Hayley, being well intentioned, devised a scheme of writing for Blake to illustrate some trivial poetry which he thought would have popular appeal. Blake would be the illustrator and would profit from the sale of the publication. Blake made 14 engraving for this project which was issued in 1802 as the first of a series of pamphlets. Before the work was complete Blake had left Felpham and returned to London. He and Hayley maintained a cordial relationship which can be followed in Blake's letters. Like most of Blake's projects, this one involved enormous effort on Blake's part, and very little income.
Hayley wrote: "There is hardly any kind of ingenious employment in which the mind requires more to be cheared and diverted, than the slow and sometimes very irksome progress of engraving; especially when the art is exercised by a person of varied talents; and of a creative imagination. To amuse the Artist in his patient labour," Hayley provided his poems. He felt it a "duty incumbent on me to use every liberal method, in my power, to obtain for his industrious ingenuity, the notice and favour of my countrymen." (The Engravings of William Blake, by Archibald G.B. Russell, Page 86)
Blake learned to separate his difficulties in enduring the world's slights and arrows, from the benefits of his Spiritual Victories.
Letters, (E 766)
To Hayley, Sth Molton Street Decembr 11. 1805 Dear Sir ... "You Dear Sir are one who has my Particular Gratitude. having conducted me thro Three that would have been the Darkest Years that ever Mortal Sufferd. which were renderd thro your means a Mild & Pleasant Slumber. I speak of Spiritual Things. Not of Natural. of Things known only to Myself & to Spirits Good & Evil. but Not Known to Men on Earth. It is the passage thro these Three Years that has brought me into my Present State. & I know that if I had not been with You I must have Perish'd--Those Dangers are now Passed & I can see them beneath my feet It will not be long before I shall be able to present the full history of my Spiritual Sufferings to the Dwellers upon Earth. & of the Spiritual Victories obtaind for me by my Friends--Excuse this Effusion of the Spirit from One who cares little for this World which passes away. whose Happiness is Secure in Jesus our Lord. & who looks for Suffering till the time of complete Deliverance."BALLADS,
BY WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
FOUNDED ON ANECDOTES RELATING TO ANIMALS,
WITH PRINTS, DESIGNED AND ENGRAVED BY WILLIAM BLAKE.
Illustrations to Hayley's Ballads
BALLAD THE THIRD.
The savage bird the kid renounc'd,
But round the cottage oft
Rapid he wheel'd, and there he pounc'd,
And bore the babe aloft.
Lo! Donald flies.--She touches earth:
O form'd on earth to shine!
O mother of unrivall'd worth,
And sav'd by aid divine!
She lives unhurt--unhurt too lies
The baby in her clasp;
And her aerial tyrant dies
Just strangled in her grasp.
What triumph swelled in Donald's breast,
And o'er his features spread.
When he his living mother prest,
And held the Eagle dead!
Angels, who left your realms of bliss.
And on this parent smil'd,
Guard every mother brave as this,
In rescuing her child!"