A short book by William Hayley (1745-1820), who was an English writer, best known as the friend and biographer of William Cowper. He had already written many occasional poetical pieces, when in 1771 his tragedy, The Afflicted Father, was rejected by David Garrick. In the same year his translation of Pierre Corneille's Rodogune as The Syrian Queen was also declined by George Colman. Hayley won the fame he enjoyed amongst his contemporaries by his poetical Essays and Epistles; a Poetical Epistle to an Eminent Painter (1780), addressed to his friend George Romney, an Essay on History (1780), in three epistles, addressed to Edward Gibbon; Essay on Epic Poetry (1782) addressed to William Mason; A Philosophical Essay on Old Maids (1785); and the Triumphs of Temper (1781). So great was Hayley's fame that on Thomas Warton's death in 1790 he was offered the laureateship, which he refused. In 1792, while writing the Life of Milton, Hayley made Cowper's acquaintance. A warm friendship sprang up between the two which lasted till Cowper's death in 1800.