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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 SAMUEL Rogers, author of the Pleasures of Memory, may be considered 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 otiginal
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. The life of Mr Rogers has been as calm and felicitous as his poetry: he has for more than half a century maintained his lace in our national literature. He was born at ewington Green, a village now included in the growing vastness of London, in the year 1762. His father (well-known and respected among the dissenters) was a banker by profession; and the poet, after a careful private education, was introduced into the banking establishment, of which he is still a partner. He was fixed in his determination of becoming a poet by the perusal of Beattie's Minstrel, when he was only nine years of age. His boyish enthusiasm led him also to sigh for an interview with Dr Johnson, and to attain this, he twice presented himself at the door of Johnson's well-known house in Bolt Court, Fleet Street. On the first occasion the great moralist was not at home; and the second time, after he had rung the bell, the heart of the young aspirant misgave him, and he retreated without waiting for the servant. Rogers
In 1819 appeared “Human Life,' and in 1822 “Italy,’ | a descriptive poem in blank verse. The collected
works of Mr Rogers have been published in various | forms—one of them containing vignette engravings || from designs by Stothard, and forming no inconsiderable trophy of British art. The poet has been enabled to cultivate his favourite tastes, to enrich his house in St James's Place with some of the
House of Mr Rogers in St James's Place.
finest and rarest pictures, busts, books, and gems, and to entertain his friends with a generous and unostentatious hospitality. His conversation is rich and various, abounding in wit, eloquence, shrewd observation, and interesting personal anecdote. He has been familiar with almost every distinguished author, orator, and artist for the last forty years. Perhaps no single individual has had so many works dedicated to him as memorials of friendship or admiration. It is gratifying to mention, that his benevolence is equal to his taste: his bounty soothed and relieved the deathbed of Sheridan, and is now exerted to a large extent, annually, in behalf of suffering or unfriended talent.
Once the calm scene of many a simple sport;
See, through the fractured pediment revealed,
+ + Childhood's loved group revisits every scene, The tangled wood-walk and the tufted green! Indulgent Memory wakes, and lo, they live! Clothed with far softer hues than light can give. Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below, To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know; Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm, When nature fades and life forgets to charm; Thee would the Muse invoke!—to thee belong The sage's precept and the poet's song. What softened views thy magic glass reveals, When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals! As when in ocean sinks the orb of day, Long on the wave reflected lustres play; Thy tempered gleams of happiness resigned, Glance on the darkened mirror of the mind. The school's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, Quickening my truant feet across the lawn: Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, When the slow dial gave a pause to care. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, Some little friendship formed and cherished here;
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems
With golden visions and romantic dreams.
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed The gipsy's fagot—there we stood and gazed; Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Her tattered mantle and her hood of straw; Her moving lips, her cauldron brimming o'er; The drowsy brood that on her back she bore, Imps in the barn with mousing owlets bred, From rifled roost at nightly revel fed; Whose dark eyes flashed through locks of blackest
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bayed:
| And heroes fled the sibyl's muttered call,
Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard wall.
Survey the globe, each ruder realin explore; From Reason's faintest ray to Newton soar.
What different spheres to human bliss assigned!
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 The father's features in his infant face. The hoary grandsire smiles the hour away, Won by the raptures of a game at play; He bends to meet each artless burst of joy, Forgets his age, and acts again the boy. What though the iron school of war erase Each milder virtue, and each softer grace; What though the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest Each gentler, finer impulse of the breast; Still shall this active principle preside, And wake the tear to Pity's self denied. The intrepid Swiss, who guards a foreign shore, Condemned to climb his mountain-cliffs no more, If chance he hears the song so sweetly wild Which on those cliffs his infant hours beguiled, Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs. Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm: Say why Vespasian loved his Sabine farm? Why great Navarre, when France and freedom bled, Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed? When Dioclesian's self-corrected mind The imperial fasces of a world resigned, Say why we trace the labours of his spade In calm Salona's philosophic shade? Say, when contentious Charles renounced a throne, To muse with monks unlettered and unknown, What from his soul the parting tribute drew : What claimed the sorrows of a last adieu? The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppressed. Undamped by time, the generous Instinct glows Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows; Glows in the tiger's den, the serpent's nest, On every form of varied life impressed. The social tribes its choicest influence hail : And when the drum beats briskly in the gale, The war-worn courser charges at the sound, And with young vigour wheels the pasture round. Oft has the aged tenant of the vale | Leaned on his staff to lengthen out the tale; Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breathed, From sire to son with pious zeal bequeathed. When o'er the blasted heath the day declined, And on the scathed oak warred the winter-wind; When not a distant taper's twinkling ray Gleamed o'er the furze to light him on his way; When not a sheep-bell soothed his listening ear, And the big rain-drops told the tempest near; Then did his horse the homeward track descry, The track that shunned his sad inquiring eye; And win each wavering purpose to relent, With warmth so mild, so gently violent, That his charmed hand the careless rein resigned, And doubts and terrors vanished from his mind. Recall the traveller, whose altered form Has borne the buffet of the mountain-storm; And who will first his fond impatience meet His faithful dog's already at his feet! Yes, though the porter spurn him from the door, Though all that knew him know his face no more, His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each, With that mute eloquence which passes speech. And see, the master but returns to die Yet who shall bid the watchful servant fly? The blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth, The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth, These, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave, Will firm Fidelity exult to brave. Led by what chart, transports the timid dove The wreaths of conquest or the vows of love?
Say, through the clouds what compass points her
flight? Monarchs have gazed, and nations blessed the sight. Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, Eclipse her native shades, her native skies: 'Tis vain! through ether's pathless wild she goes, . And lights at last where all her cares repose.
Sweet bird! thy truth shall Harlem's walls attest,
And unborn ages consecrate thy nest. -
Hä 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 Being's glorious chain. * + +
As the stern grandeur of a Gothic tower t 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; So scenes of life, when present and confest, Stamp but their bolder features on the breast; Yet not an image, when remotely viewed, However trivial, and however rude, But wins the heart, and wakes the social sig With every claim of close affinity
* + +
Hail, Memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine From age to age unnumbered treasures shine ! Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey, And Place and Time are subject to thy sway ! Thy pleasures most we feel when most alone; The only pleasures we can call our own. Lighter than air, Hope's summer-visions die, If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky; If but a beam of sober Reason play, Lo, Fancy's fairy frost-work melts away! But can the wiles of Art, the grasp of Power, Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour? These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight, Pour round her path a stream of living light; And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest, , Where Virtue triumphs, and her sons are blest
The lark has sung his carol in the sky,
A few short years, and then these sounds shall hail
The day arrives, the moment wished and feared; The child is born, by many a pang endeared, And now the mother's ear has caught his cry; Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye! He comes—she clasps him. To her bosom pressed,
He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.
Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows! How soon by his the glad discovery shows! As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy, What answering looks of sympathy and joy! He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard. And ever, ever to her lap he flies, When rosy Sleep comes on with sweet surprise. Locked in her arms, his arms across her flung
t name most dear for ever on his tongue),
As with soft accents round her neck he clings, And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings, How blest to feel the beatings of his heart, Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart; Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove, And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!
But soon a nobler task demands her care. Apart she joins his little hands in prayer, Telling of Him who sees in secret there ! And now the volume on her knee has caught His wandering eye—now many a written thought Never to die, with many a lisping sweet, His moving, murmuring lips endeavour to repeat.
(Emblem of Truth divine, whose secret ray
If thou shouldst ever come by choice or chance
And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls. But then her face, So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart—
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody
Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion,
| An oaken-chest, half eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
A chest that came from Venice, and had held The ducal robes of some old ancestor.
That by the way—it may be true or false—
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Her ivory-tooth imprinted on his finger.