William Cowper (/'ku:[email protected]/[email protected]; November 26, 1731–April 25, 1800) was an English hymnodist and poet. Cowper, one of the most prominent poets of his day, influenced 18th-century nature poetry by writing about ordinary life and sights from the English countryside. His poems are characterized by their sensitivity to nature and love of children.
He was born in London but grew up in Olney, a town near Buckinghamshire. His father was a wealthy landowner and he had two sisters. When Cowper was eight years old, his father died and he and his mother moved to her family home at The Parsonage in Shrewsbury. Here he spent almost his entire adult life except for two years (1757–59) when he went to Cambridge University. During this time he developed his poetic talent by copying Latin and Greek verses out of ancient books. He also made some friends who would remain close friends until his death: George Herbert, John Milton, and Richard Steele were just a few of them.
When Cowper was 20 years old he returned to London where he worked as a clerk for the Inland Revenue Office. But he wasn't happy there so he looked for another job. This time he was hired by a friend of his mother's who ran a school in Chester. While working here he met many famous people such as Thomas Gray, Alexander Pope, and John Wesley.
1800 on April 25th Datamortii/William Cowper William Cowper (November 26, 1731, Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England—April 25, 1800, East Dereham, Norfolk), one of the most widely read English poets of his day, whose most distinctive work, such as The Task or the melodious short lyric "The Poplar Trees," brought a new directness to 18th-century...
He was born into a wealthy family and was educated at Cambridge University. After graduating with a degree in medicine he never practiced; instead, he traveled around Europe for several years. Upon returning home he set up house in London with his wife, who was also from a well-to-do family; she was a talented poet in her own right. They had three children.
Cowper died in poverty in East Dereham, Norfolk, England. He is now buried in the church of St. Mary's, near his wife and childer. Today, William Cowper's memory is kept alive by many people who know his poems.
His work has been popular ever since it was published in early editions of his poems. Today, his poems are included in school curricula throughout the world. Although he was only earning a modest living, he didn't want anyone to feel sorry for him so he didn't want any donations sent to him after his death. His wife and children were left in extreme poverty.
It wasn't until 1815 that another British poet was discovered.
In 1764, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and became well-known as a preacher and hymn writer, composing over 280 songs, including the famous "Amazing Grace," which originally appeared in the Olney Hymns, published by Newton and fellow writer William Cowper. William Walker later arranged it to the famous melody New Britain in 1835.
It is not known when or where Cowper first heard the gospel message, but it is believed that this experience led him to write "Amazing Grace." The poem was first published in 1771 in the Olney Hymns with the following preface: "These verses are intended for use of those who seek salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They are composed by Mr. Cowper, late minister of the Gospel in Olney Church, now living at Sunbury, near London."
In the poem, Cowper tells of his conversion story after being taken captive by pirates and how God saved him through his love interest, Jesus Christ.
The poem has become an important part of American history and culture. It has been cited by many writers and orators who have sought to express their feelings about Christianity. For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in 1841: "What can I give him who all things possesses?" In 1957, Pete Seeger included a version of the song on his album The Happy Side of Life.
William Paley (1743–1805), an English theologian and moral philosopher, authored writings in support of theism and Christianity that were very popular in the nineteenth century. He is regarded as one of the forefathers of the utilitarian tradition. In July 1743, William Paley was born in Peterborough. His father was a clergyman who later became bishop of Rochester. The younger Paley showed an early interest in literature and religion. At age 13, he wrote a book entitled Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy that was published in London in 1775. In 1766, at age twenty-one, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. While there, he developed his ideas on ethics and religion through discussion with other scholars. In 1769, he left Cambridge without taking a degree to become secretary to the British ambassador in Madrid. Back in England two years later, he began lecturing on moral philosophy at the Royal Academy of Science in London. In 1773, he married Mary Wilkinson. One year later, she died giving birth to their only child, a daughter.
These pieces argued against the existence of God based on reason alone. In 1790, he was appointed professor of natural theology at the new University of York. Two years later, he was elected president of Queens' College, Cambridge.