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quitting the university as Hayley was about to enter it, engaged as his drawing-master, on coming to reside in college, Mr. Bretherton, a painter of some talent, under whose instructions he learnt to draw landscapes and figures, from nature and from art, with considerable taste and accuracy; and, indeed, through the friendly lessons of Meyer, the miniature painter, with whom he contracted a close intimacy, soon surpassed and instructed his first master in the management of water colours. Having afterwards executed several drawings, and some pictures on ivory from Titian, Corregio, Raphael, and other foreign masters, the poet ran some risk of being turned into a painter, though he candidly confesses, that his “ exultation on such performances was like the exultation of a child, who fancies himself a great gardener, as soon as he has transplanted a few diminutive flowers*.” But the love of literature, especially of poetry, was still his predominant passion; and in its favour he steadily resolved to devote no more time to the pencil than would enable him, as he advanced in life, to form a collection of miniature portraits of his particular friends, sketched by his own hand. But all hopes of realizing this pleasing prospect were destroyed by his having the misfortune to catch a severe cold while exposed, in an open boat, to the blight of a bitter easterly wind, when accompanying his friend Meyer to visit captain Cook, the navigator, on board the Resolution, then lying in the Thames; the consequence of which was a violent and obstinate inflammation in the eyes, productive of long and severe suffering, and compelling him to renounce his drawing, which he never resumed, but to copy two bold sketches of Matlock scenery by his friend Wright, of Derby. The delight which he had taken in the art naturally induced him to cultivate the acquaintance of its professors, with several of whom he formed an intimate friendship. From this period he applied himself principally to the study of the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English poets, and to critical writers on the art, to which he had determined to devote himself, with less of natural genius for its cultivation than has fallen to the lot of many, who have gained a much humbler name in the list of the Muses' votaries. Certain it is, that no man ever laboured more assiduously to supply by study, the deficiencies of genius; but his attention was. unhappily directed to a pursuit in which, of all others, art, unassisted by nature, can do the least. His studies were, in

* Hayley's Life of Romney, p. 67.

all probability, for some time interrupted by his marriage, on the 23d of October, 1769, to Miss Ball, a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Ball, then dean of Chichester, with whom he settled in the metropolis, where he occasionally indulged his love of poetry; but suffered none of his productions to go beyond the friendly circle, including in it some names even of poets and critics of celebrity, whose approbation could not induce him to submit them to the public eye. Ill suited by constitution or by taste for the bustle of London, or the gaiety of fashionable life, after a five years' trial, he retired to his country seat at Eartham, which he afterwards made his principal residence. Wishing to embellish this retreat with the portraits of some of his friends, Meyer recommended him to the ingenious but eccentric painter, Romney, with whom Mr. Hayley soon formed a very close intimacy. At Eartham, amidst scenery on which he gazed with the eye of a painter, this artist regularly passed a part of every autumn, surrounded by all the comforts of a second home. Hayley warmly forwarded his interests and his views, introducing him to many of his distinguished friends, whose portraits he was engaged to paint. Here the poet cultivated his talent with assiduity, and passed some of the hours not devoted to the study of his art -- for with him poetry always was a studyin the harmless amusements of rural life. He gradually made up his mind, however, to venture before the public, as a candidate for the laurel which he, no doubt, thought himself entitled to wear, as he certainly had taken all due pains to deserve it; and choosing a subject which had, at least, the charms of novelty, in 1778 published, anonymously, Poetical Epistle to an eminent Painter” (Romney), which was deservedly well received, as the versification was extremely harmonious; the criticism, generally speaking, just and liberal; the diction spirited, and in some parts impassioned.' Artists censured, indeed, and no doubt justly, many of the minuter critiques of the poet, and some of the reviewers of the day very justly charged the poem with that redundancy of expression and sickly sweetness of versification, which are the reigning and incurable faults of all this author's metrical productions. Its success was, nevertheless, so decided, that at the solicitation of his friends he removed again to Londoa, to cultivate with greater facilities his poetical talents, and to enjoy the benefit of literary society, into which he of course would enter with every advantage that an independent fortune, an excellent disposition, and fascinating manners, could give. Of those advantages he also undoubtedly derived the

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quitting the university as Hayley was about to enter it, engaged as his drawing-master, on coming to reside in college, Mr. Bretherton, a painter of some talent, under whose instructions he learnt to draw landscapes and figures, from nature and from art, with considerable taste and accuracy; and, indeed, through the friendly lessons of Meyer, the miniature painter, with whom he contracted a close intimacy, soon surpassed and instructed his first master in the management of water colours. Having afterwards executed several drawings, and some pictures on ivory from Titian, Corregio, Raphael, and other foreign masters, the poet ran some risk of being turned into a painter, though he candidly confesses, that his “ exultation on such performances was like the exultation of a child, who fancies himself a great gardener, as soon as he has transplanted a few diminutive flowers*.” But the love of literature, especially of poetry, was still his predominant passion; and in its favour he steadily resolved to devote no more time to the pencil than would enable him, as he advanced in life, to form a collection of miniature portraits of his particular friends, sketched by his own hand. But all hopes of realizing this pleasing prospect were destroyed by his having the misfortune to catch a severe cold while exposed, in an open boat, to the blight of a bitter easterly wind, when accompanying his friend Meyer to visit captain Cook, the navigator, on board the Resolution, then lying in the Thames; the consequence of which was a violent and obstinate inflammation in the eyes, productive of long and severe suffering, and compelling him to renounce his drawing, which he never resumed, but to copy two bold sketches of Matlock scenery by his friend Wright, of Derby. The delight which he had taken in the art naturally induced him to cultivate the acquaintance of its professors, with several of whom he formed an intimate friendship. From this period he applied himself principally to the study of the Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English poets, and to critical writers on the art, to which he had determined to devote himself, with less of natural genius for its cultivation than has fallen to the lot of many, who have gained a much humbler name in the list of the Muses' votaries. Certain it is, that no man ever laboured more assiduously to supply by study, the deficiencies of genius; but his attention was. unhappily directed to a pursuit in which, of all others, art, unassisted by nature, can do the least. His studies were, in

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all probability, for some time interrupted by his marriage, on the 23d of October, 1769, to Miss Ball, a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Ball, then dean of Chichester, with whom he settled in the metropolis, where he occasionally indulged his love of poetry; but suffered none of his productions to go beyond the friendly circle, including in it some names even of poets and critics of celebrity, whose approbation could not induce him to submit them to the public eye. Ill suited by constitution or by taste for the bustle of London, or the gaiety of fashionable life, after a five years' trial, he retired to his country seat at Eartham, which he afterwards made his principal residence. Wishing to embellish this retreat with the portraits of some of his friends, Meyer recommended him to the ingenious but eccentric painter, Romney, with whom Mr. Hayley soon formed a very close intimacy. At Eartham, amidst scenery on which he gazed with the eye of a painter, this artist regularly passed a part of every autumn, surrounded by all the comforts of a second 'home. Hayley warmly forwarded his interests and his views, introducing him to many of his distinguished friends, whose portraits he was engaged to paint. Here the poet cultivated his talent with assiduity, and passed some of the hours not devoted to the study of his art -- for with him poetry always was a study in the harmless amusements of rural life.

He gradually made

up his mind, however, to venture before the public, as a candidate for the laurel which he, no doubt, thought himself entitled to wear, as he certainly had taken all due pains to deserve it; and choosing a subject which had, at least, the charms of novelty, in 1778 published, anonymously, " A Poetical Epistle to an eminent Painter” (Romney), which was deservedly well received, as the versification was extremely harmonious ; the criticism, generally speaking, just and liberal; the diction spirited, and in some parts impassioned.' Artists censured, indeed, and no doubt justly, many of the minuter critiques of the poet, and some of the reviewers of the day very justly charged the poem with that redundancy of expression and sickly sweetness of versification, which are the reigning and incurable faults of all this author's metrical productions. Its success was, nevertheless, so decided, that at the solicitation of his friends he removed again to London, to cultivate with greater facilities his poetical talents, and to enjoy the benefit of literary society, into which he of course would enter with every advantage that an independent fortune, an excellent disposition, and fascinating manners, could give. Of those advantages he also undoubtedly derived the

full benefit in the critical journals of the day, which from the moment of his appearance as a writer, and with an unanimity not very frequently met with amongst rival reviews, cried him up as one of the first poets, if not the very first, of his age. On the appearance of the next production of his muse, an“ Epistle to a Friend on the Death of John Thornton, esq.” published in 1779, it is asked, for instance, by the critic of the Gentleman's Magazine, whether any one could “have imputed a work, distinguished by such uncommon pathos, elegance, and fancy, to any other poet of the age;" and an occasional piece, having claim to no higher praise than that of being very smooth in its versification, and displaying some elegance of encomium, is characterized as “ one of the first of literary performances*.” A writer thus encouraged and flattered, with no engagements to interfere with the pursuit of his choice, was not likely to be idle long; and accordingly, in the same year, he produced an “ Ode inscribed to John Howard, esq. ” which, though received with their usual gratitude and laudatory compliments by the reviewers, is unquestionably a very meagre and tame performance. Lyric poetry, at least, was never Hayley's forte; and the subject selected for his first flight was far, very far, above the powers of a writer who could close it with such lines as these :

“ May'st thou, in glory's hallowed blaze,

Approach th' eternal fount of praise,

With those who lead th' angelic van,
Those firm adherents to their Saviour's plan,

Who liv'd but to relieve the miseries of man." In the year 1780 appeared his first poetical production of any very great length, in an " Essay on History, in Three Epistles to Edward Gibbon, esq." a work possessing considerable claims to public approbation, from the knowledge of the subject which it exhibited — the spirit with which the literary portraits of the historians introduced are executed the justice of its criticism - and a vigour and nervousness of style not generally characteristic of its author's writings. It is, nevertheless, diffuse in many parts; and though, perhaps, the best of all Mr. Hayley's poems, has not that striking merit which we are warranted to expect from the surpassing excellence attributed to it by critics who assuredly were partial; though, for the credit of the tribe, we would fain hope that they were not venal. In noticing Hume, the author very

* Vol. i. p. 191, 2.

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