He was born Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England.
William Cowper one of the most popular poets of his time. He changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside.
He suffered from periods of severe depression, which caused him frequently to doubt his fervent evangelical Christianity, the source of his much-loved hymns - going so far once as to express his dismayed surprise at ever having written a particular hymn.
Cowper died in East Dereham, Norfolk.
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;God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
;Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour.
;I am monarch of all I survey,