William Cowper, poet

1731 (Berkhampstead, England) – 1800 (East Dereham)

The evangelical pastor Newton (who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’) was a neighbour who became a friend, and got Cowper (pronounced ‘Cooper’) to collaborate on a hymn-book with him, Cowper composing over 60 of the 348 hymns; Newton also took Cowper in for months, helping care for him during bouts of depression and despair. Flaxman illustrated Cowper’s translations from Milton, and corresponded with him. The “learned and ingenious” Fuseli helped Cowper with his translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Fuseli also painted illustrations for some of his poems; they shared a publisher, Johnson, dedicated to radical causes.