1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Robert Potter to Edward Jerningham, 23 November 1785; Lewis Bettany, Edward Jerningham and his Friends (1919) 352.



Our fathers were enraptured with Pope's Messiah. This age is unworthy of such sublime strains: nothing manly or rational is left among us: nothing pleases now but the sing-song of two or three mellifluous misses and the semperfluous Mr. Hayley. I am proud of having given my honest testimony against this degeneracy; but canimus surdis. Yet I sing on, and will sing on, contrasting the antients with the insipid lullabies of these ephemery warblers.