John Denham: Cooper's Hill

(3266 words)

Sir John Denham’s Cooper’s Hill, first published in 1642, is little read today, but in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was greatly admired. In 1664 Dryden praised the “majesty of the style”, saying that it “ever will be the exact standard of good writing”. In 1713 Pope, in his poem Windsor-Forest, echoed Dryden’s praise, referring to “majestic Denham”, and proclaiming that “On Cooper’s Hill eternal Wreaths shall grow,/ While lasts the Mountain, or while Thames shall flow” (265-6). Later in the century, in his Life of Denham, 1779, Dr Johnson claimed that:

Cooper’s Hill is the work that confers upon him the rank and dignity of an original author. H…
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Gordon, Ian. "Cooper's Hill". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 April 2007
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]