1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Edmond Malone, 1787; Maloniana in Sir James Prior, Life of Edmond Malone (1860) 373.



For these last five years, that is from 1782 to 1787, scarce one of the monthly publications have been without some extravagant praise of two very moderate versifiers, Mr. Hayley and Miss Anna Seward; and generally they have written the most high-flown encomiums on each other.

Some of the old Italian writers would have condemned them in a future state to lash each other from morning till night with nettles, for their folly and vanity. A modern wit [Richard Porson], a few days since, inflicted on them a milder punishment.

Dialogue between Miss Seward and Mr. Hayley.
"Tuneful poet! Britain's glory,
Mr Hayley, that is you—"
"Ma'am, you carry all before you,
Trust me, Lichfield Swan, you do—"
"Ode, didactick, epick, sonnet,
Mr. Hayley, you're divine—"
"Ma'am, I'll take my oath upon it,
You alone are all the nine!"
Nov. 1787.