HAPPY BIRTHDAY – William Cowper, born 26 November 1731
“The good we never miss we rarely prize.”
William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) is remembered today mainly by people who love the writings of Jane Austen, because he was one of her favourite poets. He was hugely popular in the 18thC and wrote about everyday life and people in the English countryside, but he was also deeply religious and the evangelical nature of his poems has dated them for the modern reader. Most people will know his lines
“God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform”
but most of Cowper’s work has sunk from sight.
Jane Austen quotes Cowper in Mansfield Park and Emma, and often refers to his works in her letters. I must admit I find it rather hard to see what it was she so admired in Cowper!
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