We currently have three poems by William Cowper. You can listen to them all one after the other using the playlist below or if you prefer you can click the links further down to read a specific poem whilst listening to it.
Read and listen to Divine Love Endures No Rival
Love is the Lord whom I obey,
Whose will transported I perform;
The centre of my rest, my stay,
Love’s all in all to me, myself a worm.
For uncreated charms I burn,
Oppressed by slavish fear no more,
For One in whom I may discern,
E’en when he frowns, a sweetness I adore.
He little loves him who complains,
And finds him rigorous and severe;
His heart is sordid, and he feigns,
Though loud in boasting of a soul sincere.
Love causes grief, but ’tis to move
And stimulate the slumbering mind;
And he has never tasted love
Who shuns a plan so graciously designed.
Sweet is the cross, above all sweets,
To souls enamoured with thy smiles;
The keenest woe life ever meets,
Love strips of all its terrors, and beguiles.
‘Tis just that God should not be dear
Where self engrosses all the thought,
And groans and murmurs make it clear,
Whatever else is loved, the Lord is not.
The love of thee flows just as much
As that of ebbing self subsides;
Our hearts, their scantiness is such,
Bear not the conflict of two rival tides.
Both cannot govern in one soul;
Then let self-love be dispossessed;
The love of God deserves the whole,
And will not dwell with so despised a guest.
Read and listen to 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.
Read and listen to the Child of God Longing to See Him Beloved
There’s not an echo round me,
But I am glad should learn,
How pure a fire has found me,
The love with which I burn.
For none attends with pleasure
To what I would reveal;
They slight me out of measure,
And laugh at all I feel.
The rocks receive less proudly
The story of my flame;
When I approach, they loudly
Reverberate his name.
I speak to them of sadness,
And comforts at a stand;
They bid me look for gladness,
And better days at hand.
Far from all habitation,
I heard a happy sound;
Big with the consolation,
That I have often found.
I said, “My lot is sorrow,
My grief has no alloy;
The rocks replied–“Tomorrow,
Tomorrow brings thee joy.”
These sweet and sacred tidings,
What bliss it is to hear!
For, spite of all my chidings,
My weakness and my fear,
No sooner I receive them,
Than I forget my pain,
And, happy to believe them,
I love as much again.
I fly to scenes romantic,
Where never men resort;
For in an age so frantic
Impiety is sport.
For riot and confusion
They barter things above;
Condemning, as delusion,
The joy of perfect love.
In this sequestered corner,
None hears what I express;
Delivered from the scorner,
What peace do I possess!
Beneath the boughs reclining,
Or roving o’er the wild,
I live as undesigning
And harmless as a child.
No troubles here surprise me,
I innocently play,
While Providence supplies me,
And guards me all the day:
My dear and kind defender
Preserves me safely here,
From men of pomp and splendour,
Who fill a child with fear.
William Cowper- 1731 - 1800
Was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him “the best modern poet”, whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak.
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