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Best Famous William Cowper Poems

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by William Cowper | |

Wisdom

 This I say, and this I know:
Love has seen the last of me.
Love's a trodden lane to woe, Love's a path to misery.
This I know, and knew before, This I tell you, of my years: Hide your heart, and lock your door.
Hell's afloat in lovers' tears.
Give your heart, and toss and moan; What a pretty fool you look! I am sage, who sit alone; Here's my wool, and here's my book.
Look! A lad's a-waiting there, Tall he is and bold, and gay.
What the devil do I care What I know, and what I say?


by William Cowper | |

O Lord I Will Praise Thee

 (Isaiah, xii.
1) I will praise Thee every day Now Thine anger's turn'd away; Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding sacrifice.
Here, in the fair gospel-field, Wells of free salvation yield Stream of life, a plenteous store, And my soul shall thirst no more.
Jesus is become at length My salvation and my strength; And His praises shall prolong, While I live, my pleasant song.
Praise ye, then, His glorious name, Publish His exalted fame! Still His worth your praise exceeds; Excellent are all His deeds.
Raise again the joyful sound.
Let the nations roll it round! Zion, shout! for this is He; God the Saviour dwells in thee.


by William Cowper | |

The Narrow Way

 What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when 'tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.
A thousand ways in ruin end, One only leads to joys on high; By that my willing steps ascend, Pleased with a journey to the sky.
No more I ask or hope to find Delight or happiness below; Sorrow may well possess the mind That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.
The joy that fades is not for me, I seek immortal joys above; There glory without end shall be The bright reward of faith and love.
Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms, Contented lick your native dust! But God shall fight with all his storms, Against the idol of your trust.


by William Cowper | |

On the Death of a Minister

 His master taken from his head,
Elisha saw him go;
And in desponding accents said,
"Ah, what must Israel do?"

But he forgot the Lord who lifts
The beggar to the throne;
Nor knew that all Elijah's gifts
Would soon be made his own.
What! when a Paul has run his course, Or when Apollos dies, Is Israel left without resource, And have we no supplies? Yes, while the dear Redeemer lives, We have a boundless store, And shall be fed with what He gives, Who lives for evermore.


by William Cowper | |

Retirement

 Far from the world, O Lord, I flee,
From strife and tumult far;
From scenes where Satan wages still
His most successful war.
The calm retreat, the silent shade, With prayer and praise agree; And seem, by Thy sweet bounty made, For those who follow Thee.
There if Thy Spirit touch the soul, And grace her mean abode, Oh, with what peace, and joy, and love, She communes with her God! There like the nightingale she pours Her solitary lays; Nor asks a witness of her song, Nor thirsts for human praise.
Author and Guardian of my life, Sweet source of light Divine, And, -- all harmonious names in one, -- My Saviour! Thou art mine.
What thanks I owe Thee, and what love, A boundless, endless store, Shall echo through the realms above, When time shall be no more.


by William Cowper | |

Hatred and vengeance my eternal portion

 Hatred and vengeance, my eternal portion,
Scarce can endure delay of execution,
Wait, with impatient readiness, to seize my
Soul in a moment.
Damned below Judas:more abhorred than he was, Who for a few pence sold his holy Master.
Twice betrayed Jesus me, this last delinquent, Deems the profanest.
Man disavows, and Deity disowns me: Hell might afford my miseries a shelter; Therefore hell keeps her ever hungry mouths all Bolted against me.
Hard lot! encompassed with a thousand dangers; Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors; I'm called, if vanquished, to receive a sentence Worse than Abiram's.
Him the vindictive rod of angry justice Sent quick and howling to the center headlong; I, fed with judgment, in a fleshly tomb, am Buried above ground.


by William Cowper | |

God Moves In A Mysterious Way

 God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan his work in vain; God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.


by William Cowper | |

Lines Written During A Period Of Insanity

 Hatred and vengence—my eternal portion
Scarce can endure delay of execution— 
Wait with impatient readiness to seize my
Soul in a moment.
Damned below Judas; more abhorred than he was, Who for a few pence sold his holy Master! Twice betrayed, Jesus me, the last delinquent, Deems the profanest.
Man disavows, and Deity disowns me: Hell might afford my miseries a shelter; Therefore Hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all Bolted against me.
Hard lot! encompassed with a thousand dangers; Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors, I'm called, if vanquished, to receive a sentence Worse than Abiram's.
Him the vindictive rod of angry Justice Sent quick and howling to the centre headlong; I, fed with judgment, in a fleshy tomb am Buried above ground.


by William Cowper | |

Hatred of Sin

 Holy Lord God! I love Thy truth,
Nor dare Thy least commandment slight;
Yet pierced by sin the serpent's tooth,
I mourn the anguish of the bite.
But though the poison lurks within, Hope bids me still with patience wait; Till death shall set me free from sin, Free from the only thing I hate.
Had I a throne above the rest, Where angels and archangels dwell, One sin, unslain, within my breast, Would make that heaven as dark as hell.
The prisoner sent to breathe fresh air, And blest with liberty again, Would mourn were he condemn'd to wear One link of all his former chain.
But, oh! no foe invades the bliss, When glory crowns the Christian's head; One look at Jesus as He is Will strike all sin forever dead.


by William Cowper | |

The Christian

 Honor and happiness unite
To make the Christian's name a praise;
How fair the scene, how clear the light,
That fills the remnant of His days!

A kingly character He bears,
No change His priestly office knows;
Unfading is the crown He wears,
His joys can never reach a close.
Adorn'd with glory from on high, Salvation shines upon His face; His robe is of the ethereal dye, His steps are dignity and grace.
Inferior honors He disdains, Nor stoops to take applause from earth; The King of kings Himself maintains The expenses of His heavenly birth.
The noblest creature seen below, Ordain'd to fill a throne above; God gives him all He can bestow, His kingdom of eternal love! My soul is ravished at the thought! Methinks from earth I see Him rise! Angels congratulate His lot, And shout Him welcome to the skies.


by William Cowper | |

Prayer for Patience

 Lord, who hast suffer'd all for me,
My peace and pardon to procure,
The lighter cross I bear for Thee,
Help me with patience to endure.
The storm of loud repining hush; I would in humble silence mourn; Why should the unburnt, though burning bush, Be angry as the crackling thorn? Man should not faint at Thy rebuke, Like Joshua falling on his face, When the cursed thing that Achan took Brought Israel into just disgrace.
Perhaps some golden wedge suppress'd, Some secret sin offends my God; Perhaps that Babylonish vest, Self-righteousness, provokes the rod.
Ah! were I buffeted all day, Mock'd, crown'd with thorns and spit upon, I yet should have no right to say, My great distress is mine alone.
Let me not angrily declare No pain was ever sharp like mine, Nor murmur at the cross I bear, But rather weep, remembering Thine.


by William Cowper | |

Prayer for Children

 Gracious Lord, our children see,
By Thy mercy we are free;
But shall these, alas! remain
Subjects still of Satan's reign?
Israel's young ones, when of old
Pharaoh threaten'd to withhold,
Then Thy messenger said, "No;
Let the children also go!"

When the angel of the Lord,
Drawing forth his dreadful sword,
Slew with an avenging hand,
All the first-born of the land;
Then Thy people's door he pass'd,
Where the bloody sign was placed:
Hear us, now, upon our knees,
Plead the blood of Christ for these!

Lord, we tremble, for we know
How the fierce malicious foe,
Wheeling round his watchful flight,
Keeps them ever in his sight:
Spread Thy pinions, King of kings!
Hide them safe beneath Thy wings;
Lest the ravenous bird of prey
Stoop and bear the brood away.


by William Cowper | |

The Poplar Field

 The poplars are felled, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade:
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.
Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew, And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.
The blackbird has fled to another retreat Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat; And the scene where his melody charmed me before Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
My fugitive years are all hasting away, And I must ere long lie as lowly as they, With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head, Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can, To muse on the perishing pleasures of man; Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see, Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.


by William Cowper | |

Mourning and Longing

 The Saviour hides His face;
My spirit thirsts to prove
Renew'd supplies of pardoning grace,
And never-fading love.
The favor'd souls who know What glories shine in Him, Pant for His presence as the roe Pants for the living stream.
What trifles tease me now! They swarm like summer flies! They cleave to everything I do, And swim before my eyes.
How dull the Sabbath day, Without the Sabbath's Lord! How toilsome then to sing and pray, And wait upon the Word! Of all the truths I hear, How few delight my taste! I glean a berry here and there, But mourn the vintage past.
Yet let me (as I ought) Still hope to be supplied; No pleasure else is worth a thought, Nor shall I be denied.
Though I am but a worm, Unworthy of His care, The Lord will my desire perform, And grant me all my prayer.


by William Cowper | |

Jehovah-Nissi. The Lord My Banner

 (Exodus, xvii.
15) By whom was David taught To aim the deadly blow, When he Goliath fought, And laid the Gittite low? Nor sword nor spear the stripling took, But chose a pebble from the brook.
'Twas Israel's God and King Who sent him to the fight; Who gave him strength to sling, And skill to aim aright.
Ye feeble saints, your strength endures, Because young David's God is yours.
Who order'd Gideon forth, To storm the invaders' camp.
With arms of little worth, A pitcher and a lamp? The trumpets made his coming known And all the host was overthrown.
Oh! I have seen the day, When with a single word, God helping me to say, "My trust is in the Lord," My soul hath quell'd a thousand foes Fearless of all that could oppose.
But unbelief, self-will, Self-righteousness, and pride, How often do they steal My weapon from my side! Yet David's Lord, and Gideon's friend, Will help his servant to the end.


by William Cowper | |

Temptation

 The billows swell, the winds are high,
Clouds overcast my wintry sky;
Out of the depths to Thee I call, --
My fears are great, my strength is small.
O Lord, the pilot's part perform, And guard and guide me through the storm; Defend me from each threatening ill, Control the waves, -- say, "Peace! be still.
" Amidst the roaring of the sea My soul still hangs her hope on Thee; Thy constant love, thy faithful care, Is all that saves me from despair.
Dangers of every shape and name Attend the followers of the Lamb, Who leave the world's deceitful shore, And leave it to return no more.
Though tempest-toss'd and half a wreck, My Saviour through the floods I seek; Let neither winds nor stormy main Force back my shatter'd bark again.


by William Cowper | |

Wisdom

 (Proverbs, viii.
22-31) "Ere God had built the mountains, Or raised the fruitful hills; Before he fill'd the fountains That feed the running rills; In me from everlasting, The wonderful I am, Found pleasures never wasting, And Wisdom is my name.
"When, like a tent to dwell in, He spread the skies abroad, And swathed about the swelling Of Ocean's mighty flood; He wrought by weight and measure, And I was with Him then: Myself the Father's pleasure, And mine, the sons of men.
" Thus Wisdom's words discover Thy glory and Thy grace, Thou everlasting lover Of our unworthy race! Thy gracious eye survey'd us Ere stars were seen above; In wisdom thou hast made us, And died for us in love.
And couldst thou be delighted With creatures such as we, Who, when we saw Thee, slighted, And nail'd Thee to a tree? Unfathomable wonder, And mystery divine! The voice that speaks in thunder, Says, "Sinner, I am thine!"


by William Cowper | |

Walking With God

 (Genesis, v.
24) Oh! for a closer walk with God, A calm and heavenly frame; A light to shine upon the road That leads me to the Lamb! Where is the blessedness I knew When first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul-refershing view Of Jesus and his word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void, The world can never fill.
Return, O holy Dove, return! Sweet the messenger of rest! I hate the sins that made thee mourn And drove thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known, Whate'er that idol be, Help me to tear it from thy throne, And worship only thee.
So shall my walk be close with God, Calm and serene my frame; So purer light shall mark the road That leads me to the Lamb.


by William Cowper | |

Light Shining out of Darkness

 God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His work in vain: God is His own interpreter, And he will make it plain.


by William Cowper | |

The Waiting Soul

 Breathe from the gentle south, O Lord,
And cheer me from the north;
Blow on the treasures of thy word,
And call the spices forth!

I wish, Thou knowest, to be resign'd,
And wait with patient hope;
But hope delay'd fatigues the mind,
And drinks the spirits up.
Help me to reach the distant goal; Confirm my feeble knee; Pity the sickness of a soul That faints for love of Thee! Cold as I feel this heart of mine, Yet, since I feel it so, It yields some hope of life divine Within, however low.
I seem forsaken and alone, I hear the lion roar; And every door is shut but one, And that is Mercy's door.
There, till the dear Deliverer come, I'll wait with humble prayer; And when He calls His exile home, The Lord shall find him there.