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ART. VIII. The Triumphs of Temper; a Poem, In Six Cantos. By William Hayley, Efq. 4to. 6s. fewed. Dodsley. 1781.


T seems to be a kind of duty,' says Mr. Hayley, incumbent on those who devote themfelves to poetry, to raife, if poffible, the dignity of a declining art, by making it as beneficial to life and manners as the limits of compofition, and the character of modern times, will allow.' In conformity with this fentiment, this gallant Writer has taken the field against the most formidable enemy of domeftic quiet that ever embittered life or brutalized our manners. And were it not that spleen is the deaf adder that refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer, the victory would be decifive. But though it is to be feared her diabolical empire is too firmly established to be fhaken by any exertions fhort of miraculous, we are fully of opinion, that the poem before us, which is intended to promote the cultivation of good humour, will be of confiderable fervice to society. Exclufive of that intellectual delight arifing from the contemplation of works of ingenuity and tafte, it is capable of being the fource of still more lasting enjoyments, as it cannot fail of infufing fome portion of that spirit which it recommends, and, where good temper is permitted to exert itself, of improving influence into habit.

There is a novelty in the nature and conduct of this poem which, as it requires explanation, will be beft done in the Author's own words:

The following production owes its existence to an incident in real life, very fimilar to the principal action of the last Canto; but in forming the general plan of the work, it feemed to me abfolutely neceffary to introduce both the agency and the abode of SPLEEN, notwithstanding the difficulty and the hazard of attempting a fubject fo happily executed by the masterly pencil of Pope. I confidered his Cave of Spleen as a moft exquifite cabinet picture; and to avoid the fervility of imitation, I determined to fketch the manfion of this gloomy Power on a much wider canvas: happy, indeed, if the judgment of the Public may enable me to exclaim, with the honeft vanity of the painter, who compared his own works to the divine productions of Raphael,

E fon Pittore anch' Io!

The celebrated Aleffandro Taffoni, who is generally confidered as the inventor of the modern Heroi-comic Poetry, was fo proud of having extended the limits of his art by a new kind of compofition, that he not only spoke of it with infinite exultation in one of his private letters, but even gave a MS. copy of his work to his native city of Modena, with an infcription, in which he ftyled it a new fpecies of Poetry, invented by himself.

A few partial friends have afferted, that the prefent performance has fome degree of fimilar merit; but as I apprehend all the novelty it poffeffes, may rather require an apology, than entitle its Author to


challenge commendation, I fhall explain how far the conduct of the Poem differs from the moft approved models in this mode of writing, and flightly mention the poetical effects, which fuch a variation appeared likely to produce.

It is well known, that the favourite Poems, which blend the ferious and the comic, reprefent their principal characters in a fatirical point of view: it was the intention of Taffoni (though prudence made him attempt to conceal it) to fatirize a particular Italian nobleman, who happened to be the object of his refentment. Boileau openly ridicules the French Ecclefiaftics in his Lutrin; Garth, our English Phyficians, in his Difpenfary; and the Rape of the Lock itfelf, that most excellent and enchanting Poem, which I never contemplate but with new idolatry, is denominated the beft Satire extant, by the learned Dr. Warton, in his very elegant and ingenious, but fevere Effay on Pope: a fentence which feems to be confirmed by the Poet himself, in his letter to Mrs. Fermor, where he fays, "The character of Belinda, as it is now managed, refembles you in nothing but in beauty." Though I think, that no compofition can furpafs, or perhaps ever equal this most happy effort of Genius, as a sportive Satire, I imagined it might be poffible to give a new Character to this mixed fpecies of Poetry, and to render it by its object, though not in its execution, more noble than the most beautiful and refined Satire can be. We have feen it carried to inimitable perfection, in the most delicate raillery on Female Foibles:-it remained to be tried, if it might not alfo afpire to delineate the more engaging features of Female Excellence. The idea appeared to me worth the experiment; for if it fucceeded, it feemed to promife a double advan tage; firft, it would give an air of novelty to the Poem; and, fecondly, what I thought of much greater importance, it would render it more interefting to the heart. On thefe principles, I have endeavoured to paint SERENA as a most lovely, engaging, and accomplished character; yet I hope the colouring is fo faithfully copied from general Nature, that every man, who reads the Poem, may be happy enough to know many Fair ones, who resemble my Heroine.

There is another point, in which I have also attempted to give this Poem an air of novelty, I mean, the manner of connecting the real and the vifionary scenes, which compofe it; by fhifting these in alternate Cantos, I hoped to make familiar Incident and allegorical Picture afford a strong relief to each other, and keep the attention of the Reader alive, by an appearance particularly diverfified. I wished, indeed (but I fear most ineffectually) for powers to unite fome touches of the fportive wildness of Ariofto, and the more ferious fublime painting of Dante, with fome portion of the enchanting elegance, the refined imagination, and the moral graces of Pope; and to do this, if poffible, without violating thofe rules of propriety, which Mr. Cambridge has illuftrated, by example as well as precept, in The Scrib leriad, and in his fenfible Preface to that elegant and learned Poem.' All that we shall add will be two extracts from the different parts of this exquifite and enchanting poem, which may serve as fpecimens of Mr. Hayley's talent at familiar Incident and allegorical picture :'

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Ye radiant Nymphs! whofe opening eyes convey
Warmth to the world, and luftre to the day!

Think what o'ershadowing clouds may cross your brain,
Before thofe lovely lids thall clofe again!

What funds of Patience twelve long hours may ask,
When cold Difcretion claims her daily talk!
Ah think betimes! and, while your morning care
Sheds foreign odors o'er your fragrant hair,
Tinge your foft fpirit with that mental fweet,
Which may not be exhal'd by Paffion's heat;
But charm the fenfe, with undecaying power,
Thro' every chance of each diurnal hour!
O! might you all perceive your toilets crown'd
With fuch cofmetics as SERENA found!
For, to the warning vision fondly true,
Now the quick Fair one to the toilet flew:
With keen delight her ravifh'd eye furvey'd
The myftic ribband on her mirror laid:
Bright fhone the azure, as Aurora's car,
And every fpangle feem'd a living ftar.
With fportive grace the'fmiling damfel preft
The guardian cincture to her fnowy breast,
More lovely far than Juno, when the trove
To look most lovely in the eyes of Jove;
And willing Venus lent her every power,

That sheds enchantment o'er the amorous hour:
For fpells more potent on this band were thrown,
Than Venus boasted in her beauteous zone.
Her dazzling Cæftus could alone inspire
The fudden impulfe of fhort-liv'd defire:
These finer threads with lafting charms are fraught,
Here lies the tender, but unchanging thought,
Silence, that wins, where eloquence is vain,
And Tones, that harmonize the mad'ning brain,
Soft Sighs, that Anger cannot hear, and live,
And Smiles, that tell, how truly they forgive;
And lively Grace, whofe gay diffufive light
Puts the black phantoms of the brain to flight,
Whofe cheering powers thro' every period last,
And make the prefent happy as the past.

Such fecret charms this richer Zone poffeft,
Whofe flowers, now fparkling on SERENA's breast,
Give, tho' unfeen thofe fwelling orbs they bind,
Smiles to her face, and beauty to her mind:
For now, obfervant of the Sprite's behest,
The Nymph conceals them by her upper veft;
Safe lies the fpell, no mortal may descry,
Not keen PENELOPE's all-piercing eye;
Who conftant, as the fteps of morn advance,
Surveys the household with a fearching glance,
And entering now, with all her ufual care,
Reviews the chamber of the youthful Fair,


Beneath the pillow, not completely hid,
The Novel lay-She faw-fhe feiz'd-fhe chid:
With rage and glee her glaring eyeballs flash,
Ah wicked age! the cries, ah filthy trash!
From the first page my juft abhorrence springs;
For modern anecdotes are monstrous things:
Yet will I fee what dangerous poifons lurk,
To taint thy youth, in this licentious work.
She faid and rudely from the chamber rush'd,
Her pallid cheek with expectation flush'd,
With ardent hope her eager fpirit shook,
Vain hope! to banquet on a luscious book,
So if a Prieft, of the Arabian fect,
In Turkish hands forbidden wine detect,
The facred Muffulman, with pious din,
Arraigns the culprit, and proclaims the fin,
Curfes with holy zeal th inflaming juice,
But curfing takes it for his fecret ufe.'

We fhall next transport our Readers to the region of Senfibi


As thus fhe fpoke, fhe pois'd her airy feat

High o'er a plain exhaling every fweet;

For round its precincts all the flowers that bloom
Fill'd the delicious air with rich perfume;

And in the midst a verdant throne appear'd,

In fimpleft form by graceful Fancy rear'd,

And deck'd with flowers; not fuch whofe flaunting dyes
Strike with the ftrongest tint our dazzled eyes;

But thofe wild herbs that tendereft fibres bear,
And thun th' approaches of a damper air.

Here flood the lovely Ruler of the scene,

And Beauty, more than Pomp, announc'd the Queen.
The bending Snow-drop, and the Briar-rofe,

The fimple circle of her crown compofe;

Rofes of every hue her robe adorn,

Except th' infipid Rofe without a thorn,

Thro' her thin veft her heighten'd beauties fhine;
For earthly gauze was never half fo fine.
Of that enchanting age her figure feems,
When fmiling Nature with the vital beams
Of vivid Youth, and Pleasure's purple flame,
Gilds her accomplish'd work, the Female frame,
With rich luxuriance tender, sweetly wild,
And just between the Woman and the Child.
Her fair left arm around a vase she flings,
From which the tender plant Mimosa springs :
Towards its leaves, o'er which the fondly bends,
The youthful Fair her vacant hand extends
With gentle motion, anxious to furvey
How far the feeling fibres own her fway:

The leaves, as confcious of their Queen's command,
Succeffive fall at her approaching hand;

While her foft breaft with pity feems to pant,
And shrinks at every fhrinking of the plant.

• Around their Sovereign, on the verdant ground,
Sweet airy Forms in myftic measures bound.
The mighty maßler of the revel, Love,

In notes more foothing than his mother's Dove,
Prompts the foft ftrain that melting virgins fing,
Or fportive trips around the frolic ring,
Coupling, with radiant wreaths of lambent fire,
Fair fluttering Hope and rapturous Defire.
Unnumber'd damfels different charms display,
Penfive with blifs, or in their pleasures gay;
And the wide profpect yields one touching fight
Of tender, yet diversified delight.

But, the bright triumphs of their joy to check,
In the clear air there hangs a dusky fpeck;
It fwells-it fpreads-and rapid, as it grows,
O'er the gay scene a chilling fhadow throws.
The foft SERENA, who beheld its flight,
Sufpects no evil from a cloud fo light;

For harmless round her the thin vapours wreath,
Not hiding from her view the fcene beneath;
But ah! too foon, with Pity's tender pain,
She faw its dire effect o'er all the plain :
Sudden from thence the founds of Anguifh flow,
And Joy's fweet carols end in shrieks of woe:

The wither'd flowers are fall'n, that bloom'd fo fair,
And poison all the peftilential air.

From the rent earth dark Demons force their way,
And make the sportive revellers their prey.
Here gloomy Terror, with a fhadowy rope,
Seems, like a Turkish Mute, to strangle Hope;
There jealous Fury drowns in blood the fire
That sparkled in the eye of young Defire;
And lifeless Love lets merciless Despair
From his crush'd frame his bleeding pinions tear.
But pangs more cruel, more intenfely keen,
Wound and distract their fympathetic Queen:
With fruitless tears fhe o'er their mifery bends;
From her fweet brow the thorny Rofe the rends
And, bow'd by Grief's infufferable weight,
Frantic fhe curfes her immortal state:
The foft SERENA, as this curse she hears,
Feels her bright eye fuffus'd with kindred tears;

And her kind breaft, where quick compaffion fwell'd,
Shar'd in each bitter fuffering fhe beheld.

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The guardian Power furvey'd her lovely grief,

And fpoke in gentle terms of mild relief:
"For this foft tribe thy heaviest fear difmifs,

"And know their pains are tranfient as their blifs :
"Rapture and Agony, in Nature's loom,

"Have form'd the changing tiffue of their doom;


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