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My correspondence with Hayley proceeds briskly, and is very affectionate on both sides. I expect him here in about a fortnight, and wish heartily, with Mrs. Unwin, that you would give him a meeting. I have promised him, indeed, that he shall find us alone, but you are one of the family.
I wish much to print the following lines in one of the daily papers. Lord S.'s vindication of the poor culprit” in the affair of Cheit Sing, has confirmed me in the belief that he has been injuriously treated, and I think it an act merely of justice to take a little notice of him.
TO WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.
ON READING HIS SONNET OF THE SIXTEENTH INSTANT ADDRESSED TO MR. WILBER FORCE.
Desert the cause of liberty!—the cause
As soon the foes of Afric might expect The altar's blaze, forgetful of the law Of its aspiring nature, should direct To hell its point inverted ; as to draw Virtue like thine, and genius, grovelling base, To sanction wrong, and dignify disgrace. Welcome detection 1 grateful to the Cause, As to its Patron, Cowper's just applause ! S. M'CLELLAN. April 25, 1792. * Warren Hastings, at that time under impeachment, as Governor General of India.
TO WARREN HASTINGS, ESQ.
BY AN OLD SCHOOL-FELLOW OF HIS AT WESTMINSTER.
Hastings! I knew thee young, and of a mind
If thou wilt take the pains to send them to thy news-monger, I hope thou wilt do well. Adieu!
TO JOHN JOHNSON, ESQ.
Weston, May 20, 1792. My dearest of all Johnnies-I am not sorry that your ordination is postponed. A year's learning and wisdom, added to your present stock, will not be more than enough to satisfy the demands of your function. Neither am I
find it difficult to fix your thoughts to the serious point at all times. It proves, at least, that you attempt, and wish to do it, and these are good symptoms. Woe to those who enter on the ministry of the gospel without having previously asked, at least from God, a mind and spirit suited to their occupation, and whose experience never differs from itself, because they are always alike vain, light, and inconsiderate. It is, therefore, matter of great joy to me to hear you complain of levity, and such it is to Mrs. Unwin. She is, I thank God, tolerably well, and loves you.
As to the time of your journey hither, the sooner after June the better; till then we shall have company. I forget not my debts to your dear sister, and your Aunt Balls. Greet them both with a brother's kiss, and place it to my account. I will write to them when Milton, and a thousand other engagements will give me leave. Mr. Hayley is here on a visit. We have formed a friendship that I trust will last for life, and render us an edifying example to all future poets. Adieu ! Lose no time in coming after the time
mentioned. W. C.
The reader is informed, by the close of the last letter, that Hayley was at this time the guest of Cowper. The meeting, so singularly produced, was a source of reciprocal delight; and each looked cheerfully forward to the unclouded enjoyment of many social and literary hours.
Hayley's account of this visit is too interesting, not to be recorded in his own words.
“My host, though now in his sixty-first year, appeared as happily exempt from all the infirmities of advanced life, as friendship could wish him to be; and his more elderly companion, not materially oppressed by age, discovered a benevolent alertness of character that seemed to promise a continuance of their domestic comfort. Their reception of me was kindness itself:-I was enchanted to find that the manners and conversation of Cowper resembled his
poetry, charming by unaffected elegance, and the graces of a benevolent spirit. I looked with affectionate veneration and pleasure on the lady, who, having devoted her life and fortune to the service of this tender and sublime genius, in watching over him with maternal vigilance through many years of the darkest calamity, appeared to be now enjoying a reward justly due to the noblest exertions of friendship, in contemplating the health and the renown of the poet, whom she had the happiness to preserve.
“It seemed hardly possible to survey human nature in a more touching and a more satisfactory point of view. Their tender attention to each other, their simple devout gratitude for the mercies which they had experienced together, and their constant, but unaffected propensity to impress on the mind and heart of a new friend the deep sense which they incessantly felt of their mutual obligations to each other, afforded me a very singular gratification; which my reader will conceive the more forcibly, when he has perused the following exquisite sonnet, addressed by Cowper to Mrs. Unwin.
Mary! I want a lyre with other strings;
But thou hast little need : There is a book,
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
“The delight that I derived from a perfect view of the virtues, the talents, and the present domestic enjoyments of Cowper, was suddenly overcast by the darkest and most painful anxiety. “After passing our mornings in social study, we usually walked out together at noon. In returning from one of our rambles around the pleasant village of Weston, we were met by Mr. Greatheed, an accomplished minister of the gospel, who resides at Newport-Pagnel, and whom Cowper described to me in terms of cordial esteem. “He came forth to meet us as we drew near the house, and it was soon visible from his countenance and manner that he had ill news to impart. After the most tender preparation that humanity could devise, he acquainted Cowper that Mrs. Unwin was under the immediate pressure of a paralytic attack. “My agitated friend rushed to the sight of the sufferer; –he returned to me in a state that alarmed me in the highest degree for his faculties;–his first speech to me was wild in the extreme ;-my answer would appear little less so ; but it was addressed to the predominant fancy of my unhappy friend, and, with the blessing of Heaven, it produced an instantaneous calm in his troubled mind.