Friday, October 12, 2007

William Cowper - uncertain about his shed

INSCRIPTION FOR A HERMITAGE IN THE AUTHOR'S GARDEN May 1793 THIS cabin Mary in my sight appears Built as it has been in our waning years A rest afforded to our weary feet Preliminary to the last retreat f J Mr Johnson to whom the preceding sonnet was addressed t The poet was disappointed in the object for which this inscription written by the ruinous munificence of the carpenter he employed to his hermitage He contemplated merely a rustic shed and the village architect ran him up a costly pavilion Cowper in a letter to Hayley of this expensive compliment to his taste Is not this vexatious threaten to inscribe it thus Beware of building I intended Bough logs and thatch and thus it ended In a subsequent letter ho says Instead of a pound or two spending a mint Must serve me at least I believe with a hint That building and building a man may be driven At last out of doors and have no house to live in Besides my dearest brother they have not only built for me what I did want but have ruined a noble tetrastic by doing so I had written one which I designed for a hermitage and it will by no means suit the fine and pompous affair which they have made instead of one
The poetical works of William Cowper By William Cowper
Not everybody had a great experience of their shedbuild, as evidenced by poet and hymnodist William Cowper (1731-1800), born just up the road from Shedworking at Berkhamsted, who also wrote 'God made the country, and man made the town'. Thanks to Philip Johnson for the alert.

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