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For he to Greenland sailed, and much she told
Were interchanged, and hopes and views sublime.
One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot
She placed a decent stone his grave above, Neatly engraved, an offering of her love:
* For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed,
Awake alike to duty and the dead.
Still long she nursed him; tender thoughts mean
Beneath an ancient bridge, the straitened flood
Without a hope, a comfort, or a friend! 271
[Gradual Approaches of Age.] [From Tales of the Hall.]
Six years had passed, and forty ere the six,
[Song of the Crazed Maiden.] [From the same.]
Let me not have this gloomy view
O let the herbs I loved to rear
That is the grave to Lucy shewn;
There will the lark, the lamb, in sport,
It was a fair and mild autumnal sky,
Cold grew the foggy morn, the day was brief,
SAMUEL RO GERS.
There is a poetry of taste as well as of the passions, which can only be relished by the intellectual classes, but is capable of imparting exquisite pleasure to those who have the key to its hidden mysteries. It is somewhat akin to that delicate appreciation of the fine arts, or of music, which in some men amounts to almost a new sense. MR RoGERs, author of the Pleasures of Memory, was a votary of this school of refinement. We have everywhere in his works a classic and graceful beauty; no slovenly or obscure lines; fine cabinet pictures of soft and mellow lustre; and occasionally
trains of thought and association that awaken or recall tender and heroic feelings. His diction is clear and polished—finished with great care and scrupulous nicety. On the other hand, it must be admitted that he has no forcible or original invention, no deep pathos that thrills the soul, and no kindling energy that fires the imagination. In his shadowy poem of Columbus, he seems often to verge on the sublime, but does not attain it. His late works are his best. Parts of Human Life possess deeper feeling than are to be found in the Pleasures of Memory; and in the easy half-conversational sketches of his Italy, there are delightful glimpses of Italian life, and scenery, and old traditions. The poet was an accomplished traveller, a lover of the fair and good, and a worshipper of the classic glories of the past. Samuel Rogers was born at Stoke Newington, one of the suburbs of London, on the 30th July 1763. His father was a banker in the city, and the poet, after a careful private education, was introduced into the banking establishment, of which he continued a partner up to the time of his death. He appeared as an author in 1786, the same year that witnessed the advent of Burns. The production of Rogers was a thin quarto of a few pages, an Ode to Superstition, with some other Poems. In 1792, he produced the Pleasures of Memory; in 1798, his Epistle to a Friend, with other Poems; in 1812, Columbus; and in 1814, Jacqueline, a tale, published in conjunction with Byron's Lara– Like morning brought by night.
In 1819, appeared Human Life, and in 1822, the
first part of Italy, a descriptive poem in blank verse.
Rogers was a careful and fastidious writer. In
his Table Talk, published by Mr Dyce, the poet 70
is represented as saying: “I was engaged on the Pleasures of Memory for nine years; on Human Life for nearly the same space of time; and Italy was not completed in less than sixteen years. The collected works of Mr Rogers have been published in various forms—one of them containing vignette engravings from designs by Stothard and Turner, and forming no inconsiderable trophy of British art. The poet was enabled to cultivate his favourite tastes, to enrich his house in St James's Place with some of the finest and rarest pictures, busts, books, gems, and other articles of virtu, and to entertain his friends with a generous and unostentatious hospitality. His conversation was rich and various, abounding in critical remarks, shrewd observation, and interesting personal anecdote. It is gratifying to add that his benevolence was equal to his taste; his bounty soothed and relieved the death-bed of Sheridan, and was exerted to a large extent annually in behalf of suffering or unfriended talent. ‘Genius languishing for want of patronage, says Mr Dyce, “was sure to find in Mr Rogers a generous patron. His purse was ever open to the distressed: of the prompt assistance which he rendered in the hour of need to various well-known individuals, there is ample record; but of his many acts of kindness and charity to the wholly obscure, there is no memorial—at least on earth. The taste of Mr Rogers had been cultivated to the utmost refinement; and, till the failure of his mental powers, a short time previous to his death, he retained that
House of Mr Rogers in St James's Place.
love of the beautiful which was in him a passion: when more than ninety, and a close prisoner to his chair, he still delighted to watch the changing colours of the evening sky—to repeat passages of his favourite poets, or to dwell on the ment:: the great painters whose works adorned his walls. By slow decay, and without any suffering, he died in St James's Place, 18th December 1855. The poet bequeathed three of his pictures—a Titian, a Guido, and a Giorgione—to the National Gallery. The Titian he considered the most valuable in his possession. It had been in the Orleans Gallery, and when that princely collection was broken up, it was sold for four hundred guineas. Mr Rogers, however, gave more than double that sum for it in 1828.
It was as a man of taste and letters, as a patron of artists and authors, and as the friend of almost every illustrious man that has graced our annals, for the last half-century and more, that Mr Rogers chiefly challenged the public attention. At his celebrated breakfast-parties, persons of almost all classes and pursuits were found. He made the morning meal famous as a literary rallying-point; and during the London season there was scarcely a day in which from four to six persons were not assembled at the hospitable board in St James's Place. There, discussion as to books or pictures, anecdotes of the great of old, some racy saying of Sheridan, Erskine, or Horne Tooke, some social trait of Fox, some apt quotation or fine passage read aloud, some incident of foreign travel recounted—all flowed on without restraint, and charmed the hours till mid-day. A certain quaint shrewdness and sarcasm, though rarely taking an offensive form, also characterised Rogers's conversation. Many of his sayings circulated in society and got into print. Some one said that Gally Knight was getting deaf. ‘It is from want of practice, remarked Rogers, Mr Knight being a great speaker and bad listener. The late Lord Dudley (Ward) had been free in his criticisms on the poet, who retaliated with that epigrammatic couplet, which has never been surpassed
Ward has no heart they say; but I deny it; He has a heart—he gets his speeches by it.
The poet, it is said, on one occasion tried to extort a confession from his neighbour, Sir Philip Francis, that he was the author of Junius, but Francis gave a surly rebuff, and Rogers remarked that if he was not Junius, he was at least Brutus. We may remark that the poet's recipe for long life was, “temperance, the bath and flesh-brush, and don't fret. The felicity of his own lot he has thus gracefully alluded to: Nature denied him much, But gave him at his birth what most he values: A passionate love for music, sculpture, painting, For poetry, the language of the gods, For all things here, or grand or beautiful, A setting sun, a lake among the mountains, The light of an ingenuous countenance,
And, what transcends them all, a noble action. Italy.
[From the “Pleasures of Memory.’]
Twilight's soft dews steal o'er the village green,
W: secret charms this silent spot endear?
Mark yon old mansion frowning through the trees,
See, through the fractured pediment revealed,
* * * *
Childhood's loved group revisits every scene,
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed
shade, When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bayed: And heroes fled the sibyl's muttered call, Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard wall. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, And traced the line of life with searching view, He'" my fluttering pulse with hopes and ears,
To learn the colour of my future years!
Ah, then, what honest triumph flushed my breast; This truth once known—to bless is to be blest ! We led the bending beggar on his way— Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-gray— Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, And on his tale with mute attention dwelt: As in his scrip we dropt our little store, And sighed to think that little was no more, He breathed his prayer, “Long may such goodness
Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore; From Reason's faintest ray to Newton soar. What different spheres to human bliss assigned ! What slow gradations in the scale of mind! Yet mark in each these mystic wonders wrought; 0 mark the sleepless energies of thought !
The adventurous boy that asks his little share, And hies from home with many a gossip's prayer, Turns on the neighbouring hill, once more to see The dear abode of peace and privacy; And as he turns, the thatch among the trees, The smoke's blue wreaths ascending with the breeze, The village-common spotted white with sheep, The churchyard yews round which his fathers sleep; All rouse Reflection's sadly pleasing train, And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again. So, when the mild Tupia dared explore Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before, And, with the sons of Science, wooed the gale That, rising, swelled their strange expanse of sail; So, when he breathed his firm yet fond adieu, Borne from his leafy hut, his carved canoe, And all his soul best loved—such tears he shed, While each soft scene of summer-beauty fled. Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast, Long watched the streaming signal from the mast; Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye, And fairy forests fringed the evening sky. So Scotia's queen, as slowly dawned the day, Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away. Her eyes had blessed the beacon's glimmering height, That faintly tipped the feathery surge with light; But now the morn with orient hues portrayed Each castled cliff and brown monastic shade: All touched the talisman's resistless spring, And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing! Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire. And hence this spot gives back the joys of youth, Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. Hence home-felt pleasure prompts the patriot's sigh; This makes him wish to live, and dare to die. For this young Foscari, whose hapless fate Venice should blush to hear the Muse relate, When exile wore his blooming years away, To sorrow's long soliloquies a prey, When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause, For this he roused her sanguinary laws; Glad to return, though Hope could grant no more, And chains and torture hailed him to the shore. And hence the charm historic scenes impart; Hence Tiber awes, and Avon melts the heart. Aérial forms in Tempe's classic vale Glance through the gloom and whisper in the gale; In wild Waucluse with love and Laura dwell, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell. 'Twas ever thus. Young Ammon, when he sought Where Ilium stood, and where Pelides fought, Sat at the helm himself. No meaner hand Steered through the waves, and when he struck the land, Such in his soul the ardour to explore, Pelides-like, he leaped the first ashore. 'Twas ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom: So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time, On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime; When at his feet in honoured dust disclosed, The immortal sage of Syracuse reposed. And as he long in sweet delusion hung Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung; Who now but meets him musing, when he roves His ruined Tusculan's romantic groves? In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll His moral thunders o'er the subject soul? And hence that calm delight the portrait gives: We gaze on every feature till it lives! Still the fond lover sees the absent maid; And the lost friend still lingers in his shade 1 Say why the pensive widow loves to weep, When on her knee she rocks her babe to sleep:
Tremblingly still, she lifts his veil to trace
What though the iron school of war erase
The intrepid Swiss, who guards a foreign shore,
Recall the traveller, whose altered form
Led by what chart, transports the timid dove
Sweet bird! thy truth shall Harlem's walls attest, And unborn ages consecrate thy nest. When, with the silent energy of grief, With looks that asked, yet dared not hope relief, Want with her babes round generous Walour clung, To wring the slow surrender from his tongue, 'Twas thine to animate her closing eye; Alas! 'twas thine perchance the first to die, Crushed by her meagre hand when welcomed from
Hark! the bee winds her small but mellow horn, Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn. O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course, And many a stream allures her to its source. 'Tis noon—'tis night. That eye so finely wrought, Beyond the search of sense, the soar of thought, Now vainly asks the scenes she left behind; Its orb so full, its vision so confined ! Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell? Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell? With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue Of summer-scents, that charmed her as she flew? Hail, Memory, hail! thy universal reign Guards the least link of Beings glorio: chain.
As the stern grandeur of a Gothic tower Awes us less deeply in its morning-hour, Than when the shades of Time serenely fall On every broken arch and ivied wall; The tender images we love to trace Steal from each year a melancholy grace | And as the sparks of social love expand, As the heart opens in a foreign land; And, with a brother's warmth, a brother's smile, The stranger greets each native of his isle; 275