Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusian Bard to copy Moore.
Or damn the dead with purgatorial praise,
Behold—Ye Tarts!—one moment spare the text!—
Hayley's last work, and worst—until his next;310
Whether he spin poor couplets into plays,
In many marble-covered volumes view
Hayley, in vain attempting something new,
Whether he spin his comedies in rhyme,
Or scrawls as Wood and Barclay[i] walk, 'gainst Time.—
[MS. British Bards, and First to Fourth Editions.]
^ i. [Captain Robert Barclay (1779-1854) of Ury, agriculturalist and pedestrian, came of a family noted for physical strength and endurance. Byron saw him win his walk against Wood at Newmarket. (See Angelo's Reminiscences (1837), vol. ii, pp. 37-44.) In July, 1809, Barclay completed his task of walking a thousand miles in a thousand hours, at the rate of one mile in each and every hour. (See, too, for an account of Barclay, The Eccentric Review (1812), i. 133-150.)]
- See his various Biographies of defunct Painters, etc. [William Hayley (1745-1820) published The Triumphs of Temper in 1781, and The Triumph of Music in 1804. His biography of Milton appeared in 1796, of Cowper in 1803-4, of Romney in 1809. He had produced, among other plays, The Happy Prescription and The Two Connoisseurs in 1784. In 1808 he would be regarded as out of date, "hobbling on" behind younger rivals in the race (see E. B., l. 923). For his life and works, see Southey's article in the Quarterly Review (vol. xxxi. p. 263). The appeal to "tarts" to "spare the text," is possibly an echo of The Dunciad, i. 155, 156—
"Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size,
Redeemed from topers and defrauded pies."
The meaning of the appeal is fixed by such a passage as this from The Blues, where the company discuss Wordsworth's appointment to a Collectorship of Stamps—
"Inkle. I shall think of him oft when I buy a new hat;
There his works will appear.
"Lady Bluemount.Sir, they reach to the Ganges.
"Inkle. I sha'n't go so far. I can have them at Grange's."
Grange's was a well-known pastry-cook's in Piccadilly. In Pierce Egan's Life in London (ed. 1821), p. 70, note 1, the author writes, "As I sincerely hope that this work will shrink from the touch of a pastry-cook, and also avoid the foul uses of a trunk-maker, ... I feel induced now to describe, for the benefit of posterity, the pedigree of a Dandy in 1820."]