Sonnet to William Wilberforce, Esq.

By William Cowper 1731–1800 William Cowper
   Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
Hears thee, by cruel men and impious, call'd
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose th' enthrall'd
From exile, public sale, and slav'ry's chain.
Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the fetter-gall'd,
Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain!
Thou hast achiev'd a part; hast gain'd the ear
Of Britain's senate to thy glorious cause;
Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho' cold caution pause
And weave delay, the better hour is near,
That shall remunerate thy toils severe
By peace for Afric, fenc'd with British laws.
      Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love
      From all the just on earth, and all the blest above!

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Poet William Cowper 1731–1800

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Heroes & Patriotism

Poetic Terms Allusion, Sonnet

 William  Cowper

Biography

William Cowper was the foremost poet of the generation between Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth and for several decades had probably the largest readership of any English poet. From 1782, when his first major volume appeared, to 1837, the year in which Robert Southey completed the monumental Life and Works of Cowper, more than a hundred editions of his poems were published in Britain and almost fifty in America.

Cowper's . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Heroes & Patriotism

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Poetic Terms Allusion, Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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