William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"; b. Berkampstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1731; d. East Dereham, Norfolk, England, 1800) is regarded as one of the best early Romantic poets. To biographers he is also known as "mad Cowper." His literary talents produced some of the finest English hymn texts, but his chronic depression accounts for the somber tone of many of those texts. Educated to become an attorney, Cowper was called to the bar in 1754 but never practiced law. In 1763 he had the opportunity to become a clerk for the House of Lords, but the dread of the required public examination triggered his tendency to depression, and he attempted suicide. His subsequent hospitalization and friendship with Morley and Mary Unwin provided emotional st… Go to person page >
Dear Lord, accept a sinful heart. W. Cowper. [Self-acquaintance.] First published in J. Newton's Twenty-Six Letters on Religious Subjects, &c, by Omicron, 1774, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in K. Conyers's Collection of the same year. In 1779 it was also iucluded in the Olney Hymns, Bk. iii., No. 26. It is found in a few modern collections, including Dr. Dale's English Hymn Bookm 1874.