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William Cowper (1731-1800), Poet

Sitter in 7 portraits
Poet; he studied law at the Temple. Cowper achieved popular success with the publication, in 1785, of a volume of poetry including The Diverting History of John Gilpin, a humorous ballad that became the most popular poem of the decade, and The Task, which condemned slavery. He suffered from severe depression throughout his life, and an early personal and professional crisis led to his conversion to evangelical Christianity, influencing much of his work. Several hymns that he wrote became favourites, including 'God moves in a mysterious way'.