Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/314

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9- s. v. APRIL 21,1900.


body at whom both poet and publisher took aim. Correspondence ensued between Johnson, Cowper, and Newton. The poet left the question of the pub- lication or withdrawal of the Preface wholly in the hands of the publisher and the preface-writer, and the latter instantly consented to its suppression, when the reasonable scruples of the publisher had been explained to him. Some few copies of the Preface were struck off. Newton sent a copy to Hannah More in 1787 ; and it was bound up with some of the donation copies of the volume of 1782. In 1790, when the success of ' The Task' had estab- lished Cowper's poetical reputation, and put an end to Johnsons fear of the possible effect of the with- drawn Preface, Newton solicited that it might be inserted in future editions, so that his name might go down to posterity together with that of his friend. His request was complied with, and from that time it has been printed in almost all the editions of the poet's ' Works.'"

On the 9th of April, 1859, at the head of

  • Minor Queries/ appears the following :

"QuEVEDO. Cowper writes : Quevedo, as he tells his sober tale, Asked, when in hell, to see the royal jail ; Approved their method in all other things, ' But where, good sir, do you confine your kings ? ' ' There,' said his guide, 'the group is full in view.' ' Indeed ! ' replied the Don, ' there are but few ! ' His black interpreter the charge disdained ' Few, fellow ! these are all that ever reigned.'

" The question has been asked before, but never in ' N. & Q. what was Cowper's authority for attri- buting this story to Quevedo ? Southey produced a passage from a work of Quevedo, which he thought might have been the original upon which some imitator or licentious translator had exaggerated. The passage does not seem to me to justify Southey's conclusion : but even if it did so, the question remains, whose is the translation or exaggeration in which Cowper found his story, and where, arid when, was it published? I have looked for it in many places, but in vain. There is so much curious learning among your contributors that probably some of them can enlighten me. JOHN BRUCE." *

The story of John Gilpin is the subject of the following interesting note by PROF. DE MORGAN on the 14th of January, 1860 :

'"In a small volume containing a printed book dated 1587, and various manuscripts chiefly written by a clergyman, Christopher Parkes (Yorkshire), with dates from 1655 to 1664, and in another hand 1701, also on the fly-leaf amongst other directions, showing that the volume was in demand, is written, " To be left att Mr. John Gilpin's House att the Golden Anchor in Cheapside att y e corner of Bread S: London." This was not written after 1701, and may have been written before that date.'

u 'Cowper's ballad was first printed in 1782, but without the information that it was founded upon a story told him by Lady Austen, a widow, who heard it when she was a child. Mr. West "writes in 1839, that Mr. Colet told him fifty years ago, say about 1789, or seven years after the publication of the ballad, that one Beyer, then in his dotage, and who did not live at the corner of Bread Street, was the true Gilpin. Mr. Colet did not get the true story from Mr. Beyer, which must have differed from the poet's amplified and excusably exaggerated tale.


The fact is that Beyer knew nothing about Gilpin till he read Cowper's ballad: he wls not a train band captain The reason why the true Gilpin was not discovered is because nobody looked for him amongst the earlier records of the city and its trade companies. His name was supposed to be fictitious because he did not live in Cowper's time, and ft was not generally known that Lady Austen had told him an old story.'

"The above has been handed to me bv a learned ?\Tfr n T aged ei ht y> who tells me that his mother

^fl 1 / 16 *$ ory f John Gil P [n ' eo n > in his childhood, and said she had heard it when a child."

The new " Aldine Cowper," with notes and a memoir by John Bruce, is reviewed on the 9th of September, 1865. The following are given as Mr. Bruce's views on the subject of Cowper s mental alienation :

" ' That Cowper was in the first instance driven mad by over-much religion, which at one time was the prevalent belief, we consider to be certainlv a mistake. His madness, it will have been seen was rather occasioned by want of religion than bv excess of it, and the reception of definite views of Christianity, although it did not work his cure exercised, on his first recovery, a very beneficial effect upon his health both of body and mind.' "

wi?-J rl l is be au L tifu i 1 - y Panted by Messrs. Whittmgham of the Chiswick Press.

The tradition in reference to the hymn

God moves in a mysterious way " is discussed in the numbers for August 18th and 25th 1866 The Editor, in reply to CORTEX and MR C. D HARDCASTLE, gives the statement made by Mr. Greathead, in a sermon preached by him at Olney in May, 1800, "before a congregation, to the great majority of whom Cowper was known, and within a month of the poets death, that, 'during a solitary walk in the fields, the poet, being at the time in a particular frame of mind, composed the hymn in question."

On the 20th of October, 1866, BUSHEY HEATH states that there is a design in progress for the erection of a monument to the poet at Berkhampstead, the P ]ace of his nativity, Mr. William Longman being one of the pro- jectors. The REV. JOHN PICKFORD in a note Bishop Percy of Dromore,' which appeared on the 13th of February, 1869, inquires whether there is any record of Percy's having been a friend or acquaintance of Cowper Percy being vicar of Easton Maudit from 1753 until 1782, he was only five miles from Olney, where Cowper went to reside in 1767

On October 9th and 30th, 1869, ' Co\vper's Mothers Picture' is the subject of communi- cations. The portrait was exhibited at the bouth Kensington Portrait Exhibition in 1868, and was described in the catalogue as the property of Mr. W. Bodham Donne. On the 17th of March, 1894, MR. W. WRIGHT states that the portrait is "in the possession of the