Inscription For A Stone Erected At The Sowing Of A Grove Of Oaks At Chillington, Anno 1790

written by William Cowper

Inscription For A Stone Erected At The Sowing Of A Grove Of Oaks At Chillington, Anno 1790

— William Cowper

Other stones the era tell,
When some feeble mortal fell;
I stand here to date the birth
Of these hardy sons of earth.
Which shall longest brave the sky,
Storm and frost -- these oaks or I?
Pass an age or two away,
I must moulder and decay;
But the years that crumble me
Shall invigorate the tree,
Spread its branch, dilate its size,
Lift its summit to the skies.
Cherish honour, virtue, truth,
So shalt thou prolong thy youth.
Wanting these, however fast
Man be fixed, and formed to last,
He is lifeless even now,
Stone at heart, and cannot grow.

About the poet


William Cowper

an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak. He was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan. While Cowper found refuge in a fervent evangelical Christianity, the inspiration behind his much-loved hymns, he often experienced doubt and feared that he was doomed to eternal damnation. His religious sentiment and association with John Newton (who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace") led to much of the poetry...

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