28 JANUARY 1905, Page 10

Poems. Translated from the French of Madame Guyon by William

Cowper. With Prefatory Essay by D. Macfadyen, MA. (James Clarke and Co. 3s. net, leather.)—These translations, made in 1782-83 to please a friend, the Rev. John Bull, were published in the year after the poet's death. They will be familiar to all students of Cowper, but will be welcome in this very convenient shape. Nor will those who admire the poems fail to appreciate the prefatory essay. Devotional books generally are not fit objects for criticism, and certainly not those which concern the mystical side of devotion. To many minds not at all insensible to religious influences some of Madame Gnyon's utterances are scarcely less than shocking. These utterances may be paralleled again and again in the literature of hagiology, paralleled and exceeded. It is best to be silent about them, whether one enjoys them or feels repugnance. In Cowper's versions certain excesses, if we are so to speak of them, are regulated.