This is a man who has my heart. I am so compelled to love him that it never ceases to amaze me that I've never met him! (Indeed, how could I? He lived more than two hundred years ago and I've never even set foot on the continent on which he breathed!)
Here is just a little bit of the reason why he holds me so:
( Excerpt from http://marshall.thefreelibrary.com/English-Literature-For-Boys-And-Girls/73-1 )
Cowper loved animals tenderly and understood them in a wonderful manner. He tamed some hares and made them famous in his verse. And when he felt madness coming upon him he often found relief in his interest in these pets. One of his poems tells how Cowper scolded his spaniel Beau for killing a little baby bird "not because you were hungry," says the poet, "but out of naughtiness." Here is Beau's reply--
"Sir, when I flew to seize the bird
In spite of your command,
A louder voice than yours I heard,
And harder to withstand.
"You cried 'Forbear!;--but in my breast
A mightier cried 'Proceed!'--
'Twas nature, sir, whose strong behest
Impelled me to the deed.
"Yet much as nature I respect,
I ventured once to break
(As you perhaps may recollect)
Her precept for your sake;
"And when your linnet on a day,
Passing his prison door,
Had fluttered all his strength away
And panting pressed the floor,
"Well knowing him a sacred thing
Not destined to my tooth,
I only kissed his ruffled wing
And licked the feathers smooth.
"Let my obedience then excuse
My disobedience now,
Nor some reproof yourself refuse
From your aggrieved Bow-wow;
"If killing birds be such a crime
(Which I can hardly see),
What think you, sir, of killing Time
With verse addressed to me?"
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