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The Task and Other Poems

William Cowper

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .My country! and while yet a nook is left,
  Where English minds and manners may be found,
  Shall be constrained to love thee. Though thy clime
  Be fickle, and thy year most part deformed
  With dripping rains, or withered by a frost,
  I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies
  And fields without a flower, for warmer France
  With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves
  Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers.
  To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime
  Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire
  Upon thy foes, was never meant my task;
  But I can feel thy fortune, and partake
  Thy joys and sorrows with as true a heart
  As any thunderer there. And I can feel
  Thy follies too, and with a just disdain
  Frown at effeminates, whose very . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Reading William Cowper's The Task is, to put it succinctly, a Task. But like many tasks, it is one that ultimately is deeply gratifying. This very long poem, written in blank verse and covering 101 pages in this edition (and in a small typeface, no less) was Cowper's magnum opus and justifiably m...more

The Task was a tough read for me at times...in length and heavy, often unfamiliar language. But the more I read, the more I found these absolute jewels of godly wisdom. I love and respect Cowper -- and mourn the fact that his legacy often relegates him to the category of "madman."

“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, th...more

I adore this wonderful poem created by Cowper after being challenged by his friend and neighbour to write in blank verse on the subject of "anything - write on this sofa". Like Cowper, I started on the sofa too (reading it) but you don't stay there for long as the poet takes you on a wonderful jo...more