1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Samuel Hayes

Robert Southey to G. C. Bedford, 17 June 1806; in Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 3:43.



The other poor rhymer is poor old Botch Hayes, whom we are in duty bound not to forget, and of whom you may say what you will, only let it be in the best good humour; because poor Botch's heart was always in the right place, which certainly his wig was not. And you may say, that though his talent at producing commonplace English verses was not very convenient for his competitors at Cambridge for the Seatonian prize, that his talent of producing commonplace Latin ones was exceedingly so for his pupils at Westminster. I don't say that I would wish to plant a laurel upon old Hayes's grave; but I could find it in my heart to plant a vine there (if it would grow), as a more appropriate tree, and to pour a brimming libation of its juice, if we had any reason to think that the spirit of the grape could reach the spirit of the man. Poor fellow! that phrase of 'being nobody's enemy but his own,' is not admitted as a set-off on earth, but in the other world, Grosvenor!