Having previously suffered neglect as a result of Pope's dominance of the period, William Cowper (1731-1800) has now become a far more important figure in eighteenth-century literature. Following the successful format of the series, Professor Sambrook's edition consists of a comprehensive, contextual editor's introduction together with substantial annotation on the page. The Task (1785) is the principal text discussed together with a selection of Cowper's other poems which cover a wide range of his subjects, moods and styles.
PART 1: Cowper's early life and writings Madness, salvation and Mary Unwin; John Newton and "Olney Hymns"; madness and reprobation; recovery - occasional poems and letters; moral satires; Lady Austen and light verse; "The Task" - a poem of composite order; "The Task" - idyllium and georgio; "The Task" - philosophical satire; "The Task" - baptized philosophy; Lady Hesketh and the Homer translation; last years; Cowper's place PART 2: Early poems On Finding the Heel of a Shoe; "Delia, Th'unkindest Girl on Earth"; song - "No More Shall Hapless Celia's Ears"; Epistle to Robert Lloyd; "Doom'd, As I Am, In Solitude to Waste"; "Hatred and Vengeance, My Eternal Portion" PART 3: Olney Hymns Walking with God; Lovest Thou Me?; Praise for the Fountain Opened; Jehovah our Righteousness; I will Praise the Lord at all Times; Light Shining Out of Darkness PART 4: Poems (1782) The Progress of Error (lines 369-416); Truth (lines 131-64); Expostulation (lines 272-389); Hope (lines 663-771); Conversation (505-604); Retirement (365-480); Verses supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk; Boadicea - an ode PART 5: Later poems The Diverting History of John Gilpin; The Colubriad; On the Loss of the Royal George; Epitaph on a Hare; Sweet Meat has Sour Sauce; On The Death of Mrs Throckmorton's Bulfinch; On the Recepit of my Mother's Picture out of Norfolk; Yardley Oak; To Mary; The Cast-away PART 6 Translation of Homer "Iliad" I, 1-8; "Iliad" XII, 336-97; "Odyssey" VII, 134-62.