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Best Famous William Cowper Poems

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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 |

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 |

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 |

The Castaway

 Obscurest night involv'd the sky,
Th' Atlantic billows roar'd,
When such a destin'd wretch as I,
Wash'd headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,
His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast Than he with whom he went, Nor ever ship left Albion's coast, With warmer wishes sent.
He lov'd them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brine, Expert to swim, he lay; Nor soon he felt his strength decline, Or courage die away; But wag'd with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
He shouted: nor his friends had fail'd To check the vessel's course, But so the furious blast prevail'd, That, pitiless perforce, They left their outcast mate behind, And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford; And, such as storms allow, The cask, the coop, the floated cord, Delay'd not to bestow.
But he (they knew) nor ship, nor shore, Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seem'd, could he Their haste himself condemn, Aware that flight, in such a sea, Alone could rescue them; Yet bitter felt it still to die Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour In ocean, self-upheld; And so long he, with unspent pow'r, His destiny repell'd; And ever, as the minutes flew, Entreated help, or cried--Adieu! At length, his transient respite past, His comrades, who before Had heard his voice in ev'ry blast, Could catch the sound no more.
For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank.
No poet wept him: but the page Of narrative sincere; That tells his name, his worth, his age, Is wet with Anson's tear.
And tears by bards or heroes shed Alike immortalize the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dream, Descanting on his fate, To give the melancholy theme A more enduring date: But misery still delights to trace Its semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allay'd, No light propitious shone; When, snatch'd from all effectual aid, We perish'd, each alone: But I beneath a rougher sea, And whelm'd in deeper gulfs than he.


by William Cowper |

Contentment

 (Phillipians, iv.
11) Fierce passions discompose the mind, As tempests vex the sea, But calm, content and peace we find, When, Lord, we turn to Thee.
In vain by reason and by rule We try to bend the will; For none but in the Saviour's school Can learn the heavenly skill.
Since at His feet my soul has sate, His gracious words to hear, Contented with my present state, I cast on Him my care.
"Art thou a sinner, soul?" He said, "Then how canst thou complain? How light thy troubles here, if weigh'd With everlasting pain! "If thou of murmuring wouldst be cured, Compare thy griefs with mine! Think what my love for thee endured, And thou wilt not repine.
"'Tis I appoint thy daily lot, And I do all things well; Thou soon shalt leave this wretched spot, And rise with me to dwell.
"In life my grace shall strength supply, Proportion'd to thy day; At death thou still shalt find me nigh, To wipe thy tears away.
" Thus I, who once my wretched days In vain repinings spent, Taught in my Saviour's school of grace, Have learnt to be content.


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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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?