Precious Poet

William Cowper: Selected Poetry and Prose
edited by David Lyle Jeffrey
Regent College Publishing, 2007
(188 pages, $18.95, paperback)

reviewed by Thomas Howard

If anyone still knows the name of William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) besides graduate students in English, it will be Protestants who may on occasion find themselves singing one of his hymns, most notably “Oh! For a closer walk with God,” although under the seismic wave of “Praise Songs,” this hymn may have been lost along with the entire treasury of English-language hymnody.

In good eighteenth-century fashion, Cowper wrote immensely long poems, not all of them easily readable to modern readers. However, if one sticks to the job, he will discover . . .

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Thomas Howard taught for many years at St. John's Seminary College, the Roman Catholic seminary of the archdiocese of Boston. Among his many works are the books Christ the Tiger, Evangelical Is Not Enough, Lead Kindly Light, On Being Catholic, and The Secret of New York Revealed, and a videotape series of 13 lectures on "The Treasures of Catholicism" (all from Ignatius Press).

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