1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Hayes

Robert Southey, 1824; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 1:134-36.



Mr. Palmer took me in his carriage to Dean's Yard, introduced me to Dr. Smith, entered my name with him, and, upon his recommendation, placed me at the boarding house, then called Otly's, from its late mistress, but kept by Mrs. Farren; and left me there, with Samuel Hayes, the usher of the house, and of the fifth form, for my tutor.

Botch Hayes, as he was denominated, for the manner in which he mended his pupil's verses, kept a smaller boarding house next door; but at this time a treaty of union between the two houses was going on, which, like the union of Castille and Aragon, was to be brought about by a marriage between the respective heads of the several states. This marriage took place during the ensuing Whitsun-holydays; and the smaller flock was removed in consequence to our boarding-house, which then took the name of Hayes's, but retained it only a few months, for Hayes, in disgust at not being appointed under-master, withdrew from the school: his wife of course followed his fortunes, and was succeeded by Mrs. Clough, who migrated thither with a few boarders from Abingdon Street. But as Botch Hayes is a person who must make his appearance in the Athenae Cantabrigienses (if my lively, happy, good-natured friend Mr. Hughes carries into effect his intention of compiling such a work), I will say something of him here.

He was a man who, having some skill and much facility in versifying, walked for many years over the Seatonian race-ground at Cambridge, and enjoyed the produce of Mr. Seaton's Kislingbury estate without a competitor. He was, moreover, what Oldys describes Nahum Tate to have been, — "A free, good-natured fuddling companion;" to all which qualities his countenance bore witness. With better conduct and better fortune, Hayes would have had learning and talents enough to have deserved and obtained promotion. His failings were so notorious, and the boys took such liberties with him (sticking his wig full of paper darts in school, and, indeed, doing or leaving undone whatever they pleased, in full reliance upon his easy and indolent good-nature), that it would have been a most unfit thing to have appointed him under-master, in course of seniority, when Vincent succeeded Dr. Smith. Perhaps he would not have taken offence at being passed by, if a person thoroughly qualified had been chosen in his stead; but he could not bear to have an inferior usher, who was a man of no talents whatsoever, promoted over him, and therefore, to the great injury of his worldly affairs, he left the school altogether. Hayes it was who edited those sermons which Dr. Johnson is supposed to have written for his friend Dr. Taylor.