1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

R. B., "To William Hayley, Esq." St. James's Chronicle (7 January 1783).



The Muses they met with Apollo their Brother,
(They had not, it seems, for some Time seen each other)
After few Salutations, and many kind Greetings,
As oft is the Custom at Family Meetings—
Have you heard, quoth Apollo, that Genius address us,
Who claims amongst us the first Seat in Parnassus?
He has drunk, I am sure, pretty deep of our Springs,
So bold in his Flights! and so sweetly he sings!
The strong glow of Homer rekindles his Soul,
Which with Mars's keen Judgement he knows to controul;
His Diction is rich, and his Thoughts are sublime,
And smoothly glides onward his Heart 'witching Rhime;
His Paintings are just, for from Nature he steals,
And what he describes, himself previously feels.
Such Poets as he our Attention engage—
And appear, as a Comet, but once in an Age.

Proclaim it, ye Muses, all round our Domain,
My Hayley unrivall'd, unenvied shall reign
Of Britain's fam'd Minstrels a favourite Son,
Full many out-doing — but never out-done.
Reading, Jan. 4, 1783.