LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.

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’—Ward’s Review in The Quarterly—Rogers’s Epigram on Ward—Mackintosh’s Review in The Edinburgh—Wordsworth on Scott—Byron’s Letters—His Verses on Rogers—Rogers at Bowood; at Woolbeding’Byron’s Estimate of Rogers—Rogers and Sheridan—An unsuspected Source of Sheridan’s Income—Byron’s Letters to Rogers—Jacqueline—Luttrell’s Criticism—Lady Jersey—Letter from Wordsworth—Jekyll—Rogers’s Love for Children—Epigram on the White Cockade—Sir George Beaumont’s Epitaph on Johnson—Uvedale Price.

Columbus’ had been printed in 1810 in the old-fashioned thin quarto in which it was still the lingering custom to print original poems. In this form it made a book of thirty-four pages. The poem was divided into six parts; there was no introduction, nothing about an original in the Castilian language, and no intimation that it was to be regarded as ‘Fragments.’ The copy before me now has no date or title, it never had a title-page, and there is written outside and inside in pencil, ‘Pray don’t show it.—S. R.’ A comparison of the opening lines of this edition with those of the published poem shows the change of plan it underwent. In the first it is the Muse who is to sing of the deeds of the hero; in the second it is one of his companions who celebrates his triumph after his death. The original opening was—

Say who first pass’d the portals of the West,
And the great secret of the deep possess’d—
Who first the standard of his faith unfurl’d
On the dread confines of an unknown world?
Him would the Muse exalt—by Heav’n design’d
To lift the veil that cover’d half mankind!

In its published form in 1812, and again in the edition of 1816, the poem began—

Who passed at length the portals of the West,
And the great Secret of the Deep possessed?
Say, who the standard of his Faith unfurled
On the dread confines of an Unknown World?
Him, by the Paynim bard descried of yore,
And ere his coming sung on either shore.
Him could not I exalt—by Heaven designed
To lift the veil that covered half mankind!1

The poem as first printed contained three hundred and seventy-seven lines; as published, it had six hundred and forty-eight lines; in its final shape it has six hundred and seventy-two lines, besides the Introduction and the stanzas in the romance or ballad measure of the Spaniards at the end. It was not published separately, but in a volume containing his other poems, and entitled ‘Poems, by Samuel Rogers, including Fragments of a Poem called The Voyage of Columbus.’ The volume contained ‘The Pleasures of Memory,’ ‘An Epistle to a Friend,’ with his other earlier poems, and in addition to these the lines ‘To the Torso,’ the verses ‘Written in Westminster Abbey,’ those ‘Written in the Highlands of Scotland,’ ‘Written in a Sick Chamber,’ and ‘The Butterfly.’ In the number of The Quarterly Review for March, 1813, the volume was the subject of one of the articles, and the opportunity was

1 The present beginning is given on p. 68.

taken for a cold, critical, and somewhat severe review of all
Rogers’s poems, and an estimate of his position as a poet. The article began with an admission of the popularity of ‘The Pleasures of Memory,’ which it described as ‘that sort of popularity which is perhaps more decisive than any other single test of merit. The circulation of it has not been confined to the highly-educated and critical part of the public, but it has received the applause which, to works of the imagination, is quite as flattering—of that far more numerous class who, without attempting to judge by accurate and philosophical rules, read poetry only for the pleasure it affords them, and praise because they are delighted. It is to be found in all libraries and in most parlour windows.’ Of ‘Columbus’ the article was more critical, and, as Byron said in a letter to Murray, ‘not too fair.’ Its sting, however, lay in its charging the author with haste. Fixing on the one inharmonious line in the poem—then in Canto X., now in Canto XI.—
There silent sat many an unbidden guest,
the writer asked, ‘What, for instance, but extreme haste and carelessness could have occasioned the author of “The Pleasures of Memory” to mistake for verse such a line?’ and proceeded to blame him for impatience to publish. The writer of the review was
J. W. Ward, who knew, as all Rogers’s friends did,1 the long preparation he had given to the poem, the hesitation he had shown in publishing it, and the pressure to produce it which had been put upon him by many admirers of his works. The

1 Moore says in a letter to Miss Godfrey: ‘The accusing him of haste is really too impudent a humbug, when they and all the world know so entirely to the contrary.’

publication of this review produced a coolness between Rogers and Ward which ended in Ward expressing his regret for an attack which he admitted to be indefensible. Rogers, however, had meanwhile taken his revenge in an epigram which is never likely to be forgotten—

Ward has no heart they say, but I deny it;
He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it.

Asked by a lady one day during the period of estrangement, ‘Have you seen Ward lately?’ Rogers asked, ‘What Ward?’ ‘Why, our Ward to be sure!’ was the reply. ‘OurWard!’ sneered Rogers, ‘you may keep him all to yourself.’ Mr. Dyce tells us that, just after the review was out, Rogers called on Lord Grosvenor and found Gifford, the editor, sitting with him. They were not friends, but Rogers was more cordial than usual, and chatted with Gifford in a most friendly manner. ‘Do you think he has seen the last Quarterly?’ asked Gifford of his host when Rogers had left. Mr. Dyce thinks Rogers had not seen it; to me his extra cordiality is a proof that he had seen it, and would not show that he was hurt.

In the succeeding October the poem was reviewed by Mackintosh in The Edinburgh Review, in an article which he says was regarded as ‘too panegyrical.’ It discussed the causes of the popularity of ‘The Pleasures of Memory,’ of which it was remarked that ‘it was patronised by no sect or faction. It was neither imposed on the public by any literary cabal, nor forced into notice by the noisy anger of conspicuous enemies. Yet, destitute as it was of every foreign help, it acquired a popularity, originally very great, and which has not only continued amid extraordinary
fluctuation of general taste, but increased amidst a succession of formidable competitors.’ This was the exact truth at the time, and it remained true for many years after it was written. The article concluded with the sentence, ‘Whatever be the rank assigned hereafter to his writings, when compared to each other, the writer has most certainly taken his place among the classical poets of his country.’
Byron agreed with this estimate. He wrote in his journal, ‘Redde The Edinburgh Review of Rogers; he is ranked highly, but where he should be. There is a summary view of us all,1 Moore and me among the rest; and both (the first justly) praised, though by implication (justly again) placed beneath our memorable friend.’ The review gave Rogers great satisfaction. It confirmed the voices of the earlier critics and gave the highest literary recognition of the age to his established position and fame.

Wordsworth was at this time preparing to publish ‘The Excursion,’ and he appears to have consulted Rogers about it. It is one remarkable feature of Rogers’s life that he was constantly asked, and almost as constantly undertook, to manage business matters for his literary friends. They thought nothing of asking him to see a publisher for them, to arrange the details, and to take general charge of their interests. His business experience fitted him to do this; his ample leisure enabled

1 Byron’s memory misled him. There is no such comparison in the article, only an indirect reference to the partial failure of an attempt ‘by a writer of undisputed poetical genius to enlarge the territories of art by unfolding the poetical interest which lies latent in the common acts of the humblest men, as well as in the most familiar scenes of Nature.’—Edin. Review, vol. xxii. p. 38.

him thus to oblige his friends, and his generous willingness to help them could always be reckoned upon. Wordsworth, as I shall have occasion to show, was greatly indebted to Rogers for help of this kind, and even
Byron availed himself of similar friendly services.

William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Sir,—I am gratified by your readiness to serve me in the affair of my intended publication, but I am obliged to defer it, and by a cause which you will be most sorry to hear, viz., the recent death of my dear and amiable son, Thomas. He died this day six weeks past of the measles; he was seen by the medical attendant about twelve at noon, pronounced to be as favourably held as child could be, and his dissolution took place in less than five hours from that time. An inflammation in the lungs carried him off thus suddenly. You must remember him well; he was our second son (six years and a half old), and, I recollect well, made one of the party that fine afternoon when we all drank tea together with Dr. Bell in his garden. This sudden blow, coming when we were just beginning to recover from one equally sudden, has overwhelmed us. Last summer we lost a sweet little girl, four years old, and brother and sister now rest side [by side] in Grasmere churchyard, where we hope that our dust will one day mingle with theirs. If at some future time I can force my mind to the occupation which was thus lamentably interrupted, as I trust I shall be able to do, then I will again have recourse to your kindness in this concern. We find it absolutely necessary to quit a residence
which forces upon us at every moment so many memorials of the happy but short lives of our departed innocents, and we have taken the house called Rydal Mount, lately the property of Mr. North and occupied [by] him, but now belonging to Lady Le Fleury. We shall be pleased to see you there; you know that the house is favourably situated.

‘It gives me much satisfaction to learn that your time has passed so agreeably in Scotland. May sorrow that is perpetually travelling about the world be long in finding you! I am glad that Sharp is in expectation of returning to Parliament; if you see him, remember me affectionately to him, and be so good as to communicate to him our loss. I am obliged to Miss Rogers for her remembrance of me; pray present my regards to her in return. Mrs. W., my sister, and Miss Hutchinson join in kind remembrances to you,

‘And believe me, my dear sir, faithfully yours,

W. Wordsworth.
Grasmere: January 12th, 1813.

‘P.S. You make no mention of the volume of your poems which you promised. I am disappointed at this. What you say of W. Scott 1 reminds me of an epigram something like the following—

Tom writes his verses with huge speed,
Faster than printer’s boy can set ‘en,
Faster far than we can read,
And only not so fast as we forget ‘en.

1 ‘Did yon ever see much worse songs than those in Rokeby?’ asks Moore of Mr. Power. There was a growing impression that Scott’s poetry was falling off.


Mrs. W., poor woman! who sits by me, says, with a kind of sorrowful smile, “This is spite, for you know that Mr. Scott’s verses are the delight of the times, and that thousands can repeat scores of pages.”’

Thomas Campbell to Samuel Rogers.
‘Sydenham: 10th February, 1813.

‘My dear Sir,—It is long since I have seen you, but since the period when I had that pleasure, I have had a winter of repeated sicknesses, and have been but seldom in town. Now that some of the last of my poor little critical vignettes are printing off, I often wish I had your friendly eye to look on them; but since I am denied that happiness, I dare say you will not refuse me a little assistance of a different kind. You once showed me a volume of modern poems (one of them was on an infant which struck us both as having merit), out of which I think I could find something worth extracting. If you still have the volume, and could favour me with a short loan of it, I should send a careful person for it, and return it very soon. I should be exceedingly thankful to you to drop me a line on this subject. The poems which I mean were of a date somewhat about 1780 or 90.

‘Believe me, with much regard,
‘Yours faithfully,
Thos. Campbell.’

A letter from Lord Byron, on his private affairs, shows how close the intimacy between him and Rogers had already become, though they had only known each other a year and a half.

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘March 25, 1813.

‘I enclose you a draft for usurious interest due to Lord B.’s protégé. I also could wish you would state thus much for me to his Lordship. Though the transaction speaks plainly in itself for the borrower’s folly and the lender’s usury, it never was my intention to quash the demand, as I legally might, nor to withhold payment of principal, or perhaps even unlawful interest. You know what my situation has been, and what it is. I have parted1 with an estate (which has been in my family for nearly three hundred years, and was never disgraced by being in possession of a lawyer, a churchman, or a woman, during that period) to liquidate this and similar demands; and the payment of the purchase is still withheld, and may be, perhaps, for years. If, therefore, I am under the necessity of making those persons wait for their money (which, considering the terms, they can afford to suffer), it is my misfortune.

‘When I arrived at majority in 1809, I offered my own security on legal interest, and it was refused. Now, I will not accede to this. This man I may have seen, but I have no recollection of the names of any of the parties but the agents and the securities. The moment I can, it is assuredly my intention to pay my debts. This person’s case may be a hard one, but, under all circumstances, what is mine? I could not foresee that the purchaser of my estate was to demur in paying for it.

1 Byron then believed that he had sold Newstead for 14O,000l., but the sale on this occasion was not completed.


‘I am glad it happens to be in my power so far to accommodate my Israelite, and only wish I could do as much for the rest of the Twelve Tribes.

‘Ever yours, dear R.,

In the spring Byron published his fragment, ‘The Giaour,’ and Moore tells us what remarkable developments it underwent in subsequent editions. The idea of writing a poem in fragments had been suggested to him by Rogers’sColumbus,’ and to Rogers Byron dedicated it ‘as a slight but most sincere token of admiration for his genius, respect for his character, and gratitude for his friendship.’ The time was a merry one for the group of which Rogers was the centre. Byron lived in London for six months, and Moore speaks of the wild flow of his spirits and the many gay hours they passed together. Byron and Moore were dining with Sheridan one night at Rogers’s, when the conversation turned on the addresses which had been sent in to the Committee of Management of Drury Lane Theatre. Sheridan seemed on that evening to renew his youth. He told stories of his early life, some of which Rogers treasured up in his retentive memory and brought out in after years. Among the rejected addresses was one of Whitbread’s, who, like most of the others, dragged in the Phoenix, but, as Sheridan said, ‘made more of the bird than any of them. He entered into particulars, described its wings, beak, and tail—in short, it was a poulterer’s description of a Phoenix.’ Shortly after this glorious evening Byron and Moore went home with Rogers from an early party,
and Byron, who had gone for two days without his dinner, was hungry and asked for food, but he would have nothing but some bread and cheese. They were in a mood of the wildest merriment. ‘Seldom have I partaken,’ says Moore, ‘of so joyous a supper.’ As all three were poets, poetry was uppermost in their minds. Byron made merry over a new volume of poems just published by
Lord Thurlow, and Rogers in vain took up its defence. At last they lighted on a poem in praise of Rogers himself. Moore tells us that they both heartily agreed in it; but they were in the mood for laughter, and Byron read it aloud, turning it into mockery, and laughing at every word. Rogers himself caught the contagion of their merriment, though feeling that the mockery was utterly unjust, and all three spent the remainder of the evening in inextinguishable laughter. A few days later Byron sent Moore a poem of half-a-dozen verses, of which only the first two and the last two have been published—

When Thurlow this d—d nonsense sent
(I hope I am not violent)
Nor men nor Gods knew what he meant.
And since not e’en our Rogers’ praise
To common sense his thoughts could raise,
Why would they let him print his lays?
To me, divine Apollo, grant O!
Hermilda’s first and second canto,
I’m fitting up a new portmanteau.
And thus to furnish decent lining,
My own and other’s bays I’m twining,
So, gentle Thurlow, throw me thine in.

Another poem on the same subject was sent to Moore on the same day. It was on Lord Thurlow’s lines—

I lay my branch of laurel down,
Then thus to form Apollo’s crown,
Let every other bring his own.
To Lord Thurlow.
‘I lay my branch of laurel down.’

Thou lay thy branch of laurel down,
Why, what thou stolest is not enow;
And were it lawfully thine own,
Does Rogers want it most or Thou?
Keep to thyself thy withered bough,
Or send it back to Doctor Donne;
Were justice done to both, I trow
He’d have but little and thou—none.
‘Then thus to form Apollo’s crown.’

A crown! why, twist it how you will,
Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
When next you visit Delphi’s town
Inquire amongst your fellow-lodgers,
They’ll tell you Phœbus gave his crown,
Some years before your birth, to Rogers.
‘Let every other bring his own.’

When coals to Newcastle are carried,
And owls sent to Athens as wonders,
From his spouse when the Regent’s unmarried,
Or Liverpool weeps o’er his blunders;
When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,
And Castlereagh’s wife has an heir,
Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,
And thou shalt have plenty to spare.

Another result of the evening’s merriment was that Moore borrowed the volumes of Lord Thurlow’s poems from Rogers, and wrote what Rogers regarded as a very ill-natured article upon them in The Edinburgh Review. Rogers was greatly annoyed, for he had a high opinion of some of Lord Thurlow’s poems, and Moore knew it. When Lord Thurlow published one of his volumes, Rogers wrote to him expressing the feeling he really entertained about it. Lord Thurlow was greatly pleased, and in reply returned Rogers’s compliments with compound interest. ‘It is most flattering to me,’ said Lord Thurlow, ‘that you should approve them, to whose poetry, at once the most beautiful and most polished, I have always paid the tribute of my admiration, since in my judgment, if I may be permitted to say so, the “Epistle to a Friend” is a poem, which, in its peculiar kind, has no equal in all antiquity; I cannot but be most sensibly flattered that its author should think my early efforts in verse worthy of his approval.’ Rogers especially admired Lord Thurlow’s verses on Sir Philip Sidney, and charged Moore with attacking him only because it was the fashion to do so.


In June, 1813, Leigh Hunt was in prison, and Moore and Byron visited him. On the day before the visit to Horsemonger Lane gaol, where the courageous editor of the Examiner lay, Byron wrote Moore a poetical epistle which contains these lines—

I suppose that to-night you’re engaged with some codgers,
And for Sotheby’s blues have forsaken Sam Rogers;
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
Must put on my breeches and wait on the Heathcote.

Among Rogers’s papers there is a very curious letter about Lady Heathcote. With the exception of the words ‘it is really so’ above the other signatures it is in Rogers’s writing, and it had been folded up as a small note, sealed with black wax, and addressed outside, ‘The Duchess of St. Albans.’

Lady Heathcote is here alone, and in great danger. If you have any regard for your Sister, pray come instantly, as she is now sitting on a sofa with the most innocent man in England. ‘S. R.’

‘it is really so.’

‘K. S. H.’
R. B. Sheridan.’

There is no explanation of the note.1

Byron writes, early in July, ‘Rogers is out of town with Madame de Staël,’ but at the end of the month he tells Moore that he is in training to dine with Sheridan and

1 I should think from the appearance of the MS. that the Duchess got the note, opened it, folded it in her hand, went off to obey the summons, and, when she arrived, handed it back to Rogers as a sign that she had come in answer to it. Rogers put it in his pocket, and so it was preserved.

Rogers, and adds, ‘I have a little spite against R. and will shed his “Clary wines pottle-deep.”’ In September he writes to Moore, ‘Rogers wants me to go with him on a crusade to the Lakes, and to besiege you on the way. This last is a great temptation.’ Rogers persuaded Byron that The Quarterly would attack him next—a sure sign that
Ward’s article gave him serious pain. At the end of September Byron talks, in a letter to Moore, who was then living at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, of the proposed journey north, and says Moore must ‘go to Matlock and elsewhere, and take what in flash dialect is poetically termed “a lark” with Rogers and me for accomplices.’ The ‘lark’ never came off. Meanwhile we meet with Rogers in one of Madame D’Arblay’s letters to her father. Madame D’Arblay says, ‘I dined at Mr. Rogers’s, at his beautiful mansion in the Green Park, to meet Lady Crewe, and Mrs. Barbauld was also there, whom I had not seen for many many years, and, alas! should not have known. Mr. Rogers was so considerate to my sauvagerie as to have no party, though Mr. Sheridan, he said, had expressed his great desire to meet again his old friend Madame D’Arblay.’ Mrs. Barbauld, who was twenty years older than Rogers, was then seventy. Madame D’Arblay was much pleased with her lines, ‘Life, we’ve been long together,’ which Rogers taught her. Sitting with her one day just before her death, Rogers asked her if she remembered them. ‘Remember them?’ she said; ‘I repeat them every night before I go to sleep.’

In October Rogers went down to Bowood, from whence he writes to his sister—

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Bowood: Monday, 25 Oct., 1813.

‘My dear Sarah,—As I wish much to hear from you and flatter myself you wish to hear from me, I shall do what I have meant to do for many days, and entitle myself to a letter from you, which I hope will not be very long in coming. I set off in the rain, but the sun soon broke out. At Salthill I breakfasted in the same room but on much better materials than when we were together. I travelled seventy miles alone, with the exception only of a young lady for five miles; but at dusk Mr. Horace Twiss descended from the roof and amused me very much till we parted. I found the Lansdownes, as I expected, at tea. They had nobody with them but the Abercrombies and Jekyll and his eldest boy, as full of Twelfth-night as ever. Jekyll left us in four days, but we have since received great reinforcements—there being at this time in the house the Romillys, Mackintosh, Mme. de Staël, and Mlle. Dumont, and several others. M. de Staël, and the Portuguese minister arrive to-day, and on Thursday Ward is expected, so that the house is growing into a little city. It is very superbly furnished and is certainly a grand place altogether. A great piece of water is before the windows, and the park is very uneven and woody, though there are no old trees, but Marlborough Downs break in here and there continually through the plantations. They are six or seven miles off, resemble much the Southdowns of Sussex, and, in the hazy air of morning and evening, have a very mountainous effect. Bowles has dined and slept here twice,
and I have twice breakfasted with him. He lives about three miles off (the walk is a very pleasant one) in a very pretty vicarage by the side of a very pretty church, and on the brow of a hill. His windows look over a fine valley, and in front appears the white horse cut on the downs, which has a very singular and pretty effect, as indeed it has at Bowood, through a vista in the pleasure grounds. Yesterday I went to his church, and he was very anxious to exhibit his choir to advantage. He has a violoncello, a bassoon, and a hautboy. The first is his own, and the transportation of it to and from church across the churchyard and among the congregation (not in its case) makes an odd appearance. He seems amazingly respected there, notwithstanding his odd manners. He came out of church in his surplice, but without his hat, having left it in the reading-desk, and there he stood, till the clerk, who had more of his wits about him, came running after him with it. The band sit in the gallery, and none of the congregation below join, except the parson, who sat singing very loud in his desk, to the trial of my nerves. They sang three very long Psalms and the responses (
Mason’s) to the Commandments. I have promised to go next Sunday, if I am still here, as he did not preach yesterday, though he read prayers—Douglas, the Chancellor of Salisbury (the late Bishop’s son, and as odd a fellow as his friend Bowles), having preached for him. We set out together after church on horseback to visit a Moravian establishment, but could not make much progress—Douglas, a very tall and pompous-looking man on a tall horse, stopping his horse all the way to gather blackberries. Mme. de Staël, makes a bustle here, but,
having arrived only yesterday, we have as yet had no shawl dance, and no recitations. How long I shall stay, I cannot say exactly, but hope to be in town some time in next week. I have sometimes thought of going on to Mamhead, but cannot bring my mind to it, though my journey here was delightful, and so little fatigued was I, I was almost sorry it was over. Farewell! Pray give my love to
Henry and Patty and all, and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours most affectionately,
S. R.’

In November he was in London again, and we meet with him in Byron’s diary. The next letter to his sister Sarah is from Woolbeding—

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Woolbeding: Dec. 1 [1813].

‘My dear Sarah,—Lord Folkestone sleeping here last night, I made use of him to write to you, though I have little to say. I hope all the colds are gone, as mine is, and that you persevere, as I have begun, in turning the sunshine to good account. Pray thank Patty for her kind letter, and tell her that, as we have begun again, I hope she will not suffer our correspondence to drop. The fault shall not be mine. I am sorry to hear of the robbery, but hope they will not repeat their visit. I am glad to hear that there is some chance of a good situation for Button. May it answer all our wishes! So there is an alarm about Mary! I shall break my heart if she and you don’t pay me a visit. If you can contrive it, I will endeavour to make it as comfortable to you as I
can, under all the circumstances I am placed in. Pray do it if you can. On Friday I hope to sleep at home, and on Saturday to see you all. I have resumed my walking as usual, but now, alas! my old friend from the east is blowing, and I am half a prisoner. Little change has taken place in this family.
C. Moore is gone and Sir H. Englefield come, who is a great acquisition, as we wanted a talker.1 Pray tell Maria that we have two pheasants in a dish every day. The plea is—and a very good one it is—that, if one turns out ill, the other may prove better. They are seldom lessened by above a single slice, and oft they go to the servants’ hall with a hare uncut and a hundred luxuries. The estate abounds in rabbits, and to what purpose do you think they are applied?—for they seldom appear on table. To make the sauces! This place appears more and more beautiful every time I see it, though I never see it to advantage. I have had a very entertaining letter from T. Moore. He seems happy and says he writes fifty lines a week, but who can keep up with Lord Byron? Before I return, he will be again, I see, before the public. What strange turns of fortune in this mortal world! The news from Paris is very curious. Moore has been paying a visit to some of the Strutts at Derby,2 where the Edgeworths passed some time in the summer, and where he found old E. the favourite! They have a nest of young poetesses in

1 Rogers used to say that Sir Henry Englefield had a notion that he smelt of violets. Lady Grenville, knowing this weakness, one day remarked in his presence, ‘Bless me, what a smell of violets!’ ‘Yes,’ said he with great simplicity, ‘it comes from me!’—Dyce’s Table Talk p. 156.

2 See Lord John Russell’s Memoirs of Moore, vol. i. p. 365.

the family, that assemble every Sunday night and bring each her copy of verses; and it is quite surprising, he says, how well they write. They made him an honorary member of the Society. His cottage smokes and lets the rain in everywhere, but he looks up, I think, notwithstanding. Good-bye, my dear Sarah; the post is going, and I dare not read what I have written. Pray give my love to all, and believe me to be,

[Signature cut out.]

‘So Alexander Baring has taken the business of Hope at Amsterdam? The family have made it over to him at a great loss to themselves. What a change is this in his favour if it hold good as it seems to promise!’

The references to Rogers in Byron’s diary at this period are of the greatest interest. On the 22nd of November, Byron writes—

Rogers is silent, and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks well; and on all subjects of taste his delicacy of expression is as pure as his poetry. If you enter his house, his drawing-room, his library, you of yourself say, “This is not the dwelling of a common mind.” There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his existence. Oh the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through life!’

Two days later, Byron puts on record an estimate of Rogers as a poet. He calls Scott ‘the Monarch of
Byron's Estimate Of Rogers139
Parnassus, and the most English of Bards.’ He then says—

‘I should place Rogers next in the living list (I value him more as the last of the best school), Moore and Campbell both thirdSouthey and Wordsworth and Coleridge—the rest, οιʹ πολλοί, thus:’

He then draws a triangle which is divided into four parts. Above the apex is Scott; in the apex is Rogers; in the division below, Moore and Campbell; under them, Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge; and at the base the many. This estimate belonged to the time. It is now just three-quarters of a century old, and it is interesting to note how completely posterity has reversed it. Distance has revealed the greatness which nearness hid, and Rogers has suffered in consequence. He was the last of a school, and posterity has not agreed with Byron in regarding it as the best school. The account of Rogers as a man of taste and of society, and of his house and surroundings, is confirmed by the testimony of all who knew him for forty years after Byron wrote it.

There are frequent references to Sheridan in Byron’s diary and letters during this stay in London. It was the closing period of poor Sheridan’s career. I find it stated, in all the accounts of Sheridan that I have seen, that he had never had any considerable source of income but Drury Lane theatre.1 But I have before me a

1 In Professor Minto’s admirable article on Sheridan in the new edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, he tells us that ‘his biographers always speak of his means of living as a mystery;’ and he proceeds to say that ‘it is possible that the mystery is that he applied much move of his powers to plain matters of business than he affected or got credit

document endorsed outside, ‘Sheridan’s Trust. Copy. Driver’s Valuation between Mr. Sheridan and
Mr. Hudson.’ The valuation is of ‘Land belonging to R. B. Sheridan, Esq., for Sale. Copyhold, Brown’s Barn Farm, Leatherhead Parish.’ The acreage of seven different pieces of land is then stated, the total being 32 acres and 19 poles, and the valuer adds: ‘The above being subject to a heriot and quit rent I estimate to be worth 750l., exclusive of the timber &c.’ There is added in Sher1dan’s handwriting, ‘This I must keep.’ The next table is headed ‘Freehold, Mickleham Parish,’ and gives the acreage of six pieces of land with a total of 72 acres and 28 poles. The valuer adds: ‘The above I estimate to be worth 1,705l. exclusive of the timber &c.’ The valuation is signed ‘A. P. Driver, Kent Road, May 30th, 1812.’ On the other side of the sheet of paper is a table headed ‘Totals brought forward, R. B. Sheridan, Esq., T. Hudson, Esq.’ This includes another freehold estate of 44 acres, besides those already mentioned, and 15 acres of copyhold, part of Yew Tree Farm. The freehold is valued at 2,280l., and the total is 4,735l. The value of the additional copyhold is put at 425l. There is also a memorandum in Sheridan’s handwriting—

‘There is coming to me for land, &c., I sell him full 3,000l. H. rents near 700l. per ann. of me.

Metcalfe dines with me to-day to forward matters. I have only to get down to —— [the word is illegible].

‘I send Driver’s valuation.’

for.’ This is no doubt true, but the document I have given is a further contribution to the solution of the mystery—which, indeed, is now a mystery no longer.


In the same envelope with this I find an order on T. Hudson, Jun., Esq., of New Bridge St., to pay Rogers, ‘from the money coming to me from Kent Lane,’ 150l. This order was never presented for payment, nor was a cheque for 100l. on Messrs. Biddulph, Cocks’s, and Ridge, which Sheridan gave to Rogers for value received in July, 1815. A letter from Mr. Murray to Rogers without date, except the word Sunday, says that he has been in vain in search of his solicitor, that he doubts whether any instrument drawn up on that day could be rendered legal, but adds, ‘If you will pledge your word to the creditors for 300l., I will pledge mine to you for 300l., as soon to-morrow as Mr. Sheridan signs a regular instrument of assignment to me of the “Speeches in Westminster Hall,” or upon any other convertible security that you can suggest, without which even your long friendship for Mr. Sheridan would not, I think, advise me to proceed.’ These documents are proofs of the interest Rogers took in Sheridan’s affairs, and of the trouble he gave himself in efforts to help his friend in these dark days of his decline. There is among them one relic of a happier time. It is in a clearer and steadier hand than Sheridan’s other writing, and is merely a postscript to a letter: ‘When will you come and choose a spot in our Arcadia? I have a commission from T. Moore to find him a cottage.’

Byron writes on the 12th of December, 1813, ‘Sheridan was in good talk at Rogers’s the other night.’ In the early months of the next year he records several visits to Rogers, at most of which Sheridan and Sharp were present. He mentions Rogers, too, among those who
had been urging him to ‘make it up with
Carlisle,’ though he had ‘as lief “drink up Eisel—eat a crocodile.”’ On this subject several letters passed between Rogers and Byron. Moore prints Byron’s letters with certain needless omissions, and gives no indication whatever that anything has been omitted. In the first of the two following letters I have supplied, from Lord Byron’s manuscript, several sentences which Moore has omitted without a sign—

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘February 16th, 1814.

‘My dear Rogers,—I wrote to Lord Holland briefly, but I hope distinctly, on the subject which has lately occupied much of my conversation with him and you. As things now stand, upon that topic my determination must be unalterable.

‘I declare to you most sincerely, that there is no human being on whose regard and esteem I set a higher value than on Lord Holland’s; and, as far as concerns himself and Lady Holland, I would concede even to humiliation without any view to the future, and solely from my sense of his conduct as to the past. For the rest, I conceive that I have already done all in my power by the suppression. If that is not enough, they must act as they please; but I will not “teach my tongue a most inherent baseness,” come what may. I am sorry that I shall not be able to call upon you to-day, and, what disappoints me still more, to dine with you to-morrow. I forwarded a letter from Moore to you; he writes to me in good spirits, which I hope will
not be impaired by any attack brought upon him by his friendship for me. You will probably be at the
Marquess Lansdowne’s to-night. I am asked, but am not sure that I shall be able to go. Hobhouse will be there. I think, if you knew him well, you would like him.

‘Believe me always yours very affectionately,

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘February 16th, 1814.

‘My dear Rogers,—If Lord Holland is satisfied, as far as regards himself and Lady Holland, and as this letter expresses him to be, it is enough.

‘As for any impression the public may receive from the revival of the lines on Lord Carlisle, let them keep it—the more favourable for him, and the worse for me the better for all.

‘All the sayings and doings in the world shall not make me utter another word of conciliation to anything that breathes. I shall bear what I can, and what I cannot I shall resist. The worst they could do would be to exclude me from society. I have never courted it, nor, I may add, in the general sense of the word, enjoyed it—and “there is a world elsewhere.”

‘Anything remarkably injurious I have the same means of repaying as other men, with such interest as circumstances may annex to it.

‘Nothing but the necessity of adhering to regimen prevents me from dining with you to-morrow.

‘I ever am yours most truly,

Rogers’s intimacy with Byron led to some increase in his own social popularity. He had amusing stories to tell of the efforts of some ladies of title to get Byron to their parties by inviting Rogers, and adding in a postscript to the invitation, ‘Pray could you contrive to bring Lord Byron with you?’ He told Mr. Dyce that, at a party at Lady Jersey’s, Mrs. Sheridan ran up to him and said, ‘Do as a favour try if you can place Lord Byron beside me at supper.’ Lady Jersey and Rogers had been allies from the old Brighton days in which he had written some lines to her daughter Harriet. The flirtation with the Regent was now over, and Byron wrote some verses on the return of her picture. It must have been about this time that the circumstance happened which Rogers used to tell about her. He was at a party at Henry Hope’s in Cavendish Square. Lady Jersey took Rogers aside into the gallery to tell him something of importance. They met the Prince of Wales, who stopped, looked at Lady Jersey, drew himself up and passed on. Lady Jersey returned the stare, and turned to Rogers with a smile and a boast, ‘Didn’t I do it well?’ The particular communication seems, then, not to have needed to be made.

Moore prints several letters from Byron to Rogers, dated in the spring and summer of 1814. Only one of them, which he considerably shortens, need be reproduced here—

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Rogers,—Sheridan was yesterday at first too sober to remember your invitation, but in the dregs
of the third bottle he fished up his memory and found that he had a party at home. I left and leave any other day to him and you, save Monday, and some yet undefined dinner at
Burdett’s. Do you go to-night to Lord Eardley’s, and if you do, shall I call for you (anywhere), it will give me great pleasure?

‘Ever yours entire,

‘P.S. The Staël out-talked Whitbread, overwhelmed his spouse, was ironed by Sheridan, confounded Sir Humphrey, and utterly perplexed your slave. The rest (great names in the Red-book, nevertheless) were mere segments of the circle. Ma’mselle danced a Russ saraband with great vigour, grace, and expression, though not very pretty. . . .’

The letter ends with praise of her eyes and figure. The next letter, dated 27th of June, is correctly printed by Moore, and it is only necessary to give one extract—

‘You could not have made me a more acceptable present than “Jacqueline.” She is all grace, and softness, and poetry; there is so much of the last that we do not feel the want of story, which is simple, yet enough. I wonder that you do not oftener unbend to more of the same kind. I have some sympathy with the softer affections, though very little in my way, and no one can depict them so truly and successfully as yourself.’

Jacqueline’ had occupied Rogers’s leisure for the past year. He had put it into type and sent it privately to a few of his friends some time before its actual publication.
Byron was at the same time printing ‘Lara,’ and on the 8th of July wrote to Moore that Rogers and he had almost coalesced into a joint invasion of the public. He adds, ‘I am afraid “Jacqueline,” which is very beautiful, will be in bad company. But in this case the lady will not be the sufferer.’ The coalition was made, and Murray asked to publish the volume. It was the only one of Rogers’s poems which was issued at the publisher’s risk. Murray, however, paid both Byron and Rogers half-a-guinea a line for the right to publish the first edition. The publication was anonymous, but no secret was made of the authorship, and both poets had the satisfaction of learning from Murray that the sale had been so good as to make the bargain a very profitable one for him. Samuel Sharpe, in his brief account of his uncle, says that ‘Jacqueline’ ‘is an apology for a disobedient daughter; and Mr. Rogers, in his own family, had seen with pain a father claim too great control over his children’s wishes in regard to marriage.’ The reference is to the displeasure his own father had shown at the marriage, by his eldest brother Daniel, of his cousin Martha Bowles. ‘Jacqueline,’ however, has some echoes in it of Rogers’s earliest poetical composition. The volume was not out till the London season of that year was over. When Luttrell read the lines in the first canto—
She stops, she pants; with lips apart
She listens—to her beating heart!
he cried, ‘What nonsense!’ It was a strong man’s criticism. ‘It is not nonsense,’ said Rogers. ‘I remember once when I was in bed at Holland House, I could not
fall asleep because of a loud noise, thump, thump, which seemed to be caused by something near me. I discovered that it was the beating of my own heart.’

Three or four letters in the spring and summer of 1814 contain interesting glimpses of men and things in that exciting time.

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
‘Wednesday [17 March, 1814].

‘My dear Friend,—If you should happen to be disengaged to-morrow, and to have any evening engagement in this part of the world, you would perhaps oblige me with your company to dinner—or after it—but only on the last condition; and it would rejoice the heart of a very old and excellent friend. I expect only Blair and Dr. Holland from Albania. The new dedication to “Childe Harold” is very beautiful in his way. It is to a child I have often kissed on my knee—
‘Love’s image upon earth without his wing.
And, again, which will remind you of
Wordsworth, though not as a plagiarism—
‘Young Peri of the West, ‘tis well for me,
My years already doubly number thine,
Happy I ne’er shall see thee in decline.
After which I fear you will turn away from,
‘“Thee hath it pleased. Thy will be done,” he said,
Then sought his cabin and the fervour fled;
And round him lay the sleeping as the dead,
When by his lamp to that mysterious guide.

‘Ever yours,
Samuel Rogers.’

In April an event occurred which drew from Rogers a political epigram. Louis the Eighteenth was on his way from his retreat at Hartwell to re-occupy the throne of his ancestors. He was invited by the Prince Regent, in the words of a contemporary chronicler, ‘first to display the royal dignity in the capital of England.’ On the 20th of April, therefore, he made a triumphal entry into London, a troop of gentlemen on horseback, in white jackets and with white hats, leading the way. The postilions of the Prince Regent were dressed in the same way and bore the white cockades. The soldiers also wore the Bourbon emblem. This element in the public rejoicing at what was then thought to be the final close of the war, excited hostile comment among the circle at Holland House, where great admiration for Napoleon and sympathy with him was felt by the host and hostess and communicated to their intimate friends. Rogers expressed their feeling and his own in lines which have ever since remained in the privacy of his Commonplace Book—

To the Military on their wearing the White Cockade on the public entry of the French King into London.
Wear it awhile. Against him led
With your own blood you’ll dye it red.
—But had your brave forefathers worn it,
Great Nassau from their brows had torn it.

It need not be inferred from these lines that there was any feeling in Rogers’s mind but unmingled satisfaction at the new hopes of lasting peace. In the summer
the allied sovereigns came to London, and a reference in a letter of
Wordsworth’s to Rogers seems to show that he, too, was not altogether satisfied with the ‘convocation of emperors and other personages.’ Rogers naturally stayed in London till the festivities were over, planning, however, a long visit to the reopened Continent. The following are among the letters he received during the summer—

William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers.
‘Rydal Mount: May 5, 1814.

‘My dear Sir,—Some little since, in consequence of a distressful representation made to me of the condition of some person connected nearly by marriage with Mrs. Wordsworth, I applied to our common friend, Mr. Sharp, to know if he had any means of procuring an admittance into Christ’s Hospital for a child of one of the parties. His reply was such as I feared it would be. . . . He referred me to you. . . . I have to thank you for a present of your volume of poems, received some time since through the hands of Southey. I have read it with great pleasure. The Columbus is what you intended. It has many bright and striking passages, and poems upon this plan please better on a second perusal than the first. The gaps at first disappoint and vex you.

‘There is a pretty piece1 in which you have done me the honour of imitating me, towards the conclusion particularly, where you must have remembered the Highland Girl. I like the poem much, but the first paragraph is hurt by two apostrophes to objects of different

1 This piece is the lines ‘Written in the Highlands.’

character, one to Luss and one to your sister, and the apostrophe is not a figure that, like Janus, carries two faces with a good grace.

‘I am about to print (do not start) eight thousand lines, which is but a small portion of what I shall oppress the world with if strength and life do not fail me. I shall be content if the publication pays the expenses, for Mr. Scott and your friend Lord Byron flourishing at the rate they do, how can an honest poet hope to thrive?

‘I expect to hear of your taking flight to Paris, unless the convocation of emperors and other personages by which London is to be honoured detain you to assist at the festivities.

‘For me, I would like dearly to see old Blucher, but, as the fates will not allow, I mean to recompense myself by an excursion with Mrs. Wordsworth to Scotland, where I hope to fall in occasionally with a ptarmigan, a roe, or an eagle, and the living bird I certainly should prefer to its image on the panel of a dishonoured emperor’s coach.

‘Farewell. I shall be happy to see you here at all times, for your company is a treat.

‘Most truly yours,
W. Wordsworth.’
Sir George Beaumont to Samuel Rogers.
‘Ashburnham: July 12th, 1814.

‘My dear Rogers,—I wish I could make you a better return for your friendly patience and attention on Sunday, but as you expressed a wish for the epitaph, I
send it to you; if it be not a likeness, it has nothing else to recommend it. You justly observed, every one should correct his own verses, for this reason, among others, that no one else could be so much interested in them; and although I could not perceive through your kindness any confirmation of this observation, yet, as I am sensible it is almost impossible for another to touch upon a picture or poem without making a spot of something better or worse, I have endeavoured to profit by your advice, and to alter the words objected to. What think you of “each virtue fostered,” and “primeval” instead of “eternal” night?

‘I had a delightful journey to this fine place with Lord Ashburnham. I wish you knew him more. When intimacy has subdued his shyness I assure you he possesses a rich vein of humour, which makes him a delightful companion. He is making great alterations here. Our friend Dance is his architect, and you know his ability. His domain is varied and extensive, and the views are highly interesting.

‘The post is going out, and as we shall, I hope, meet soon, I will finish, with my best wishes, ever truly yours,

G. H. Beaumont.’
Here Johnson reclines in this grave, den, or pit,
The bugbear of folly, the tyrant of wit.
As an ox, overdriven, attacks in the streets,
And gores without mercy each creature he meets,
So this bellowing critic assailed every day
All his friends who had something or nothing to say.
Then he pitched and he rolled with a turbulent motion,
Like a First-rate just after a storm in the ocean
And if modestly silent, his censure to balk,
He exclaimed in a fury—Sir, why don’t you talk?
If you said black was black, still his answer was, No, Sir,
And thundering arguments followed the blow, Sir.
For though lies he disdained from the days of his youth,
Still, the Doctor loved victory better than truth.
But, peace to his shade, if his powerful mind
Would sometimes break loose in expressions unkind,
He himself felt the blow when reflection came in,
For the Doctor had naught of the bear but his skin.
And in streams deep, majestic, o’erwhelming, and strong,
Full tides of morality flowed from his tongue.
Religion in him found a zealous defender,
And he never pretended to garble or mend her.
In his presence profaneness presumed not to dwell,
And sedition and treason shrank back to their hell.
Joseph Jekyll to Samuel Rogers.
‘Tuesday, July 19th, 1814.

‘My dear Rogers,—Kindness to children is a leading feature in you, kindness to me I never forget, and never shall I forget an unhappy night when you meditated so long with me on a subject which soon terminated so fatally.

‘To-day I leave town, and have just sent excuses to the Lord Chamberlain’s about Thursday night at Carlton House.

‘My good old friend Mrs. Bird, who bred their mother up, is a sort of grandmother to my boys. She is in such an antiquated fidget about the fireworks, as to their safety in getting only to your house on the night they are to be played off, that I must ask your leave to let them come at any early hour in the evening. She is
alarmed about ——. You will put them where you please in the house, and my servants will attend them home.

‘Yours, my dear Rogers, most obliged and most affectionately,

‘Joseph Jekyll.’

This letter tells its own story. Jekyll’s children were to go to Rogers’s house, with a host of other boys and girls, to see the fireworks which celebrated the Peace. It exhibits a side of Rogers’s character which has not hitherto appeared—his fondness for children and his kindness to them. Of the many recollections of him which are still cherished by friends and relations, I find this feature always the most vivid. There are many hundreds of persons now living who speak of him with the warmest affection from their cherished recollections of his kindness to them in their childhood.

Uvedale Price was in London at the Peace rejoicings and gives an amusing account of his unsuccessful efforts to reach Rogers’s house—

Uvedale Price to Samuel Rogers.
‘Sunning Hill: Wednesday (August 1814).

‘My dear Sir,—I think myself very unlucky during my two excursions to town, short as they were, to have seen you only once, and that in a crowd. It was not my fault. I called upon you several times, and at all hours, but you were not stirring, or just gone out earlier than usual, or not returned; in short, never to be found. On Friday, the day before I left town, I made a last attempt and the most unfortunate of them all. In spite
of the rain I set out across the Park, but when I came to the passage the door was locked. I determined to go round by the stable yard, but on coming to the end of your garden I perceived that the path was railed across and a sentinel posted there. As I saw a gentleman walking that way I stopped to see what happened; he got upon a low rail and climbed over the high one close to the sentinel; I thought I might climb too, advanced boldly and had put one foot on the low rail, when the sentinel told me I must not get over; I pleaded the precedent I had just seen, he only said he must stop somewhere, and that I should not pass. Not feeling quite equal to scaling the palisade and knocking down the sentinel, I sorrowfully turned back, cursing these warlike effects of peace.1 My next recourse was the door by the canal; that too was fast; and after having traced back my steps to Hyde Park Corner, I had not the courage to begin my journey again with the uncertainty of catching you at home. I wish this history were as interesting as it is long and melancholy, but Dogberry could not be more determined to bestow all his tediousness. I wished very much to have found you at home on various accounts. I wanted to thank you for “
Jacqueline,” which, indeed, George Ellis had already shown me. I have read it more than once, and with great pleasure. There were a few very trifling remarks that occurred to me, not worth putting down, but which, if I had seen you, I should have mentioned. I also wanted to take my revenge, if it can be so called, and, after having received so much pleasure from your poetry, to torment you with some of

1 A reference to the preparations for the fireworks in the Park.

my prose. You probably shudder at this and think of the famous lines on the Metromane—
‘tous mes sens se glacent à l’approche
Du griffonnage affreux, qu’il a toujours en poche.

‘You have not quite escaped, and, seriously, as the whole of this griffonage does not amount to more than a dozen pages, I should be very glad if you would take the trouble of looking it over. The subject, I think, is curious, and I rather believe it has not been treated; it is on the application of the terms that answer to beautiful in ancient and modern languages; that is in those with which I am at all acquainted. I have shewn it to a few learned and ingenious critics, who have liked it more than I expected, and have thought the argument drawn from it very convincing. My knowledge of Greek, as you know, is very scanty indeed, and my reading as confined. The examples I have given are chiefly from Homer, the only book in the language with which I am even tolerably acquainted; they are, however, the most material of any. Now, I could wish for some others from later poets and from the prose writers, or at least to be assured whether in them there are any applications of the word that essentially differ from those in Homer. I believe you are well acquainted with Dr. Burney, with whom my acquaintance is but slight, and it would be a great piece of service to me if you could induce him to look over and consider what I have written; supposing that after you have read it yourself you should think it at all worth his notice. I feel that I am imposing a heavy task on you, and shall not be surprized or in the
least offended if you should beg to decline it altogether. Let me hear from you, however, and if you can make up your mind to receive it, and to read it yourself at least, I will send it you when I have copied it, for at present I have not a very fair copy. We set out for Foxley on Monday. I wish there were any chance of seeing you here or there, and all here most heartily join in the same wish.

‘Most truly yours,
U. Price.

‘I shall not be in any hurry to have the MS. returned, and it may be sent to Foxley in two or three covers.’