LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.

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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Rogers’s House—His Love of Harmony—His Literary Position—Campbell and Schlegel—Parr and Mackintosh reconciled—Letters from Walter Scott—Lady Holland and Napoleon—Rogers and Moore in Paris—Rogers and his Sister and Niece in Switzerland—With Kemble and Mrs. Siddons at Lausanne—Rogers’s Letters from Italy—His Meeting with Byron—Rogers’s Letters from Rome—With Byron at Pisa—Byron, Shelley, and Rogers—Medwin’s Misrepresentations—Rogers on Byron.

Rogers had already conceived the idea of his ‘Italy.’ He had written some of it in the country itself during his visit in 1814-15. During that visit, also, he had sent home some of the works of art which decorated his house. I have not given any account of his various purchases of pictures and other beautiful objects, and it is enough to say that he made each one the subject of careful study and research. In his Commonplace Book are accounts of many of these choice things, but to quote them would be tedious. The two points which he seems to have kept in mind were, first, the value and beauty of objects in themselves, and, secondly, their value and beauty in relation to each other. Some rooms impress the visitor with a sense of general harmony and repose, although nothing in them is costly or rich or rare; others give a feeling of unquiet, of distraction, of
ostentation, perhaps, though nearly everything they contain is beautiful in itself. The artistic faculty includes that of co-ordination, and it is only when the perfect taste which has selected all the parts has been able to exercise the same severe supervision over the whole, that the best result is obtained. This co-ordination in Rogers’s house was perfect. The general impression was one of complete harmony, and that impression was confirmed by the effect of every detail. As he sat at his writing-table, he looked up at an exquisite picture by an old master;1 and though
Sydney Smith once jocosely said

1 An Article in The Quarterly Review for October, 1888, contains the following description of Rogers’s Works of Art:—‘Mr. Rogers had joined some of the leading noblemen in England in the purchase of the celebrated Orleans Gallery, which reached our shores in 1800, and which more than any other importation has contributed to develop the English taste for the old masters. It had been collected by a not particularly respectable trio—partly by the bad and mad Christina, Queen of Sweden, partly by the notorious Regent Orleans, and partly by Philippe Egalité. No pictures could have told the world more of what was curious, interesting, and scandalous, from their earliest to their latest times. In the atmosphere of St. James’s Place they may safely be said to have been worshipped with a purer incense than they ever received before. We may be pardoned for recalling a few of them. Foremost was a Raphael, “Madonna and Child,” one of the master’s sweetest compositions, the child standing with one foot on his mother’s hand. It had been reduced by ruthless rubbings to a mere shadow, but the beauty was ineffaceable: hanging—how well remembered—in the best light on the left-hand wall in the drawing-room. Then two glorious Titians, one of them, “Christ appearing to the Magdalene.” The impetuosity with which she has thrown herself on her knees is shown by the fluttering drapery of her sleeve, which is still buoyed up by the air: thus with a true painter’s art telling the action of the previous moment. Nor was it the rank of the painters, more than the perfect taste, which had limited the collection to the most trustworthy or most characteristic specimen of each; a genuine work, for example, the little “St. George” by Giorgione, the rarest of all masters; the most simpatico specimen by Bassano, “The Good Samaritan;” a curious cross, unique

that his shaded dinner table, with no blazing chandeliers, and, I may add, no tall plants or huge épergnes to prevent the guests from seeing each other, was all light above, and below all darkness and gnashing of teeth, the ample light there was had shone first on the pictures round the walls.
Mrs. Norton said of him after he was dead, ‘His god was harmony,’ by which she probably only meant to say a sharp thing of one who had said some sharp things to her and done many kind things for her. But such meaning as the phrase contains is only the recognition of a taste which had the power of co-ordination, and could subdue all things to itself. It is the same in his poetry as it was in his home, in his manners as it was in his style of prose composition. ‘Of nothing too much’ was its motto. There was this artistic finish even in his sneers.

The composition of the first part of ‘Italy’ was taken up as soon as ‘Human Life’ was published, and the poem in its two parts may well be considered as the chief work of his ripest years. Rogers was now fifty-seven, and had long held an undisputed position in

in art, between two magnificent masters, as different as Padua is from Antwerp, being a subject from one of Mantegna’s “Triumphs” (in Hampton Court Palace) Rubenized by the great Flemish master. This nicety of specimen extended even to the “Strawberry Girl,” by our own Sir Joshua. Then there were portfolios of drawings by the old masters, early miniatures, etchings by Marc Antonio, Greek vases, antique gold ornaments, a chimney-piece by Flaxman, a cabinet decorated by Stothard, another carved by Chantrey, an antique female hand as a letter weight on the table, an antique female foot as a weight to the drawing-room door; and lastly, Milton’s receipt to the publisher for the five pounds he received for his “Paradise Lost,” framed and glazed, and hanging on the door in the next room. Truly was Mr. Rogers known a sociis, even in this mute company.’—The Quarterly Review, No. 334, pp. 508, 509.

literature and in society. He had around him at this period of his ripe middle age, a group of friends, many of whom have immortalised themselves in literature, many in statesmanship and in arms, and some in science. All the poets of the age were to be met at his house; all its literary society regarded that house as its centre. He was just beginning to he one of the celebrities whom every distinguished visitor to England wished to see. In nearly all the great country houses he was a welcome guest, and an invitation from him was regarded as a kind of social distinction.

Campbell was just started on his German visit, and a letter to Rogers illustrates the relations between the authors of ‘The Pleasures of Memory’ and ‘The Pleasures of Hope.’

Thomas Campbell to Samuel Rogers.
‘Address to me—
Poste Restante, Bonn: 10th June, 1820.

‘My dear Rogers,—I dare say you thought me a sad fellow for leaving England without seeing you, but I assure you it was from misfortune and not neglect. On the morning of the day which I meant to have devoted to you, I was asked by a friend if I had got a passport. The thought of such a thing being necessary had never occurred to my recollection, but my friend had been just conversing with a Prussian baron, who had mentioned that in the present state of things it was indispensable. I find that he was right. But the time which I had allotted to a conversation with you was spent, in the
first place, in a vain application to the Foreign Office, and in the next place, in hunting out the Dutch ambassador, who was more civil to me than the clerks at our own State office.

‘I reached Rotterdam after a passage of two days, and being struck with a desire of seeing more of Holland, went out of my direct route as far as Amsterdam and Haarlem. The organ at Haarlem was a reward for a longer journey. We heard it for an hour played by a first-rate performer, and were enchanted. It imitates every sound, from that of thunder and the roar of artillery, to the sweetest tones of the human voice, and makes them harmonise with an effect altogether indescribable. We proceeded thence by Utrecht and Cologne to this place, where I had the happiness to find Schlegel.1 The great little man is very gracious. His professorship, to be sure, has made him more of a lecturer in conversation than ever, and he is so vain of his English that he will not listen to mine. He speaks many words not quite so well as a cockatoo, but he accounts to me for his fluency and correctness of pronunciation by describing the early pains which he took with our language. Nevertheless, my Schlegel is a good-hearted and enlightened soul, and I am happy to listen to him. The keeper of the library of the University has been so kind as to give me the freest access to it. So I shall sit down to revise my German here for a month or two. The weather here is wretched, so that I can only see the shape of the country without its beauty. I shall be delighted if you can spare a moment to write to me, and remain,

1 August Wilhelm von Schlegel, then Professor of History in the University of Bonn.

‘Dear Rogers, your affectionate friend,
T. Campbell.’

It was at this time that Rogers made the attempt, which was only partially successful, to effect a reconciliation between Dr. Parr and Sir James Mackintosh. Parr regarded Mackintosh as a trimmer, and I have already given an account of an ill-mannered rejoinder Parr made to an observation Mackintosh had made about O’Quigley, who was executed as a traitor in 1798.1 The special cause of their quarrel need not be described here. Parr used to say that Mackintosh had come up from Scotland with a metaphysical head, a cold heart, and open hands. In response to an appeal by Rogers, however, he agreed to meet Mackintosh,—for ‘they had been friends in youth,’—at Rogers’s dinner table, where, as Mackintosh’s biographer tells us, Parr in the most express terms retracted the injurious things he had said of Mackintosh on imperfect information. The following letters passed on the subject.

Dr. Parr to Samuel Rogers.

‘Dear Sir,—Permit me to propose Thursday, he third of August, for my having the honour to wait upon you, and this I am the more anxious to do, because in all probability I shall never visit the capital again. I know, from your connections and your taste, that you will bring

1 The Early Life of Samuel Rogers, p. 381.

together a proper party. But you will excuse me for mentioning by name
Mr. Whishaw and Richard Sharp. I want to shake hands with Jemmy Mackintosh once before I die. Surely Lord Holland will join our party.

‘I am, very truly and respectfully, dear Sir, yours,

S. Parr.
‘July 21 (1820).’
Samuel Rogers to Sir James Mackintosh.

‘Dear Mackintosh,—Dr. Parr dines with me on Thursday, 3rd of August, and he wishes to meet some of his old friends under my roof, as it may be for the last time. He has named Whishaw, and Sharp, and Lord Holland, and he says,

‘“I want to shake hands with Mackintosh once before I die.”

‘May I ask you to be of the party? That you can forgive I know full well. That you will forgive in this instance, much as you have to forgive, I hope fervently. Some of the pleasantest moments of my life have been spent in the humble office I am now venturing to take upon myself, and I am sure you will not take it amiss if I wish on this occasion to add to the number.

‘Yours very truly,
‘S. R.’
Sir James Mackintosh to Samuel Rogers.
‘Mardocks: 24th July, 1820.

‘Dear Rogers,—I have not the smallest feeling of resentment towards Dr. Parr, and in the present circumstances I wish to accede to his desire if I can do
so with propriety. On that question there can be no better opinion than yours, and I beg you to give it frankly.

‘My only reason for declining his company was an apprehension that my renewal of intercourse with him, if unaccompanied by some explanation, might seem to be an acquiescence in imputations against me which I had reason to believe were countenanced by him during my absence in India. On my return to England, I declared my readiness to forget what had passed, if he would intimate his belief that I was incapable of improper conduct. Do you think that the time and nature of his present request relieve me from the necessity of again proposing the same condition? If you do, I will indulge my inclination, which strongly leads me to accede to his desire. You, I know, will not advise me to gratify my feelings at any risk of my good name.

‘If you have any doubt on the subject, I can have no objection to your asking the opinion of Sharp or Whishaw, or Lord Holland.

‘I am, dear Rogers, yours very faithfully,

J. Mackintosh.’

The reconciliation was effected, but the old intimacy was not restored. Dr. Parr died on the 6th of March, 1825.

Rogers had had much ill-health this year. He was very far from well when Walter Scott, made a baronet in April, was in town in the London season. This accounts for a reference in the following letter.

Sir Walter Scott to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Rogers,—The son of an old friend, a man of much taste and science, Dr. James Russell of Edinburgh, is going to your metropolis on scientific and medical pursuits, and his father asks me for a line of introduction to some of my friends in the literary world. Alas! I have very few left. Our dear George Ellis is gone, and so are many others with whom I used to claim some interest. My tediousness must be the more liberally bestowed on those who remain, and as few have a greater share of my regard than yourself, you must look for a good portion of it. Luckily it never, or very seldom, breaks out into correspondence, but, like the philosophical parrot, pays it off by thinking.

‘Why will you never come down and see us? I have had Rose here for several weeks, and he, a greater invalid than you, finds himself comfortable in Conundrum Castle, for so this romance of a house should be called. As you have made the most classical museum I can conceive, I have been attempting a Gothic—no, not a Gothic by any means, but an old-fashioned Scotch museum, full of
‘Rusty iron coats and jingling jackets,
rare commodities for a country smith to make hobnails of.

Rose has been much indisposed, nevertheless killed a salmon of eighteen pounds weight after an hour and a half close struggle; this, as Robinson Crusoe says when he drinks his glass of rum, “to his exceeding refreshment.”

‘We have had horrid wet weather, and as rough as
ever blew out of our angry heavens, but come next year and we will make it better for you. At any rate, the wind that makes my turrets topple on the warders’ heads will have rough work to do, for mine are not the sort of battlements a man outlives, as befell
Horace Walpole—our fine stone gives us leave to build with a view to posterity.

‘I do not much know the young bairn, but have seen him at his father’s scientific parties; a clever lad, I think. If you can, without inconvenience to yourself, shew him any notice, his respectable family here will be much gratified as well as, dear Rogers,

‘Your truly faithful and affectionate,
Walter Scott.
‘Abbotsford: 26 October (1820).’

During the autumn Wordsworth was abroad, and returned, full of his tour, in the first week of December, when he puts on record his having met Rogers on his way through London.

Scott writes again—

Sir Walter Scott to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Rogers,—Yon recollect the apology of the sapient parrot who, when he was upbraided with not talking, replied, ‘I think not the less’; now, if I seldom write to my friends I pay it off, like pretty Poll, by thinking much of them, and of all their kindness. I break my silence just now to remind you that you gave us some hope you would visit Scotland this season, and Abbotsford in particular. We have had such an ungenial
spring that we will have some right to look on ourselves as ill-used gentlemen if we have not a few pleasant days in July and August, and I wish you to come down and enjoy them with us. Bring
Sharp with you if possible, and if you care not to encounter the fatigue of a long land journey, the steamboat will bring you to Leith in sixty hours. Pray do think of this in the course of the season.

‘If you do not think it too great a bore to go to the theatre—and God knows as now managed it is no small one—I want you, and any of our friends who love the art, to see an actor from Scotland, Mackay by name, who plays one single part (the Bailie in “Rob Roy”) with unrivalled excellence. The truth is I never saw anything so much like truth upon the stage. I doubt the English will not understand what a very excellent representation it is of the Scottish peculiarities, because it wants the breadth of caricature usually expected in national portraits. I therefore wish you, and one or two of my friends, to see him as something very extraordinary. He is only to play for one night. He is otherwise a respectable comedian, though not often first class, except in that particular character, and, I am told, is a deserving sort of person.

Allan is returned here, delighted with the reception his picture met with in London. He tells me he could have sold it repeatedly. Yesterday I hunted out for him an old gipsy woman whose figure and features I was much struck with as I passed her on the road. As I found the artist studying a sketch of the recovery of a child which had been stolen by gipsies, my old woman
was quite a windfall, but as she was unconscious of her own charms it was no easy matter to trace her out. I succeeded, however, by some police interest.

‘I am here on a visit of two days to Lord Chief Commissioner (once your William Adam), in company with our Lord Chief Baron (once your Sir Samuel Shepherd), which makes very good society. Always, my dear Rogers,

‘Most truly yours,
Walter Scott.
‘Blair Adam: 10 June (1821).

‘Sophia bids me say she longs to repay you some well-remembered breakfast. She is now quite stout and busy with her little cottage, being precisely that where
‘Lucy at the door shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.1

‘I have a black-eyed brunette besides—a sunburnt Scotch lass that longs to make your acquaintance. So pray look northward and bring Sharp if possible.’

Lord Holland to Samuel Rogers.
‘July, 1821.

‘Dear Rogers,—I hear with great pain that you have been seriously ill. I hope that it is one of those many reports invented, or at least augmented, by distance, but I cannot but be uneasy till we hear from you, especially as your neither coming here nor writing seems to confirm the rumour. The Court here affect to speak

1 From Rogers’s poem, ‘A Wish,’ beginning ‘Mine be a cot beside the hill.’ The lines are—

‘And Lucy at her wheel shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.’
of the great man they dreaded and persecuted, with tenderness and even admiration—
L[ouis] XVIII. is no Cæsar, but—
Cæsar would weep, the crocodile would weep,
To see his rival of the universe
Lie still and peaceful there.

‘I need not tell you how gratified (even in her grief at the loss, or rather death of such a man) Lady H. was at his recollection of her.

‘“L’Empereur Napoleon à Lady Holland: témoignage de satisfaction et d’estime,” were the words, and remarkably well chosen. Write me word how you are.

‘Excuse hurry, which you know the idleness of Paris always produces.

‘My Lady’s love.

Vassall Holland.’

In August Rogers was in Paris on his grand tour, and Moore writes—


‘August 1st.—Found Rogers was arrived. Drove about a little with Mrs. S., then called upon Rogers at four; his sister and niece with him; received me most cordially.

‘August 2nd.—Called upon Rogers; Luttrell with him. Luttrell said that he has all his life had a love for domestic comforts though passing his time in such a different manner, “Like that King of Bohemia who had so unluckily a taste for navigation, though condemned to live in an inland town.” Walked about the Tuileries Gardens for an hour and a half with Rogers: sarcastic and amusing as usual.


‘August 3rd.—Rogers having proposed to come out to the pavilion to-day with his sister, I bustled away early with a pigeon pie and some other provisions for dinner. The Rogerses arrived before two o’clock, and went with me to Meudon and the Sèvres manufactory. Our dinner very lively and agreeable; Villamil and Lord John of the party. Rogers quite distressed at hearing from me that Lord Byron had just finished a tragedy on the story of Foscari.

August 10th.—Breakfasted with Rogers. Went afterwards to the Louvre with him. Rogers spoke depreciatingly of Chantrey and Canova. Said Gerard’s “Henry IVth” was “like a tin shop,” which is true; a hard glitter about it. Explained to me what is called breadth of light by Correggio’s picture of the “Nymph and Satyr.”

August 12th.—In talking to Rogers about my living in Paris, I said, “One would not enjoy even Paradise if one was obliged to live in it.” “No,” says he; “I dare say when Adam and Eve were turned out they were very happy.”

August 13th.—A dinner given by Lord John, at Roberts’s, to the Rogerses, Luttrell, and me; gayer day than Saturday. Rogers’s story of his having called a lady une femme galante et généreuse at Père la Chaise to-day; her anger and the laughter of her companion, who seemed as if she said, “It’s all out; even strangers know it.” Went to the Variétés in the evening. Rogers joined us, after a visit to Miss H. M. Williams, and gave us an amusing account of it; the set of French Blues assembled to hear a reading of the “Mémoires de Nelson,”
which R. was obliged to endure also; the dialogue with Miss W. on the stairs, &c., &c.

August 15th.—Breakfasted with R.; read me his story of Foscari, which is told very strikingly. Joined the Rogerses at Tivoli. Rogers, speaking as we walked home of the sort of conscription of persons of all kinds that is put in force for the dinner of the Hollands, said, “There are two parties before whom everybody must appear—them and the police.” Took leave of them: he starts for Switzerland to-morrow.’

Rogers went on to Switzerland with his sister Sarah and their niece Martha Rogers, where they stayed through September, paying a visit to his old friend J. P. Kemble at Lausanne. Mrs. Siddons and her daughter were there, and there he parted with his companions and went on alone to spend the winter in Italy. His sister and niece returned with Mrs. Siddons and her daughter by way of Paris to London, where she superintended the publication of the first part of ‘Italy.’ In a series of letters Rogers tells a good deal of the story of this interesting visit which had great results on his future.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Milan: 6 October, 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—When I left you, I travelled on into the night—what could I do better? but to my great joy it cleared up soon, and I flattered myself you would have a better drive than you thought of. The next day too, was fine, though the morning was wet, so I hope you
did pretty well—and found a letter to your mind from Bellesite. You must now be well on your road to Paris, and I hope your young lady—not a child by the way—has proved useful, if not entertaining. As for me, I slept the first night at Brieg, and the second at Domo; the Simplon lost none of its credit with me, but I am destined never to get to Domo d’Ossola in daylight, for something wrong in the carriage kept me at the Simplon an hour, and as I had tired horses from Brieg, I was later than we were before. The third day I breakfasted at Baveno—saw the islands in glorious weather, and slept at Arona in the very room you slept in and we passed the day in together. The next day I was waked by a great bustle, and found a full market, and ten or twelve large boats drawn up under the window. It was a most amusing scene, the day beautiful, and I wished much to stay in such a room, in such a place, but Como was to be seen, the weather might change, so I went off with great regret, and slept at Como after seeing an opera and a dance, and next morning at six set off, embarking on the lake. In the night my windows had given many signs of a great wind, but the morning was bright as the night had been starry, and I was told it was occasioned by snow falling in the mountains, and was a sure sign of fair weather—a sign fulfilled; for three finer days I never had than on the lake—I need not say how I wished for you. It is a noble lake—but a little too solemn for me—though the shores are peopled with Milanese villas and palaces like Richmond Hill. When you run under the shore the entertainment is endless. When you look up, or down, or across the lake you
are awed and saddened. It is a Swiss lake with an Italian margin. The view from our window at Arona is more joyous, more truly Italian than anything at Como—but that
Sharp never saw. His station at Bellaggio is a very noble one—I call it his, though it is in all the books. I was rewarded for leaving Arona. The weather changed the instant I left Como—and to-day I met Agar Ellis, the only acquaintance I have seen, in a heavy rain on his way thither from Milan, where he had been loving the sunshine. He has a dismal prospect. I arrived here half an hour ago. All the inns are full, but I have got a tolerable room in the Imperiale, and mean to stay three or four days, and then go to Venice. The Beaumonts—Sir G., Lady, and Mr. Beaumont—passed through Baveno for Rome, as they described themselves in the book there, on the 21 st Sept. So they could not have gone at all into Switzerland as we were told. You were afraid I should lose the vintage here, but it has not yet begun anywhere where I have passed; the autumn has been so cold and wet. Sharp’s burnings, it seems, have done very little for it. But the vineyards are very beautiful, and the trellises particularly; the black grapes hanging, as we saw them, in clusters.

‘Along the Lago Maggiore trellises are run out into the lake, ten or twelve yards over the water, and sometimes for a quarter of a mile together—a thing I don’t remember. I must say I like the people, and admire the country and the women more than ever, and I think I might have persuaded you to have ventured as far as Milan but for Mrs. Siddons. At Baveno I was accosted by one of our Swiss drivers, who was conducting an English
family from Neuchatel to Milan, and would have been delighted to have had you back again. Farewell, my dear Sarah. I shall write home from Venice and shall then trouble you with some more lines for the press. I like your idea of troubling Miss Mallet better and better the more I think of it, and if you still approve of it, pray do so, and beg her, if she does not object to it, to apply to
Mr. Rees confidentially, not letting him or anybody else into the secret; that is, engaging him not to reveal the circumstance of her applying to him about it, at the same time concealing my name from him—proposing to print 500 and no more; the booksellers to share the profits with the author—contract not to extend beyond that edition; the property then to revert to the author. If you have changed your mind about Miss Mallet, proceed as before. If they object to those terms, then let them publish it entirely for the author and at his risk. I hope you have found Henry at Paris. Maltby must be gone. Pray give my love to Patty, our fellow-traveller, and everybody when you write home. I have been afraid to touch the music. I thought it would give me more sadness than pleasure. If you write at Paris on or before the 15th, pray write to Venice. If afterwards, and before the 21st, to Bologna. After that to Florence.

‘I write a day after the limit you gave me, but hope it will not be too late. The figs are very good, but the peaches are Michaelmas ones, and I have taken an indifference to grapes. Lord Clare and Mr. Sneyd are at Venice. I hope you will fall in with the King, if he does not annoy you. He cannot take your horses. I
have not yet taken a Courier and have gone on tolerably, murdering more Italian words than I did the whole of our journey. 5 o’clock.—I am just returned from a walk in the Cathedral—the only thing to be done this rainy day. Your inkstand has been of great use to me, as will be your maps. I am going to the Opera to-night—a new one, so I fear good for little. Patty, I fear, I shall not see for ages, as she must [have] left you before I return. They will be very anxious to have her home again to hear all about it. I shall tell
Sir G. B. when I see him how desirous you were to catch him on his way. I hope you will find Henry. I think it will do you all good. My love to him and the party now at Brighton, as I conjecture. I shall not pester you often with such long letters—though I mean to write often.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Venice: 15 October, 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—I wrote you a long letter to Paris, which, I hope, you received. It was from Milan, where I arrived on the 6th, and stayed till the 10th, during excessive rain. There I fell in with three we saw at Paris—Ellis, Sneyd, and Lord Clare. I dined with them at their hotel, and they with me at mine. There, too, I hired a Courier—a man young and intelligent, and, I think, gentle, though a Roman. He has a high character from Scarlett’s brother, whose service he lived in eleven months. He is now laid up with a lame knee, but is getting better. I left Milan and found beautiful weather all the way to this place, sleeping in our old rooms at Desenzano; but all the inns are so brushed up and painted
you would not know them. I admire Italy more than ever, and wonder how anybody should talk of anything else. I came here yesterday and found the
Beaumonts. I have passed all to-day with them and shall to-morrow, as they go the next. I have sent to the post, and, alas, there was no letter any more than at Milan, but will hope all is well. I shall stay here, I think, five or six days, and then proceed to Florence, where I hope I shall find a letter. I have been very unlucky; as to the vintage, it had not begun on the lake, and was over all the way to Venice. I have very comfortable lodgings in the Gran Britannia on the Great Canal, and the boatmen are at this moment making a great noise under my window. The Beaumonts have delightful ones on the sea opposite St. Giorgio’s Church. They were very sorry to miss you. He has some sketches, but they are none of them such as I like, memorandums like yours. He has a broken shin, but contrives to float about in his gondola; I believe we are the only English here. You will here have the alterations and additions I threatened you with in my last; I have written over each the title or number they refer to, and hope you will find the places out easily. Pray substitute the new passages instead of the old. The chapter I have given no title to I have called Italy, and have added to it eleven new lines. The notes you will insert in their places at the end. In my last I said I liked much the idea of Miss Mallet, if she would be good enough to undertake it, and if you still approve of it; but not unless you do. I hope you are now at Paris with Henry, but shall write home, and the letter will keep very well till you get it. I am very well,
and have nothing the matter with me but gnats. Here are beccaficos innumerable, but I have met with none so good as a lark. I came here on Sunday afternoon, and went to church to hear the young ladies play on the fiddle and blow flutes and trumpets. It lasted half an hour, and was very well. You see them very indistinctly.
Hoppner, the Consul, is in Switzerland with his wife’s relations. Pray, when you go to St. James’s Place, search in the drawer of the table that stands in the middle of my bedroom, and I think you will find a thin blue copy-book in a blue cover, as blue as the inside of a band-box. It contains “The Brides of Venice.” If you find it, print it in its place. If not, it must be left out altogether, as I have forgot it, and have in vain tried to recall it. Among the chapters is one entitled “A Retrospect.” Pray entitle it “The Alps” instead. I have ventured to send some lines on Mont Blanc for a note. If you don’t think them tolerable, don’t let them be printed. Which do you like best, the sixth line, those or this—

‘Only less bright, less glorious than himself.
‘My love to all. Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘Pray find fault through the whole work.

‘the mirror of all beauty.

[Note.—There is no describing in words, but the following lines were written on the spot, and may serve, perhaps, to recall to some of my readers what they have seen in this enchanting country—
I love to watch in silence till the sun
Sets; and Mont Blanc, arrayed in crimson and gold,
Flings his broad shadow half across the Lake;
That shadow, though it comes through pathless tracts
Of Ether, and o’er Alp and desert drear,
Only less glorious than Mont Blanc himself.
But while we gaze, ‘tis gone! And now he shines
Like burnished silver; all below, the Night’s—

Such moments are most precious, yet there are
Others, that follow them, to me still more so;
When once again he changes, once again
Clothing himself in grandeur all his own;
When, like a ghost, shadowless, colourless,
He melts away into the Heaven of Heavens;
Himself alone revealed, all lesser things
As though they were not!]
‘But the Bise blew cold;
And, bidden to a spare but cheerful meal,
I sate among the holy brotherhood
At their long board. The fare, indeed, was such
As is prescribed on days of abstinence,
But might have pleased a nicer taste than mine,
And through the floor came up; an ancient matron,
Serving unseen below; while from the roof
(The roof, the floor, the walls of native fir)
A lamp hung flickering, such as loves to fling
Its partial light on Apostolic heads,
And sheds a grace on all. Theirs Tune as yet
Had changed not. Some were almost in the prime;
Nor was a brow o’ercast. Seen as I saw them,
Ranged round their hearthstone in a leisure hour,
They were a simple and a merry race,
Mingling small games of chance with social converse,
And gathering news of all who came that way,
As of some other world.
(This to be the title to this chapter.)
‘Am I in Italy? Is this the Mincius? &c.
down to “and self-congratulation.” Then what follows is to be in a new paragraph.

‘O Italy! how beautiful thou art!
Yet I could weep—for thou art lying, alas,
Low in the dust; and they who come, admire thee
As we admire the beautiful in death.
Thine was a dangerous gift, the gift of Beauty;
Would thou hadst less, or wert as once thou wast,
Inspiring awe in those who now enslave thee!
—But why despair? Twice hast thou lived already;
Twice shone among the nations of the world,
As the sun shines among the lesser lights
Of heaven; and shalt again. . . .’

From Venice Rogers wrote to Lord Byron, whom he had not seen for five years and a half, proposing to visit him. Byron answered in a letter from Ravenna, which Moore publishes, saying that he had taken a house in Pisa for the winter, to which all his ‘chattels, furniture, horses, carriages, and live stock’ were already removed, and whither he was preparing to follow. ‘If you will go on with me to Pisa,’ said Byron, ‘I can lodge you for as long as you like (they write that the house, the Palazzo Lomfranchi, is spacious—it is on the Arno), and I have four carriages and as many saddle-horses (such as they are in these parts), with all other conveniences, at your command, as also their owner. If you could do this, we may, at least, cross the Apennines together, or, if you are going by another road, we shall meet at Bologna,
I hope.’ This proposal was acted on. They met at Bologna, travelled over the Apennines together, and at Florence visited the gallery in company. There the English crowd annoyed Byron. ‘I told Rogers,’ he writes, ‘that I felt like being in the watch-house! I left him to make his obeisances to some of his acquaintances, and strolled on alone, the only four minutes I could snatch for any feeling for the works around me. I do not mean to apply this to a tété-à-tété scrutiny with Rogers, who has an excellent taste and deep feeling for the arts (indeed, much more of both than I can possess, for of the former I have not much), but to the crowd of jostling starers and travelling talkers around me.’

Byron remained but one day in Florence; Rogers refused to go on then to visit him at Pisa, having set his face to go to Rome. From Florence, where he stayed a week, and afterwards from Rome, he wrote the two following letters.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Florence: Sunday, 11 November, 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—I wrote you a long letter from Milan, and a large budget of verse and prose from Venice. At Milan I slept four nights, at Venice seven, and passed much of my time with Sir G. Beaumont at Venice, overtaking him for a day at Bologna and for an hour only here. At Bologna I waited a day for Lord Byron and crossed the Apennines with him. Our party consisted of a dog, a cat, a hawk, an old gondolier from Venice, and other sundries. His “Foscari” is already printed, and will, I fear, get the start of us. I hope you passed some time,
and very agreeably at Paris. Perhaps you are not returned home yet, for I am quite in the dark, having heard nothing since we parted at the inn door that dismal morning. I begin now to be a little fidgety, but console myself with thinking all is well.
Hoppner, I find, was sorry to miss me at Venice, as I was to miss him—I wished much to see the boy who lay stretched on the hearth at N. G. There is no end to the English on their road to Rome. I am at the little inn vis-à-vis Sneyder’s—now belonging to him—for that leviathan swallows up everything, and is said to be worth half a million. I have three windows at top, and the sun is upon me before ten o’clock. I am always up at seven, and out by eight, for the weather, though very cold, is sunny. Snow is on all the hills—but the sunsets are beautiful, the hills over the Cascine of a bright rose colour. I have been here just a fortnight—and had only one rainy day. Just now, however, I have a wretched cold, having committed a great folly in going with Miss Fanshawe in an open carriage to see Galileo’s house. From my windows I look over to Sneyder’s, as you know—and every morning see English carriages with mules or post-horses at the door for Rome. Lord Byron is gone to live at Pisa. He spent only one day here. I wish you had seen him set off, every window of the inn was open to see him. My dinner comes over the bridge to me, and is cold enough. To-day I mean to omit it.

‘The Beaumonts were very impatient to get to Rome. Sir G. to his old haunts at Tivoli and Albano. Lady Westmoreland is at Civita Vecchia just now. I expect a sad change in my quarters at Rome. Our old house,
Casa Joubert, at least
Lord Holland’s part of it, is now an hotel. Several have offered to hire for me, and Sneyd writes me word (I gave him a sort of commission) that he has secured for me one in Via Babuino between Piazza d Espagna and del Popolo, as you know—a sad fall from ours—and at twenty louis a month! However, he has done better than Dr. Holland, for I see by the drawing he sends me there are two fire-places. Here is nobody I know but the Dysons and Miss Fanshawe. The Ponsonbys and Bessboroughs are just arrived, but I have seen only Lord B. The boy we saw at Mornay died at Parma; “I suppose you have heard of the accident we have had? “Lord Bessborough said to me on the bridge yesterday—I could not conceive he alluded to it. Lady Ellenborough, five daughters and a son, passed through to Rome yesterday. It was but last May she returned to England. The ortolan season is over, and no orange blossoms, no violets are about in the streets, only a pink carnation and china roses. The figs are gone. I have twenty in a basket here on the table—one of the old baskets—but they are tasteless and frost-bitten, and the grapes begin to shrivel.

‘Florence is to me as beautiful as ever; the Tribune and the Pitti as glorious; but somehow or other I should not be sorry to find myself home again among you, and am sorry the Easter falls twelve days later than it did when we were here. How my winter will turn out I don’t know; but hitherto I have lived almost entirely to myself. Yesterday I engaged our old laquais de place (till then I had none); he accosted me on the bridge (my walk) and asked after you, so I took him directly, though
to-day I fear I have not much for him to do. The instant I can I shall set out, I hope in three or four days, so henceforth pray write always to me at the Poste Restante at Rome. I received a visit from our old friend the poet, with his book.
Lord Byron amused himself with writing a sonnet for him, in which he makes him describe himself as a bore; whether he will shew it about I don’t know. You will here receive three more things. On second thoughts I think something more is wanting (considering the material) to give it any importance, so pray add them at the end, printing the notes in their place among the rest—all together numerically—and not broken by the heads of this chapter or that. The printer to use a figure or a letter of reference as he pleases. The notes to be en masse at the end, lumped together. I have been sadly perplexed by information, true and false. Till my second visit to Padua I could not learn the truth about Ezzelino’s tower. You will here receive the lines about it as they are to stand. The opening of “Venice,” too, must be changed, or I should be found out. You will here receive a new one to as far as “by many a dome,” omitting all before. I have also been obliged to alter about Masaccio and the sons of Cosmo, as you will see, having found out the portraits with much trouble in another house, and finding no tombstone of Masaccio in the chapel, though he lies thereabouts. You must be heartily sick of your commission by this time. Pray don’t send me these three new ones unless you are much perplexed about them indeed, which I hope you will not [be], or think the new lines so bad as to want alteration. When I return the sheets
of the others they will help you much with these, and sending them would, I fear, cause a great delay of two months at least.

‘Only think—poor Lady Bessborough died this morning at the “Pelican”—Sneyders could not take her in—Lord B. mentioned her being ill and unable to see me yesterday, but he looked very cheerful and I thought nothing of it. She arrived only on Friday, travelling all night, ill, from Bologna (’twas from an inflammation in the bowels) and to-day is Sunday. After she was given over, she wrote three letters to her three children in England and took the Sacrament with great composure.

‘I think the Tuscans the least handsome people I have seen. They walk every Sunday afternoon under my window, as thick as they used to do in the Green Park—and I can hardly meet with anything pretty. The Boboli Gardens I lounge in constantly when they are open—Thursdays and Sundays. The moonlight nights here are divine. From my window at this moment the river, the bridges, and the houses are as bright as day—even the heights and villas over the town are visible. At Bologna I saw a lizard in the sun, such as we never saw—seven or eight inches long and very like the diamond beetle! The mosquito is still about; but he does not bite me to signify. Nobody I know has been to Vallombrosa. The view from your window which you took is just as it was, the garden on this side next the bridge just as you left it. What memories some people have! When I went to the banker’s yesterday he called me by my name. I hope you have found “The Brides of Venice.” If not, I think I must have locked it up in the secrétaire in the
dressing-room, the key (a gold one, a patent) is, I believe, lying in one of the drawers, hid. I dare say Jemima could find it. Pray tell her to tell Andrews to hang the
Guercino and the Tintoret as he has hung the Charles V. and the Titian, opposite to them on irons that come out. I take it for granted that the pictures are come back from the Institution in Pall Mall. The Titian is, I believe, gone to the Royal Academy; at least, they wrote to borrow it, but it was to return in January. I hope you met Maltby at Paris. I hope, what is more to the purpose, that Patty and her children are all well. Pray give my love to all. I shall direct this to Henry.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. B.

‘For the future I shall write little and often, and pray do you write often. If you knew how lonely I feel, I am sure you would. I met Boddington’s lacquais (at Rome), acting as courier to Sir Henry Lushington and Lady A’Court, yesterday. He saluted me with the familiarity of an old friend, and I him.

‘I hope all your pictures are hung and to your mind. I have seen nothing like your Bassano and think of it very often. Has Philips done nothing about Webb’s picture, the Callcott. Do get Henry to speak to P., a word or two would shame him out of it.

‘I hope the watch deserves its high character, and that Ariel sings as well as ever in his prison. My sylphs are pretty well. . . . I was very sorry to hear of Miss Agar’s death; but I expect a great many to slip out of life in my absence. May none of them be friends.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Rome: 25 Nov., 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—Your kind letter of 2nd November came to-day, and did me a great deal of good. I am glad to find Mrs. S[iddons] and the voiturier turned out so well, though not Miss S.; a journey lets out strange things. I left Florence on 18th (the day we did), slept at Sienna the first night, Radicofani the second, and Viterbo the third, arriving at Rome about 2 o’clock on Wednesday last. I had fine weather all the way; the inns in the papal country are no better than before, not a jot. Indeed, I suffered much more than before, expecting, perhaps, something better and having no novelty to keep me up.

‘I had no fears, though to please Francesco, the courier, I took guards twice as we drew near Rome. I wish you could have seen me setting off before daybreak from the market-place of Viterbo with six white horses to the carriage, and two shining helmets drawn up in form, while I got in to the great admiration of a full market. I had my journal, so I looked out for St. Peter’s at the fifteenth stone, and drove in directly to my lodging in the Babuino. Walking in the Piazza di Spagna I found Sir G. Beaumont, and many of my mornings have been spent with him. I like my rooms very well, though they have no sun, no orange garden (Canova says he lodged in it once in an attic, so it is classic ground); they are fitted up, like any at Paris, with carpets and ormolu. Rome has made an amazing jump in that respect, so powerful is English money, and (only think) an opera
every night, and very good, they say. I was only once there for half an hour; it is a sad way off, and a strange thing, for they give a comedy instead of a dance, and not after the opera, but first an act of one, then of the other, and so on; so that the English are obliged to gulp what they don’t understand, much to their annoyance. I have had nothing but enquiries about you from
Lady Westmoreland, Canova, the Torlonias, the Dodwells, &c. I have dined out three times, with Lady W., the Beaumonts, and Barings. Canova I thought I should never see. I called every day on him and he on me. At last we met. He called yesterday morning at eleven, with his brother the Abbé, and gave me such a salute as I have not had since I was at Bellesita. At Lady W.’s, in the evening, came the Dodwells—Mrs. D. was quite cordial and very pretty. They never miss the Corso, and their barouche is indeed a very smart one. The Torlonias give a ball next Wednesday, and are sorry you cannot be there. I need not say I am. The only thing that has surprised me since I came is, alas! the little sensation everything produces in me. I went into St. Peters, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, as if I had been in them the day before. Is it that the impression was so deep it has not changed, or is it that I am grown colder’? Perhaps a little of both. Six years in a young person would obliterate a great deal—impressions are so lively and so numerous. Not so now with me.

‘To-day I ventured out on a white horse with a long tail; a lady’s, they say. I received your letter in the Forum, the courier brought it me. I dismounted and went into the Coliseum, and sat down there to read it.
Mem.—I had not been there before. I won’t say which gave me most pleasure. I have not met a funeral, but I saw one at a distance the other night from the
Beaumonts’ window in the Piazza di Spagna, just as we were going to dinner. It crossed the place with many lights, and was said to be that of a most beautiful young woman by those who saw it. The woods on the Lake of Bolsena are sadly cut down, as we were told. The Vatican and the Capitol are both thrown open now to the world on Thursday and Sunday, and at the Vatican there is now a fine collection of oil paintings. I have had a carriage twice for the day, the price is about ten shillings, my horse six shillings, so I think I shall indulge most in the first. My courier is a very good cook, and performs for me when I dine at home, though he will not undertake for more than myself.

‘I have not seen Thorwaldsen. The Abbé Taylor is a great loss.1 Nobody supplies his place. Next Sunday is the function in the Sistine and Pauline chapels, which we attended on 27th November; but whether I shall get in I don’t know. The Pope walks every fine day between two high walls in a cross road near the Albani Villa, and the other day I met him there. He is almost double, so weak in his body, but his countenance is very little altered. The courier’s wife has applied at Milan for your letter, but without success. One to another Mr. Rogers there was brought to me, perhaps yours went to him and he did not return it to the Post Office, as I did his. Perhaps it would be as well to add the Christian name, and to write

1 The Abbé Taylor was an Irishman who was appointed by the Pope to present English visitors.

Samuel R., Esq., Gentilhomme Anglais. I have written to Bologna to-day. None had arrived when we left it on the 29th of Oct. I will not fail to get the bronze of Duke Lorenzo, if there is one. I have been to Ignaccio’s, and have bought an earring or two, but they are now much dearer than before.

‘The days are here very mild, but I wear my great coat, though my cold is almost gone. The Corso is really very gay in the afternoon, and I think better of it than I did. I have looked down our narrow street, which looks deplorable, and mean to visit the house. Mrs. Millingen I don’t mean to call upon. Dodwell says she does nothing but say M. has deserted her, and begs and borrows money wherever she can. I should like to see what Cornelia is like. Dodwell sometimes meets Mrs. M., and she grins in his face. The Pope allows her a pension. You surprise me about Moore, though Ellis had written to Lord Clare that Lord Lansdowne had advanced him the money, 1000l., and that all was settled. I am very glad to hear it; but I am surprised to hear that he continues in town. My notion was, and his too, that he was to pass two or three nights in disguise in St. James’s Place on his way to Ireland. I hear he has been in Dublin. Surely, if he could go to Woburn he might have had the grace to pay you and Henry a visit, but that does not surprise me. So Sutton has been again to Paris. I had no idea he had any thoughts of it. Did you find him and Maltby there? I never pass a bookseller’s shop here but I think of M. I am rejoiced that your pictures hang to your mind. Sir G. Beaumont, in going through the galleries, often mentions the Bassano.
We sometimes see something of his almost as good, not quite.

‘What a long list of deaths. Young Best’s is, indeed, a sad event. I have been looking out for them as I came along. Such a loss might hasten some people and retard others. I have bought some rubbishing pictures, three at Venice, two at Bologna, one at Florence, and have sent them to Molini in Paternoster Row. Pray open them and criticise them. I have insured them for 100l. Really the Italians are a strange people, but I have now no fear of them, and could walk about alone at night as in the day, which I would not have done before. At night, here and at Florence, as they walk by under my windows, they sing, when alone, to themselves, and as loud as they can—and that very ill—when together and in a number, in parts, and still I think very ill. The Arch of Constantine has tumbled down in the Forum and they are putting it up again. The flocks of goats I met in the Apennines were most beautiful, as white as driven snow. Hundreds cross the Arno every day in Florence, and some say that they go to suckle the enfans trouvés in the Foundling Hospital, and that every goat knows her child. There was a reading-room in Florence, and one is here, where the “Times” and “Chronicle” are taken in, but I would go to neither, I wish to think of things here.

Sir George Beaumont saw the “Coronation” at Drury Lane, and says it is much the finest thing he ever saw. Have you seen it? Madame Arponi, the Austrian Minister’s wife here, is very gracious to the English; she is very strict to the Austrians, but admits
us all, and is at home every Monday. They say her Palace is a very splendid one, but I thought I would defer my appearance and stay at home and talk to you. I sent you another long letter and large budget from Florence, directing it to
Henry. I hope it arrived. It contained three more parts: “Ginevra,” “Florence,”and “Don Garzia.” I am glad you have found the “Brides.” Many, many thanks to you for your great kindness and patience under such an affliction. You will now taste some of the miseries of an author, with none of his vanity to support you under it. I am reading “Corinne” again, and with new pleasure, and get on with Sismondi tolerably well. Inclosed you will receive another, “Arqua.” Pray insert it after “St. Mark’s Place.” I was at Florence in the Chapel on the day of the Morti; the day, I believe, after All Souls’ day. At Florence I went every evening (almost) to the opera, paying a franc and a half. The last day I dined with the Mintos, who are arrived there. . . . Lady Minto is a very agreeable and pretty woman, daughter of Brydone, the traveller, and granddaughter of Robertson. They are coming on here. Ward and Fazakerly are at Nice. Lord Derby’s daughter, Lady M. Stanley, is going to marry Lord Wilton, so we shall lose her smiles at the concert.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Rome: 6 Dec., 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—You have done it admirably. I wish the printer had done half as well. Pray see he begins his new paragraphs at the top of a page thus—in page eight—
‘Day glimmered and I went, a gentle breeze
Ruffling the waters of the Leman Lake;
the second line standing out before the first in the margin. How otherwise could it he known as a new paragraph? . . . Formerly all new paragraphs began so, as you will see by turning to any books of poems—see Crowe. Perhaps it is not worth while to alter the rest. Pray, too, see that he makes the paper no bigger, or the page, than
Crowe or “Human Life.” He seems to print fifteen lines, and Crowe, I believe, prints fourteen; at all events, don’t let it be larger than “Human Life.” Your criticism is excellent, I wish you gave me more.

‘I hope you have received a letter from Florence, and another from Rome inclosing “Arqua,” “Ginevra,” “Florence,” “Don Garzia.” If that from Florence has failed, pray go to press with the inclosed and no more, and whenever you are in any doubt pray consult your own judgment and I shall be satisfied. The paper is so thin that I much fear the marks on one side will pass for marks on the other, but I shall trust to your judgment, and pray don’t send me the additional sheets, if you feel pretty sure about them. If you don’t like “Arqua,” leave it out. If you send me the new sheets, pray correct them to the full, as two or three days make little or no difference. But perhaps you have done it and sent them before this arrives. If you find “Foscari” forthcoming immediately, don’t wait for the new sheets, though they may be printed, but let it be published in its present size directly. But, I suppose, Moore knows pretty well about them.

‘I came here a fortnight ago, and wrote you a long
account of Rome. Last Sunday was the ceremony in the Capella Sistina. The
Pope did not perform at high mass, hut as soon as it was over, two Cardinals went out and brought him in; he carried the Host under the Canopy into the Capella Paulina, but nobody went in there while he knelt but Lady Abercorn, and she by accident. The man was in the basket snuffing the lights as before. Somehow or other the whole struck me much less than formerly; and the singing particularly. But what I saw last Monday far exceeded my expectations. [To] Frascati, Sir G. Beaumont and I went together, and there, mounting donkeys, rode to Tusculum and Grotta Ferrata, through galleries or avenues of ilex and cypress along those hills, catching the most delightful views of Rome, and the Campagna, and the villas above and below us. It was sunny and clear (we have often a July without three such days) and too hot, though it was the 3rd of December. It was a day I shall never forget, and to be equalled only by the afternoons I spent with you at Albano and Mola. I am very sorry indeed to hear of Mrs. W.’s death, it must make a great gap at Amersham. Your visit will be a great comfort to them. I think I must say something about Lord Byron, but I don’t know how. Pray let the following be the note, and pray decide for me which of the two conclusions you like best. It is unnecessary for me to see it again.’

He then gives, as a note to the lines—
Down which the grizzly head of old Falieri
Rolled from the block,
the ‘something about
Lord Byron’—

‘“Of him and his conspiracy I had given a brief
account; but he is now universally known through a writer, whose poetical talents command as much the admiration of other countries as of his own.”’

He adds two other forms of expression, and says—

‘Here are three readings, and pray choose for me. I think you will choose the last, I don’t care which; and pray spell Falieri’s name as Lord Byron spells it, with an i or an o, I forget which. In the same manner I am puzzled about Jackimo. There is no J in the Italian, but the English would not pronounce it right with an I, and are much perplexed in reading Shakespeare. I incline to the old Venetian spelling, Giacomo, so pray, if you approve of it, alter it back again to that.

‘I am glad Moore came to see you for his sake. . . .

‘Last night your old friend Mme. Massena gave a grand concert, and in one of the rooms the Discobulus was seen. Very few English were there; I was not, having never called, and perhaps she has forgot my name. The Princess Borghese is here, and has her evenings, but I have not seen her. For three or four days I have kept very quiet, in consequence of an unlucky fall with my donkey at Frascati, but am quite well again. Since your dispatch the day before yesterday, I have seen not a face but Lady Westmoreland’s, who called and sat an hour last night over my fire to the great interruption of business. I hope I have left nothing that will perplex you, having read everything over and over again till I cannot see. Adieu, my dear Sarah. Pray forgive so much trouble, and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
S. R.

‘At Frascati, just under the hill, I saw a beautiful group, which was well worthy of your pencil—two shepherd boys with their pipes playing before an image of the Virgin in a niche in a vineyard wall, and a cluster of smiling children of all ages round them.’

These letters show the great confidence Rogers reposed in his sister Sarah’s judgment. As the poem was to be published anonymously he could not consult his friends about lines, phrases, and words as he had consulted Richard Sharp, and sometimes Moore, about his other works, and he therefore took counsel with the sister who shared his secret. I have omitted from these letters many of the alternative passages and expressions which he leaves to her choice, but enough remain to show the important part she took in preparing the volume as well as in seeing it through the press. It was, in fact, carefully edited by Sarah Rogers.

After wintering at Rome Rogers set out homewards, taking Pisa by the way. Here he stayed with Byron, and the events took place which Medwin has described in his ‘Conversations of Lord Byron’ and his ‘Life of Shelley.’ In the former of these books Medwin reports some remarks of Lord Byron which are full of a spirit of satirical depreciation of Rogers, but the observations are made in response to far more hostile comments by his interlocutor. In his ‘Life of Shelley’ Medwin tells us that this conversation was between Byron and Shelley; and he adds, with the worst possible taste, that in that dialogue Byron throws off the mask, and shows his real opinion of the head and heart of ‘the Beau, Bard, and
Banker,’ whose dinners and coteries had begun to fade from his memory by time and distance, and the improbability of his ever again participating in them. The writer who could, in this inconsequent sentence, hint at so base a motive for Byron’s professed appreciation of Rogers, must have had a constitutional incapacity for understanding honourable conduct or for estimating men.

Shelley knew Rogers but slightly. He had called at St. James’s Place to ask Rogers to assist him in a generous scheme of his for helping Leigh Hunt, which Rogers at the time was unable to do. In the intercourse which he had with Shelley during his stay at Pisa, Rogers was pleased with him, and always spoke of him afterwards with respect. He used to say that in argument Byron treated him with great rudeness, replying by such discourteous phrases as ‘Ah! that’s very well for an atheist,’ and that Shelley bore it with a quiet, gentle, and resigned manner, while firmly holding his own in argument. Rogers described in conversation his own experiences of Byron’s manner. They quarrelled constantly, and Byron said all the cruel things he could think of to mortify his guest. Rogers bore them with composure, and on the next morning Byron would meet him with an effusive welcome, an air of making it up, which immediately made them friends again.

Medwin gives some very clever verses of Byron’s on Rogers, which are as abusive as anything ever written. He tells us that this cruel satire, this piece of unmeasured personal invective—which, if we are to take it as Medwin takes it, seriously, was one of the most unmannerly attacks ever made by a host upon his
guest—was placed under the cushion of the sofa on which Rogers sat in friendly intercourse with its author. Medwin fails to see that this practical joke reveals the true spirit of the whole performance. It was like the evening attacks on Rogers, which were atoned for by extra kindness in the morning—a piece of rollicking fun, a caricature meant to turn a moment’s laugh against its object, and nobody would be more astonished than its author that it should ever be taken, even by dulness itself, for earnest. The lines were published in one of the magazines in which Rogers was made the constant butt of certain envious minds, but nobody took them seriously, and Byron never included them among his works. Rogers never resented them, never complained about them. He treated the attack as the joke it was. His own version of Byron’s behaviour in the Pitti Palace at Florence illustrated Byron’s manner. I have already given Byron’s account of it with his acknowledgment of Rogers’s ‘excellent taste and deep feeling for the arts.’ Yet, when Rogers had exclaimed, ‘What a noble
Andrea del Sarto!’ Byron had answered with a mocking quotation from ‘The Vicar of Wakefield.’—‘Upon asking how he had been taught the art of a cognoscente so very suddenly, he assured me that nothing was more easy. The whole secret consisted in a strict adherence to two rules—the one always to observe the picture might have been better if the painter had taken more pains; and the other to praise the works of Pietro Perugino.’ There can be no question which of these two views of Rogers’s taste for art Byron really held, nor can there be any as to his true affection for Rogers himself, or his admiration
for his poetry. After Byron’s death Rogers wrote the lines which were added to the First Part of his ‘
Italy,’ under the heading ‘Bologna.’ It tells the story of their meeting, and if Byron in that last intercourse treated Rogers as Medwin says he did, this poem is a remarkable literary instance of the return of good for evil.

Much had passed
Since last we parted; and those five short years—
Much had they told! His clustering locks were turn’d
Grey; nor did aught recall the Youth that swam
From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
Flashed lightning-like, nor lingered on the way,
Waiting for words. Far, far into the night
We sat conversing—no unwelcome hour
The hour we met; and when Aurora rose,
Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.
Well I remember how the golden sun
Filled with its beams the unfathomable gulfs,
As on we travelled, and along the ridge,
Mid groves of cork and cistus and wild fig,
His motley household came.—Not last nor least
Battista, who upon the moonlight sea
Of Venice had so ably, zealously
Served, and at parting thrown his oar away
To follow through the world; who without stain
Had worn so long that honourable badge,
The gondolier’s, in a Patrician House,
Arguing unlimited trust. Not last nor least
Thou, though declining in thy beauty and strength,
Faithful Moretto, to the latest hour
Guarding his chamber door, and now along
The silent, sullen strand of Missolonghi
Howling in grief. He had just left that place
Of old renown, once in the Adrian sea,
Ravenna; where from Dante’s sacred tomb
He had so oft, as many a verse declares,
Drawn inspiration; where, at twilight time,
Through the pine forest wandering with loose rein,
Wandering and lost, he had so oft beheld
(What is not visible to a Poet’s eye?)
The spectre knight, the hell-hounds and their prey;
The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth
Suddenly blasted. ’Twas a theme he loved,
But others claimed their turn; and many a tower,
Shattered, uprooted from its native rock,
Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
Appeared and vanished (many a sturdy steer
Yoked and unyoked), while, as in happier days,
He poured his spirit forth. The past forgot,
All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
Present or future.
He is now at rest,
And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
Now dull in death. Yes, Byron, thou art gone;
Gone like a star that through the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,
Was generous, noble—noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do
Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
None more than I, thy gratitude would build
On slight foundations; and if in thy life
Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert;
Thy wish accomplished; dying in the land
Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire;
Dying in Greece, and in a cause so glorious.
They in thy train—ah, little did they think,
As round we went, that they so soon should sit
Mourning beside thee, while a Nation mourned,
Changing her festal for her funeral song;
That they so soon should hear the minute-gun,
As morning gleamed on what remained of thee,
Roll o’er the sea, the mountains, numbering
Thy years of joy and sorrow.
Thou art gone;
And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
Oh! let him pause! For who among us all,
Tried as thou wert—even from thine earliest years,
When wandering yet unspoilt, a Highland boy—
Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame;
Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
Her charmed cup—ah, who among us all
Could say he had not erred as much and more?