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"THE FIRST BOOK
COW PE R’S TASK.
Notes on the Analysis and Parsing.
By C. P. MASON, B.A.
FELLOW OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON.
WALTON AND MABERLY,
UPPER GOWER STREET, AND IVY LANE, PATERNOSTER ROW.
WHEN I first formed the design of publishing an edition of the “Sofa” for the use of candidates preparing for the Oxford School Examinations, to be held next Midsummer, I thought of reprinting, by way of introduction, so much of the Syntax and Analysis of ту English Grammar as would suffice for the requisite explanations. I found, however, that this would considerably increase both the size and the price of the book; and as it appeared likely that the demand for it would be restricted almost entirely to those who were already using the Grammar, I considered that it would be scarcely fair to impose any such additional outlay upon them, and, accordingly, abandoned that part of my design. I need hardly say, therefore, that the notes will be of comparatively small use to those who have not my English Grammar, to which the references are very numerous. I believe it will be found that the principles of grammatical analysis which are there
developed will suffice for the explanation of every sentence and phrase in the poem. At least I have detected no passage which presents any impracticable residuum, and, therefore, feel tolerably well assured that the principles and method adopted are both consistent and sufficient. In an Appendix will be found the analysis of one or two intricate passages, which may be some guide to a beginner.
C. P. MASON.
Jan, 31st, 1859.
A BRIEF OUTLINE OF
THE LIFE OF COWPER.
WILLIAM COWPER was born on the 26th of November, 1731, at Great Berkhamstead, of which place his father, the Rev. John Cowper, was rector. His mother died while he was quite young. Before he reached the age of ten, he had passed four years away from home, partly at a provincial school, partly under the care of an oculist. When he was ten years old he was sent to Westminster School, which he did not quit till he was eighteen. His writings are sufficient evidence of the success with wbich he pursued his studies. An allusion in the "Sofa" (l. 114) is enough to show that the frolics and escapades of boyhood were not unknown to him. On leaving school he was articled for three
years to a solicitor. Here he had for his fellow-clerk the (future) Lord Chancellor Thurlow. A letter to his cousin, Lady Hesketh, discloses that the austerities of their legal studies were not unfrequently relieved by recreationsof a more genial character. At the close of his term of clerkship, he took up his residence in the Middle Temple, with the view of preparing himself for the bar; to which he was called in 1754. He never displayed any great liking for legal pursuits, and appears to have adopted the profession only because some of his family had it in their power
to confer some patronage upon him. In 1759 he was appointed a Commissioner of Bankrupts ; but the greater part of the eleven years that he spent in the Temple, were passed in a desultory manner. His excessive natural timidity may have had much to do with his neglect of his profession as a barrister, and a small patrimony raised him above the necessity of working for a livelihood. He