1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

William Mason to William Hayley, 1782; Memoirs of William Hayley (1823) 1:274-75.



You have honoured me more in your late elegant publication [Essay on Epic Poetry], (which I received last week with a most obliging letter,) than out of respect to your own poetical reputation you ought to have done; and have, I fear, hazarded some of your great and deserved popularity, by so very partial an address to a writer who perceives his own credit with the public much on the decline; but who feels it without chagrin, and who will always be happy to find, that general applause conferred on a character so amiable, and talents so considerable, as yours, which he has ceased to solicit; sitting perhaps too easy to the taste of the times, and paying too little deference to the leaders of that taste.