1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Anonymous, "Verses addressed to Mr. Hayley on his Poems" Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (11 February 1782).



In times like these, when POETRY is dead,
And all the magic pow'rs of verse are fled:
When ribaldry and satire guide the pen,
The shame of Poets, and the bane of men;
What strain Popeian the thick gloom pervades,
And sheds its lustre on those barb'rous shades?—
See HAYLEY rise, in him at once we see,
Held forth to view the Muse's Jubilee,—
Whilst imitative nature swells the strain,
Shakespeare in all his magic lives again:
And whilst our bard fair fancy's track pursues,
We trace the dawning of a Spencer's muse—
Copious as Dryden, and as Pope refin'd,
Bold to expose the follies of mankind;
Witty as Prior, and as Gray sublime,
He lives the motley wonder of his time—
Proceed, great bard! in nature's bold career,
Heed not the low'ring of the Critic sphere—
Since Pope's great self the Archetype of song,
Hath borne th' upbraidings of an envious throng;
Who failing in the character they drew,
Gave to his sterling merit all its due—
So shall thy muse in late existence thrive,
And midst the storm of ceaseless Critics live!—