William Hayley, the son of a gentleman of Chichester, Sussex, was educated at Eton (1757-61) Trinity College Cambridge (1762) and the Middle Temple (1766). Hayley was the friend of William Cowper and the would-be patron of William Blake; he knew Joseph Warton, the painter Romney, and Robert Southey (who commented that "everything about the man is good except his poetry"). In his lifetime Hayley a highly regarded poet; in 1790 he turned down the laureateship when it was offered to him upon the death of Thomas Warton. His life was written in brief by Henry Francis Cary, who knew the poet and his circle.
1778A Poetical Epistle to an Eminent Painter.
1780Ode, inscribed to John Howard, Esq.
1781The Triumphs of Temper; a Poem.
1781Triumphs of Temper. Canto II.
1781Triumphs of Temper. Canto III.
1781Triumphs of Temper. Canto IV.
1781Triumphs of Temper. Canto V.
1781Triumphs of Temper. Canto VI.
1782An Essay on Epic Poetry; in five Epistles.
1783Ode to Mr. Wright of Derby.
1788Occasional Stanzas, written at the Request of the Revolution Society.
1808The Stanzas of an English Friend to the Patriots of Spain.
A poetical epistle to an eminent painter. 1778.
An elegy on the ancient Greek model. 1779.
Epistle to Admiral Keppel. 1779.
Epistle to a friend on the death of John Thornton. 1780.
An essay on history in three epistles to Gibbon. 1780.
Ode, inscribed to John Howard. 1780.
The triumphs of temper: a poem in six cantos. 1781.
An essay on epic poetry in five epistles to Mason. 1782.
Ode to Mr. Wright of Derby. 1783.
Plays of three acts written for a private theatre. 1784.
The happy prescription. 1785.
A philosophical, historical, and moral essay on old maids. 3 vols, 1785.
The two connoisseurs: a comedy in rhyme. 1785.
Poems and plays. 6 vols, 1785, 1788.
Poetical works. 1785, 1786.
Two dialogues: containing a comparative view of the Earl of Chesterfield and Dr Johnson. 1787.
Occasional stanzas written at the request of the Revolution society. 1788.
The young widow: or a history of Cornelia Sedley. 4 vols, 1789.
The eulogies of Howard. 1791.
The life of Milton. 1794, 1796.
An elegy on the death of Sir William Jones. 1795.
The national advocate. 1795.
An essay on sculpture in a series of letters to Flaxman. 1800.
Little Tom the sailor. 1800.
The life and posthumous writings of Cowper. 3 vols, 1803-04.
The Triumph of music. 1804.
Ballads founded on Anecdotes of Animals. 1805.
Stanzas to the patriots in Spain. 1808.
The life of George Romney. 1809.
Three plays, with a preface. 1811.
A patriotic song for the amicable club. 1814.
Song for the amicable fraternity of Felpham. 1817.
Poems on serious and sacred subjects. 1818.
Memoirs, ed. John Johnson. 2 vols, 1823.