The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

90                    THE SUSSEX COAST
beautiful in themselves are 'little suited to repro­duction in marble (p. 18).
Hayley, famous for his poetry, for his scholar­ship, for his hospitality and for tumbling off every horse he attempted to ride, was at one time extraordinarily popular as a writer, and was offered the Laureateship, which however he refused, in this as in many other matters showing better judgment than his enthusiastic admirers. We can hardly refuse to accept Byron's summary of his rhyming powers—
"His style in youth or age is just the same, For ever feeble and for ever tame."
But there is real poetry in much that Hayley wrote, and on the whole he seems to have been at his best in writing those epitaphs that his age demanded. It may not be high art, but the lines from his pen that are inscribed on the monument of Collins in the Cathedral (p. 43), are at any rate excellent of their kind—
" Ye who the merits of the dead revere, Who hold misfortune sacred—genius dear— Regard this tomb, where Collins' hapless name Solicits kindness with a double claim. Though Nature gave him, and though Science taught, The fire of Fancy and the reach of Thought, Severely doomed in penury's extreme He passed in maddening pain Life's feverish dream ; While rays of genius only served to show The thickening horror and exalt his woe. Ye walls, that echoed to his frantic moan, Guard the due records of this graceful stone! Strangers to him, enamoured of his lays, This fond memorial to his talents raise; For this the ashes of the Bard require Who touched the tenderest notes of Pity's lyre;
Previous Contents Next