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William Cowper
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    (November 26, 1731-April 25, 1800)
    Born in Berkhamsted, England, United Kingdom
    Poet and hymnist
    Published the poetry collections 'John Gilpin' (1782) and 'The Task' (1785)
    With John Newton wrote 'Olney Hymns' (1779)
    Translated Homer's 'Odyssey' and 'Iliad' (1791)
    Last name pronounced 'cooper'
    He was manic-depressive.
    He attempted suicide repeatedly, including three times to avoid taking a civil service exam.
    He was periodically convinced that he was doomed to eternal damnation.
    He said, 'I have no more right to the name of a poet than a maker of mousetraps has to that of an engineer.'
    Ironically, his poetry is known for its cheerfulness.
    He said, 'I believe no man was ever scolded out of his sins.'
    He was a favorite of the Romantics, drawing praise from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

Credit: C. Fishel

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