1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Daniel Hayes

Anonymous, Memoir in Hayes, Poems (1769) vii-xii.



Our Author's father possessed a competent Estate in the County of Limerick, he was brought up to the Study of the Law, and designed his Son for the same Profession, as he gave Proofs of a lively Genius in the earliest Part of his Life.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hayes, he lost his Father when he was only ten Years of Age, and meeting with too little Restraint from an over-indulgent Mother, proceeded like most other young Gentlemen of Fortune, who want Counsel and Experience, and speedily acquired the Denomination of a "Buck."

He was, however, entered in the Diocesan School of Limerick, where he soon went through the Classick Authors, and was there fitted for the University, under the Revd. James Ingram. Poetry was his chief Amusement, and it was here he wrote several of the following Pieces. His Farewell to Limerick, we may suppose is a just Description of his Life at that Time.

Mr. Ingram ask'd him one Day, "if he should like to be a Counsellor," "yea Sir," said Hayes, "and it will be my utmost Ambition to plead successfully the Cause of Liberty."

Several Anecdotes of this Kind that happened when he was at School, shew that he possessed a lively Wit, as well as an uncommon Genius.

In the Year 1751, he entered himself a Fellow Commoner in Trinity College, where he remained a few Years, finishing his Studies in much less Time than is commonly taken for that Purpose; it was here he begun a Poetical Translation of Part of Cicero's Works for which he published Proposals at a Guinea each, but we can't find that any more than two folio Pages of the Work was ever printed; it is certain that Mr. Balfe with whom he lodged in London, could have got him 500 for the Copy.

From the University he went to the Middle Temple, London, to study the Law; he was not long here, when he received an Account of his Mother's Death. He was then in Company with several Irish Gentlemen, one of whom says, that his delicate Sensibility appeared in a very striking Manner, and that his Situation at that Time, is justly described in the 139th Page of this Book. In short a penetrating Eye will possibly discover in the following Sheets, a better Account of several Passages in his Life, than any Person can pretend to give.

Had Mr. Hayes pursued his Studies at the Temple for the Purpose he went there, he wou'd certainly have been an Ornament to his Profession, and an honour to the Place of his Nativity, but the same Thoughtlessness and Love of Pleasure, that caught him in his Youth, attended him till a short time before his Death, and we have a most lively Picture of his Penitence, in the Paraphrase of the Epistle from the Abbe de Rance, printed at the End of his Poems.

There are some Poets who have very little Abilities for writing Prose, but this was not the case with our Author, for during his Residence in London he wrote several political Pieces which were greatly admired by the Ministry and their Friends, in whose Favour they were mostly wrote: These Pieces shou'd have been printed with his Poems, but the Editor imagined they cou'd not at this time, be interesting or entertaining to the Reader.

He was undoubtedly what he stiles himself in his Will, A Lover of his Country, for he cou'd never hear any one asperse it, without shewing his Resentment, and he brought himself into several Quarrels in London on this Occasion.

He died in London the 20th of July 1767, and agreeable to his own Desire, his Remains were brought to Limerick, and interred in the South Isle of St. Mary's Church.

His Funeral was attended by the Governors and Governesses of the County Hospital, a Sermon suitable to the Occasion was preached by the Rev. Deane Hoare, and an Anthem Sung over the Body in the Choir, before its Interment....