1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

The Cottage Mouse, "Sonnet, addressed to Mr. Hayley" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (3 November 1786).



O Bard of Britain! thou whose noble song
Awakes the spirit of the youthful breast,
And bids young emulation join the throng,
Who strive for glory's never fading vest;
May all the Muses yield to thy behest:
Let radiance, never fading, mark thy rhime;
Let woman sing with ardour unexprest,
Thy soft inflexions, and thy "free sublime;"
Let on by thee, immortal is her aim,
She seeks the laurel of the Muses bower,
You point her footsteps to the path of Fame,
And bid her sing with no inferior power:
If then too boldly she attempts thy praise,
Blame her not, Hayley — You inspir'd her lays.