William Cowper

26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800 / Hertfordshire

Gratitude, Addressed To Lady Hesketh

This cap, that so stately apepars,
With ribbon-bound tassel on high,
Which seems by the crest that it rears
Ambitious of brushing the sky;
This cap to my Cousin I owe,
She gave it, and gave me beside,
Wreathed into an elegant bow,
The ribbon with which it was tied.

This wheel-footed studying chair,
Contrived both for toil and repose,
Wide-elbowed, and wadded with air,
In which I both scribble and doze,
Bright-studded to dazzle the eyes,
And rival in lustre of that
In which, or astronomy lies,
Fair Cassiopeïa sat:

These carpets, so soft to the foot,
Caledonia's traffic and pride,
O spare them, ye knights of the boot,
Escaped from a cross-country ride!
This table and mirror within,
Secure from collision and dust,
At which I oft shave cheek and chin,
And periwig nicely adjust:

This moveable structure of shelves,
For its beauty admired and its use,
And charged with octavos and twelves.
The gayest I had to produce;
Where, flaming in scarlet and gold,
My poems enchanted I view,
And hope, in due time, to behold
My Iliad and Odyssey too:

This china, that decks the alcove,
Which here people call a buffet,
But what the gods call it above,
Has ne'er been revealed to us yet:
These curtains, that keep the room warm
Or cool as the season demands,
Those stoves that for pattern and form
Seem the labour of Mulciber's hands:

All these are not half that I owe
To One, from our earliest youth
To me ever ready to show
Benignity, friendship, and truth;
For time, the destroyer declared
And foe of our perishing kind,
If even her face he has spared,
Much less could he alter her mind.

Thus compassed about with the goods
And chattels of leisure and ease,
I indulge my poetical moods
In many such fancies as these;
And fancies I fear they will seem--
Poets' goods are not often so fine;
The poets will swear that I dream,
When I sing of the splendour of mine.
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