1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hayley

Catherine Stephens, "Sonnet to William Hayley Esq. on his adjudging Poetry properly the Female Province" Gentleman's Magazine 60 (May 1790) 450.



Essay, essay the scientific lay!
The Muse of Hayley cries, and soaring sings—
In vain I strive to grasp the living bay,
In vain with Hayley's verse my cottage rings;
Still but ineptual semblance Fancy brings,
A shade illumin'd by the immortal ray.
Thus the lark's shadow waves its mimic wings
O'er sun-gilt Earth, while he tow'rd Heav'n directs his way.
Yet, shall I rest supine, nor tell my thought?
No! let the million silently admire;
My song's defection is my fancy's fault;
For, Hayley, while for thee I sweep the lyre
(Impulsive as the keen electrian fire),
My bosom vibrates quick to every trembling wire.