, have suffered materially.
Homer is ever importunate, and will not : suffer me to spend half the time with my distant friends, that I would gladly give them.
· W. C.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM UNWIN.
MY DEAR WILLIAM,
Olney, July 3, 1786.
After a long silence I begin again. A day given to my friends, is a day taken from Homer, but to such an interruption, now and then occurring, I have no objection. Lady Hesketh is, as you observe, arrived, and has been with us near a fortnight. She pleases every body, and is pleased in her turn with every thing she finds at Olney; is always cheerful, and sweet-tempered, and knows no pleasure equal to that of communicating pleasure to us, and to all around her. This disposition in her is the more comfortable, because it is not the humour of the day, a sudden flash of benevolence and good-spirits, occasioned merely by a change of scene, but it is her natural turn, and
has governed all her conduct ever since I knew her first. We are consequently happy in her society, and shall be happier still to have you partake with us in our joy. I am fond of the sound of bells, but was never more pleased with those of Olney, than when they rang her into her new habitation. It is a compliment that our performers upon those instruments have never paid to any other personage (Lord Dartmouth excepted) since we knew the town. In short; she is, as she ever was, my pride and my joy, and I am delighted with every thing that means to do her honor. Her first appearance was too much for me; my spirits, instead of being gently raised, as I had inadvertently supposed they would be, broke down with me, under the pressure of too much joy, and left me flat, or rather melancholy, throughout the day, to a degree that was mortifying to myself, and alarming to her. But I have made amends for, this failure since, and in point of cheerfulness have far exceeded her expectations, for she knew that sable had been my suit for many years.
And now I shall communicate news, that I will give you pleasure. When you first con, templated the front of our abode, you were shocked. . In your eyes it had the appearance of a prison, and you sighed at the thought, that your Mother lived in it. Your view of it was