The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

V. Lesser Poets, 1790–1837

§ 27. Thomas Haynes Bayly

The much more hardly used Thomas Haynes Bayly, to some extent, deserved the ridicule which has fallen on him, by indulgences in positive silliness, and by faults of taste which Procter never could have committed. Nobody can have done more to bring “the drawing-room ballad” into the contempt from which it has never fully emerged than Bayly did by his effusions. Even now, when we seldom mention them, and the songs themselves are never heard, their names are, in a way, familiar, if only contemptuously so. Perhaps, contempt might be qualified by a little affection if they were more read, for there is pathos and (independently of the famous composers who “set” him) music in Bayly. But it is too often, if not invariably, frittered away. And it may be specially noted that there is hardly any easier and completer method of appreciating that undefinable mixture of breeding and scholarship with which Praed has been credited above than by comparing the pretty numerous pieces in which Bayly either directly imitates, or unconsciously coincides with, Praed’s society-verse style.

Perhaps the position of the most twittering of all the twitterers has been wrongly assigned to William Robert Spencer, of whom both Scott and Byron thought well, and who, at least, was a translator of some merit. And the pathetic end of Laman Blanchard, celebrated and mourned by Bulwer and by Thackeray (Johnstone and Maxwell agreeing for once!), neither makes nor mars his rank as, perhaps, the best of this bunch—a lesser Hood, both in serious and light verse, but with the same combination of faculties, and with a skill in the sonnet which Hood more seldom showed.