(1731 - 1800)
Born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1731, William Cowper was sent to boarding school after his mother died when he was six, where he was often bullied. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called Cowper “the best modern poet,” but Cowper began studying jurisprudence in 1750 and was called to the bar in 1754; he transferred to London’s Inner Temple three years later. The poet later admitted, however, that he “was never much inclined” to the legal profession. He was often depressed, and never entered a church again after a low period near 1773 when he believed that God had forsaken him. He died in 1800 of dropsy.