Hatred and Vengeance, My Eternal Portion

By William Cowper 1731–1800 William Cowper
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, the last delinquent,
                           Deems the profanest.

Man disavows, and Delty 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 fleshly tomb, am
                           Buried above ground.

FOOTNOTES: This poem is also known under the title, "Lines Written During a Fit of Insanity."

Source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (2006)

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Poet William Cowper 1731–1800

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Religion, Health & Illness, Living, God & the Divine

 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.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Health & Illness, Living, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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