William Cowper (1731–1800) was an English poet and hymn writer. His mother died when he was 5, and his life was full of personal anguish. After being institutionalized for insanity, Cowper moved to the country town of Olney, where John Newton was pastor. Soon they were close friends. Newton, grew concerned with Cowper’s melancholy. His personal discipleship to his friend was a lifeline he needed.