Cotton, Nathaniel

(1705-1788)
   Born in London, the son of a merchant, he studied medicine in Holland and was practicing in St. Albans around 1740, where he remained until his death. He kept Collegium Insanorum, a private asylum, in which the poet Cowper was confined during one period of eighteen months from 1763 to 1765. Cowper said of Cotton: "I was not only treated with kindness by him while I was ill ... and attended with the utmost diligence ... I could open my mind upon the subject without reserve, I could hardly have found a fitter person for the purpose" (DNB). Cotton published Observations on a Particular Kind of Scarlet Fever That Lately Prevailed In and About St. Albans (1749). His major poetical publications are: Visions in Verse, for the Entertainment and Instruction of Younger Minds, 1751, and a seventh (enlarged) edition, 1767. Various Pieces in Prose and Verse, Many of Which Were Never Before Published, published by his son, 1791. Some of his poems: "Death and the Rake," "The Bee, the Ant, and the Sparrow," "The Lamb and the Pig," "The Night Piece," "To a Child of Five Years Old" and "Tomorrow."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition, 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Book of Children's Verse. Iona Opie and Peter Opie, eds. Oxford University Press, 1973.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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