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Cowper, William, 1731-1800 (poet)



William Cowper (1731-1800), poet, was born at Great Berkhampstead on 15 November 1731, the son of John Cowper, D.D., and Anne, daughter of Roger Donne of Ludham Hall, Norfolk. He was educated at Westminster School, before spending three years articled to a solicitor. He entered Middle Temple in 1748, and was called to the bar in 1754, becoming a commissioner of bankrupts in 1759. As a result of his declining mental health, Cowper was taken to a private house at St Albans for treatment in December 1763. After his recovery, he resigned his commissionership of bankruptcy. He removed to Huntingdon in 1765, where he befriended John Newton, vicar of Olney, whom he assisted in his parish duties. Cowper suffered from a fresh bout of mania in 1773, but recovered to devote himself to literary work. A volume of his poems was published in 1782, and the publication of the Task in 1785 won him popular acclaim. As well as producing other volumes of poems, Cowper's translation of Homer's Iliad was published in 1791, and he edited an edition of Milton, which included his translations of Latin and Italian poems. He died on 25 April 1800.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:


John Johnson: Diary Transcripts on William Cowper

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8465
Dates: 1825 (Circa)

John Johnson: Pro et Contra

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.5993
Dates: 1917 (Circa)

William Cowper: Notes on Dreams

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.6755
Dates: 1797-1799

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