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Short poem

William Cowper (1731-1800)

Sonnet to William Wilberforce, Esq.

              1  Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
              2Hears thee, by cruel men and impious, call'd
              3Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose th' enthrall'd
              4From exile, public sale, and slav'ry's chain.
              5Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the fetter-gall'd,
              6Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain!
              7Thou hast achiev'd a part; hast gain'd the ear
              8Of Britain's senate to thy glorious cause;
              9Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho' cold caution pause
            10And weave delay, the better hour is near,
            11That shall remunerate thy toils severe
            12By peace for Afric, fenc'd with British laws.
            13    Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love
            14    From all the just on earth, and all the blest above!

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Northampton Mercury (April 16, 1792).
First publication date: 16 April 1792
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 1.758.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/12

Form: Sonnet
Rhyme: abbabccddccdff

Other poems by William Cowper