William Hayley

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:132-33.

Beattie had a decided reign from the time of the publication of the first canto of his Minstrel, till after the appearance of his second canto. He then came forward as a poet no more, and left the field to his rivals. Joseph Warton never published any poems separately after the appearance of his thin quarto pamphlet of Lyrics, in 1746; and Tom Warton did not engage much popular notice as a poet, though there was much descriptive merit in his small collection of Poems, 1778. Goldsmith died in 1774: so the stage was left to Hayley from 1778 to 1785 [Cowper's The Task], unless Miss Seward could be said to divide attention with him. Hayley succeeded by drawing the reader's mind from words to matter, and partly perhaps by his amusing notes. I speak of these things, because they happened within my own personal observation.