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ART. XVIII. The Life of George Romney, Esq. By William Hayley, Esq. 4to. pp. 416. Payne. London. 1809.

[pp. 433-444] [original article in PDF format]

  1. ADDISON observes, in his Whig Examiner, that he never yet knew an author who had not his admirers. We shall not, therefore, be surprised if our strictures upon Mr. Hayley do not meet with general approbation; nor feel greatly mortified, if many of those, who have fondly followed him through his multifarious labours, should express some doubts of our judgment and some alarm at our temerity.

  2. Mr. H. treats, with no appearance of diffidence, of an art which requires the combined powers of practice and theory in the critic to merit our full confidence in his decisions: yet we discover few traces in the work before us of his being conversant with either: we are not, therefore, much disposed to wonder that he should see in the subject of these memoirs 'a mighty genius, of original and comprehensive powers, and the most singular and interesting of mortals.' Woe to the acquaintance whom Mr. H. thus estimates!—there is no escaping his affectionate embraces.

    'Whoe'er he loves, at some unlucky time,
    Slides into prose, or hitches in a rhyme.'

    A friendship which lasted the fourth part of a century, afforded him ample opportunities of indulging his favourite propensity; and produced the present work.

  3. After the high encomiums passed by Mr. H. on the 'modesty' of his friend, we scarcely expected to find him abetting this design on the public: yet Mr. H. observes—

    'Many years ago I began to write such particulars of his personal history as he wished me to collect from his own lips, in consequence of his affectionate desire, that if I happened to survive him, the life of the painter might be faithfully recorded by his most intimate friend.' p. 3.

    In fulfilling this wish, the author has conveniently found,

    'That nothing conduces more to soothe a feeling spirit under the loss of a beloved and lamented associate, than a resolution to exert all the [433] faculties it retains, in a just and generous endeavour to honour departed excellence by the genuine records of truth and affection.'

    This burst of pathos is doubtless calculated to interest the gentle reader, but we, who are made of sterner stuff, and who examine before we indulge our feelings, should accuse the author of having sacrificed truth at the altar of affection, were we not prepared to acquit him of any intentional delusion, convinced that his errors are those of ignorance, and not of wilful misrepresentation.

  4. To set the memory of his friend in fuller view, the author employs himself, p.4, 5, like Cicero, when searching for the tomb of Archimedes, in clearing the way of thorns and brambles: and he manifests no inconsiderable degree of anger against Mr. Cumberland, for saying, in a hasty sketch of Romney's character (published soon after his decease) that 'conscious of his deficiency in point of education, he was never seen at any of the tables of the great, Lord Thurlow's excepted.' In assailing the venerable and vigorous father of modern poets, Mr. H. shews more zeal than discretion; since it must be admitted, after all, that Mr. C. is not very far from the truth, when our author, who lived so long in 'habits of the closest intimacy' with the painter, can only say, that 'the names of three noblemen might be mentioned, at whose tables he might be found!' The deficiency, which Mr. C. notices in his education, though not very incorrect, as referred to Romney, is open to a little farther remark.

  5. Madame Geoffrin, whose house in Paris was the rendezvous of literature and the arts, had established two weekly dinners, one on Monday for artists, another on Wednesday for men of letters. Marmontel was an inmate of her house, and the only literary man invited to both these parties. In his memoirs, speaking of these dinners, he says,

    'To the artists I was no less welcome than at the meeting of men of letters. The artists were fond of me, because I was at once curious and docile, and spoke to them constantly of what they knew better than I. I took care not to display before them any other literary information except such as concerned the fine arts. I had no difficulty in perceiving that, whatever might be their natural capacity, they were almost all deficient in knowledge and cultivation. Soufflet was a man of sense, very judicious in his conduct, a knowing and skilful architect, but his ideas were bounded by the circumference of his compass, &c.'

    In this slight sketch there is abundant room for observation. The literary man, we see, had the sagacity to discover that artists were not men of letters. The artists, without doubt, were equally quick in observing that literary men were defective in their knowledge of the fine arts. To be one or the other, in any eminent degree, doubtless requires a man's whole attention; and he whose genius [434] leads him to the cultivation of poetry, is not expected to be a profound mathematician. Should he not be conversant with botany, chemistry, astronomy, in short, with anything but what passes under the name of belles lettres, he would still be accounted a person of a cultivated mind; and we cannot see what injustice there would be in admitting this distinction, in favour of artists. Prejudice apart, the powers of Raphael were, we think, by no means inferior to those of the great poets, his contemporaries; and as we descend in the scale of poets and painters, we shall find their relative merits pretty nearly the same.

  6. In saying this, we by no means wish to appear the advocates of ignorance. Without information, and a due cultivation of the mind, a painter can never rise above mediocrity. The historian and the poet should be his companions. Many of the great painters, indeed, have been poets, with the advantage of possessing eloquence in a universal language. They were well read in history, practised the arts of architecture and sculpture with success, and in all probability had as correct an ear, and as cultivated a taste, as most of our keen and critical metaphysicians.

  7. That to be a great painter requires the exertion of a man's whole powers, is so generally felt, that he is not supposed capable of expressing himself with elegance in any language, but that which is peculiarly his own. It has been inquired, not altogether, we fear, from the love of truth, whether Reynolds was the author of the Lectures that have so justly contributed to his fame; and the vigorous mind of Opie was supposed to be unequal to literary composition, without the aid of his accomplished companion. The memoirs of all times, however, prove, that artists have not been without their share of literary reputation. Marmontel himself acknowledges, that the brilliant descriptions, and learned observations of Larvè and Cochin (who had traversed, one the ruins of Greece, and the other the wonders of Italy) enriched the Mercure, a paper of which he was the Editor. In fine, among the artists, many individuals have been geometricians, chemists, poets, mechanists and philosophers, while the practice and principles of the fine arts (with few exceptions) have been possessed solely by themselves.

  8. But to return to Mr. Hayley—He admits, that

    'No friend to truth can think Mr. Cumberland has passed the proper limits of friendship to the dead, in saying, 'Romney had his failings,' (p. 9.) 'Perhaps (continues he) none of his intimates had such opportunities of perceiving, or such peculiar cause to pity and lament his failings as I had. It is a moral question of great delicacy, how far it may be incumbent on a confidential biographer to display, or to conceal the imperfections of his departed friend: could the great artist [435] himself answer such a question from the tomb, I am confident he would reply in the words of his favourite Shakespeare,

    "Speak of me as I am: nothing extenuate,
    Nor set down aught in malice."

    'By having fortunately preserved a very extensive collection of Romney's letters, I shall be enabled to display, in his own words, his mind and heart to my reader; and I shall feel an honest pride in shewing the world, that my friend, though he had never been instructed in the languages of Greece and Rome, yet possessed that simple and powerful eloquence of nature, which flows in abundance from a strong understanding, when it is united to exquisite tenderness of heart.' p. 10.

    In this panegyric on Romney's epistolary excellence, few readers, we imagine, will be found to concur: more puerile and vapid attempts we have seldom witnessed, and cannot but admire the chemical powers of friendship, which can so readily convert dross into gold. Of the exquisite tenderness of heart, so ostentatiously brought forward, Mr. Romney has given, thank heaven, a most unusual demonstration; in abandoning, with more than stoical apathy, a young and amiable wife, and infant child, a few months after marriage. If this unnatural temperament were more common, it would soon be found expedient to enlarge our foundling-hospitals, and workhouses, not for the children of the poor and industrious—not for the spurious stock of the profligate and idle—but for the wives and deserted offspring of men of distempered sensibility.

  9. Mr. H. now enters upon his friend's history. It is, as might be expected, so barren of all incident, so utterly destitute of interest, that none but a trader in the manufacture of lives could have found matter more than sufficient for a decent article in a Magazine. The author, however, by the aid of panegyrics on all his friends, and of that useful figure à propos de bottes, which introduces many of his own odes, sonnets, &c. has ingeniously contrived to produce a quarto volume of a very respectable appearance; and of which we will now endeavour to give our readers a succinct view.

  10. George Romney was born at Dalton, in Furness, on the 26th of December, 1734. He was the third of eleven children, and discovered at an early age a great passion for mechanics. He was also, says Mr. H. 'enthusiastically attached to music, and passed much of his time in various experiments to make violins of different shapes and powers. In advanced life, he took great delight in recollecting the ingenious industry that he exerted when a boy. He carefully preserved the favourite violin of his own construction, and has been heard to play it in the house which he had filled with the productions of his pencil;—a singular coincidence of arts (as Mr. Cumberland [436]  has very justly observed) in the person of one man!'—p. 13.

  11. Accident determined the bent of Romney's mind to the profession which he afterwards embraced: he was struck with the singular features of a stranger at church; and his parents, to whom he related the circumstance, prevailed upon him to delineate them from memory. In this attempt he was so successful, that the applause which he received from it, excited him to apply seriously to drawing. About this time he fell into the company of a person of the name of Williamson, something of a knave, more of a projector, and not a little of a madman: he was yet able, however, to give the young enthusiast some lessons in painting; and what was not quite so valuable, some unjust prejudices and antipathies which he afterwards employed to an odious purpose. Mr. H. attributes the fatal influence which this man possessed over Romney to exquisite pity for his misfortunes: 'nature,' (he says) in his drawling manner, 'had given the latter a heart as easily moved to compassion as she ever gave to any mortal of either sex,' p. 17. This is a mere abuse of language! The compassionate feelings with which Mr. H. so liberally endows him, Romney never knew. Such absurd praise may excite a doubt of the writer's sincerity or understanding, but can confer no honour on the object of it.

  12. Romney, whose ardour for painting still continued, was now apprenticed to a gay young artist of the name of Steele, who employed him not only in painting portraits, but in assisting him to carry off a young lady, whose affections he had engaged. In this last perilous service, Romney caught a severe cold that confined him to his bed, from which he rose after some days, to marry a young woman who had nursed him with great care and tenderness.

  13. He had now an opportunity of practising the hopeful lessons of his friend Williamson, and it must be confessed that he lost no time. The nuptial bed was scarcely warm, before he meditated the desertion of his wife, and, as decency, perhaps, prevented him from doing it immediately, 'his sufferings on the occasion,' says his biographer, 'as he described them to me, might excite compassion in a flinty breast,' p. 24.

    His story, like another fall of Troy,
    Would mollify the heart of barbarous people,
    And make Tom Butcher weep.

    Fortunately, 'however, for the exquisite sensibility' of Mr. R. this anguish was of short duration; his master returned in a few days from a marriage conducted under fairer auspices, and instantly carried him to York: 'Thus removed from the object of his disquietude, he gradually recovered the powers of his extraordinary mind,' p. 28. [437] By the object of his disquietude, his wife is meant; and we doubt whether the bitterest enemy of Romney could produce anything more injurious to his character than this observation of his professed friend and admirer. To marry an innocent and virtuous woman, with a determination to abandon her immediately after the gratification of his passion, argues a selfishness and hardness of heart, of which we have happily few examples. After a residence of nine months at York, Romney and his young master returned to Kendal; and Steele, being suddenly called to Ireland by family affairs, generously released him from his apprenticeship.

  14. Although by the cancelling of his indentures Romney became his own master, yet he beheld in an innocent wife and infant son a supposed impediment to every splendid project; he resolved, therefore, instead of settling as a family man, to wander in quest of professional adventures. By great industry, he contrived to save a few pounds, with which he set out alone, without even a letter of recommendation, to try the chances of life in the metropolis, where he arrived in 1762.

  15. Accident brought him acquainted with Mr. Braithwaite, of the Post-Office, who conducted him to the principal works of art in the capital and its environs, and gave him a lodging near his own residence. Here he pursued his profession, and became a candidate for the prizes distributed by the Society for the encouragement of Arts and Sciences. The subject of his picture was the death of Wolfe, which the late professor of perspective, Edwards, (whose caustic temper we noticed in our first number) characterized by the appellation of a coat and waistcoat subject!

  16. In the autumn of 1764, Romney made his first visit to the Continent with a Mr. Green, an attorney, who had been the companion of his youth; he went by Dunkirk and Lisle to Paris, where he was introduced to Vernet, who received him with that attentive civility which is eager to anticipate all the wishes of a stranger. He obtained for his visiter free access to the Orleans collection, where R. was most smitten with the works of Rubens. 'No pictures,' says Mr. Hayley, 'contributed more to his improvement as a portrait-painter, than that bold and rich production, the Luxemburgh Gallery.' This passage sufficiently shows how well qualified Mr. Hayley is to write a critique on the talents of an artist! In 1769, he exhibited in Pall-Mall two whole lengths of ladies, and a family piece. These pictures are supposed to have laid the foundation of his future popularity. Two years afterwards he produced his whole length portrait of Mrs. Yates, in the character of the Tragic Muse. 'I have often wished,' says our author, inconsiderately enough, 'that it had been the lot of Romney to paint this great actress at a maturer season of his life; in which case she would not [439] have appeared what at present I must confess she does, far inferior to the Tragic Muse of Sir Joshua!' Could Mr. Romney have put off the attempt for a century, and his friend live to record it, we have every reason to believe that his remark would still be equally applicable.

  17. About this time, with a most laudable feeling for his art, he formed the design of visiting Italy in the hope of improvement. His professional income was now twelve hundred a year, a sacrifice that few men would put to hazard, had they even the choice. He travelled with Humphry, the miniature painter, and arrived at Rome on the 18th of June. Mr. Hayley now having no facts to produce, amuses his readers with the history of his suppositions, such as—that Romney must have executed a number of drawings, pictures, &c. This is an excellent mode of making up a large volume, and has only one defect, that of not being quite new. Romney returned by Turin, Lyons, and Paris, and reached London in the beginning of July 1775. He resided a few months in Gray's Inn, but Coates's house, in Cavendish-square, becoming vacant, Romney was persuaded by his friends to settle himself in 'that fortunate abode.'

  18. At this period Mr. H. first became acquainted with his 'memorable friend:' the history is now, therefore, divided between the painter and the poet, the latter taking the lion's share. Not content with a tedious detail of the early part of his own life, he introduces anecdotes of all his acquaintance, with a prolixity that defies attention, and a motive that can only be discovered in the size of his volume.

  19. About the year 1783, Romney's portraits had raised him so high in public estimation, that he was regarded as the rival of his illustrious contemporary, Sir Joshua Reynolds. 'Lord Thurlow pleasantly said of them,' continues Mr. Hayley, 'Reynolds and Romney divide the town: I am of the Romney faction.' Yet this was no sportive opinion of his Lordship's, but maintained many years after, with the authoritative tone of a man accustomed to decide without fear of contradiction. To judge from what we have occasionally heard in the courts of justice, we should conclude that the gentlemen of the long robe were not always the most intelligent on the subject of the fine arts. Romney, we suspect, leaned somewhat to the same opinion; for in one of his letters to Hayley, he exclaims, with an irritation resembling native spirit, 'G-d light up the imaginations of lawyers!'

  20. The great object of Romney was to distinguish himself as an historical painter: this ambition was neither free from vanity nor vexation; it was besides of so perverse a nature as to disappoint its own ends, by engaging him in enterprizes beyond the reach of his [439] powers. The work to which he trusted for immortality was a scene in the Tempest, painted for the Boydells. Nothing can exceed the pomp and parade of language with which the conception, progress, and termination of 'this magnificent design,' is pursued through several pages. In a subsequent part of the volume, Mr. H. resumes the subject, and we lay his remarks before the reader as no unfavourable specimen of his manner:—

    'I now return to the great picture, which had occasionally exercised through several years the imagination, and the pencil of Romney. He finished it in the spring of 1790. His solicitude concerning its completion, and his gratitude to Heaven for having supported his apprehensive spirit, under a long work of such intense anxiety, are so forcibly described in the following letter, that nothing can show in a stronger point of view the feelings of the painter.'

    'April 21, 1790.

    'My dear Friend,

              'Your kindness in rejoicing so heartily at the birth of my picture has given me great satisfaction. There has been an anxiety labouring in my mind the greatest part of the last twelvemonth. At times it had nearly overwhelmed me. I thought I should absolutely have sunk into despair. O what a kind friend is in those times! I thank God (whatever my picture may be) I can say thus much, I am a greater philosopher, and a better Christian.'                     

                                        'Your's most affectionately,

                                                                                    'G. R.'

    'The relief of mind, that Romney enjoyed on having delivered this large and splendid performance to the candor, or the severity of the public, was proportioned to the long and anxious labour which he had bestowed upon it. He was happily conscious, that it was the production of no ordinary painter, and he was also aware, that with considerable merit, it had striking defects, arising from his imperfect and fortuitous education in art, and from the habits of his professional life. There is great force and magnificence, but not equal clearness of conception in the design, for the hurly-burly in the ship, and the cell of the princely enchanter are unfortunately huddled together. This appeared to me a radical error in the original sketch, which the artist tried many expedients to counteract, but which, in my opinion, he was never able completely to remedy. Yet the picture has the primary characteristic belonging to works of true genius; it seizes and it enchants, though it does not absolutely satisfy the mind. It has however the grand merit of exhibiting, forcibly and faithfully, both the dignity and the grace of Shakespeare's favourite characters. Whoever ingenuously compares the Prospero and Miranda of this picture with the same personages, as delineated by other artists, can hardly fail to feel very high esteem and respect for the genius of Romney. I recollect with pleasure, that when I conducted that friend to works of elegance, the late Revd. Mr. Cracherode, to his first inspection of this picture, [440] then nearly finished in the house of my friend, I was highly gratified by its powerful effect on the feelings of a nice and rather fastidious connoisseur. The pencil of the painter had an evident and acknowledged triumph over the prejudices of a refined taste, that had long idolized the designs of the great Italian school, and expected but little from English art.'—pp. 140-142.

    Yet the feelings of the public did not correspond with those of Mr. Hayley and his friends. The picture was viewed with cold indifference, and at the sale of the Shakespeare Gallery, was disposed of to a gentleman of the city, for the amazing sum of fifteen guineas, about half the price of the canvas and the frame!

  21. But although we have freely expressed our opinion that Mr. H. has exceeded the just measure of praise due to the merits of Mr. Romney, it must not be inferred from this that we have no respect for his abilities, or that we do not allot him a very distinguished rank among the painters of the English school. In the eyes of the young practitioner he probably stood unrivalled, as he excelled in those points that are generally last attained even by the most diligent student. The features of his men, which were always correctly drawn, and, as the artists express it, well put together, were marked in the manner of Sir Godfrey Kneller, on whose model he certainly formed himself; while his females reminded us more of the languishing beauty of Lely. This, however, was nearly the sum of his excellence; for below the head, all was meanness and vulgarity: nor was this, as Mr. Hayley seems to think, the mere consequence of carelessness, or want of finishing, but a defect of taste, and delicacy of feeling. The pictures of Reynolds were often as slight as those of Romney, but what was done was so exquisitely felt, as to make it doubtful, whether more labour would have improved the effect, or wrought it to a greater similitude of the object represented. The style of art in which he most excelled, was, as Mr. Flaxman justly remarks, simple, domestic scenery, such as the Serena, from the Triumphs of Temper, or a female spinning at a cottage door. When he at tempted subjects of a more elevated cast, he sunk beneath himself, as the portrait of his model never failed to obtrude itself, vitiating his historic or poetical character. His draperies, though lavishly commended by Mr. Hayley, were in all cases better adapted to sculpture than to painting, and gave to his figures more the appearance of coloured statues, than representations of animated nature. In his manner of treating the higher walks of history, we fear that extravagance has been mistaken for sublimity, and praised accordingly. Little minds seek distinction by constantly aiming at what is new, and extraordinary, which far from leading us to what is [441] beautiful, or essential to the subject, generally terminate in tumour and affectation.

  22. It remains to offer some observations on his colouring, which our author, with more zeal than judgment, compares with that of Titian: no two styles, however, can, in our opinion, be more unlike. In Titian every tint is broken and mysterious, while Romney's pallet may readily be traced back to the colour-shop. It is even doubtful whether he ever felt the charm of this captivating branch of the art; for he never ventured into unknown tracks: yet Romney is almost the only man we recollect, whose manner underwent no change, and who appeared so well satisfied with the system which he had adopted, as to persevere in it to the last hour of his practice. From the efforts of a mind in search after excellence we expect, and indeed find, a very different result. Sir Joshua Reynolds delighted and surprised the frequenters of his gallery, by the boundless range of his excursive imagination. His last system of colouring always appeared the best, till another visit to that scene of enchantment, his study, exhibited more irresistible claims on our admiration. This illustrious artist was as eminently distinguished for his spirit of enterprise, as for his other endowments; and his works were recognized rather by their superior excellence, than by any long-adopted system of colouring. In the marking of his heads, although he indicated more knowledge, than appeared in the portraits painted by Romney, yet it was not so ostentatiously displayed; while by a felicity of conception, to a superior elevation of character, he united a greater degree of identity. The graceful action of his figures, and the inexhaustible variety of his back grounds, form a store of materials to future students, that must, from its persuasive eloquence, in time become the language of every school in Europe. Yet it is to this man, so richly gifted, that Mr. Hayley has injudiciously opposed Romney as a rival, and by so absurd a comparison ridiculed the object of his panegyric, who might, in a general muster of talents, have passed with no common share of credit.

  23. As Mr. H. dwells with such delight on the epistolary powers of his friend, we shall present the reader with a sample of their excellence. After a laboured description of Romney's friendship, or rather passion for Lady Hamilton, (in which the author himself warmly participates,) and a melancholy detail of his mental and bodily infirmities, 'an incident,' he says, 'most seasonably occurred which raised his sinking spirits to joyous elevation.' This was no less than a visit from the object of his regard. In his letter dated the 19th of June, 1791, he writes, [442]

    'At present, and the greatest part of the summer, I shall be engaged in painting pictures from the divine lady. I cannot give her any other epithet, for I think her superior to all womankind. I have two pictures to paint of her. She says she must see you before she leaves England, which will be in the beginning of September. She asked me if you would not write my life:—I told her you had begun it:—then, she said, she hoped you would have much to say of her in the life, as she prided herself in being my model. So you see I must be in London till the time when she leaves town.

    'Believe me to be, with the sincerest love to your house, ever your's.

                                                                                                                'G. R.'

    Much doubt and trembling, much suspicion of coldness, and neglect succeed. Romney becomes miserable, and Mr. Hayley writes verses to propitiate the lady.—The scoffers will smile perhaps at the idea of the two elders thus waylaying the attentions of the fair Susanna; and, in truth, it requires all our efforts to preserve a due decorum of countenance on the occasion. This, however, is quite rational to what follows; but we will be more merciful to Mr. Romney than his friend, and expose him no farther.

  24. About this period, Madame Genlis sat to Romney for her portrait. This brings to the author's recollection a little compliment which he addressed to her some years before at Paris, where she received him and his friend with great hospitality: fortunately it still remained in the poet's portfolio;—'and here it is.'

    'So great the favours shewn us here,
               Which time can ne'er efface,
    Our gratitude can scarce appear
               Proportioned to their grace.

    'In this distress sure aid I seek,
               Dear Pamela, from you,
    If those sweet lips will deign to speak
               Our thanks, and our adieu!'

    Nearly a third part of the volume, Mr. Hayley's admirers will be pleased to hear, is occupied by poetic effusions of equal merit with this. Most of them, indeed, have already appeared; but Mr. Hayley has the authority of Plato for producing them anew. 'There is some kind of matters,' (such as these without doubt,) observes that philosopher, 'which the oftener they be repeated, do still prove the more delectable.'

  25. Romney's life now drew towards its conclusion. His powers of mind were greatly enfeebled, and age and infirmities rendered him burdensome to his friends, and useless to himself. At this awful moment, he luckily bethought himself of the wife whom he had so [443] cruelly neglected, and returned to Kendal. In this most admirable woman he found an attentive and affectionate nurse, who had never been irritated 'to an act of unkindness, or an expression of reproach, by an abandonment of forty years.' By her tenderness, he was supported through many melancholy months of decrepitude and mental decay; and (last scene of all) sunk into a grave, which Mr. Cumberland not inaptly terms 'inglorious,' on the 19th of November, 1802. A short character of the deceased artist, in which, as usual, Mr. Hayley insists principally on the softness of his nature, closes the narrative.

  26. We regret that we cannot speak with more kindness of this equivocal example of friendly biography. As a literary composition, it is far below mediocrity; and as a critique on art, flimsy and injudicious: we certainly cannot accuse Mr. H. of extenuating the faults of his ingenious friend; or of maintaining less reserve than an artful enemy would affect, to preserve the appearance of candour: but we must remonstrate strongly against his licentious freedoms, and his laboured attempts to justify the sacrifice of every natural and social claim, at the shrine of avarice, selfishness, and distempered ambition.

  27. If we might presume to offer our parting advice to Mr. H. it should be—to proceed no farther. Horace had not reached the advanced period which he has attained, by many years, when he heard the whisper of Solve senescentem in his ear. This small still voice, (which comes to all) escaped Mr. Hayley's notice, perhaps, amidst the euge's! of his friends; and it is now too late to repeat it. All, however, is not lost. If he will close his portfolio, and trust his reputation to what he has already produced, he may yet descend to posterity with some little credit as a poet, a virtuoso, and a man of letters; but if he persists in his lagging career, if he seeks to bring forward other quartos on other friends, we cannot conceal our apprehensions that his unseasonable efforts will eventually tend to diminish that portion of respect which the recollection of his 'Triumphs of Music,' and his woeful 'Ballads, on the Brute Creation,' still permits him to enjoy in the estimation of the public. [444]

Published @ RC

September 2006