An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Cowper, William

(Nov. 15, 1731-Apr. 25, 1800). British poet and hymn-writer. His life was marred by deep melancholy which began in his school days at Westminster School and oppressed him until his death. During Cowper's residency at Olney he established a creative, strong friendship with the Rev. John Newton who encouraged his hymn writing. Sixty-eight of his finest hymns were included in the Olney Hymns published with Newton in 1770. His last years were marked by periods of insanity. Three of his texts are included in The Hymnal 1982, including “Sometimes a light surprises” (667) and “O for a closer walk with God” (683-684).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.