Born in Berkhamsted, England, William Cowper (1731-1800) was a popular literary figure in his day, though he suffered from mental instability throughout his life. In addition to being a prolific poet, the religious Cowper contributed to a hymnbook as well as translating Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey into blank verse. His nature poetry inspired the Romantic poets Coleridge and Wordsworth.

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