1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Anonymous, "To William Hayley, Esq." Gentleman's Magazine 53 (May 1783) 428.



Arise my Hayley! thy dark forehead clear;
What though our Thornton fills the sable bier:
Thy Muse, in grateful Friendship's tender verse,
With sweetest flowers has strew'd his early hearse;
And fondly giv'n, what well she knows to give,
His honour'd name in her fair page to live.
There too he shines, who with redressive zeal
Saw the poor debtor feel a ruffian's pain,
And female frailty drag th' unworthy chain.
Averse to flatter, though inclin'd to praise,
Malignant Wit now wakes thy angry lays;
In Virtue's cause thy vengeful bolt is sped,
And flaming strikes the Dean's devoted head.
Nor dost thou spare, though in every line
Chaste eloquence and classic taste combine,
That writer, who with sly malicious aim
Labours to quench Religion's holy flame.
For now thy Genius, with a critic sway,
O'er History's ample field extends her way.
Now Art is fix'd on her late tottering throne,
And Painting shines in colours not her own.
Yet happier far, when to our ravish'd view
Thy pen the mild Serena's image drew;
The mild Serena, in whose breast we find
The just reflection of her poet's mind.
Come then, and dare th' Homeric pencil wield,
Nor e'en to Mason yield the Epic field.
Rouse thy free spirit; nor with party rage,
Like him, contaminate thy virgin page.
Round Rodney's temple the green laurel twine,
And Howe preserve in thy embalming line.