Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

William Cowper: On Recovering from Depression

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

William Cowper: On Recovering from Depression

Article excerpt

On a hill the wolves freeze, howl.

Deep in the forest's underbelly I snare my foot;

a lone wolf uncovers me, strikes.

I beat the beast about the jaws;

blood spatters its dark eye.

As it cowers I climb a tree's umbilical.

Waken. First light slants through bolted windows.

Thanks to you, dear Lord, I am troubled less

by dreams that threaten to overpower.

Still, I cannot flush the worry from my head

that You might not forgive my mortal sins:

the phial of laudanum I clutched, preparing

to die by my own hand, until You saw fit

to paralyse the fingers before they touched my lip.

I've vowed to make the best of things. As I am

no longer bound to this bed, the doctor allows me

to walk in the garden. It is wonderful to breathe in

the aroma of jasmine and lavender, to watch the bees

industrious on the napes of gladiola.

Unexpectedly, it seems that I've been seeded:

first, by my brother, whose patient husbandry

has almost convinced me that through repentance

I can bloom again. …

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