1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Anonymous, "The Genius of Painting, to the Author of A Poetical Epistle to an eminent Painter" Whitehall Evening Post (22 August 1780).



Thanks, gen'rous Bard! who thus in sweetest rhyme
Hast mark'd my progress from remotest Time;
In just succession trac'd my chosen Band,
From Corinth's maid to Reynolds' master hand;
In friendly rivalship their merits plac'd:
Rivals, yet living Friends, in art and taste!
Contrasted thus, the kindred colours vie,
When Iris with her bow invests the sky;
In nice gradation, lo! each colour gleam,
Yet each unite to grace the parent beam!

Long as my waving line shall meet the view,
Such as of old my Coan fav'rite drew;
Long as the canvas shall my tints retain,
Long as the charms of composition reign,
Long as expression shall with truth combine
To stamp perfection on each bold design;
So long, kind Poet! may thy numbers tell
How well thou knew'st what thou record'st so well;
Till Poetry and Painting find a date,
And sink with Nature in the wreck of Fate!