Encompass’d with a thousand dangers,

Weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors…

I … in a fleshy tomb, am

Buried above ground.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800)

From the poem “Lines Written During a Period of Insanity”.

Cowper on several occasions tried to hang, poison, or stab himself. The lines above were composed after one of his suicide attempts.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement