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CO W L E Y.

TE
THE Life of Cowley, notwithstanding the penury of English biography,

has been written by Dr. Sprat, an author whose pregnancy of imagination and elegance of language has deservedly set him high in the ranks of literature; but hiszeal of friendship, or ambition of eloquence, has produced a funeral oratiou rather tiran a history: he has given the character, not the life of Cowley; for he writes with so little detail, that scarcely any thing is distinctly known, but all is slewn confused and enlarged through the mist of panegyrick.

ABRAHAM COWLEY was born in the year one thousand six hundred and eighteen. His father was a grocer, whose condition Dr. Sprat conceals under Lie get eral appellation of a citizen), and, what would prohably not have been less carefully suppressed, the omission of his name in the register of St. Dunstan's parish, gives reason to suspect thiat his father was a sectary. Whoever he was, he died before the birth of his son, and consequently left him to the care of his mothct; whcm Wood represents as struggling earn stl, to procure hiin a literary education, and who, as sliclived to the age of cighty, bad her solicitóde rewarded by sesing her son eminent, and, I hope, by seeing him fortunate, and partaking his prosperity. We know at least, from Sprats account, that he always acknowledged her care, and justly paid the dues of filial gratitude.

In the window of his mother's apartaient lay Spenser's Fairy Queen; in licha be very early took delight to read, til, by feeling the charms of verse, he hoc ere, as he relates, irrecoverably a poet Such are the accidents, wirich, somei res remembered, and perlaps sonictimes forgotten, produce that particular designation of mind, and propentity for some certain science or employment, which is cominonly called Genius. The true Genius is a mind of larce general pokers, accidentally determined to survie particular direction. Sir Joshua Reynolds, the great Painter of the preserit age, liau thie first fondness for his sit excited by the perusal of Richardson's ti catise.

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Vol. I.

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