In writing a sketch of the life of an author, whose works have for the last twenty years afforded so much entertainment and delight to the public, no incident, however slight, will we hope be deemed unimportant which has served to influence the mind of the Poet, or which may have given rise to the stirring events of a Drama, or the interesting details of a Novel.
Thomas Haynes Bayly was born at Bath on the 13th of October, 1797, and was the only child of Nathaniel Bayly, Esq., of Mount Beacon House near that city. His paternal great grandmother was sister of Lord Delamere, whose father was the Right Hon. Robert Booth, Dean of Bristol. The present Earl of Stamford and Warrington, being the representative of the Delamere family, is therefore his cousin.
Mr. Haynes Bayly's maternal great grandfather was Sir George Thomas, Bart., and his mother's eldest brother, Mr. Thomas, of Ratton Park, Sussex, married, first, Miss Pierce, sister of the late Lady Beresford; and secondly, Miss Broderick, daughter of Viscount Middleton; her second brother was Colonel of the 11th Light Dragoons, now Prince Albert's Hussars. The Dowager Countess of Errol and her sisters, Lady Crosby and Lady Le Despencer, were his mother's first cousins; Mr. Haynes Bayly was, therefore, nearly related to the present Baroness Le Despencer, of Mereworth Castle, near Maidstone.
We find the young poet was nurtured in the lap of luxury, and watched over with that fondness and tender anxiety with which a parent naturally looks on an only child in whom were centred all the best affections of the heart. Before he quitted the paternal roof, as early as seven years of age, his mother discovered that his youthful mind had been at work, not on the tasks set down for him to learn, but in dramatizing a tale out of one of his story-books. He was generally considered to be an idle boy, though strictly speaking he did not merit this censure; for his playful fancy and lively imagination were ever at work, and constantly led him to stray from the regular paths of learning and study, in which boys of more ordinary capacity frequently gained higher commendations. But genius in her unsteady and unequal flights often deals thus with her followers. As a proof of the impossibility of restraining his poetical ideas, even at this early age, we here transcribe a poem written by him when a school-boy, the original of which is in a child's round hand:
TO A FRIEND.
Oh! poetry, sweet maid, who only deigns
To smile upon the good, the innocent;
To thee I fain would sing, to thee who oft
Hast scattered roses o'er the rigid face
Of youthful woe, for youth has still its griefs,
And separation from the mother dear,
Who oft has watched us in the hour of sleep,
Will wet with sorrow's tear the cheek of youth,
And teach his glowing bosom to repine.
Oh! Ross, to thee I now address my song;
To thee, companion of my earliest lays,
My earliest efforts to awake the lyre.
And though no glowing numbers here are found,
The heart that dictates to my artless pen
Is not less warm, less capable of friendship;
And though my humble muse cannot presume
To claim a sapling from Apollo's wreath,
Yet, as the music of the tuneful choir
May tempt the sparrow to pour forth his lay,
And imitate the warblings of the thrush,
So I, enchanted with the lofty lays
Of abler poets, may attempt to touch
The humble lyre of a rustic muse,
And pour to thee my artless melody.
Perhaps in future hours, when opprest
With all the cares and crosses of the world,
Sweet memory will recal the blissful days
I spent with thee, and with the pensive muse.
Considering the age at which this address to his friend was written, it is certainly extraordinary that one so young should be able to express his thoughts so well, and to carry on his ideas with so much clearness; in fact, the germ is here discernible from which the future poet was to spring, as clearly as that the acorn which is just perceptible to the eye gives promise of the spreading oak. Indeed, it has been thought that Mr. Haynes Bayly inherited his talents for composition from his maternal grandfather, Arthur Freeman, Esq., who, (to quote the words of his friend Sir Ralph Payne, afterwards Lord Lavington) was "a man nice in honour and of the most extraordinary abilities, being reputed one of the finest poets and most accomplished gentlemen of the age. He was an ornament of Winchester and Leyden, the school and university where he was bred; and the reception he afterwards met with on his travels, in the several European courts, did honour to himself and his country."
The next era in Mr. Haynes Bayly's life that we have to remark was his removal to Winchester. Whilst there, his favourite amusement was writing a newspaper, which appeared weekly and circulated through the school to the great amusement of his companions. It contained all the proceedings of the master and pupils of that celebrated establishment for learning and literature, — the High School at Winchester.
At the age of seventeen, his father summoned him home, intending him to follow his own profession of the law; but the youth took a great dislike to it, for his ideas loved to dwell in the regions of fancy, and fascinated by the Muses, he wished to wear only their silken bands. The dry study of the law harassed and annoyed him; it was a profession too dull for one of his versatile genius. After a short trial, therefore, it was found impossible to fix his mind to it, and his father, seeing that no advantage could possibly arise from persevering in a pursuit so repugnant to the feelings and inclinations of his son, permitted him to abandon it altogether. About this time, he wrote several very amusing articles for the public journals signed "Q in the corner," in which he humorously discussed the passing events of the day. He also published a small volume, called "Rough Sketches of Bath," which were reckoned exceedingly clever. His pen indeed was his chief delight and amusement; for he was neither fond of hunting, riding, shooting, fishing, nor any of the out-door pursuits which are so commonly sought after by young men of his age; but he loved to ramble in the fields, with his note book in his hand, and thus to observe nature, unattended and alone.
He now turned his thoughts to the church, and his father wishing to forward his views, immediately entered him at St. Mary Hall, Oxford, where he remained three years, but he did not apply himself to the pursuit of academical honours. His taste for poetry grew with his years, and though he had voluntarily chosen the study of theology, he soon found him self as wearied by that, as he was when attempting to qualify himself for the legal profession. While at college he had every advantage, and passed his vacations with a private tutor in the Isle of Wight, at a cottage near Cowes; but unfortunately, while there, be became so fond of the sea that he spent more of his time with his cousin, Sir George Thomas (in whose yacht he made many excursions) than with his books, and was constantly reprimanded by his tutor, from whose surveillance he frequently escaped for several days at a time. The year before he left Oxford, a circumstance occurred which, as it occupied much of the thoughts of the young student and led to an incident which is highly creditable to him, we shall here record.
One morning he received a letter by the post, the hand-writing of which appeared strange to him: on opening the mysterious epistle he found it was from a young lady residing at Bath of whom he knew but little. The purport of it was to inquire about the health of her brother — an only brother — then at Oxford, who, she had reason to fear, was seriously ill, and she dreaded incipient consumption which had proved fatal to several members of his family; as she had not received full and satisfactory accounts of him, she determined on applying to his friend, Mr. Haynes Bayly, for an exact statement of his case. This led to a correspondence between the poet and the young lady, whose extreme anxiety for her brother had induced her, in the first instance, to overstep the usual bounds of propriety. The invalid became worse and worse, and Mr. Haynes Bayly's best feelings being now deeply interested, he watched over him with unceasing care and tenderness. He used to sit by his couch for hours together reading to him, when the slow fever which was consuming him abated for awhile and gave hopes of his recovery. He soothed him in the hour of pain and suffering; and when, alas! the icy hand of death had too surely grasped him, — when the last awful moment arrived, he closed the eyes of his friend in peace. His conduct on this occasion marks early in life his kind feelings and goodness of heart, and proves, that though pleasure, as we have seen, had often tempted him from his studies, yet where the best affections of his nature were concerned, no amusement however enticing, no fatigue however wearying, could induce him to leave the object of his solicitude.
On this occasion he gave vent to his feelings in the following exceedingly touching and beautiful
Again, again, oh! let me hear you speak,
Call me, embrace me, look on me again
My hand is on your forehead, it shall seek
To give relief and mitigate your pain;
And yours will soon press mine, 'tis only weak.
Hope cannot be quite lost-life must remain.
I see his bosom heave; I hear his breath
'Tis sleep, 'tis stupor, anything but Death!
It is not Death, though motionless he be,
That may of ease and slumber be a token;
No friendly glance now beams from those dim eyes,
By those pale lips no feeble words are spoken;
Far better were complaints and painful sighs,
Than silence, silence never to be broken.
Yet still he sleeps — we may in time restore—
No — no — his sleep is Death, he wakes no more!
My task is over, and I'll not repine,
Since all his tedious pangs are at an end;
Beside his bed I shall no more recline,
To all his whisper'd wants no more attend;
I ne'er shall see his moist eyes fixed on mine,
In silent recognition of his friend;
I never more shall cool his fever'd brow,
Or bathe his cheeks — all, all is over now!
He loved me like a brother, and I felt
That I should watch him with a brother's care
His chamber was my own, I fondly dwelt
Ever beside him, comforting him there.
He sought my aid in all things, and I knelt,
Morning and evening, joining him in prayer:
Whilst tremulous and weak my voice was heard,
He breathed with firm distinctness every word.
He had no cause to tremble, for his mind
(If man's can ever be so) was prepared.
In health and strength affectionate and kind,
All must have loved him; and in death he dared
Look up with faith and hope, and was resigned
To his Creator's will. He hath been spared
The ills of a bad world; but we have lost
One most beloved — 'tis we who suffer most.
When last we parted, his young heart was sad;
But we were full of hope, that future days
Would bring a happy meeting; and we had
Delightful plans, projecting many ways
Of being blest together; he was glad
To press my hand, and he would often raise
Schemes of unbounded pleasure, shared with me.
This might have been — but this can never be!
We thought of happy meetings, and we met,
But never to be happy; grief and pain
Had changed his cheerful face; my eyes were wet
With tears I laboured to conceal in vain.
I feel his feeble arms embrace me yet,
Whilst mine were thrown around him, and again
I hear him whisper, in a gentle tone,
"My dear, dear friend, I never had but one."...
I took a last sad look, and turned away,
Leaving him in his grave. I used to share
His innocent pursuits; and all the day
Was happy by his side; yet he lies there
Unconscious of the heavy griefs that prey
Upon my wounded heart. My fervent prayer
He hears not, "that the joys we hope above
May be a state of bliss with those we love."
Ah! yes, we never, never could sustain
The loss of those we value here below,
Had we not Faith, that we shall meet again
In a far better world; — it must be so.
'Tis this that soothes the sick man in his pain
'Tis this alleviates the mourner's woe;
And this shall be my comfort; though we sever,
I felt — I feel — it cannot be for ever.
And time that changes all things may subdue
My present depth of anguish; I may rove
With those who soothe my sorrow, and renew
The smiles of former days, but I shall love
In solitary hours to think of you,
And sigh for past delights. We soon remove
The mourner's sable garb; but none can know
How long in secret lurks the mourner's woe.
His acquaintance with the young lady was renewed at Bath, whither he returned immediately after the decease of her brother. He was overwhelmed with thanks for his attentions to the lost one by the bereft family, and invited constantly by the afflicted parents to fill the vacant seat at their table; in short, he soon became as one of themselves. The sorrowing sister poured forth her grief: the poet sympathized, and "pity is akin to love." It was certainly not surprising that an attachment begun under such circumstances should have strengthened daily; and when the lover declared his sentiments, it of course became necessary to inquire into the probability of his being able to raise a sufficient income to allow of their marrying with prudence. Mr. Haynes Bayly was entirely dependant on his father, who was not then disposed to come forward for such a purpose. The young lady had nothing of her own, and her father, Colonel —, would not make any settlement on her. How were matters to be arranged? They were both too wise to think of living upon love, and after mutual tears and sighs, they parted — never to meet again. The lady, though grieved, was not broken-hearted and soon became the wife of another. Mr. Haynes Bayly was for some time very melancholy, and as usual, had recourse to his pen to solace himself, his thoughts reverting to the death of his friend gave rise to the following
Oh, Time! I ask thee not to steal away
My present grief — I wish not to be gay;
Forgetfulness alone can cure regret,
And whilst I live, I never can forget.
Yes, tears will flow, philosophy in vain
May strive to teach forgetfulness of pain;
We hear the cold advice which strangers give,
Mere words — which all bestow-and none receive.
We listen while they speak, — when they are gone
The heart still aches, and tears will still flow on.
Each book, each plant, each trifle, we behold,
Is hallowed by the touch of hands now cold.
Yet leave these relics — seek in change of scene
A potent spell to make your griefs less keen.
Quit all your lost friend valued, and remove
Each trifle that reminds you of his love.
Roam o'er the world, new friends, new joys, to find,
Laugh and be gay — but first leave thought behind.
If change avails not, seek employment then,
Your books, your walks, your pencil, or your pen:
You read — and seek the volumes of his choice—
Where is that one who listened to your voice?
You walk — but whilst you view each lovely scene
Where is the arm on which you used to lean?
You draw — but still those scenes your choice must be,
Which e'en in darkness you distinctly see.
You write — but now the subject of your lay,
Is friendship lost, and pleasure pass'd away.
Some may pass on through life, and quickly find
New ties replacing those they leave behind:
One they called friend may sink into the tomb,
And only cause a momentary gloom;
Awhile they miss in every gay pursuit
The voice once lively, now for ever mute
Or in the scenes where they have often met,
They deign to breathe a word of cold regret;
But soon their transient, heartless sorrow ends,
They seek for other joys with other friends.
It is an easy task, for hearts at rest,
To talk of brighter days to the distressed;
To shew us joys the future may reveal,
And speak of that composure which they feel.
They may remind us, tears and sighs are vain—
Alas! can hopelessness diminish pain?
They say, when God afflicts us, it is fit
That men should suffer meekly, and submit.
Yes, we submit, and place our trust alone
In one last hope — to go where they are gone.
We know his dispensations must be borne,
We bow to his behest, — yet still we mourn.
Religion teaches us to hope for bliss—
But in another region — not in this.
When I at last beheld his coffin thrust
Into its narrow dwelling-dust to dust,
When motionless I stood upon the brink
Of his cold grave and wept, I could not think
That the mind's purity would pass away,
And, like the body, totally decay:
No — that pure spirit which was wont to shed
A charm o'er all he did, and all he said;
That excellence which made him dear to me,
Was formed for life and immortality.
The mortal part may seek its loathsome prison,
The soul — the part of him we loved, is risen,
Gone — where the pure in heart again shall meet;
Ah, yes! — our prospect would be incomplete,
Did we not hope to share the perfect bliss
Of that bright world, with friends so dear in this,
And recognize those forms in realms above,
Who claimed on earth our fondest, purest love.
Mr. Haynes Bayly still remaining in the same melancholy state of mind, in order to divert his attention from this subject, he was induced to visit Scotland. His thoughts, however, still dwelt on his disappointment, as will be seen by referring to the ballads, "May thy lot in life be happy," and "Oh no we never mention her," both of which relate to the object of his affections. He remained a year in Scotland, during which time he also wrote a set of lyrics, called "Songs to Rosa," some of which are exceedingly beautiful. He then visited Dublin, where he was received in the first circles, and treated with the greatest hospitality and kindness by all his acquaintance, for whose amusement his versatile powers were ever ready to be exerted. In private theatricals, which were then among the favourite amusements of Dublin, he shone conspicuously; his time was now apparently swallowed up in all the gaiety with which that capital abounds. He thought no more of studying for the Church, all idea of which he had indeed given up when his days were passed in attendance upon his lady-love, whose image now seemed fast fading from his heart. The world, the gay world was before him; he found no time for study, but his muse was never forgotten, and during the year he was in Dublin, he wrote and published a volume called "Miniature Lyrics," and "Isabel," which created a great sensation; this was first sung in public by Miss Ashe with great applause.
About this time, Mr. Balfe was starting in the musical world as a candidate for that wreath of fame, which has since been so justly accorded to him, and although very young he composed the music of one of the Bayly Ballads, "Come, open your casement, my dear," which met with great success. Upon leaving Dublin, Mr. Haynes Bayly visited his friends in the north of Ireland, and returned to his father's residence, Mount Beacon House, near Bath, in January 1824.
Shortly after his arrival, he was introduced by a friend at an evening party, given by Mrs. Hayes, whose soirees at Bath were frequented by the talented, the young, and the gay. Mrs. Hayes had an only daughter, who, having heard with delight the ballad of "Isabel," expressed the greatest anxiety to see its author, the friend just alluded to, being one of Miss Hayes's suitors, was requested by her mother to convey an invitation for her next party to the beau ideal of her daughter's fancy. The appointed evening arrived — the poet saw, and was fascinated with Miss Hayes; and on conversing with Mrs. Hayes discovered that she and his own mother had been friends and school-fellows in their young days. This circumstance laid the foundation of an intimacy which ceased only with his life. His friend was then little aware that he was introducing to her, whose hand he himself was seeking, her future husband: for so it proved.
He came, he saw, but did not conquer at once; for the young lady, though she could not but acknowledge that Mr. Haynes Bayly was very charming and agreeable, was nevertheless disappointed at not finding him exactly what her youthful imagination had pourtrayed. Seeing, therefore, that he was "epris" without her having any intention of captivating him, she persuaded her mother to shorten their stay at Bath and take her to Paris. Mrs. Hayes reluctantly complied, as she much wished her daughter to encourage Mr. Haynes Bayly's suit; but when she found her daughter's mind was set on going abroad, she wisely allowed her to do so; for Miss Hayes, when absent from the poet, missed his witty and delightful conversation and his attentions which were entirely devoted to her so much, that her mother's wish was more forwarded by absence, than it would have been, had she remained in Bath. Mr. Haynes Bayly was, however, not discouraged by her intended departure, as will be seen by the following lines, written in her album:
If any poet can express
Helena's worth and loveliness
To him I leave these spotless pages;
Were I to labour here for ages,
Language could ne'er convey my thought,
I could not praise her as I ought.
He also, just before she left England, sent her the stanzas we here transcribe:
Oh! think not, Helena, of leaving us yet,
Though many fair damsels inhabit our Isle,
Alas! there are none who can make us forget
The grace of thy form, and the charm of thy smile.
The toys of the French, if they hither are sent,
Are endeared by the payment of Custom House duties.
Ah! why do not duty and custom prevent
The rash exportation of pure British Beauties?
Say is there not one (midst the many who sighed
To solicit your favour) one favourite beau?
And have you to all, who popp'd questions, replied,
With that chilling, unkind monosyllable, NO?
Your mansion with exquisite swains has been thronged,
With smiles they approach you, in tears they depart,
Indeed, it is said, that a man who belonged
To the Tenth, sighed in vain for a tithe of your heart.
And are you still happy? could no one be found,
Whose vows full of feeling could teach you to feel?
A girl so expert at inflicting a wound
Should surely be now and then willing to heal.
Then leave us not; shall a foreigner own
The form we have worshipped as if 'twere divine?
No, no, thou art worthy a Briton alone,
And where is the Briton who would not be thine?
The sordid will come to thee: — yield not to them,
Nor give up thy heart, though they earnestly ask it,
But say to them, "Gentlemen — is it the gem
That you wish to possess, or the dross of the casket?"
Their hearts are not rent, no, their wounds would be small
Were it not for your rents that they wish to possess.
They're very sincere, for undoubtedly all
Feel an interest for you they cannot express.
Yet, pretty Helena, you must not evade
All Lovers, disgusted by lovers of pelf;
Go look in thy mirror, and own thou wert made
To be loved with devotion, and loved for thyself.
This year Mr. Haynes Bayly became anxious to be elected a member of the Athenaeum Club, to which the literary men of the age eagerly flocked; he made his application, and was constituted a member by a vote of the following very select committee:
Joseph Jekyll, Esq., in the chair.
Richard Heber, Esq.
Davies Gilbert, Esq.
AyImer B. Lambert, Esq.
Dr. Thomas Young.
Edward Hawker Locker, Esq.
Mr. Haynes Bayly was proposed by Mr. Jekyll, and seconded by Mr. Heber; it was, indeed, a compliment to be so elected at that time.
The following beautiful lines on the death of Lord Byron, appeared this year from the pen of Mr. Haynes Bayly.
He is gone! the bright star of a nation is hurled
From its proud elevation; its lustre is dim.
He is cold as the sod where he sleeps, and this world
With its scorn, or its laurels, is nothing to him.
And both have been his, in the dawn of his life
He has grasped, he hath gained the green garland of fame,
While slander hath struggled with pitiful strife
To point out his errors, and sully his name.
He hath tasted the cup of calamity too,
And its bitterness poisoned his earliest years;
In the withering gloom of his numbers we view,
The grief of a spirit too noble for tears.
He was rash, and his feelings too proudly disdained
One moment's subjection to reason's control;
As well might a wave of the ocean be chained
In its stormy career, as so daring a soul.
He hath felt, and the world loved to tear off the veil
From his agonized feelings, and laugh them to scorn
It spoke of his follies, and what was the tale?
He had erred, — was an exile, — unhappy, — forlorn.
And oh! if indeed it be true, that a mind
So ennobled by genius, rejected belief
In that God, through whose infinite mercy mankind
Can alone find a solace in sickness or grief,
May that mind ere its last fatal moment have felt
All its error; and spurning mortality's chain,
May the sinner's first prayer have been heard while he knelt
At that throne, where a penitent pleads not in vain
Had he lived, he might yet have shone gloriously forth,
And those talents which oft have been lavishly given
To gild all the fleeting enjoyments of earth,
Might at length have devoted their brightness to Heaven.
In 1825 Mr. Haynes Bayly was again a constant visitor at Mrs. Hayes's house at Bath, whither she and her daughter had returned, after remaining nearly a year in Paris, and he began to discover that he had at last found favour in the eyes of Miss Hayes; therefore, on his leaving Bath, to pay a short visit to his uncle, Mr. Knapp, be presented her with a little box containing something which he said was alive, and which he requested she would cherish for his sake, but that she must not look at it until be was far away. This raised her curiosity to the highest pitch. Her lover would not, however, permit her to gratify it whilst he was present; but when he took his leave, she flew to the box, and in it found, carefully enveloped in cotton, a ruby heart, and the following verses:
Go, little Ruby Heart! and live
As dear Helena's guest,
And tell her I would gladly give
The world to be as blest.
Say also she must not forget
(Since heartless I depart)
That she is deeply in my debt,
The item is — a heart.
And tell her too I shall be glad
To dun her when we meet;
And if she'll pay me, I will add,
My hand to the receipt.
Having thus humorously proffered his hand and heart, he anxiously looked for a reply. Whilst awaiting it, he sent Miss Hayes a letter so full of wit and fun, that we insert it here.
I hope that your grace will permit
Your servant in exile to scribble a bit:
Yet hope not to find an amusing detail
Of the joys of the country — pigs, poultry, and ale;
I fain would amuse you; but what can I do?
I'm dull, but remember I'm absent from you.
I walk in the fields with the cows and the sheep,
I struggle through ditches both dirty and deep;
I gaze on the prospect, the mountains of Wales,
The Severn besprinkled with snowy white sails;
The cottages, too, with pretty spring flowers,
And Thornbury Castle with turreted towers;
But where is Rosetta, the Queen of the May?
With form so bewitching, with spirits so gay,
And with eyes in whose gentle expression we find
The beauty that beams from a beautiful mind.
Ah! where is Rosetta? in pleasure's gay path,
She roves in the Crescent, the idol of Bath;
While I look on donkies, or curly-tailed pigs,
She gazes on lovers who rumble in gigs,
Or those who on foot approach enviably near,
And breathe the soft language of love in her ear.
And does she forget me? Fly, Ruby Heart, fly!
And say, if she smiles upon others — I die:
Bid her seek the back drawing-room, there she will see
The Beacon that ought to remind her of me.
Go, show her the roses I gave her, as yet
They cannot be withered, and can she forget?
Go teach her white fingers to touch my guitar,
And tell her to think that its cadences are
The voices of sweet little seraphs who say,
Forget not poor Felix who sighs far away.
P.S. — Best love to your Grace (my fidelity such is),
And second best love to the Dowager Duchess.
We need scarcely mention that the Rosetta alluded to was Miss Hayes, who went in the dress of that character to a fancy ball, where the poet himself appeared as Don Felix. This fancy ball, which was given for the purpose of charity, was preceded by a dramatic representation for which Mr. Haynes Bayly wrote the prologue, which he spoke in the character of Romeo. It is full of good feeling for his native city, and will be found in the following collection of his poems.
Upon his return home, he received the reply he had so ardently hoped for. Preparations for his union with Miss Hayes were immediately set on foot. The settlements were soon made, the relatives on both sides being satisfied as to the pecuniary arrangements. The income of the young couple was found quite sufficient to enable them to live in the same style to which they had been always accustomed, independently of the profits arising from Mr. Haynes Bayly's literary pursuits, which were very considerable.
The marriage took place on the 11th of July, 1826, and was thus announced: — "Married at Cheltenham, by the Rev. John T. Beecher, Prebendary of Southwell, Thomas Haynes Bayly, Esq., of Mount Beacon House, near Bath, to Helena Beecher Hayes, only surviving daughter and heiress of the late Benjamin Hayes, Esq., of Marble Hill, in the county of Cork."
Throngs of persons lined the church-yard; the galleries of the church were filled with the rank, beauty, and fashion of that resort of the beau monde. In fact, it was a very gay wedding; light hearts and cheerful countenances beamed around, and many a prayer was offered for the future welfare of the poet and his bride.
The following beautiful lines were addressed to Mr. Haynes Bayly on his marriage by one of his intimate college friends.
Oh may'st thou be happy, my early young friend,
As happy as man in this world can be;
May smiles like thine own thy steps attend,
May hearts like thine own still welcome thee!
I never have met on this chilling earth,
So merry, so kind, so frank a youth!
In moments of pleasure, a smile all mirth;
In moments of sorrow, a heart all truth.
I've heard thee praised, I've seen thee led
By fashion along her gay career;
While beautiful lips have often shed
Their flattering poison in thine ear.
And oh! I have said, he must be changed,
He cannot withstand this constant praise;
He must be spoilt, and his heart estranged
From the friends he loved in his boyish days.
But no! when we met, I found thee still
From vanity's vile contagion free;
With manners that asked and gave good will,
And pleased by their pure simplicity.
Farewell, my friend! may thy youthful bride,
As perfect in mind as in person prove;
And in years to come, may'st thou look with pride
On the being whose charms have won thy love.
Yes — may'st thou be happy, my early friend,
As happy as man in this world can be;
May smiles like thine own, thy steps attend,
May hearts like thine own still welcome thee.
After the wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly passed a month at Worthing, and then made a succession of visits to different friends and connexions, amongst the most intimate of the former was the late Lord Ashtown. While they were staying at his beautiful villa called Chessel, on the Southampton River, Mr. Haynes Bayly composed the first song after his marriage, "I'd be a Butterfly," which has been such an universal favourite, that we shall record here the incident which gave rise to it, feeling assured that it will be deemed interesting.
A large party was staying at Lord Ashtown's, and the day before it broke up the ladies, on leaving the dining-table, mentioned their intention of taking a stroll through his beautiful grounds, and the gentlemen promised to follow them in ten minutes. Lured by Bacchus, they forgot their promise to the Graces, and Mr. Haynes Bayly was the only one who thought fit to move; and he in about half an hour wandered forth in search of the ladies. They beheld him at a distance, but pretending annoyance at his not joining them sooner, they fled away in an opposite direction. The poet wishing to carry on the joke, did not seek to overtake them; they observed this, and lingered, hoping to attract his attention. He saw this manoeuvre and determined to turn the tables upon them. He waved his hand carelessly and pursued his ramble alone; then falling into a reverie, he entered a beautiful summer-house, known now by the name of Butterfly Bower, overlooking the water, and there seated himself. Here, inspired by a butterfly which had just flitted before him, he wrote the well-known ballad now alluded to. He then returned to the house and found the ladies assembled round the tea-table, when they smilingly told him they had enjoyed their walk in the shrubberies excessively, and that they needed no escort. He was now determined to go beyond them in praise of his solitary evening walk, and said that he had never enjoyed himself so much in his life; that he had met a butterfly, with whom he had wandered in the regions of fancy, which had afforded him much more pleasure than he would have found in chasing them; and that he had put his thoughts in verse. The ladies immediately gave up all further contention with the wit, upon his promising to show them the lines he had just written. He then produced his tablets, and read the well-known ballad, "I'd be a butterfly born in a bower," to the great delight of his fair auditors.
It should perhaps be here remarked that the poet foretold his own doom in this ballad; for it will be seen, by his early death, that his nerves were too finely strung to bear the unforeseen storms of severe disappointment which gathered round him in after years. On the same evening he composed the air, to which Mrs. Haynes Bayly put the accompaniments and symphonies, and it was sung the following evening to a very large party assembled at Lord Ashtown's, who encored it again and again.
During the next winter season which Mr. Haynes Bayly passed at Bath, he was much engaged in writing a novel, called "The Aylmers," in three volumes. This was his first novel, and it met with a fair share of success. We shall insert the following letter from Thomas Moore to him on the subject, proving how well he thought of it.
"Sloperton Cottage, Nov. 3, 1827.
My dear Bayly,
I must have appeared very neglectful in not answering more speedily your letters; but in the first you gave me no clue to your whereabouts, and the last found me just returned from a ramble of my own, and up to the eyes in arrears of all sorts of correspondence, literary, complimentary, negotiatory, and every other 'ary' and 'ory,' except (alas!) amatory. Many thanks for the anecdote of Lord Byron; I should like exceedingly to be furnished with the names, and with every information from the same source you can procure me. I am rejoiced to find that The Aylmers are taking the station in public favour they deserve; and with best remembrances to Mrs. Bayly, I am,
Very truly yours,
In 1827 Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly determined to visit Oxford on the occasion of the Crewian Commemoration and the Musical Festival. The fame of his lyrical writings had already reached "Alma Mater," and all the masters and heads of colleges vied with each other in showing the most marked attention to the poet. At New College a ball was to be given by the fellows; and before Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly arrived at Oxford every ticket had been given away. The committee, however, wishing to pay them every attention, determined on issuing two extra tickets, which were presented to Mr. Haynes Bayly in the most complimentary manner.
This year his happiness was increased by the birth of a daughter; and in the autumn of the same year he visited Ireland, where he was introduced by Mrs. Haynes Bayly to her numerous relatives in the county of Cork, by whom he was received with great hospitality and kindness. During his stay there be amused himself by finishing a series of ballads called "Songs of the Seasons," which soon became much in vogue. His visit to that part of Ireland was productive of a tale called "A Legend of Killarney;" in reference to which we shall here insert a letter from Mr. Crofton Croker:
"Admiralty, June 12.
I yesterday received your card with the volume of your delightful Lyrics, and I beg to return you my sincere thanks for your kindness. I hope you will not consider it as inattentive on my part not returning your visit; but for some days to come I really have not half an hour at my command, as in consequence of a long absence in Ireland, I am overwhelmed both with official and private business. I regret thus being prevented from the opportunity of making your personal acquaintance, which I have long been anxious for: and, indeed, I can scarcely account for our not having met, as I believe we possess many mutual friends.
If you remain in town so long, and will kindly name. any day the week after next-that is to say after the 21st — when you can take a bachelor's dinner with me, I shall consider it a favour; and I trust you will excuse the little ceremony I have used in making the request, as really I have not time for mere formalities.
I ought to have thanked you before this for the very flattering manner in which you were pleased to mention my name in your pretty Killarney tale, printed in one of the annuals — I think The Keepsake. It was whimsical enough that you should have taken an accidental fancy to write an Irish legend, and in the same volume that I should have written some verses about Love and Butterflies. It is only, therefore, fair that I should disclaim (and I wish I could do it in the handsome way you have done) any attempt at rivalry.
I am, Sir,
Your obliged and very humble servant,
T. CROFTON CROKER."
While at Killarney Mr. Haynes Bayly was greatly surprised at bearing many of the airs of his own ballads echoed by the hills of this romantic and enchanting scene. The fact was, Spillane (the celebrated bugle player) having discovered that the poet intended to visit the lakes on a particular day, resolved to play some of the most popular of his ballads, where the echoes would most faithfully waft them back to their author, in order to astonish and please him. The effect was magical, and afterwards when it was explained to him how it had been done, this tribute to his genius afforded him the most heartfelt gratification.
He soon after left Ireland and passed the winter of this year at his residence in Bath, where he invited his friend Theodore Hook to pass the Christmas. The following was the humorous reply of this gifted writer:—
"Cleveland Row, December 8.
I only returned from Brighton on Friday, and found your kind letter awaiting me. I know nothing that would give me greater pleasure than accepting your hospitable Christmas invitation, but I have an annual reunion on that day to attend to. I have had no answer from Edinburgh; and as I trusted my letter to a friendly hand, begin to think Ebony has not received it; however I will jog him, unless you prefer contracting the story and doing it for The Keepsake. Let me know your will and pleasure: — you may command me as you please.
All the world is at Brighton — I hardly ever remember it so full. I quite dreaded my return to this valley of vice, fog, smoke, sin, dirt, mud and mischief; indeed, it agrees with me so ill, that I think after all I must get into the country. Let me hear from you as soon as you can, because next Sunday I propose going to my sister in Warwickshire. You are good enough to suggest that Bath would not be much out of the way from Birmingham to London. Ecce!
Having filled my paper with geography, I have only room left to beg you to make my best regards to Mrs. Bayly, and to believe me,
Yours most truly,
In the spring of 1828 Mr. Haynes Bayly was occasionally attacked by the gout; but the fits never lasted more than a fortnight at a time, and were not
of a serious character. By June, he had completed a volume of songs, called "Loves of the Butterflies," which he dedicated to his friend Lord Ashtown, whom he again visited this year. His Lordship was much gratified by the dedication, and acknowledged it in the following flattering manner:
The Butterfly, in days of old,
Was emblem of the soul, we're told
This type to you may well belong:
Your Butterfly's the soul of song.
Yet why to me address the tale
Of loves that flutter in the gale
Of spring, or summer's genial ray,
To me, who hasten to decay?
Why not address the sportive song
To Helen, beautiful and young?
She well may claim a minstrel's skill.
Although a wife, a mistress still.
Yet such the magic of your strain,
Methinks I live and love again;—
Your voice recals the pleasing theme
Of hope and joy, and 'Love's Young Dream.'
Chessell, June 20.
P.S. — Butterfly Bower is newly decorated. I consider it as classic ground."
This year he also published a volume, containing fifty of his most popular lyrical ballads, for private circulation. A copy of them was presented to Mr. Rogers, the poet, who thus acknowledged the receipt of them in a letter to their author:
Pray accept my warmest acknowledgments for the honour you have done me. With many of the poems I was already acquainted, having read them, and listened to them again and again with exceeding pleasure; and I am happy in this opportunity of assuring you how very greatly I admire them.
Believe me to be,
Your much obliged and faithful servant,
This opinion of his works coming from a person of such well-known talent and good taste as the Author of "The Pleasures of Memory" gave Mr. Haynes Bayly great pleasure; Mr. Rogers also expressed his approbation of a volume which appeared about this time, entitled "Songs of the Old Chateau."
Before the conclusion of this year, Mr. Haynes Bayly was greatly afflicted by the loss of his infant son; and being in a melancholy frame of mind, his feelings found vent in the following lines addressed to a mourner:
Cling to the Cross, thou lone one,
For a solace in thy grief;
Let faith believe its promise,
There is joy in that belief.
Oh lie not down, poor mourner,
On the cold earth in despair;
Why give the grave thy homage?
Does the spirit moulder there?
The unbeliever trusts not
The atonement of the Cross:
Say, where shall he find comfort,
In the gloom of such a loss?
Can He cheer his house of mourning,
With the madden'd cry of mirth?
No! he throws himself despairing
On his all, a clod of earth.
Cling to the Cross, thou lone one,
For it bath power to save.
If the Christian's hope forsake thee,
There's no hope beyond the grave.
After some time, he began to recover his spirits and employ himself in writing; and as he had now no pursuit but literature, he thought Bath too contracted a sphere for him, and soon determined on breaking up his establishment there, and going to London as a wider field for his talents. He was more particularly anxious about bringing this plan immediately into action, as he felt a growing taste for the drama. Accordingly, in 1829 he fixed his residence in Wyndham Place, where he brought out his translations of Swiss ballads, (which formed the third volume of "The Tyrolese Melodies"), and first appeared before the London world as a dramatic author. His melodrama called "The Witness" was acted at the English Opera House, but did not meet with that success we shall have to record of his later pieces. It was played only seven nights, although Miss Kelly exerted her great talents in its support. But this failure is not surprising; for where shall we find a first attempt that equals a more mature production, especially in this kind of composition, where so many tastes are to be consulted and so much interest is required to be concentrated in the small space of time occupied by an acting drama? "Sold for a Song" came out soon after at the same theatre, and succeeded admirably.
The season being over in town, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly paid visits to Lord and Lady Nugent, Lord Carrington, and several other friends in the country, who enjoyed the society and delighted in the wit, of the poet. At Wycombe Abbey he wrote one of his best ballads, "Oh smile not upon me;" and towards Christmas he and his family retired to a cottage, called "The Grotto," near Eastbourne, for the pleasure of being near his uncle, Mr. Thomas, of Ratton Park, where he wrote a set of lyrics, called "Songs of the Days of Chivalry."
Having occasion whilst there to go to town on business, he amused himself in the stage-coach during the day devoted to his journey, by writing that most amusing petite comedie, called "Perfection;" the whole of which he scrawled in his note-book before he reached London. This drama has justly been styled "The Perfection of Fun;" although, on its first being presented for performance, it was refused at most of the theatres, as Mr. Haynes Bayly in the preface to it tells us. No one had the discernment to find out its merits till it was submitted to Madame Vestris, who instantly expressed a great desire to perform "The Lady of Munster." In a letter from the author to his wife, on the first night of its being acted, we see clearly how gratified he and the audience were. It begins thus:
All's well! Nothing from first to last could go better; the house crowded in every part, roars of laughter, and great applause. Nothing like a hiss, and it was announced by Jones for Saturday; just as you would wish it to be. Hook and I dined at the Hummums, and about the end of Masaniello, took our stations at the back of a family box in the dress circle. As soon as it was over, we went round to Lord Carrington's box, where they were all cordial in their congratulations, and I and Miss Gardiner sat afterwards in the front row. Hook is gone to a party, and I write this at the Athenaeum, where I am about to have a cup of tea. Vestris was in white, with her diamond comb and blonde in the back of her hair and falling round her. She looked very well, and was in great glee. The first song, 'I'll not believe it,' was not encored: the second, tumultuously. Jones was admirable, Mrs. Dyer, and Webster, ditto.
Over Lord Carrington's box were Lord Chesterfield and Mrs. Lane Fox. The whole house was fashionably attended. Lord Chesterfield called down from his box to Lord Carrington's that he never saw a better farce. Now that the stepping stone is laid, I shall make an effort or two. Hook has read 'The Gallopade,' and likes it quite as well, if not better than 'Perfection.' I shall make some alterations, and alter the title to, I think, 'Decorum,' and give Simon Dumps to Harley. I think it will probably be acted.
Thank God for your sake, dearest, that my news is good.
Your affectionate and devoted,
T. H. B."
To the entire success of this piece we are indebted for a series of popular dramas, which Mr. Haynes Bayly took great pleasure in composing.
"Perfection," soon became a favourite amongst those who were amused by private theatricals, and was acted at Drakelowe, with the following cast:
Sir Lawrence Paragon, Mr. Lister.
Charles, Sir Roger Griesly.
Sam, Viscount Castlereagh.
Kate O'Brien, Marchioness of Londonderry.
Susan, Lady Sophia Griesly.
"The Songs of the Boudoir" were published soon after "Perfection" was produced on the stage, and among them was the favourite "We met," which was written and set to music in the short space of a few hours.
In 1830 it was Mr. Haynes Bayly's intention to bring out an opera on the subject of James II. of Scotland. He wrote to consult Mr. Galt about it. The opinion of this able novelist we shall best give by inserting his reply. Mr. Haynes Bayly was deterred from pursuing his plan, as he did not find the subject, on examination, so interesting as he expected.
"29, Half Moon Street, Piccadilly.
This morning I had the gratification to receive your flattering letter with the songs and poems, and I hasten to express how much the incident has been pleasant, and how glad I should be to enjoy the honour of your acquaintance.
So practised a rhymer as Moore to attack me in verse was not fair: it had been better had he ventured to measure pens with you in that way.
It is so long since I left off Scottish antiquities, that my head is a little jumbled in its recollections; but you will find the National Chronicles by far the most picturesque authorities for your opera, the hero of which, really a good poet, though a King, is worthy of being well treated. Besides the common histories, there is an edition of his Majesty's own works, in the preface to which something may be found. Unfortunately, I have lost my copy. His own poems will supply you with better materials than other books, but the language is obsolete Scotch, and hardly readable by Scotchmen of the present day. For your story, I would recommend (strange as it may seem) Washington Irving's Sketch Book.
Of James, until his arrival in Scotland, we literally knew nothing; and it is only after he became a legislator, that we know any thing at all. He was, however, a facetious character, with less of the eccentricity of the Stuarts about him than any one of the royal race. I think, with Washington Irving and the Chronicles you have all you want: your own genius will do every thing else; but if on reflection, I can recal any thing that may be of use, it will give me great pleasure to transmit it.
Sir, Your humble and faithful servant,
In the commencement of 1831, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly paid a tour of visits in the country, and amongst others stayed with their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ames, at their residence in Hertfordshire. We do not quote the following doggrel lines as a proof of poetical powers, but in order to show how readily their author entered into the amusements of his companions.
TO MRS. AMES.
Her ball is fixed for Friday
My angel wife exclaims;
May I believe the tidings?
Oh thank you, Mrs. Ames.
She has sent out her servant,
(I can't remember names)
Oh what do you call the fellow?
Your own man, Mrs. Ames.
John, Thomas, William, Robert,
Jehosophat, or James,
No matter — she has sent him
With cards from Mrs. Ames.
And he'll ride round the country
(Unless his nag he lames),
Inviting all the neighbourhood
To wait on Mrs. Ames.
I trust your cold is better.
Oh! vain were sportive games,
Unless you can enjoy them;
Then sneeze not, Mrs. Ames.
Or powders made by James
Take tea, and toast-and-butter
Take comfort, Mrs. Ames.
Shake off your influenza,
Most beautiful of dames
For Gunter's man is coming.
Behold him, Mrs. Ames.
For needful preparations
The dining-room he claims;
We'll bivouac above stairs;
That's cosey, Mrs. Ames!
But I must tie my neckcloth
I hear the people's names,
Announced by Payn, the butler,
Oh! Presto, Mrs. Ames.
In the summer of this year, a great calamity befel him. His marriage portion, which was secured in coal mines, became, unfortunately, through bad management, entirely unproductive. His father, also, suffered severely from the same cause, which made the difficulty greater, as the son's name was inserted in bills passed by the father. Soon after this first blow, it was discovered that the agent, to whom he had intrusted the management of Mrs. Haynes Bayly's property in Ireland, had not acted for his employer's interest; the remittances from thence, therefore, became uncertain, and much less than they ought to have been. Another agent was afterwards found who again made the property pay, and remittances from the coal mines, which were placed under better management, were again received; but the favourable change came too late to be of use to the poet.
When suffering under these misfortunes, he found it necessary, from the altered state of his finances, to go abroad. The intelligence of his disaster caused him also to lay down his pen, when it might have proved the surest method of retrieving his fallen fortunes; and for some time he found it utterly impossible to write any thing worthy of being laid before the public. After making two or three attempts he committed them to the flames, and for a while fell into a very desponding state.
The change of scene from England to France helped, after some time, to revive his drooping spirits; and as he recovered his health, his power to resume his literary labours returned; and this feeling was hailed with delight by him in the following stanzas:
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
I've bent beneath sorrow's cold pressure too long.
I've suffered in silence; how vainly I sought
For words to unburthen the anguish of thought;
Despair haunts the silent endurance of wrong
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
I welcome thee back as the Dove to the Ark:
The world was a desert, the future all dark;
But I know that the worst of the storm must be past,
Thou art come with the green leaf of comfort at last.
Around me thy radiant imagining throng,
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
I feared thee, sweet Spirit! I thought thou would'st come
With memory's records of boyhood and home;
The home where I laughed away youth, and was told
It would still be my dwelling place when I grew old;
But visions of hope to thy coming belong,
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
Thou wilt not, sweet Spirit! thou wilt not, I know,
Mislead to the fruitless indulgence of woe,
That shrinks from the smile that would offer relief,
And seems to be proud of pre-eminent grief—
Thou'lt soothe the depression already too strong:
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
There's a chord that I never must venture to wake,
The sorrow a loved one hath borne for my sake;
But her love, which no change in my fortunes could chill,
Her smile of affection that follows me still,
Oh! these are the themes I may proudly prolong,
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
I welcome thee back, and again I look forth
With my wonted delight on the blessings of earth;
Again I can smile with the gay and the young;
The lamp is relighted, the harp is restrung.
Despair haunts the silent endurance of wrong,
I welcome thee back again, Spirit of Song!
This interesting and spirited address to his muse was placed at the commencement of a volume produced at Boulogne, called "Musings and Prosings," and published by subscription. The following letter from Sir Robert Peel to Mr. Haynes Bayly he refers to this publication, and also to some beautiful lines called "The Bridemaid," the subject of a picture now in Sir Robert's possession.
"Drayton Manor, October 14.
I beg leave to return you my thanks for a copy of the lines which suggested to Mr. Paris the picture of 'The Bridemaid,' which have too much tenderness and beauty not to be quite familiar to me.
I shall have great pleasure in subscribing to your intended publication, and deeply regret the embarrassments in which your father's misfortune has involved you.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your faithful servant,
The circumstance which gave rise to the ballad of "The Bridemaid" we give here, as a proof of the author's imaginative powers.
Mr. Haynes Bayly being one day at the drawing-room window of his house at Bath, was attracted by a gay equipage and white favours waiting at the door of his opposite neighbour; and, on inquiry, found that a wedding had just taken place. The bride was young, handsome, and rich; but, alas! she was subject to occasional fits of insanity. This circumstance was known to the bridegroom, who, it was supposed, married her for her wealth. Her bridemaid was her only sister, deformed, and very plain; but she loved the bride with an intensity of affection rarely equalled, and had watched her with the tenderest care when she was afflicted by the sad paroxysms to which we have alluded. Their childhood and early youth had been passed together: and now, that they were to be separated, the sister, who was left in her lonely abode, felt desolate and wretched. Mr. Haynes Bayly was much struck by this story; and, admiring the character of this devoted creature, his poetic fancy invested her with charms of person, as well as mind, when lie composed his popular ballad, "The Bridemaid."
It was Mr. Haynes Bayly's custom to write an annual birth-day ode to his wife; and it will be seen by the following lines addressed "to Helena," on the birth-day after his sad reverses of fortune, how deeply he felt for her, as the sharer of his misfortunes.
Oh! hadst thou never shared my fate,
More dark that fate would prove,
My heart were truly desolate,
Without thy soothing love.
But thou hast suffer'd for my sake,
Whilst this relief I found
Like fearless lips that strive to take
The poison from a wound!
My fond affection thou hast seen,
Then judge of my regret,
To think more happy thou hadst been,
If we had never met.
And has that thought been shar'd by thee!
Ah no, that smiling cheek
Proves more unchanging love for me
Than labour'd words could speak.
But there are true hearts which the sight
Of sorrow summons forth;
Though known in days of past delight,
We knew not half their worth.
How unlike some, who have profess'd,
So much in friendship's name;
Yet calmly pause to think how best
They may evade her claim.
But ah! from them to thee I turn
They'd make me loathe mankind.
Far better lessons I may learn
From thy more holy mind.
The love that gives a charm to home,
I feel they cannot take.
We'll pray for happier years to come,
For one another's sake.
Mr. and Mrs. Haynes Bayly lived now in their altered circumstances for two years in the most prudent and economical manner. They enjoyed each other's society, and were happy in congeniality of thought and sentiments. At this period his time was chiefly occupied in writing for the stage, which amused him exceedingly. When he conceived the plot of a drama, he would work diligently at it till it was completed to his entire satisfaction; he would then pass many days without writing a line, and this total delassement seemed necessary, before he could open another vein of wit and humour.
The following is a list of his dramatic productions:
Sold for a Song.
The Bridegroom of the Fay.
My Eleventh Day.
Proof of the Pudding.
The Convent Belle.
How do you Manage?
Love in a Cottage.
A Gentleman in Difficulties.
Why don't she Marry?
You can't marry your Grand mother.
Forty and Fifty.
One Hour; or, the Carnival Ball.
The Barrack Room.
Can Love Kill?
The Spitalfield's Weaver,
Ladder of Love.
Tom Noddy's Secret.
My Little Adopted.
Friends and Neighbours.
In 1833 Mr. Haynes Bayly went to Paris; and in 1836 he returned to London with his family. His numerous friends were all anxious once more to enjoy his society, and welcomed him back to England with great cordiality. He paid several visits at their seats in the country, where he again indulged his taste for wandering amid luxuriant groves and gay parterres.
The woods of Shirley Park particularly seemed to inspire him with poetical ideas. His favourite haunt was a romantic summer-house at the farther end of the plantations, where, enlivened by a chorus of the feathered tribe, our minstrel loved to tune his lays to their sweet harmony. The summer-house having been made of a pleasure-boat, suggested to him the idea of the following lines:
Old Boat! I wish a lot were mine,
In youth and age resembling thine:
When young and strong, like thee to glide
Over a calm and sunny tide.
For innocent enjoyment fram'd,
Pleasure nam'd with me, when I'm nam'd.
A cheerful aspect still I'd wear,
Sought by the youthful and the fair;
And offering to every guest,
A shelter and a place of rest.
In 1837 he published his "Weeds of Witchery," which may well be termed the "Flowers of Wit." On this volume the following criticism appeared in a popular French periodical:
"M. Haynes Bayly est l'Anacreon de la romance Anglaise. Sa poesie a inspire presque toute la brigade musicale des compositeurs de ballades. La plupart de celles de M. Haynes Bayly ont un succes prodigieux, et se trouvent dans tous les recueils de musique des trois royaumes. La poesie legere et sentimentale est celle dont la muse de M. Haynes Bayly lui donne les heureuses inspirations. Celles qui composent le volume que nous avons sous les yeux sont charmantes, pleines d'idees fines et delicates, elegamment exprimees. Ce livre est un nouvel ornement pour les bibliotheques et un agreable passe-temps pour les amateurs de poesie."
"Weeds of Witchery" were dedicated to his friend Theodore Hook, whose warmth of heart and disinterested friendship were a great solace to the poet in his misfortunes. We entirely concur with the sentiments in the preface to the above-named work, that "Haynes Bayly never has written a line which, from its moral tendency, he could wish to blot."
His anxiety about pecuniary matters became about this period very great, as no favourable change had occurred in respect of either his English or Irish property. His pen therefore was his principal support; and, as at times he felt very unwell, he began to dread lest his power of composition might fail him when he most needed its aid. He, however, in 1837 entered into an arrangement with Mr. Bentley, to produce a work of fiction entitled "Kindness in Women," for which he was liberally paid. But, alas! his fears respecting his health proved but too true; for in the early part of this year he was, during the progress of the work we have just mentioned, attacked by brain fever, which confined him to his bed for many weeks, and rendered him insensible to all around him. Still, his life was never despaired of, and towards the commencement of the summer he began to rally. As he had great command over himself, few knew when anxiety preyed on his mind; for, however ruffled the under current of his thoughts might be, he always kept the surface so smooth that the world saw only, during the latter years of his life, the sunny side of his existence.
As soon as Mrs. Haynes Bayly, who had given birth to a daughter in the June of this year, was well enough to travel, he returned with her to Boulogne. There he remained until the following summer with the exception of a visit to Cherbourg, to see his mother, who had become a widow, when he was again attacked by an illness, which commenced with a total derangement of the biliary organs, and which towards the autumn increased to an alarming extent. He had the best medical advice in London; but not deriving much benefit from it, he resolved to try a change of air, and therefore paid a visit to some friends at Cintra Lodge, Norwood, whose society and friendship he much prized. He however continued to suffer much during his stay there: the pain he felt being, as he himself described it, "like a vulture gnawing his side." At this stage of his disease, he had no idea of its proving fatal, as will be seen by the following lines which were addressed to the friends with whom he was staying, and written in a bower where he loved to sit. They are the more interesting on account of their being nearly the last of his poetical productions:
'Twas in a happy summer hour,
I watched the building of the bower.
No mansion raised for vain display,
Nor one where labour works his way,
But formed to be the home of pleasure,
Where Virtue spends her blameless leisure.
Farewell, dear friends, oft may we meet
Hereafter in this calm retreat;
May every year add something bright
To your pure portion of delight.
Ah! may you in your daughters find
The mother's form, the mother's mind.
Look on your sons, and proudly see
Their father's high integrity.
And blest with this delightful thought
By us, their virtues have been taught.
Farewell! henceforth each dweller here
Shall to my heart be very dear,
Remembering whene'er I roam,
Cintra has been to me a home.
He left Cintra Lodge with the intention of returning to Boulogne, having left his family there; but during the few days he passed in London on his way, his disease increased to such a frightful extent that strong remedies were immediately resorted to. His sickness and suffering produced a total change of colour, and in his letters he thus describes his appearance:
"I look like a brazen image; I eat nothing, and am as weak as a babe; my premature attempts at nourishing myself, which Dr. — told me were useless while the complaint lasted, have ended in the necessity of cupping me on the liver and stomach." These accounts so terrified Mrs. Haynes Bayly, that she determined on going to him immediately. However, before she could make arrangements for leaving her children, she received a letter, intimating that he would at once return to her at Boulogne. On his arrival her worst apprehensions were all too surely confirmed by his appearance. His disease, now confirmed jaundice, increased daily; and his sufferings at times were very great. He, however, bore them with patience and resignation, and bowed with the true feeling of a Christian to the will of his Creator.
It was now suggested that the air and waters of Cheltenham alight be beneficial to him; he, therefore, removed thither accompanied by his wife, as speedily as possible. But, alas! he was, on his arrival, beyond the reach of human skill or earthly remedies. The jaundice had now too closely entwined itself round the principle of vitality to allow of his recovery, and having turned to dropsy, his friend and physician, Dr. Canon considered it his duty to inform him of his situation, which he did as delicately as possible, lest he should harass or distress the nerves of his patient. However, the announcement was unattended by any excitement, as Mr. Haynes Bayly had been for some time looking forward with calmness and hope to a brighter life beyond the grave; and when he heard Dr. Canon's opinion, his reply was, "God's will be done." As he became gradually weaker his sufferings decreased, and although nearly blind, he endeavoured to trace, but with so feeble a hand that the words in the original MS. are barely discernible, his thoughts and feelings on a future state, which we here quote:
"I believe that my only hope is by trusting myself entirely to the mercy of Almighty God, who, through Christ, has given pardon, provided we acknowledge ourselves sinners, and resolutely ask forgiveness."
He survived only a few days after writing the foregoing words, and expired, on the 22nd of April, 1839, without a struggle or a sigh. His remains lie interred in the new burying-ground at Cheltenham, and his epitaph written by Theodore Hook, and inscribed on a tablet in St. James's Church, in the same town, is as follows:
He was a kind parent,
An affectionate husband,
A popular Author
An accomplished gentleman.
To commemorate all his good qualities,
Which she duly appreciated,
This tablet has been erected
By his disconsolate mother.