LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter III. 1810-1812.

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
‣ Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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Columbus—Letters to Richard Sharp—T. Moore—An Idyll at Hagley—Recollections of Porson, Windham, Cumberland, Horne Tooke—Tooke’s Adventures—His Funeral—Rogers and Byron—Meeting of Moore, Campbell, and Byron at Rogers’s House—Coleridge’s Lecture—‘Childe Harold’—Tom Grenville’s Criticism on the Poem—Byron and Lord Holland—Rogers at the Lakes—The Mackintoshes and Sharp—Dr. Bell—Wordsworth’s Lost Child—Rogers at Ormithwaite, Keswick, Lowther—Lord Lonsdale—Brougham—Rogers at Glenfinnart—Lord Dunmore—Letters to R. Sharp, to H. Rogers, to Sarah Rogers—Letter of Lord Holland—Rogers at Crewe.

The chief literary occupation of Rogers’s life in these years was the poem entitled ‘The Voyage of Columbus.’ The theme is a great one, and it fully possessed his imagination. His object was to call up the great navigator ‘in his habit as he lived,’ and at the same time to give lyrical expression to the feelings which inspired and sustained him. He desired to transfuse into a modern poem the spirit of the old Spanish chroniclers of the sixteenth century, with their full belief in the supernatural, their strong religious feeling, and their wonder at an achievement which seemed almost too great for unaided man. He points out in his preface that ‘no National Poem appeared on the subject,’ and that ‘no Camoens did honour to the genius and the virtues’ of Columbus, though the materials were surely not
unpoetical. Rogers’s design was to reproduce the warmth of colour and the wildness of imagery which the old writers employed, and this design led him to conceive the idea of a poem written not long after the death of Columbus, ‘when the consequences of the Discovery were beginning to unfold themselves, but while the minds of men were still clinging to the superstitions of their fathers.’ The idea was never fully worked out, and the poem was published under the title of ‘Fragments of the Voyage of Columbus.’ He had been at work on it for a dozen years, when in 1810 he was induced to put it into type. It had been brought out in many a talk with his friends after breakfast or after dinner, when parts of it had been read and discussed, and he had conveyed to them his own enthusiasm for the subject. When it was at length in type it was sent to some of his friends for criticism, and many of his letters to
Richard Sharp, and some of those to Moore, at this period are full of alternative lines, arguments, suggestions, replies to criticisms, and pleas for a decisive judgment. He never seems to have been satisfied with the poem. He had found, twenty years before, that his chief faculty lay not in lyrical passion, but in quiet, gentle description and meditation, and he hesitated long in giving a second lyrical poem to the world. Line after line, stanza after stanza, were discussed in letters to Richard Sharp. One of the earliest and one of the latest of these numerous letters will sufficiently show the nature of this correspondence. Soon after the first proof had been sent out, Rogers wrote to Richard Sharp—


‘My dear Friend,— Eccolo . Pray tell me frankly. I have not yet quite learnt to like the expression, though I think it a very important addition. If you see anything to wish altered, in language or punctuation, in the lines or the note, now is, alas! the time. “Tho’ come it will” sounds ill in my ear—what do you think?

‘“Cazziva, gifted by the Gods to know”—would perhaps throw more light on the new passage, but the line would suffer on the whole.

‘If you can call, I shall be at home every evening this week; if not, pray write me a line of advice or encouragement; for I want them.

‘“Shall” in the third line is scriptural, but I fear not grammatical.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.
‘Thursday night (15 Feb., 1810).

‘How do you like the black line in “Signs like the ethereal bow”?1 I have some thoughts of altering the stops.
Unseen, unheard! Hence, Minister of Ill!
Hence, ‘tis not yet the hour—tho’ come it will!—.
They that foretold, too soon shall they fulfil;
But I believe it is best [as] printed.’

In a postscript to a letter from Keswick, two years and a half later, he writes—

Say who first pass’d the portals of the West,
And the great secret of the Deep possess’d,

1 Canto xii., line 13. ‘Signs like the ethereal bow—that shall endure.’

Who first the standard of his Faith unfurl’d
On the dread confines of an unknown world;
Sung ere his coming, and by Heaven design’d
To lift the veil that covered half mankind.
Oh, I would tell of Him! My hour draws near,
And He will prompt me when I faint with fear.
. . . Alas, He hears me not! He cannot hear!

Him would I now invoke! My hour draws near,
And He can prompt me when I faint with fear.
. . . Alas, He hears me not! He cannot hear.

The first of these stanzas is an alternative beginning of the first canto. The present beginning is—

Say who, when age on age had rolled away,
And still, as sunk the golden Orb of day,
The seamen watched him, while he lingered here,
With many a wish to follow, many a fear,
And gazed and gazed and wondered where he went,
So bright his path, so glorious his descent,
Who first adventured—In his birth obscure
Yet born to build a Fame that should endure,
Who the great secret of the Deep possessed,
And, issuing through the portals of the West,
Fearless, resolved, with every sail unfurled,
Planted his standard on the Unknown World?
Him by the Paynim bard descried of yore,
And, ere his coming, sung on either shore,
Him, ere the birth of Time by Heaven designed
To lift the veil that covered half mankind;
None can exalt . . .

The last three lines of the suggested opening appear in the published poem at the beginning of the twelfth canto, which opens thus—

Still would I speak of Him before I went,
Who among us a life of sorrow spent,
And, dying, left a world his monument;
Still, if the time allowed! My Hour draws near,
But He will prompt me when I faint with fear.
. . . Alas! He hears me not! He cannot hear.

This correspondence, with its minute discussion of alternative lines and phrases, was not wholly one-sided. Richard Sharp, too, consulted Rogers about lines and phrases in his own poems. The following letter bears on Richard Sharp’s ‘Epistle to a Friend on his Marriage.’

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.

‘My dear Friend,—The alterations are all good, but I confess there is a strength of expression in the line—
And weeds soon hide his unfrequented tomb,
which I should be sorry to part with.

‘I may be wrong, but I think Pope or Dryden might have written the following—
He dies—no traces from oblivion save,
And weeds soon hide his unfrequented grave.
But they are all good, and you cannot choose amiss. Your last reading is certainly most artist-like; but there is more feeling, I think, more forlornness, in the last line as it stood at first.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘I am rather for “mourn his doom,” I don’t know why, than “weep his doom.” Perhaps after all I like this best—

He dies and is forgot—none mourn his doom,
And weeds soon hide his unfrequented tomb.’1

In his ‘Commonplace Book’ Rogers makes the following remarks on his own poem:—‘It was, indeed, a singular story to choose, in which almost the only passion called forth into exercise from the beginning to the end of it is Fear, the most selfish and least dignified of all the passions; and Fear in its least dignified character—a fear arising from ignorance, such as children feel in the dark. The only exception, if there is one, is the hero, but, like most other heroes, he exhibits none of the passions in any pathetic degree.’ The poem bears evidence of Rogers’s admiration for America—a feeling which lasted all his life.

Assembling here all nations shall be blest,
The sad be comforted, the weary rest;
Untouched shall drop the fetters from the slave.

The last line was prophetic; but he did not live to see its fulfilment. His Whig principles came out in the opening to the sixth canto—written, it should be remembered, in the very height of the struggle against Napoleon
War and the Great in War let others sing,
Havoc and spoil, and tears and triumphing;
The morning-march that flashes to the sun,
The feast of vultures when the day is done;
And the strange tale of many slain for one!

1 The lines as they stand in the poem as it was published in Sharp’s Letters and Essays read—

‘He dies and is forgot! Scarce known his doom,
And weeds soon hide his unfrequented tomb.’
I sing a Man, amidst his sufferings here,
Who watched and served in humbleness and fear;
Gentle to others, to himself severe.
This was written and published before
Byron’sChilde Harold;’ and Mr. Samuel Sharpe reminds us that it was many years after peace had been established, and after he had become acquainted with the Duke of Wellington, that he added the note to these lines beginning with the words, ‘Not but that in the profession of arms there are, at all times, many noble natures.’

Next to Richard Sharp, one of Rogers’s most constant companions at this time was Tom Moore. His life, for some years, might almost be written out of Moore’s letters and diaries. The diary shows that when Moore gets back to his London lodgings in 1810, after two years’ absence, almost his first thought is of Rogers, who is away from home. In May, 1811, Moore meets Jeffrey at Rogers’s at a Sunday-morning breakfast, and on the following Tuesday takes his new wife to dine at Rogers’s to meet Lady Donegal. In the summer ‘Rogers is at his brother’s in Shropshire.’ In January, 1812, he tells Lady Donegal that ‘Rogers has been at Lord Robert Spencer’s this fortnight past, but I have this instant got a note from him asking me to a tête-à-tête dinner.’ A little later he tells his mother that Rogers has sent him a most beautiful reading-desk, which puts the rest of his furniture to the blush. ‘I took Bessy to Lord Moira’s,’ he writes to Miss Godfrey, ‘and she was not half so much struck with its grandeur as I expected. She said, in coming out, “I like Mr. Rogers’s house ten times better;” but she loves everything by association, and she was very
happy in Rogers’s house.’ Rogers, in a letter to Moore, gives quite an idyllic account of his visit to the house his eldest brother
Daniel, at Wassall, near Stourbridge.

Samuel Rogers to Thomas Moore.1
‘Aberystwith: Sept. 20th, 1811

‘My dear Moore,—You know me and my faults too well to be much surprised at my long silence, and now (forgive me for my selfishness) I am not sure I should have written at all but to make you write, and tell me something about yourself, &c. What have you done? Is the dramatic concluded and the epic begun? Are you now in a pavilion on the banks of the Tigris; or in the shape of a nightingale singing love-songs to a rose in the gardens of Cashmere? As for me, I have been visiting an elder brother, who, many years ago, retired from the world to cultivate his own patrimonial fields and read his Homer under the shade of his own beech-trees near Hagley. His farm is beautiful, very woody and uneven, and full of little dingles, and copses, and running waters. A green lane a mile long leads to the house, which overlooks the fields. The prospect, enlivened with a few cottages, is bound by a chain of hills, which affect almost to be mountains, and beyond these appear, every now and then, over their heads, such as are fully entitled to the name, and as blue as a blue atmosphere can make them. From one circumstance or another, it is now some years since I came here; his girls, now being lovely, are nearly grown-up, and I am half tempted to get up every time they come into the room. It makes

1 Printed in Moore’s Life and Letters, vol. viii. pp. 94-96.

me feel very old, and very melancholy too sometimes. I think of the time when they used to sit on my knee and tease me to tell them stories of the world they were about to enter into. The other day it was proposed to dine in a wood, and I was surprised when I came to find everything set out there in a Hermitage. The tables, the chairs, napkins, knives, and eatables—all carried on their heads and under their arms; not a servant assisted. How little, said I to myself, when I saw them smiling over their work, would the fine ladies in town be inclined to think of such a thing! But we are all transported to a very different scene—a bleak mountain on a seashore in Wales. How long I shall remain here I cannot say—probably a month. So pray write me a line in the course of a fortnight at least. Rebuke me by setting me a better example. I have received a letter from
Mrs. Grattan, and as I am writing a line to her and Lady D., shall inclose both under cover to G. My book, I fear, is at a standstill. I have written but a very few lines, and those of no moment. Some time or other you shall see them. I hope to be in town in about five weeks.

‘Ever yours,
Saml. Rogers.

‘I am very anxious about your proceedings with Arnold, and am continually looking out for an opera. Have you given it a name? My sister desires to be kindly remembered to you.’

Rogers’s visit to his brother revived many old associations. They were on the most affectionate terms,
and Rogers always felt that his father’s strong resentment at
Dan’s marriage with his cousin was unjust. He was forty-eight and unmarried, and could not help feeling how much he had missed, whenever he saw the domestic happiness in which his brother lived. Friends of his early days were dropping off. Porson, of whom he had good stories to tell to the end of his life, had died in 1808. Rogers had been one of his fast friends, and some notes of his conversation are preserved in the ‘Recollections.’ He prefaces the few pages thus devoted to the great Grecian by assuring his readers that Porson was not more remarkable for his learning than for his acuteness and correctness of thought. ‘Through his whole life,’ says Rogers, ‘whether in his morning or his evening hours—(there is a world of significance in the fact that Rogers makes the distinction)—he was never heard to utter a mean or licentious sentiment.’ This testimony is unusually valuable, for Rogers was in a position to know. Porson often dined with him, and his influence kept him sober; but such was his desire to drink that he would slip back into the dining-room, pour together the drops of wine left by the guests in their glasses, and drink the mixture. Rogers took him one evening to a party at William Spencer’s to meet some women of fashion who were curious to see him. He was but half sober, and he entertained them by reciting a number of old Vauxhall songs. He talked wildly and they all withdrew but Lady Crewe, who humorously accused him of borrowing a joke from Joe Miller, and got an angry reply. Porson once dined at Hoppner’s, but there was no wine, as Mrs. Hoppner was out and had
taken the key of the wine cupboard. After dinner Porson insisted that she probably kept a bottle of spirits for her private use in the bedroom, and induced Hoppner to search for it. A bottle was found, and was put before Porson, who pronounced it excellent gin, and finished it. When his wife came home Hoppner taunted her with the concealed dram, and triumphantly assured her that every drop had been drunk. ‘Drunk it!’ exclaimed Mrs. Hoppner. ‘Good God! it was spirits of wine for the lamp.’ It was before the days of methylated spirit.
Horne Tooke used to say that Porson would drink ink rather than nothing. Rogers always maintained that all this was only the weak and distressing side of a truly great and noble character.

Another friend, whose memory lingered long in Rogers’s talk, was William Windham, who died, after an operation by Cline, on the 4th of June, 1810. He had hurt his hip in assisting to save from fire the library of Mr. F. North in Conduit Street; a tumour formed, and he died after its removal. Rogers compared him to the Eddystone lighthouse, dashed at by the waves, but continuing to give its steady light unaffected by the storm. Yet another and still older friend, a frequent visitor at Rogers’s house, sometimes a recipient of Rogers’s bounty, was Richard Cumberland, the dramatist, who died in 1811. He was the Sir Fretful Plagiary of Sheridan’sCritic.’ In his earlier days Rogers had seen much of Cumberland, and learned much from him, and in later years had abundantly repaid any obligations thus contracted. At Rogers’s table recollections of Sir Fretful long lingered in the talk. The next year, 1812,
saw the removal of a friend who had exerted far more influence on Rogers, and whose memory he has himself ensured against oblivion. One of the remaining links between Rogers and the political friends of his earlier time was the man for whom as well as for Sheridan he had voted at the Westminster election of 1796.
Horne Tooke and he continued close friends to the last. Rogers was a considerable subscriber to the second part of ‘The Diversions of Purley,’ published in 1805, and was a great admirer of Tooke and of his writings. It was as a talker Horne Tooke was known in this closing period of his life, and twenty-two pages of Rogers’s ‘Recollections’ are occupied with his conversation. ‘His present manners and conversation,’ says Rogers in a brief prefatory note, ‘remind me of a calm sunset in October.’1 It was the quiet evening of a stormy life. Horne Tooke was living at Wimbledon, cultivating his garden, and delighting his friends with his talk. He had a group of them to dinner every Sunday, and Rogers was often among them. He has put on record in his ‘Commonplace Book’ some further recollections of Tooke. Among these is the story of Horne Tooke’s adventure at Genoa, one of Rogers’s stories which I can give in his own words—

‘At Genoa, Tooke went to a ball of nobles not less than two hundred years old, and was introduced by the Marquis F ——, who asked his opinion of each lady as she entered. He professed to admire all, but one appeared whom he thought truly beautiful. The Marquis

1 The ‘Recollections’ were strictly contemporary. They were put down day by day.

informed her how warmly the Englishman had expressed himself concerning her. She immediately appointed him her cavaliere servente to attend her in her coach to mass, conversazione, opera, corso, &c. Her family inquired who he was. Some English had never seen him, others had in France, but none knew him. At last it was found out that he was a heretic priest and not a noble, and to wipe off the indignity it was resolved to place a public stigma upon him. One evening when he called to attend her to a party, she was already gone without him; he looked at his watch, but was in time; he followed her and found her already at cards; she answered his compliments coolly; he ascribed it to his seeming want of punctuality, but knew he could justify himself. He walked from table to table, but was received coolly, though respectfully, by the rest. He walked about, took snuff, and, not conceiving any indignity, felt none. Near two hundred persons there, all at cards. After two hours the mistress of the house joined him, expressed her great concern at what had happened (he could not guess what), and her admiration of his cheerful and pleasant behaviour. Presently the rest followed, and were as officious as they had been distant, and were so charmed with his manners that the young men resolved to make a merry night of it, and, taking him through the streets with them, broke windows, attacked watchmen, &c. The next morning he received a letter from the lady, desiring he would come to her and enter by the lesser gate; he did, and found her in tears, when she explained the mystery, and said her family would allow her no longer to be attended by him, but that if
he would change places with the cicisbco of
M. de Felice (Mallet’s daughter), her intimate friend, a heretic and no noble, they should then have the same opportunities of being together. This he joyfully accepted, M. de F. was satisfied with less slavery of attendance, and he stayed nine months at Genoa. When leaving Genoa he was cautioned by her brother to stop short at a villetta the first day, as his family had resolved to wipe off the disgrace with his blood. On the road he heard pistols, and found an Englishman slightly wounded in his chaise. “Mr. Horne,” says he, “this was intended for you.” The lady’s name was Signora Durazzo, aunt of the Marquis Brignoli.’1

There are other stories of Tooke in the ‘Commonplace Book.’ One of these relates to his school-days. He ran away three times. At one school in the country he was placed with a Methodist clergyman whose house was frequented by Whitefield and other preachers. At fifteen he ran away from a school at Sevenoaks on account of some indignity, without his hat, on a rainy night. Several boys were despatched to pursue him; he concealed himself in the chimney of an old summer-house. He then ran through several lanes till he met a farmer, of whom he asked the way, and who lifted up his lantern, saying, ‘Who’s there?’ and telling him he would soon have been among the gravel pits.

1 This story is differently told by Mr. Dyce in his Table Talk of Samuel Rogers. Tooke is there said to have heard of the assassination of an Englishman who had been taken for him. This is another proof that Mr. Dyce took down Rogers’s stories in the days when Rogers’s memory was failing.

He took him home, wet to the skin. His wife dressed him in her husband’s clothes, dried his, and the next morning sent him off, at his request, to town in the waggon, lending him a napped hat. His father received him kindly, and sent him to another school. When he was confined in the King’s Bench, an old woman desired to see him. It was the farmer’s wife or housekeeper. He gave her five guineas and asked her to call often—‘which she has done,’ said Tooke.

Tooke won 3,500l. in one night, at a party at Aix in the South of France, thought it not reputable to decamp immediately for Italy, whither he was going, played on, and lost all but 500l. He wore Sir John Dick’s embroidered coat in a sedan chair for a week to save it from being seized under Mr. Grenville’s Bill. He was invited to a téte-à-téte dinner with Lord Lansdowne. Thirty servants waited at table. ‘They are only servants,’ said Lord Lansdowne. ‘I could have been more open among thirty of your friends,’ answered Tooke.

Not only was Rogers fond of telling these stories of Tooke, which I have given in his own words, but Tooke’s own stories were current at his table as long as Tooke’s memory remained. Here are some in Rogers’s words:—

The Prince of Zell was in love with a girl he met in Poitiers, and sent to her to come and marry him. She sent word back that she was not the same woman—that she had suffered from small-pox. He persisted in his addresses. She came and was unaltered. Their only child married George the First.

A French Marquis had been divorced from his wife, and was engaged in a lawsuit with her for the only estate
left. Both parties were in Paris to solicit a verdict and make favour with the judges. At length the decision came, and the Marquis flew down to the district in which the estate lay, knocked at the gate, threw open the manor house, announced his success, and gave a fête on the occasion to the congratulating neighbourhood. The next morning, with his hat and stick, he walked off on foot, without paying a livre of the expenses. He had lost the verdict. The scene lay at Blois.

Old Hinchliffe drove a hackney coach, and at last, by his industry, became possessor of a stable yard in Westminster. He gave his son a college education, and he became Bishop of Peterborough.1 The Bishop one day came to him. ‘Father,’ says he, ‘you must be tired of business, and must wish to retire into the country and live in your own way. Four or five hundred a year is at your service.’ ‘No, Jack,’ he replied, ‘I will stay whore I am. I am proud of you, and I should hope you are not ashamed of me. All I have I have earned, nor shall it be said that old Ben Hinchliffe was indebted to his son or to any man living for his livelihood.’

When Sir Robert Walpole took the Dutch ambassador to his villa, he was delighted. ‘The trees are so beautiful, the views are so beautiful, and then there is no water.’

Rogers records these and other stories of Tooke’s, and adds: ‘When employed in his great work, Horne Tooke amuses himself with thinking how posterity will feel when they read it, and reflect on the persecutions he has suffered.’ Posterity unfortunately reads the great work but little, and has formed a less exalted estimate of its

1 John Hinchliffe, Bishop of Peterborough from 1769 to 1794.

writer than that which was current among his contemporaries and his immediate successors. Tooke is remembered rather for his political associations than for his literary achievements. His best sayings have been immortalised by Rogers in his incomparable volume of ‘
Recollections.’ Some of these sayings have become current coin. For example, ‘There are men who pretend that they come into the world booted and spurred to ride you.’ ‘Pieces of money are so many tickets for sheep, oxen, &c.’ ‘When a pension is given, or a salary, a draft is issued on the tiller of the soil.’ ‘So I understand, Mr. Tooke, that you have all the blackguards in London with you?’ said O’Brien to him on the hustings at Westminster. ‘I am happy to have it, sir, on such good authority,’ replied Tooke. When Judge Ashurst said in one of his charges, ‘The law is open to all men, to the poor as well as the rich,’ Tooke remarked, ‘And so is the London Tavern.’ Lord Grey said to him, ‘If I was compelled to make a choice, I should prefer despotism to anarchy.’ ‘Then you would do,’ replied Tooke, ‘as your ancestors did at the Reformation; they rejected Purgatory and kept Hell.’ Tooke’s political notoriety as an opponent of the Government brought him much annoyance. Rogers went with him one night to Brandenburgh House to private theatricals, and somebody behind them said, loud enough for Tooke to hear, ‘There’s that rascal, Horne Tooke.’ Tooke showed his annoyance and went home, Rogers going with him, and sitting up very late to listen to his talk. He met with similar insults in coffee-houses. One of his sayings was that, when bad times came, he should go to his garret
window and take no part in them but that of a looker on. ‘When the surgeons are called in, the physician retires.’ He retired to his house on Wimbledon Common, and died there, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, on 18th of March, 1812. Rogers received a characteristic invitation to his funeral from
Sir Francis Burdett.

Sir Francis Burdett to Samuel Rogers.
‘Piccadilly: March 24, 1812.

‘My dear Mr. Rogers,—Our friend Horne Tooke used to express his desire that his few real friends should accompany him to that “everlasting mansion” which, like Timon, he had prepared for himself. As I know he counted you one of that number, and as I believe you would like to pay this last sad tribute to his memory, I take the liberty of acquainting you that his remains will be deposited in his garden at Wimbledon on Friday next, the 27th.1

‘Yours very sincerely,
F. Burdett.

‘N.B.—We propose meeting at twelve o’clock precisely at Mr. Tooke’s house.’

In the early editions of his ‘Epistle to a Friend,’ Rogers had paid a compliment to Horne Tooke

When He who best interprets to mankind
The winged messengers2 from mind to mind

1 This arrangement was not carried out. After the grave in the garden had been opened, and all the preparations made, it was determined that the body should be interred in the tomb of his sister at Ealing, where the funeral took place on Monday the 30th of March.

2 The title of Tooke’s great work is ΕΠΕΑ ΠΤΕΡΟΕΝΤΑ.

Leans on his spade and, playful as profound,
His genius sheds its evening sunshine round,
Be mine to listen.

These lines were written in 1796, and Rogers acted on them. The evening sunshine of Tooke’s genius dwelt long on Rogers’s mind, and some years after Tooke’s death he made references to him in the poem ‘Human Life,’ which, though indirect, are clear and unmistakable. No reader can fail to see that he had his old friend in mind when he wrote—

Thus while the world but claims its proper part
Oft in the head, but never in the heart,
His life steals on; within his quiet dwelling
That home-felt joy, all other joys excelling,
Sick of the crowd when enters he—nor then
Forgets the cold indifference of men.

The trial, too, though placed in an earlier age, was Horne Tooke’s, at which Rogers had been present, and the reference to him is clear—
On through that gate misnamed thro’ which before
Or into twilight within walls of stone,
Then to the place of trial—
And after his acquittal—

And now once more where most he loved to be
In his own fields, breathing tranquillity,
We hail him—not less happy Fox than thee.

Rogers’s acquaintance with Byron, which began within a few months of the death of Horne Tooke, arose
out of the quarrel between Byron and
Moore. ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’ was published anonymously in the spring of 1809, and contained a reference to Moore’s duel with Jeffrey which Moore thought gave the lie to his own account of that farcical event.1 When Byron put his name to the poem, Moore sent him a hostile letter, which was delayed by Byron’s absence from England. In the autumn of 1811 he returned, and Moore wrote again, proposing that Rogers should see Byron on his behalf in the hope that by a satisfactory explanation Byron would enable Moore ‘to seek the honour of being henceforth ranked among his acquaintance.’ Rogers at once proposed to play his favourite part of peace-maker by inviting both to meet at his table. Byron was asked to fix a day, and in doing so said in a letter to Moore, whom he had not yet seen, ‘Should my approaching interview with him and his friend lead to any degree of intimacy with both or either, I shall regard our past correspondence as one of the happiest events of my life.’ The dinner took place in the second week of November. Only Moore and Byron were to be present with Rogers, but Campbell—whose acquaintance Rogers had made on Lord Holland’s introduction at a dinner at the King of Clubs in 1801—happened to call in the morning, and Rogers persuaded him to join them. The three friends were together in
1 ‘Can none remember that eventful day,
That ever glorious, almost fatal fray,
When Little’s leadless pistol met his eye,
And Bow-street myrmidons stood laughing by?’

A note to those lines stated that, ‘on examination, the balls of the pistols were found to have evaporated.’

the drawing-room when Byron knocked, but Rogers thought it better to receive him alone, and Moore and Campbell withdrew. After Byron and Rogers had introduced themselves to one another, Moore and Campbell made their appearance and were formally introduced by Rogers to his new friend. Literary history has few parallels to such a scene. Rogers was the oldest and Byron the youngest of the group, and all four were famous. The host was already regarded by the others as a veteran, while Byron was naturally an object of the greatest curiosity to him and to his other guests. Byron was then at his best. He was three-and-twenty, and his pale handsome face, his ‘glossy, curling, and picturesque hair,’ as Moore calls it, and his subdued and gentle manners, as though feeling that he was in presence of men to whom he had been accustomed to look up, favourably impressed the older poets. Moore tells us that what principally impressed him was the nobleness of his air, his beauty, and the gentleness of his voice and manners. Rogers, who was eight-and-forty, and looked older than he was, was already distinguished for that perfect courtesy which is now called old-fashioned, but was then diligently cultivated. Moore, who was two-and-thirty and was the smallest man of the group, was as good-looking as Byron and full of the liveliness which made him the idol of society, while Campbell, two years older and a little taller than Moore, was the least distinguished-looking of the four.

No record remains of the talk at this memorable interview. It was the beginning of a friendship between Rogers and Byron and between Moore and Byron, which
immediately became intimate, and which lasted till Byron’s death. When they sat down to dinner there was nothing Byron would eat. Would he take soup? asked the host, but he said he never took soup: fish? but he never ate fish: mutton? he did not eat mutton. Would he take wine? ‘Thank you, I never taste wine.’ What would he eat? inquired the discomfited host. ‘I eat nothing but biscuits and soda-water,’ was the discouraging reply. There was no soda-water to be had and there were no biscuits in the house, so Byron took a plateful of potatoes, mashed them with his fork and drenched them with vinegar, and ‘of these meagre materials,’ Moore tells us, ‘he contrived to make rather a hearty dinner.’ Rogers afterwards learned that, on leaving his house—where they all stayed till a very late hour—Byron went to his club and had a hearty meat supper. The conversation after dinner was of
Walter Scott, who was then at the height of his fame as a poet, having published ‘The Lady of the Lake’ in 1810 and ‘The Vision of Don Roderick’ in 1811; and of Joanna Baillie, whose then latest tragedy of ‘The Family Legend’ was being played at Edinburgh.

The host and his chief guest on this occasion were prepared to be well pleased with one another. Byron shared the admiration for Rogers’s poetry which was universal in those days, except among the little-known but fast rising school of the Lake poets. In ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’ he had penned a striking eulogy on Rogers—

And thou, melodious Rogers, rise at last,
Recall the pleasing memory of the past.
Arise! let blest remembrance still inspire,
And strike to wonted tones thy hallowed lyre;
Restore Apollo to his vacant throne,
Assert the country’s honour and thine own.

In a note to the second of these lines Byron says: ‘It would be superfluous to recall to the mind of the reader “The Pleasures of Memory” and “The Pleasures of Hope,” the most beautiful didactic poems in our language, if we except Pope’sEssay on Man;” but so many poetasters have started up that even the names of Campbell and Rogers are become strange.’ Moore assures us that this eulogy was the disinterested and deliberate result of the young poet’s judgment. It was published two years before this first meeting with Rogers and Campbell. The acquaintance between Rogers and Byron soon ripened into friendship. In his letters to Mr. Harness and Mr. Hodgson, Byron expresses a high opinion of his taste, and within a month of their first meeting they make up a party to go to hear Coleridge—‘this Manichean of poesy,’ Byron calls him—lecture on poetry. He had already attacked Campbell’s ‘Pleasures of Hope,’ and Rogers had been present at a lecture at which Byron says he had ‘heard himself indirectly rowed by the lecturer.’ A month later, in January, 1812, Rogers and Byron were present together at another of Coleridge’s lectures, ‘not one of the happiest of Coleridge’s efforts,’ says Crabb Robinson.’1 In the same month the two first cantos of ‘Childe

1 Crabb Robinson’s remark in his diary is: ‘In the evening at Coleridge’s lecture. Conclusion of Milton. Not one of the happiest of Coleridge’s efforts. Rogers was there, and with him was Lord Byron. He was wrapped up, but I recognised his club foot, and, indeed, his countenance and general appearance.’ As Rogers and Byron were going home

Harold’ were in type, and Byron sent them to Rogers in proof. Moore tells us that he first saw the sheets of the poem in Rogers’s hands, ‘and glanced hastily over a few of the stanzas which he pointed out to me as beautiful.’ Rogers, however, did not appreciate the poem as a whole. The two stanzas he most admired then and always were the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth of the second canto beginning—
To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell.
He read the two cantos to his sister
Sarah, and formed a wrong estimate of them. ‘It will never please the public,’ he said, ‘in spite of its beauty; they will dislike its querulous repining tone, and the dissolute character of the hero.’ Rogers soon found, and cordially admitted, that he was mistaken. The popular taste was changing, and the mellifluous beauty of his own poems soon seemed tame side by side with the movement, the passion, the criticism of life, to use Mr. Matthew Arnold’s phrase, of which the new poetry was full.

Rogers’s criticism of ‘Childe Harold’ was that of many of his contemporaries. He sent a copy of the book, when it appeared, to Thomas Grenville, one of the elder brothers of Lord Grenville, and a life-long friend of Rogers’s. Tom Grenville, who was eight years older than Rogers, was one of the best-read men of his time, and his judgment was not likely to be warped by prejudice. Hence his letter is peculiarly valuable as an example of contemporary opinion of Byron and his works.

together, a crossing-sweeper addressed Byron as ‘my Lord.’ ‘He knows you,’ remarked Rogers. ‘Everybody knows me,’ answered Byron, ‘I am deformed.’

Thomas Grenville to Samuel Rogers.

‘Many thanks, my dear Rogers, though I must own myself unworthy of ‘Childe Harold.’ It is written in a deadly spirit of scorn and hate which curdles the blood, and chills every kindly feeling, instead of cheering and promoting them. Two striking stanzas on solitude, marked by your discriminating pencil, and some vigorous poetry on Wellington’s battle, though with a cautious avoidance of his name or fame, and a wild and rich imagination nourishing a powerful and vigorous pen, do not compensate in my mind for the impression of disgust which I derive from the odious spirit of his writings.

‘Yours ever,
T. Grenville.’

Just at the time when ‘Childe Harold’ was published, Rogers introduced Byron to Lord and Lady Holland. The immediate occasion of the introduction was the debate on the Nottingham Frame-breaking Bill, on which Byron wished to speak. Lord Holland was Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, and Byron and he agreed as to the absolute necessity of conciliatory measures towards the wretched people whom misery and oppression had goaded into riot and outrage. The intercourse with Lord Holland soon became constant, but meanwhile Rogers had suggested to Byron that it would-be grateful to the feelings of Lord and Lady Holland if ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’ was suppressed. He was then preparing a fifth edition, but on Rogers’s hint he resolved on withdrawing it. He told Leigh Hunt that he did
so with great pleasure because he had attacked them and many others upon fancied and false provocation. ‘Rogers told me,’ Byron says, ‘he thought I ought to suppress it; I thought so too, and did, as far as I could.’ 1

In the summer of this year Rogers made a northern tour, in the remaining records of which there are many glimpses of interesting places and people. Tom Moore was living in his cottage at Kegworth, and Rogers paid him a visit by the way. Moore’s letter to Miss Godfrey, telling her of the visit, is only one more proof of the high esteem in which Rogers was held by his friends. ‘I forget,’ says Moore, ‘who the man was who set fire to his house after the Constable Bourbon had been in it; but I believe I shall do the same by mine (though for a different reason) after this memorable visit. I shall be so happy to have had a right good, excellent friend under my own roof.’ In a letter to his mother, Moore tells her of a delightful little tour with Rogers to Matlock, ‘where I was much charmed with the scenery,’ and thence to Dove Dale, ‘which delighted me still more. It is the very abode of genii.’ They parted at Ashbourne, Rogers going on to the lakes. Francis Horner, writing to his sister describing a journey he had made with Sergeant Lens, says, ‘At Keswick we found Rogers the poet staying at the inn; he was good enough to take an evening walk with us, and led us to a favourite station of his which gives the most striking prospect of the lake.’2 On the way thither Rogers writes to his sister.

1 Letter to Leigh Hunt in October, 1815.

2 Memoirs and Correspondence of Francis Horner, M.P., vol. ii. p. 122.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘[Keswick] Thursday, August 13, 1812.

‘My dear Sarah,—Many thanks for your kind letter and Henry’s, inclosing four five-pound notes, which last I shall answer in a very few days. I was indeed very much surprised and shocked to hear of J. R.’s death. Coming so soon after another, you and H. must indeed begin to think that all are going. He was a very excellent man and much attached to you, and I know of no other qualities in this world worth a thought. Sharp and I came over from Ulleswater to this place on Sunday. On Monday we saw a wrestling match for a prize in a field near Ambleside. It had been long announced and it drew together all the fine young men of the peasantry from far and near. It was indeed more interesting than I expected it to be, and lasted above an hour, there being many contests. By a foolish custom here, no women were present, though many looked on from the neighbouring hills. Ulleswater looked very beautiful, though we had little or no sun. Everybody was haymaking. The king, without coat or waistcoat, attended by his daughters on the margin of the lake; and the clergyman in the same costume, unattended, tossing his hay about in solitary dignity in the churchyard. The Mackintoshes came here on Monday. Yesterday they went over to Ulleswater for a night, and, Sharp going with them, I walked to drink tea at Grasmere. It was about six miles and the sun burning hot. I set out a little before twelve, meaning to rest myself a little at the inn at Grasmere, before I made my appearance at W.’s. But I did not
arrive there (what with sitting wherever I could find shade or seat) till half-past four. They were going to drink tea with
Dr. Bell (Lancaster’s antagonist), who lodges in a farm-house next door. I went with W. and we drank tea in the garden, and a pretty sight it was, children and all. I found Dr. Bell in manner not very unlike Dr. Babington, but older and as simple as a child, and with a very warm heart. His eyes streamed with good-nature, and, prejudiced as I went, I came away liking him much better than his antagonist. I was glad to hear you prolonged your stay at Brighton, and found it comfortable. Poor Mary! it is a long while in her life; but I am glad Cline thinks well of her, and will hope he is right. With regard to the book you and Henry spoke so kindly of, I have had a great vexation. An alteration came into my mind, which, though slight, I thought of some importance; but the booksellers, I hear, have not waited, and 500 are gone forth, with all their imperfections on their head.1 In a fortnight or three weeks I hope you will receive it and think it rather improved. Pray write to me at Keswick, whither I mean to go on Saturday.

‘The Mackintoshes stay there a day only, and then go on for Scotland. If you write after Monday, pray direct to me under cover to the Earl of Lonsdale, Lowther, near Penrith.

‘Pray give my love to all, and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.’

1 This was a mistake, as will be seen from the letter to R. Sharp on p. 101.


A letter to his brother Henry is equally interesting.

Samuel Rogers to Henry Rogers.
‘Aug. 20, 1812.

‘My dear Henry,—I wrote to Sarah on Thursday the 13th, since which I have not heard; but as Lord Lonsdale writes that some letters are lying at Lowther, I hope to find one from home there. I meant to have left this place to-day, but am kept for want of horses. To-morrow I go to Lowther, where I mean to stay about ten days. I will write before I leave it. On Thursday the 13th, Sharp and the Mackintoshes returned to Lowwood from Patterdale. It was a delicious day, and after an early dinner, in M.’s landaulet and dicky, we went through Langdale to Grasmere, where we drank tea with the Wordsworths. Their little girl lies buried in one corner of the churchyard out of sight of their windows. There is a black stone (the stone of the country) at her head, and another at her feet, and the inscription is on the side from the path, so that nobody can read it unless they go on purpose. It was done by the sister unknown to them, and bears this text: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” The child was three years old. Mrs. W. cries still every day, as I learn from W. Johnny goes every day to school at Ambleside, carrying his dinner in a satchel on his back.

‘At Ulleswater I met with Macreary the printer. He was one of a walking party which it would have given you pleasure to see. There were two very nice girls among them, each carrying her sketch-book and all her own baggage in her hand. He spoke with great enthusiasm
and regret of P. Mallet. I met them as I was returning from a walk by the lake-side one morning; they were then on their way to Keswick. On Friday the M.’s left us for Keswick; it was a summer day, and S. and I went on the lake to Ray-rig, a favourite station of his, where it is his custom to lie all the morning, looking up and down the lake. In the afternoon
Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth came unexpectedly and drank tea with us in the summer-house on the bowling green. It was a heavenly evening. The Langdale Pikes looked beautiful, and Mrs. W. was enchanted with the scene. She is a very nice woman indeed, very natural, very humble, and seemingly with a very elegant mind. After tea we walked up the Troutbeck Road about a quarter of a mile and saw the sun set on the lake in all its glory. The W.’s were as much affected by it as if they had never seen such a thing before. Indeed, in their little valley, they never can see a sunset. It was the pleasantest evening I have spent since I left home. On Saturday I set off at six o’clock. At Grasmere I dropped Sharp, who went to breakfast with Wordsworth, and I went on to Keswick, where I found the Mackintoshes at breakfast. We then set out together on horseback to Lodore (it was our scheme to have gone so far by water, but, after going out a little way, we disembarked and took to our horses, the lake being rough), then through Borrowdale and over Borrowdale Horse, as it is called, to Buttermere, where we dined. Mary is married to a plain farmer, who keeps the public-house. She has four little children, and is still very handsome, though not in good health. Indeed, the servant girl
was something extraordinary, being very handsome, very sweet, and with a certain dignity. At least we were all imposed upon by everything we saw, and
Lady M. thought I had done Mary great injustice in my description.

‘On Sunday the M.’s left me on their way to Edinburgh, and it rained till five o’clock. I then took a sweet walk by the lake, which was very gay, all the townspeople being out, and many parties on the water. The Keswick women are very dexterous at rowing. On Monday, the 17th, it was very sultry, and I rowed, or rather was rowed, about the lake, visiting Lodore and the islands. In the evening I walked to Ormithwaite, an old house under Skiddaw, commanding a noble view of the lake and vale of Keswick. Its fields are full of old oaks; a path runs through them to the little village of Applethwaite, a few scattered cottages, so called, in a crevice of Skiddaw (I dare say Sarah remembers it), and there I wandered till dusk. On Tuesday I spent the whole morning there, returning at four to dinner, when Mrs. Wood regaled me with a grouse, and in the evening walked by the lake to Friar’s Crag. Stephen went with us to Buttermere. He remembers well the chase Parsons gave him up Skiddaw. At Ulleswater I looked up the mountain Parsons descended so expertly. On Monday Cole went up Skiddaw with a party of servants, but he had not been five minutes on the top when a cloud enveloped them. He seemed sadly disappointed, but, however, enjoys himself very much. I shall not be sorry to leave Keswick, not having enjoyed it much. Indeed, I am no longer fit to be alone. Yesterday
I was again at Ormithwaite, and shall go and mope there again to-day for the last time. The two last days have been very wet and stormy. My love to all. Adieu, my dear

‘S. R.’

He was all this time occupied with amending and polishing ‘Columbus,’ and letters to Richard Sharp are still full of alternative stanzas for his friend’s approval. The following letters to him are only parts of a series.

‘Keswick, Tuesday night. Rainy. [18 August, 1812.]

‘My dear Friend,—As I am à l’agonie you must not complain of my cries. It has struck me since that something more is absolutely necessary to the beginning, and I here enclose a triplet, the fruit of my visits to the Ormithwaite, which has become my dear delight. Between the village and “the fine house,” as the children call it thereabouts—under the old oaks, in that lofty path at the foot of Skiddaw—tracking your footsteps, I threw together the lines in question, and, if your cool and better judgment approves of them, which I much doubt, pray send them to the printer’s to be prefixed in the octavo edition, and sent down in a revise at night to me at the Earl of Lonsdale’s, Lowther, near Penrith. Perhaps in that case you had better furnish them with a frank; but pray don’t stir unless you give your full approbation.

I found the Marks here on Saturday not quite ready. They had visited Ormithwaite in the morning under escort of Stephen, and we proceeded by Borrowdale to
Buttermere, but returned by Newlands, not having time (in consequence of her ladyship’s scheme of a voyage to Lodore) for Lorton. On Sunday they left me, and here I have remained a wanderer ever since.

‘The weather on the whole has been very favourable, having never prevented my tiring myself any day. I think the people of Keswick the pleasantest-looking people I ever saw; and the children are beautiful.

‘I shall spend a week or ten days at Lowther, where I mean to sleep on Friday. Lord L. writes me word that letters are waiting there for me, and they will regulate my motions northward.

‘When I walk at Ormithwaite, particularly in the field nearest Applethwaite, I think Keswick the finest lake of the three. But each vanquishes me in its turn.

‘Yours ever,
Saml. Rogers.

‘To-morrow I mean to ride for variety and to dine at Lodore. To-day Mrs. Wood regaled me with grouse. She is an excellent lady! but I sleep in Gray’s blankets notwithstanding.

‘Wednesday morning.

‘Upon reading the whole again, it strikes me that the pronouns we and our clash with the lyrical abruptnesses, and give an air of inflation and pomp to them. I therefore incline to give them up for the present, as Xenophon does in a great part of “The Retreat.”

‘If you call at Cadell’s, you will oblige me by asking for a copy of the octavo, on my account, and keeping it till you can get a better.


‘I have been again to Ormithwaite, having kept back the letter in hope of getting from myself a better judgment.

‘Five o’clock.

‘I have but this moment discovered the Rev. Mr. Pitt’s inscription on the window. How I should like to see Miss Susan Hatton as she then was!

‘After all I am not sure that the Introduction will not be best as it was before.

‘I have directed two copies of the quarto to be sent to you, but, on second thoughts, I will not trouble you to send either of them to me, if you have not already. Pray keep them for me.

‘Stephen, who desires to be remembered by you, tells me that the churl, who won the belt, works with Nicholson, and has learnt his art from him, and that they divided the money between them.’

There is another letter posted on Saturday the 22nd, with further suggestions of variations, and the lament—‘I have used up all my writing paper and can get no more, the stationer at Keswick having gone to the sea for a little bathing, and shut up shop for the time.’ Another, posted on the 23rd, suggests ‘another reading, which I rather like, as it is the last.’ Sharp evidently exercised his prerogative of deciding between these various changes, and on the 25th of August Rogers writes—

‘Lowther: Tuesday [25 August, 1812].

‘My dear Friend,—Many thanks! Your arrogance, a you call it, has saved me! I did not forget your
gate, I assure you. It was my morning and evening place of assignation with myself.

‘On Thursday, the evening before I left [Keswick], Horner and Sergeant Lens arrived—and I took them there1—and Horner went there again by himself, while I was making the circuit of the lake on a white pony. Lens was unwell and unable to walk, and their late dinner prevented Horner from visiting the parsonage and Ormithwaite. He described himself as recovered, and appeared to be so. They went off towards Edinburgh early next morning.

‘This castle is magnificent, and a fit residence for the proudest baron that broke the neck of King John. The situation, though commanding, rather disappointed me. But the river (out of sight, though within a five minutes’ walk) is exquisite. It runs for many miles (quite to Penrith) along a narrow wooded valley (I may call it a glen) with great noise and rapidity, a path follows it, on one side hanging woods feathering into it or retiring to make way for gigantic docks and other water-plants, and on the other side noble beech woods, now open, now shut, and now discovering a lawn or two, which are here (and very deservedly) called the Elysian fields. The path is generally near the water, but is sometimes at a very great height above it, which glimmers through the enormous branches of old oaks and beeches. The rock is very scanty, but very good of the kind; for sweetness it appears to me to exceed anything I can conceive on the Esk, which it most resembles. It is more unspoilt by the hand of man than

1 See Horner’s account, p. 90.

anything I ever saw. Description is nothing, but it should certainly not be neglected if you pass through Penrith.

‘Here I found Lord Morpeth. He is gone, and also Milnes [and] the Speaker, who came afterwards. Bolton of Windermere slept here the first night, and you were more than once mentioned at dinner; and Lord Lonsdale told me, in a voice which expressed some concern, that he had not heard of your being here this summer Here is now only Lord Westmoreland.

‘I find it was Sir James Graham who led on the assault that was made upon your viands. They carried me on the first day to Hawes Water. It exceeded my expectations. Its seclusion is very striking, the hills on one side rise abruptly from it, and I am indeed inclined to class it as the fourth lake; but I saw it in rain, and under umbrellas, and with three talking, laughing girls. At the upper end of it—for they took me to the end, three miles—is Mardale chapel in severe solitude. More of it when we meet.

‘To show you I have not been idle, I recommend the inclosed to your arrogance, or, properly speaking, your generosity. It is intended to close the tenth canto, but perhaps, if tolerable, had better be reserved for the next edition. You will, however, perhaps drop me a line by return of post to the post office, Hamilton. If a day later, to Glasgow. It will just catch me.

‘I inclose a line from Moore.

‘The more I reflect, the more I think your criticism just on my triplet, and now find I can trust you. I had better make a vow to make no additions now; but I
send this to show you that turtle and venison, and pines and grapes, and lords and ladies every day, cannot quite besot me.

‘Ever yours,
Saml. Rogers.

‘I mistook Knight. The copies were only subscribed for—not parted with—and not a copy will stir without my directions. I take it for granted you have the quarto, and can judge of these lines with the context. Though they are, I know, very feeble, the thought perhaps may some time or other be wrought into something.

Brougham is unfortunately at the Carlisle Assizes. I shall try for the Nunnery. Lord Morpeth is gone to Castle Howard. Lord Alvanley comes to-morrow, and on Friday I depart.

‘Wednesday morning.

‘I shall write to Knight, my corrector, to proceed. But if anything suggests itself, pray interfere. R. P. Knight, I fear, will be gone from Scotland.

To close the Tenth Canto. 1
That night, transported, with a sigh I said,
“’Tis all a dream!” Now, like a dream, ‘tis fled;
And many and many a year has pass’d away,
And I alone remain to watch and pray!
Yet oft in darkness, on my bed of straw,
Oft I awake and think on what I saw;
The groves, the birds, the youths, the nymphs recall,
And Cora, loveliest, sweetest of them all!’

It would be insufferably tedious to multiply these extracts sufficiently to give any adequate impression of the

1 These lines are now at the close of the eleventh canto.

amount of consideration which was given to this single poem, which must have occupied
Rogers occasionally for a considerable part of his life. Similar discussions of lines and passages occur in letters to Moore which are given in Lord John Russell’s eighth volume. The reference to triplets, and to Richard Sharp’s approval of them, indicates another question of purely literary interest which was much debated by Rogers and his friends. Rogers fell more and more into the use of triplets as he grew older. In ‘The Pleasures of Memory’ there is only one in the first part, and there are four in the second part. In the ‘Epistle to a Friend,’ perhaps the most finished of his poems, there is not one. ‘Columbus’ contains twenty-three triplets; and in ‘Human Life’ the number mounts up to thirty-nine. He seems to have thought it needful to append to this latter poem a note in defence of this very constant use of what he calls ‘the old-fashioned triplet.’ He bases the defence on its frequent occurrence in Dryden who, in ‘The Hind and the Panther’—which Pope regarded as the most correct specimen of Dryden’s versification—has triplets in every page, though, as Rogers does not seem to have noticed, they are very often used to mark a climax or to close a section. In ‘Theodore and Honoria,’ however, Dryden, as Rogers points out, introduces triplets, three, four and even five times in succession. Rogers speaks of having followed ‘yet earlier and higher examples’ and claims the approval, or, at least, the forgiveness ‘of those in whose ear the music of our old versification is still sounding.’ The plea has not availed to make triplets acceptable to modern ears.


In a conversation which took place during this visit to Lowther, Rogers was able to do Wordsworth an important service. As they were one day walking on the terrace, Lord Lonsdale said to Rogers, ‘I wish I could do something for poor Campbell.’ Rogers, who had just come from a visit to Wordsworth, replied, ‘I wish you would do something for Wordsworth. He is in such straitened circumstances that he and his family deny themselves animal food several times a week.’ Wordsworth had left Allan Bank in the year before, and was living at Grasmere Parsonage, where one of his children had died in the June before Rogers’s visit. Wordsworth had an hereditary claim on Lord Lonsdale, who was not unwilling to recognise it; and his attention having been called to the poet’s necessities, he not only gave him aid, but got him appointed, in March, 1813, Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland. This appointment put him in a position of easy competence for the rest of his life. For Campbell, as we shall see hereafter, Rogers himself did much in after years.

The tour was continued to Scotland, and in course of it he wrote the poem on Loch Long, entitled, ‘Written in the Highlands of Scotland,’ and dated September 2, 1812.

There is a reference in the poem to the visit paid to the same spot with his sister Sarah in 1803, and the lines which describe Glenfinnart—

For now we hail
Thy flowers, Glenfinnart, in the gale;
And bright indeed the path should be
That leads to Friendship and to Thee.
Oh, blest retreat, and sacred too!
Sacred as when the bell of prayer
Tolled duly on the desert air,
And crosses decked thy summits blue.
Oft shall my weary mind recall,
Amid the hum and stir of men,
Thy beechen grove and waterfall,
Thy ferry with its gliding sail,
And Her—the Lady of the Glen.

These lines derive additional interest from the following letter written during his stay in this ‘blest retreat.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Glenfinnart: 16 Sept. 1812.

‘No, my dear Sarah, I can truly say I do not enjoy it so much as I did and (I may say I think) as you did, when we were together, but I have no right to complain. I am now with friends who do everything they can do to prevent my most secret wishes. I am glad to think that you are So comfortable. Nothing seems to be wanting but our Fanny to make Cheadle what it once was. It is indeed very unlucky that Quarry Bank should be left the moment you came. You are right as to your conjecture of Moore’s house. The two windows belong to the kitchen, the bay window to the dining-room. Two small parlours (one of them his book-room) look into the garden behind. Their bedroom is over the dining-room, the nursery over the kitchen, and there she was sitting and peeping when I came. At Arrochar I dined between my two voyages, and I saw the landlady, now a matronly but a very nice-looking woman, in her garden. Alas! I had neither grapes nor grouse, and grouse I have only seen twice since I left Lowther, though a man goes out
every day among the hills to shoot some for me. This is a very pretty place; and to give you a notion of where I am, I subjoin an attempt at a map. The house is very small and neat, in a narrow, rocky glen running up among steep mountains, with its small river, and a beautiful beech grove between it and the lake. A ferry is within sight of the windows; and while we sit at dinner, we see the little boat passing and repassing continually. At the ferry-house is kept also a packet-boat, which twice a week sails to Greenock with passengers, and takes and brings back our letters, and brings grapes and peaches from the gardens at Dunmore, so that I can even read of your luxuries without a sigh. Indeed, we are so supplied that we are obliged to consume the peaches and apricots in tarts and puddings. What would Fingal and his family have thought of this? An old laird, who lives on a lake immediately behind these mountains, dines with them once a year generally, and always eats with great relish what he calls their “apples with stones.” Our family consists of my host and hostess, and two little boys—one five years old, one two—and no human being have I seen besides, except the schoolmaster and the ferryman and the passengers on the sea-shore. We breakfast at nine, and dine at half-past three, and go to bed at ten. All the mountains far and wide on our side Loch Long belong to
Lord Dunmore, who is planting everywhere. From the windows you see the lake and the opposite shore a mile off, and also the shore on the other side of the Clyde towards Greenock, and from the ferry-house half a mile from us (my favourite sauntering place) the look up the lake to Arrochar, nine miles, is, as you may
conceive, sublime, mountain behind mountain receding one behind another, on each side of the lake, till the vista terminates in a point, and these clad in the softest and richest colours that mist and sunshine can give them. Indeed, I think in its way it surpasses everything of the kind we ever saw together. Poor Mary! an accident has happened here which has made me often think of her and you. Poor
Lady Dunmore, returning home from a walk in a shower after dusk the other night, and crossing a little stream, one of the stepping-stones slipped from under her, and terribly sprained her foot. I came forwards, as you may suppose, with the vinegar and oatmeal, which worked wonders, and the next day she put her foot to the ground—a fatal measure that has thrown her back again, and she is now on the sofa. This has deprived me of the harp in the evening and has produced still greater consequences. At the end of a fortnight they were to have made a little tour with me to Loch Katherine and Dunkeld, and we were to have concluded with a little visit at Hamilton, from which I meant to have gone to Edinburgh, and so on to Wassall, where I hoped to have met you and Henry; but now my schemes are defeated, and they beg so earnestly that I will wait a week or ten days, when she expects to be able to set out, that I am at a loss how to refuse. Indeed, to make the journey by myself would be very uncomfortable as well as expensive. I am indeed so quiet and happy here, that I ought not to repine, though, as you say, I never think myself quite well. This place is the wettest in Scotland, though the summer has been better than they have long known it (it was remarkably rainy
last year, only think it!), we have seldom two fine days together, and sometimes it rains and shines alternately every five minutes; but I pop in and out continually, and generally tire myself in the course of the day. I have also a charming white pony at my command all day, though I seldom use it. I have made but two excursions since I came, with Lord Dunmore. Once our horses were ferried across, and we rode over to see Roseneath, a beautiful place of the
Duke of Argyll’s, returning round the shore along the Clyde opposite to Greenock till we came back to the ferry again—a beautiful day and a glorious ride—and once we rode along our own shore to the Clyde, and round up Holy Loch, on the banks of which we saw the burial-place of the Argyll family (in our way we saw Dumbarton Castle in a view up the Clyde), and along Loch Eck till we came down our own glen again.

‘I had a very kind letter from Henry the other day, and was sorry to hear such an account of poor Mary. What my plans are now I cannot say, but I fear I shall not leave Scotland before the latter end of October. Adieu, my dear Sarah! Pray give my kind remembrances to one and all who inquire after me, not forgetting Mary and Mrs. H., and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
Saml. Rogers.

‘I expect my book now every day.’

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
‘Glenfinnart: Sept. 28, 1812.

‘My dear Friend,—I must again try your patience by throwing my burden upon you. The following, though
very far from pleasing me, seems to bring it out more fully—though I know something is lost by it—

Know I went forth, one of that gallant crew,
And saw, and wonder’d whence his Power He drew;
Yet how much more had wonder’d had I there
Known all that pass’d in earth, and sea, and air;
Then uninstructed.1

‘Now I will confess to you that I shall be better pleased if you continue firm for the first reading, as I hope you will do, and in that case pray send the inclosed to Knight in Bolt Court; but if the new lines (and all things are possible) strike you (bad though they are) as decidedly the best, pray let them be inserted in p. 204. But, remember, no further reference is to be made to me. I would rather that it should continue as it is, whatever may be your opinion, than that any further delay should arise. I think, the moment you read these new lines, you will wonder at my hesitation and continue firm to the old. In that case, pray send the inclosed to Knight, without a comment; and if the least preference in your mind remains for the old reading, pray send the inclosed to Knight in like manner; but if otherwise, and you should incline in the least to the new, it will only increase the page by an additional line, and I know you

1 The lines are in the third canto. They now read—

‘Oh, I was there, one of that gallant crew,
And saw—and wondered whence his Power he drew,
Yet little thought, tho’ by his side I stood,
Of his great Foes in earth and air and flood,
Then uninstructed.’
will run your eye over the revise to see that it agrees with my copy here given. I have now spent a month in a little glen half-way down Loch Long from Arrochar, and when I shall stir I know not. Many, many thanks for your kind letter. I hope the negotiation at Lewes has concluded to your complete satisfaction. There is said to be a great stir in the North, but not a murmur of it invades me in this retirement. I wish you could but look up Loch Long from hence.

Great Ocean’s self! Tis He who fills
That dark and awful depth of hills!

‘In a week or ten days I hope to visit Loch Katherine. In the meantime, should you be commissioned to offer me the Archbishopric of York or the Chancellorship, my direct1on is at the Earl of Dunmore’s, Glenfinnart, by Greenock, N.B.

‘We receive our letters twice a week by his packet (only think of it—a packet!) and in the intervals I wander and look up a mountain vista eighteen miles in length! But pray don’t write on the subject of the poem, as I shall be well satisfied, whatever way you decide. Pray could you convey a copy to Mackintosh, paying the carriage?

‘From Lowther I flew to Luss—then rowed to Tarbet—then crossed the isthmus on foot to Arrochar, where I met with the Mackintoshes, and then by water came down Loch Long to Glenfinnart, a singular voyage, as I met with a grampus, a shoal of herrings, and (after dark) a luminous sea, no unusual phenomenon on this
lake. But these and many other wonders I shall reserve for my quarto book of travels.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘After all I have written I think I see a great objection to the new lines. If he saw all that passed, he would see the interposition of the good Angel in favour of Columbus, and no longer wonder. I will, however, send you the letter. I cannot close the letter without adverting to our sad loss in Mrs. Pigou. The few lines she wrote to me at parting—for I did not see her—were (now I am convinced) written under the impression that she should never see me again. How our friends (the friends of our earlier days) drop off, one by one—and how much it should teach us to value the remainder! The friends of our youth (like the wife of our youth, as Solomon expresses it) are indeed to be prized—for what can supply the place of them?’

Samuel Rogers to Henry Rogers.
‘Glenfinnart: Sept. 30, 1812.

‘My dear Henry,—Many thanks for your kind letter, which I received at Glenfinnart, where I have remained ever since. It was my intention to spend only a fortnight here, and then proceed with the Dunmores on my journey through some part of the Highlands, but, my hostess having sprained her foot, I have been led on from day to day and from week to week in the expectation of her being able to set out. We shall now leave this place on Saturday the 3rd, and, after visiting Loch Katrine and Dunkeld, proceed on to Hamilton, where
perhaps I may rest a week, and then pass through Edinburgh on my way to England. At Edinburgh I don’t mean to spend above a day or two, and then go to Howick,
Lord Grey’s, for a day or two. I received a letter from Sarah about a fortnight ago, and was happy to hear her give so good an account of herself. It is indeed a sad thing the Gregs should be all away just now. I hope Lucy and George have long been quite well. Poor Mary! If she is gone to the sea, I hope she bore her journey well. I hope your sufferings are over in some degree from the paint, and that you are now preparing for your long-talked-of journey into Worcestershire. I have indeed passed my time very tolerably here, as everything has been done that could be to make me happy, and I have felt very grateful if not very happy. We breakfast every morning at nine, and dine at half-past three, and retire to bed at half-past ten, and by no accident can any visitor break in upon our trio. A solitary walk on the Loch side or up the glen is my morning task; so we are not very gay, and should perhaps be dull but for two little boys, the eldest five years old. The packet sails twice a week with letters to and from Greenock, the only event in our lives. Two rides of some length I have taken over the mountains, and one voyage to an old castle in a neighbouring loch. We have no neighbours, and those who come must come by water; and the only people in the glen who wear shoes and stockings are ourselves, except the ferryman and the schoolmaster. It is a very pretty sight—it occurs many times a day—to see the ferry-boat with its sail among the trees, crossing the loch, which is two
miles broad, with Highlanders in it, this being the highland road from Glasgow to Inverary. I hope you have had better weather in the South than we have had, for this is the wettest part of all Scotland; and though this season is thought much dryer than any they have had for some years, it generally rains two entire days in a week, with many showers besides. Farewell, my dear Henry; pray give my love to Patty and Maria and Lucy, and all the great and small, not forgetting Mr. T., and believe me to be,

‘Yours affectionately,
Saml. Rogers.

‘My next direction will be under cover to The Lord Archibald Hamilton, The Palace, Hamilton, N.B.’

Samuel Rogers to Henry Rogers.
‘Palace, Hamilton: 25 Oct. 1812.

‘My dear Henry,—Your letter overtook me last week at this place, on my arrival after a little journey of eight days through the Highlands, three of which were fine—a large allowance, I believe, in the North. Menteith lake, Loch Katrine, Loch Erne, Dunira, Dunkeld, Killiekrankie and Loch Leven were the principal sights, and amply rewarded us. I say us, for the Dunmores were with me. Loch Katrine surpassed my expectations, and is indeed the most beautiful thing ‘of the kind I ever saw. I am here within a mile of Chatelherault, which Sarah remembers, and within two miles of Bothwell Castle, which unluckily we did not see; but I hope to see all with her before I die. I wrote her a long letter into
Cheshire a month ago, and begin to fear she never received it, as I have not heard from her. This I address to you at Wassall, flattering myself that you are now there, and happy should I be to meet you there; but one thing after another has delayed me. I am now waiting to see
Jeffrey, who is coming here in a day or two, as he says, very kindly, to see me. He is to bring Dugald Stewart with him, and when they go, I shall proceed instantly to Edinburgh, and, after staying there two or three days, to Howick, if the Greys are at home to receive me. I shall not, therefore, reach Wassall before the latter end of next month, I fear; but I have set my heart upon being there, sooner or later. I rejoice to hear that all the invalids are better, and hope they will soon be well.

‘So Scarlett has lost, and Brougham. Creevey, I was very sure, would hang as a dead weight round his neck. Sharp wrote me word that he was setting off to Honiton, but I have heard nothing since. It must have been a joyful meeting at Wassall and worth going far to see. If you write a line on receiving this, pray direct to me at the post office, Edinburgh; if within a week, to Alnwick, Northumberland, through which I must pass, whether I stop at Howick or not. It was part of my scheme to spend two or three days at Castle Howard, but it will not now, I fear, be in my power. This is a very large old house, and so cold that I can hardly keep body and soul together. In my room is a whole-length of the beautiful Duchess of Hamilton by Sir Joshua Reynolds. On the table in the gallery lies the book in which visitors enter their names, and it moved me a little to see Sarah’s and mine there written nine years
ago. How many things have happened since! With respect to Scotland, it certainly strikes me as much as ever, and I am sure I have every reason to be pleased. I was glad to hear Mrs. R. was better, and hope you have found her well. Pray give my love to
Dan and Mrs. R. and all the family of girls and boys, and to Sarah if with you, and believe me to be ever, my dear Henry, yours affectionately,

Saml. Rogers.

‘I am much obliged to you for your kindness to Milly, and fear James has fallen a victim to his idleness. I am very sorry indeed for Maltby.’

During Rogers’s absence on this northern tour the general election took place. Parliament was dissolved on the 24th of September and the new Parliament met on the 24th of November. Sharp lost his seat, and Sheridan was defeated at Stafford, his defeat, as Moore tells us, completing his ruin. Meanwhile Byron was at Cheltenham, and as the addresses advertised for had all been rejected, Lord Holland had persuaded him to write a prologue to be spoken on the opening of the new Drury Lane Theatre.1 The writers of some of the rejected addresses were angry at the choice of the Committee, and Dr. Busby, who had sent in a monologue which Byron satirised,2 published a pamphlet on the subject. These are the matters alluded to in the following letter.

1 The Address was spoken on Saturday the 10th of October.

2 The Satire is entitled ‘Parenthetical Address by Dr. Plagiary.’ Busby’s lines are quoted and laughed at thus—

‘“A modest monologue you here survey”
Hissed from the theatre “the other day,”
As if Sir Fretful wrote “the slumberous verse,”
And gave his son “the rubbish” to rehearse.’
Lord Holland to Samuel Rogers.
‘Holland House: Oct. 22, 1812.

‘Dear Rogers,—Where are you during this pleasant autumnal weather? Not on the warm sunny bend close to the old colonnades, as I wish you were, and hope you will be before Parliament meets. We then go to St. James’s Square. You cannot conceive how much I have missed you, both at your “accustomed bench” and elsewhere, and how sincerely I hope you will repay us for the time we have lost.

‘I am almost ashamed of having induced Lord Byron to write on so ungrateful a theme (ungrateful in all senses) as the opening of a theatre; he was so good-humoured, took so much pains, corrected so good-humouredly, and produced, as I thought and think, a prologue so very much superior to the common run of that sort of trumpery, that it is quite vexatious to see him attacked for it. Some part of it is a little too much laboured, and the whole too long, but surely it is good and poetical. What do you think of Busby? Does not his conduct exceed all that satirists have ever described of the extravagance of men smit with the love of their own verses? You cannot imagine how I grew to like Lord Byron in my critical intercourse with him, and how much I am convinced that your friendship and judgment have contributed to improve both his understanding and his happiness.

Lady H. has been very ill, but is better. She begs her best love, and I am, my dear Rogers,

‘Ever truly yours,
Vll. Holland.

‘P.S. We shan’t lose much, and the Ministers will gain still less, by the dissolution. What a horrible campaign in Russia! and what a wretch that Rostopschin is!”

Rogers did not return as Lord Holland hoped. He finished the year away from London. He writes to his sister.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Crewe: 8th Dec. 1812.

‘My dear Sarah,—I received your kind letter here, soon after my arrival. This is an old house, not unlike Holland House. The staircase is unique and very striking, and under the windows is a large lake of above a hundred acres, now frozen over and covered with wild fowl. Mr. Luttrell and Mr. Lyttelton are here, and the company, which has been very numerous and changeable, have every day overflowed to a side-table at dinner. I was not, I will confess, much surprised that you were gone from Wassall, much as I wished to find you there. It is high time, I think, that I should follow your example, as I have wandered about long enough, and begin to wish for my home, though I have no “wife and children dear” expecting me. I slept one night at Syd. Smith’s and then came on to this place, where a stage-coach set me down at the gate, and where I have met with such a scene of old English hospitality as I never saw before. The dinner-bells are ringing every hour of the day. Mr. Lyttelton is shooting and hunting all day long, and indeed most of the rest, so that there are many quiet hours

1 This is evidently a reference to his determination to burn Moscow.

in their absence. To-morrow morning I shall get to Birmingham as I can, and I hope to dine with
Dan at Wassall on Thursday. I shall be very happy to do all I can for Felix, though I think there is another person who ought to stir first in his favour, and who can place him above all dependence. It is too provoking that it should be necessary to supplicate for the only child of a man who is worth more than all of us put together. Castle Howard is indeed a magnificent place, and I now wish I had stayed another day or two there to see more of it; but I was impatient to get on, as I knew I must spend a little time here, having been so very long in coming. I received a letter from Dan as you predicted. You speak so very lightly of the sick at Newington, that I hope by this time they are all as well as ever, though I fear it will be long before poor Mary can jump about, and it will be a sad thing to miss her on Twelfth-day. . . Have you seen the new theatre, and what do you think of Betty? But I hope you will wait for these things till I come. I thought it possible you might have brought another girl from Wassall, but I dare say you have determined for the best. As for Moore, I have heard nothing of him, though I dare say there is a letter from him among the heap of things lying for me in town. Milly’s loss has vexed me not a little, and I wish it was the only vexation of the kind in my household. I fear I must make a great change. The book, as you say, what with vignettes innumerable, and wide printing, is a good thick book. I much doubt whether the additions are for the better—but others had no doubt, so I ventured. At least it seemed to make it more
dramatic—but those parts I know are too few.
Sharp must find a great change in his life, and many must miss him in the House, as his was a very active part in the background. He must be a great loss to Grattan, with whom he always sat. I expect a very just encomium on Mrs. Barbauld in The Edinburgh Review, from a conversation I had in Scotland. Farewell, my dear Sarah; pray give my love to Henry and Patty and Mr. T. and all at Highbury and Newington, and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
Saml. Rogers.

‘Your journey across must be very practicable just now. I hope to be in town in a fortnight.’