1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Andrew Macdonald, "New Probationary Odes for the Laureatship. By William Hayley" Macdonald, Miscellaneous Works (1791) 97-99.



Aonian Maids, your airy zones unbind,
And sigh responsive to the sobbing wind,
WARTON'S great head, whence issu'd many an Ode,
Stript of its laurel, lies a lifeless clod.

Barb'rous is the bitter blast,
Which the mountain oak o'erthrows,
Shivers ev'ry sea-boat's mast,
And to none propitious blows.

THOMAS, on a sudden call,
Died at supper in the Hall,
Which, to him, though rather cross,
Is to me no mighty loss;
For, ambitious yet of fame,
Hence the vacant wreath I claim.

What though hooted from the stage,
By a ruthless Party's rage;
By Old Maids, a curst cabal,
Who came like cats to spit and squawl:
What thou sweet MARCELLA, slain,
Sleeps no more to wake again;
And the Heir of SIC'LY'S throne
Is to Limbo patrum gone;
While still in my exhaustless brain
Embrios of thousand Odes remain,
Which heedfully I feed and foster,
Like maggots in a Cheshire old, or Glo'ster!

Garland long, but little worn,
Come, and HAYLEY'S brows adorn!
Lo, thy fragrant frame, I swear,
Ev'ry lawful day to wear!
Unlike my predecessors' faint,
With lazy twice a-year content;
Without my laurel on my brow,
I will not buy a sheep or sow;
And if a bargain good be made,
An Ode shall celebrate the thriving trade.

But oft, inflam'd with furor high,
Swift to WINDSOR walks I'll fly;
There sing each bank and balmy bow'r,
Ev'ry tree, and ev'ry tower;
Gales which, at the dawn of day,
Sweep the hovering mists away,
Dews which, at the close of night,
Gently on the lilies light;
Ev'ry happy vi'let's head,
Honour'd by a Royal tread;
Ev'ry swine and suckling cow,
With merry squeak and solemn low;
Goddesses that haunt the glades,
Guardians of the Royal shades;
To each my lyre so loyal shall be strung,
Nor CLOACINE herself remains unsung.

God of the silver bow, to thee I bend!
Bid thy Lieutenant, SAL'SBURY, stand my friend;
Bid him to me the glorious wreath assign,
And, Oh! — the sal'ry think of, and the wine!
A Hecatomb shall on thine altar blaze,
A Hecatomb of my unsullied lays;
Thou know'st I am no weary worn-out worm,
Much though I promise, more I'll yet perform!