LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter V. 1814-1815.

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.
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH

The Peace of 1814—Rogers goes to France, Switzerland and Italy—Diary of the Journey—The English in Paris—Napoleon Legends at St. Cloud—Fontainebleau—The journey South—Bossuet’s House—Coppet—Geneva—News from Richard Sharp of Friends at home—Rogers in Venice—Petrarch’s House at Arqua—Florence—A Winter in Rome—Visit to the Pope—Naples and Murat—The Hollands—The Princess of Wales—Bonaparte’s Return from Elba—War Preparations—Homewards through War Alarms—Paestum—The Diary the Germ of ‘Italy.’

I have already said, that as soon as Peace had been concluded, in April 1814, Rogers began to contemplate a continental tour. He had never been in Italy, and, indeed, had not had many opportunities of visiting the Continent at all. Europe had been almost entirely closed to English people for half a generation. Rogers had been to Paris in 1791, and had seen the chiefs of the great revolution which was then in its apparently smooth career, with only the suspicion in the minds of a far-seeing few of the frightful rapids towards which it was bearing them on. His diary in that memorable visit has been given at full in the ‘Early Life.’ He had visited Paris again, as I have there recorded, with Fox and Mackintosh and his brother-in-law Sutton Sharpe, and a great crowd of artists and statesmen and distinguished people, during the brief gleam of European quiet which the Peace of Amiens brought in 1802. When that short
interval had passed, the Continent was closed again for a dozen years. Peace had now once more been made.
Napoleon was at Elba, and Europe breathed freely. As in 1802, there was again a great flight of the English to see scenes and places from which they had been so long shut out. Rogers and his sister Sarah started on their tour as soon as the London season was over, and Rogers spent all the remainder of that short respite from war in the most interesting journey of his life. They went first to Paris, then on to Switzerland, crossing the Alps by the Simplon. The winter was spent in visiting Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples, and it was the beginning of April before they turned their faces homewards. At Florence they were met by the news of Napoleon’s return to France, and when nearing Bologna became aware of the sudden outbreak of the war. They came home in consequence through the Tyrol and Germany, passing through Brussels while the British troops were gathering for the final struggle, meeting at Ghent with the fugitive King, whom they had seen welcomed into London twelve months before. They reached London six weeks before the battle of Waterloo.

This journey of eight months had a lasting effect on Rogers’s life. He was busy at home with his poem of ‘Human Life,’ but he appears to have put that work entirely aside for a careful study of Italy. He went there as the poet and the man of taste, and he made his stay there the opportunity for the completion of his artistic culture. Nothing escaped his notice, and almost everything he observed was elaborately described and
criticised in a diary written day by day, in evident and careful preparation for some future work. This diary is far too long to be reproduced here. It would fill a volume, and if published it would constitute a guide book to the natural beauties and the artistic treasures of a great part of Italy. It contains much of the material out of which his poem of ‘
Italy’ was afterwards wrought. It is supplemented by letters to his friends, some of which epitomise the more personal parts of the Diary itself. These letters, with some others from that eminent favourite of London society, ‘Conversation’ Sharp, which kept him in touch with his friends during his absence, and a few extracts from the Diary, will sufficiently tell the story of this interesting journey.

The Diary begins:—

August 20th, 1814.—Set sail at dusk from Brighthelmstone; a thousand sparks of light, like so many little stars, dancing in the dark sea under the boat.’

August 21st.—No wind. Hailed by the French pilots.’

August 22nd.—Landed at Dieppe as day was breaking, and left it at noon. Harvest people dining in groups by the roadside. A shepherd following his flock and knitting, his staff flung behind him. Descent into Rouen. The cathedral. Over the curtain in the theatre is inscribed Pierre Corneille, and over a small gateway in the rue de la Pie, “Ici est né 9 Juin, 1605, Pierre Corneille.”’

August 23rd.—Chalk-hills, cornfields, and orchards. Gathered apples and pears from the barouche box as we
went along. At Mantes, where we slept, met with thunder and lightning; and
Curran returning from Paris.’

August 24th.—Terrace of St. Germains. Malmaison. Avenue from Neuilly to Paris.’

August 25th to 28th.—Paris. The region of the Court a blaze of magnificence. Paris, the city of the great king, as London is the city of a great and enlightened people.’

August 30th.—Mass in the Royal Chapel. Questions put to us hy the people. Which was the king? Which Monsieur? Who was that lady? “Je l’ai bien vu,” said a Frenchman as the King went by afterwards in his carriage. From the church tower of Montmartre saw the field of battle.’

August 31st.—St. Cloud. Conducted through it by a servant who used to sleep by the bedside of Bonaparte. “He never changed his servants. A new face was death to him. Seldom slept above four hours. Was never heard to talk in his sleep. A mouse stirring would wake him. Walked fast with his eyes on the ground and his hands joined behind him. Spoke seldom and brusquement (mimicked his talk and his walk). Took coffee when he rose. Was to be seen there, in that alley, before five o’clock in the morning. Ate little at dinner, some bouillon, some poulard, that was all, his snuff-box by his side. Beaucoup de tabac, beaucoup de café.” The gardener had been there thirteen years, but said he knew less of him, said he disliked observation and hurried away his servants, “un homme dur.” The Empress submitted to him in everything. “They used to breakfast together, à la fourchette, in that avenue. She sat with
her back to the library window, and he had a screen placed behind him when the wind blew.” From the courtyard there is an uninterrupted view of the city, a city without smoke, and here not unlike a rough stone quarry.’

September 1st.—Grand retrospect of Paris. Forest of Fontainebleau. Walked before the Château by moonlight.’

September 2nd.—If walls could speak—those of Fontainebleau—how much would they tell of. The gallery of Francis I., painted in fresco by Primaticcio; the gallery of Diana, the scene of his gallantries; the gallery of the Cerfs, stained with the blood of Mondaleschi; the chambers inhabited successively by the kings of France, their wives, and their mistresses; by Henri IV., by Louis XIV., by Marie Antoinette, by Marie Louise (and all have left their footsteps); the oratory in which for fourteen months the Pope performed his daily devotions; the closet in which Bonaparte signed his abdication; the courtyard in which he took leave of his guards, his carriage at the gate to convey him away to Elba—these now silent and empty serve only to remind us of the fleeting nature of things.

‘Long avenues through the forest; a post-house full of bullets. A Cossack horse. Broken bridges. Cathedral at Sens. The Yonne at Joigny; walked on the bridge by moonlight.’

September 3rd.—Auxerre—Avallon. The College. One of the professors saluted me as the first poet of the age, and in return (could I do less?) I sent him back to render homage to our fellow traveller as the most upright
Judge, the most eloquent Senator, and the future Historian of Great Britain.’

September 4th.—A bleak open country. The Bise blew to-day, and we were glad to warm ourselves at the fire in every post-house. Bock and wood as we draw near Dijon.’

September 5th.—Bossuet’s house; now a bookseller’s. His study and little chapel. Before we descended into Dole we found ourselves in the midst of a vast plain bounded by blue hills. Left Dole through a grand avenue; a snow mountain in the S.E. Is it Mont Blanc? A hay harvest. Sunny features under a broad umbrella-like straw hat, which is sometimes slung behind very gracefully.’

September 6th.—A fair at Champagnole. Slept at Morez.’

September 7th.—Walked a post and a-half to the Bousses. A milk girl climbing the meadows and singing short stanzas, ending with “la guerre.” . . . The churchyard of the Rousses looks up a rude valley in which a little lake is shining, le lac des Rousses, and some heath ground to the right was pointed out to us that belongs to Madame de Staël, and lies in Switzerland. Three or four leagues off in this wild region stands the Château de Joux, in which Toussaint breathed his last. Little did the tyrant believe that he himself should so soon be conveyed in like manner across an ocean, and to a speck of land so small as to have made its existence denied by those who were sent to it. Went on, and at a turn of the road had a full view of the glaciers over a dark wood of firs, the snows of a dazzling brightness, and giving me
the exhilaration I have often felt in an English shrubbery at Christmas; but it was mingled with other feelings; we now saw what we had so long wished to see; it was one of the days in our lives which we were sure to remember with pleasure, and all was congratulation. Came to a beautiful village, and, as we left it, the Valais, the Lake of Geneva, and the Alps of Savoy (Mont Blanc above all) burst upon us. Slept at Coppet.
Sismondi, Schlegel and Davy there.’ From Geneva he writes:—

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
‘Geneva: September 8, 1814.

‘My dear Friend,—Here we are in the presence of Mont Blanc; and I cannot tell you what were our feelings yesterday, when, at a turn of the road, as we descended the Jura, the Alps, covered with snow and glistening in a bright sunshine, presented themselves over a fir forest. We declared it to be the most eventful day in our lives; and in less than half an hour we were sitting on a rocky brow, not unlike yours at Ulleswater, and looking down on the Lake of Geneva; Geneva, Ferney, Coppet, Lausanne, Vevay immediately under us, and on the other side Savoy and its mountains in battle array. . . .

‘Normandy is a very pretty country, and certainly worth seeing, even at the expense of the voyage. Rouen is in a beautiful valley; and the Seine and its hanging woods and vineyards accompany you most of the way to Paris; and yet I speak by comparison—with Picardy in my mind, indeed, with Burgundy, and all I saw till we reached Dijon; for a duller tract of country, or fitter to
be passed in the night, I think I never saw. What we have seen since has amply repaid us; the passage of the Jura and the descent to Nyon are never to be forgotten. Paris, I must confess, fell short of my expectations; the region of the Tuileries is a little increased in splendour, but in every other part I saw no change but for the worse. There, however, it strikes you as the city of a great king; and you forget for a moment London, so infinitely its superior as the city of a great people. But perhaps we have travelled under unfavourable circumstances. Through Burgundy I wore my great-coat constantly, and we were glad to sit over the fire in many a post-house while the horses were changing. Last night and this morning at Coppet we supped and breakfasted by a fire, and the Bise seems to have set in for the winter.

‘To-day we went to Ferney, and saw the room as he left it. By we, I mean my sister and myself, for M. [Mackintosh] was engaged to a dinner at Lady Davy’s, and to-night he returns to Coppet. He has promised, however, to meet us at Lausanne, and make the tour of the little Canton with us, and I hope he will, though Madame de Staël,’ and Sismondi are great attractions, and the Hollands are on the road. We passed them at Dijon in the dark. Adieu, my dear friend. What will become of us and where we shall go I cannot say—perhaps to Rome, perhaps to London. At all events, believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘If walls could speak—those of Fontainebleau—what would they not tell of!—the gallery of Francis I., the
gallery of the Cerfs, stained with blood, and the apartments of the Pope, from which he stirred out but twice for fourteen months; the closet in which
Bonaparte signed his abdication, the courtyard in which he took leave of his guards—not to mention Henri IV. and Louis XIV., Marie Antoinette and Marie Louise, whose footsteps are in every room—what house in the world was ever like it! By the way, Marie Louise is now at Secheron, and we met her at the garden gate as she passed through it this morning. She is tall and fair, and not plain, but certainly not handsome, and too erect to be graceful. She was going to angle in the lake.’

There are, in the above letter, several points of close similarity with the Diary. I have left them as illustrating the extent to which the letters summarise the contents of the Diary. Richard Sharp’s reply brings us back for a time to what was occurring among Rogers’s more immediate friends and contemporaries at home—

Richard Sharp to Samuel Rogers.
‘London: 3rd October, 1814.

‘My dear Friend,—I cannot tell you how much I am obliged by your letter from Geneva. Were it not in the highest degree interesting in itself, I should value it greatly as a proof that you think of me notwithstanding our distance from each other, and the constant occupations of a journey in such a country as Switzerland. Would that I had been able to accompany you, and by your side had first seen the lake and the glaciers in the
descent to Nyon. In your taste, you know, I have an habitual reliance, and I am quite sure that scenes which have made such an impression as you describe on you will produce a similar effect on me, according to the measure of my sensibility. You seem to have been broad awake at Fontainebleau. A common pair of eyes would not have seen a tithe of what you saw there; yet all you mention was there.

‘I shall follow, I hope, your steps, excepting where you do not encourage me to follow, and at present my notion is that it will be best to go at once to Lyons, omitting Dijon. What struck my brother most was the journey from Geneva to Chamouni, the country about Villeneuve and Vevay, the vales of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, and the upper end of the lake of Lucerne. He also speaks highly of the passage of the Brunig, and the country about Altdorf. I hope you have gone through these mountainous scenes without more fatigue than has been sufficient to give you a sound sleep at night. Some effort is necessary to stimulate one’s attention.

‘I have but just returned from Cumberland, where I was very lucky in the weather and in my society. I have been travelling with two very excellent persons—Lord Calthorpe and Lady Olivia Sparrow. She is a young and pretty widow, very accomplished and sensible. Both are very intimate with Wilberforce who sits for Lord Calthorpe’s borough, and both are of that sort of serious people who are nicknamed “saints.” I saw Southey often, but Wordsworth was absent at Lowther.

‘From Brougham’s most delightful house and grounds,
where I slept two nights, I walked with him through all the river scenery at Lowther, and I have also visited Haweswater. I would not build a castle like Lowther, but if I had a castle I should wish it to have such a neighbour as the river. Haweswater gave me great pleasure, both by its beauty and its quiet seclusion. I went to the Chapel, but without such fair companions as you had there. I spent a day with
Canning at Bolton’s. He was accompanied by Huskisson and Heber. In returning from Leeds, which you know is in the road from Bolton Abbey, I was overturned near Stilton in a light coach, as it is called, solely by its top-heaviness. Nine outside passengers outweighed us four insides, and the road happening to be rather rounder in its form than usual, over we went with a mighty crash in the middle of the night. I received not the least hurt, but one of the inside passengers was stunned, several of the outside were bruised, and one poor woman’s ankle, I fear, was broken. A very pretty girl of about f1fteen fell on me, and I found her weight much less than I guess you did that of Lady Holland when you were upset at her park gate. I hope she is benef1ted by her journey, for she is a warm and valuable friend. Long before this time, I take it for granted that you have fallen in with Lord Holland’s party, and are probably absorbed by it. I hope, too, that you have seen Boddington. He writes in raptures, and I suppose is now passing the Simplon to Milan.

‘I made a strange astronomical discovery this year, that the days are as long in September as in June. I had never travelled so late in the year before, and I
had no idea of this undoubted fact before this journey. You cannot have the least suspicion of this important truth unless you go to bed, as I did, about nine, and get up at five. I am preparing a paper for the “Transactions” of the Royal Society, which will remove all your doubts.

Southey thinks Wordsworth’s last poem his best,1 but I have not heard what the bookseller reports of the public opinion.

Lara and his fair companion 2 are in great request, and are much liked in the country, as well as in town. I was more pleased with “Lara” than I expected, although the faults, especially in expression, are innumerable. I suppose your verse is in great vigour? You will go to Italy, of course, and then, “gratulor Œchaliam,” you will necessarily write in its praise. A mountain air always did agree well with your muse.

‘You will have parted from one of your pleasant companions, whose conversation at Paris, and in Switzerland, must have been invaluable. I have just left your letter under a cover at Clement’s Lane, for Mr. Henry Rogers, and I hope to learn how to address this. You will, I trust, not forget me at Florence, Rome, and Naples, for I am very anxious to learn what impression these places make on you. May your journey be as beneficial to your health, and to Miss Rogers’s, as it must be delightful to both.

‘Yours ever affectionately,
R. Sharp.’

1The Excursion,’ which was published in the summer of 1814.

2 Rogers’sJacqueline,’ which was published by Mr. Murray in 1814 in the same volume with Byron’sLara.’


Going back to the Diary.

‘September 8th.—In the garden at Secheron, met the ex-Empress Marie Louise. Geneva. Walked with Dumont and Sismondi. Calvin’s pulpit. “Ici est né Jean Jacques Rousseau.” “Ici est né Charles Bonnet.” No such inscriptions in London: none for Dryden in Gerrard St., Johnson in Bolt Court, Milton in Bread Street and Bunhill Fields. Ferney. His chamber just as he left it on the morning he set off for Paris, twelve feet by fifteen. Round his bed hang pictures of himself, Le Kain, Frederick, Catharine and Madame de Châtelet, his little seamstress, and a boy who used to pile fagots on his fire. A delightful Situation. Over woods he saw a lake at the foot of the Alps, and many a sunset must he have had, all couleur de rose.

The journey continued, and the Diary tells day by day of scenes which have since become familiar to most English people. Rogers notes the literary and historic associations of the places seen; spending, for example, at Rousseau’s house, ‘a five minutes such as I never felt before,’ and borrowing Gibbon of a bookseller that he might read on the spot his description of Lausanne. At Zug he parted with Mackintosh, who had proved a very difficult travelling companion. Further portions of the Diary are epitomised in another letter.

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
‘Venice: October 23, 1814.

‘My dear Friend,—To-day, in my gondola, I vowed I would write to you to-night, if it was only to tell you to write to me at Rome, where I hope soon to be. You must have received my letter from Geneva long ago.
An excursion to Chamouni, and another to the Lake of Lucerne, two delicious days passed in the Isle of St. Pierre, and two more under the rocks of Meillerie, I should like much to talk to you about, but I don’t know where to begin. Everywhere in Switzerland, the Alps, all snow, bounded the horizon. They shone in the sun and seemed impassable; nor was their extent less striking than their height. Indeed, everything perhaps has fallen a little short of my expectations but the Alps alone. They have exceeded them; and whenever they appear they affect me as much as if I was seeing them for the first time—I may almost say, as if I had never heard of them. But the passage over them—of that I don’t know what to say. The road itself, smooth as that in Hyde Park, is an object of wonder, winding like a serpent, but in very long lines; and by bridges thrown over precipices and passages cut through the rock, gradually approaching the summit. When you looked back, you saw it running far below you, and in many directions, through those bleak and dreary tracts, like the great wall in Tartary. At last you leave the pine forests beneath you, and the water that falls by your carriage-window and is conveyed in channels under the road freezes into icicles as it falls there. We were ascending for eight hours, drawn by five horses, but the descent into Italy I can do still less justice to. We instantly entered a deep valley, and then opened, or rather shut, upon us one of the most extraordinary scenes in Nature. For twenty miles we went rapidly down through a pass so narrow as to admit only the road and the torrent that fell by our side. Often the road was hewn out of
the mountain, and three times it passed through it, leaving the torrent to work its way by itself; the passage, or gallery as I believe it is termed by the French engineers, being so long as to require large openings for light. The road was so gradual that our wheel was never locked, the horses were almost always in a gallop, nor turned aside for the mules we met.

‘We left Savoy at seven in the morning, and slept in Italy, at Domo d’Ossola, that night. The Lago Maggiore, Milan, the Lago di Garda, Verona, Padua,—what shall I mention next? As for Venice—I seem to wander about in a dream. Am I in St. Mark’s Place? I say to myself. Am I on the Rialto? Do I see the Adriatic?—Nor can I tell you what I felt when the postilion, turning gaily round and pointing with his whip, cried out, “Venezia!” And there it was sure enough, with its long line of domes and turrets, white as marble, and glittering in the sun. If Venice is Venice no longer, as everybody tells me, one can, however, see what was never seen before, at least in the way one would like.

‘This is the Hall of the Senate—this the chamber of the Council of Ten—into that closet (and it was black as black wood could make it) the state prisoner was brought to receive the sentence from the pozzi or the piombi, after which he was led down that narrow, winding staircase (and I shuddered when I attempted to look down it, for it seemed like a well) and across the Ponte dei Sospiri to be strangled in the first dungeon on the left.

‘All this and more I heard with believing ears, such as I wished for at Verona when they showed us Juliet’s coffin in a convent garden.


‘I think I have made out the best tour in the world for you, I wish I may say for us. At all events, I hope you will not start before my return, that I may at least have a chance. I can save many a weary mile and much perplexity which I have experienced.

Mackintosh left us at Zug, to meet his daughter at Basle; we met him again near Sion in the Haut Valais, on his return to Italy. I hope his health is improved, but it suffers greatly in a city like Paris, and I fear he will leave all he has gained, in the evening conversazioni at Talleyrand’s.

‘The Hollands we have met with at Paris, at Geneva, and at Milan. They are now, I believe, at Florence. Ward I met in the street at Milan. He is now, I fancy, on the road to Venice with Poodle Byng. The Princess of Wales came up on foot to our chaise window when we were changing horses within a few miles of Milan. She afterwards invited my sister and myself to a party there, which we could not avail ourselves of, and I flatter myself we shall be good friends when we meet at Florence.

‘What has become of Boddington? We have followed here and there in his track, but never could overtake him. Has he come into Italy? I hope to meet with him in Tuscany—I say, in Tuscany!

‘Oh, if you knew what it was to look upon a lake which Virgil has mentioned, and Catullus has sailed upon, to see a house in which Petrarch has lived, and to stand upon Titian’s grave as I have done, you would instantly pack up and join me.

‘But to talk seriously, is Fredley yours? I hope it is, and that you by this time possess a fragment of Italian
landscape under English laws and with English security. Pray write and tell me all; and believe me to be, with great sincerity,

‘Ever yours,
Samuel Rogers.

‘Remember me kindly to Maltby. I read his name in the book at Schwyz. Does he remember the Lake as seen from the landing-place, or, rather, from the inn door at Brunnen? I shall never forget it.

‘What a strange thing is fashion! Almost every man in Venice but myself wears boots. The men who wait upon us at dinner are like so many jockeys at Newmarket. How inhuman to rob them of the only four horses they had!’

Richard Sharp to Samuel Rogers.
London: 2 December, 1814.

‘My dear Friend,—I am afraid that my letter to Milan did not reach you, and I therefore in this thank you for yours from Geneva, as well as for that from Venice. You are very good. Nothing can so much lessen my regret for not having been able to accompany you as the pleasure that your letters give me.

‘Happening to have nothing of a private nature in them, and being full of pleasant things, I have read them to others frequently, and even lent them occasionally, but with many an injunction and many a denunciation of vengeance against carelessness. It would be mortifying to lose one, and I will not run the risk, as I foresee that at some time or other they may be given to the public.
They would do you great credit. I have sent each to your brother immediately.
Charles Ellis has set off for Italy with his sons and daughter, and he will tell you how much the sight of your letters delighted him when he meets you, as he hopes to do. We thought her pretty, and I suppose she will be old enough to inspire sonnets in Italy.

‘I shall faithfully follow your directions in the journey which I hope to take in the spring; and that I may have a little time to stay in choice places, I think of employing between three and four months in a tour comprehending only Switzerland and the Italian lakes. Mackintosh, Horner, and Bowdler crossed and recrossed the Alps, and I purpose (unless you propose another route) to go by St. Gothard and return by the Simplon. Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples, must be reserved till I can escape, as I intend, from business altogether. Dumont writes that he expects me to fulfil my engagements with him. From this I learn that he means to go back next year, though he is looked for here in a fortnight. You know that he has been chosen a representative in the council of Geneva, where he sits with Pictet and Sismondi, and with other eminent persons.

‘I am not surprised by anything but your candour in owning that Switzerland, excepting when you looked upon the Alps, rather disappointed you. The Alps, however, both on distant and on intimate acquaintance, appear to have greatly transcended your expectations. What would I not have given to descend from the Jura, to cross the Alps, and to enter Venice and Rome with you. Yet, though I cannot have the advantage of being your com-
panion, I shall take care not to lose that of being your follower. Pray do not be sparing of your directions.

‘The grand Chartreuse! Did you go there? I have heard that after the Alps it makes but a feeble impression. The Monastery is now, alas, a saltpetre manufactory; but the Album remains, and in it is to be read the Alcaic ode in Gray’s own handwriting.

Boddington tells me that at Florence he got a glimpse of you as you were setting out for Vallombrosa, where, in November, you would find, I guess, the leaves strewn about as in Milton’s simile. What present pleasures! What future recollections! Your Muse must have become already a fine Italian lady.

Johnson says that some men learn more in the Hampstead stage than others from the tour of Europe. With such powers of observation and such an imagination as yours how your mind will be strengthened and animated! You will talk and write better than ever with such an accession of topics and of enthusiasm. Shall we not talk of Vallombrosa and the Apennines in St. James’s Street, and in many a town assembly. I have missed you in these places sadly already, and have passed your “shut door with a sigh.” Last Sunday I forgot myself, and actually mounted your steps to knock at the door, habit being too strong for memory.

‘Since my excursion to the Lakes in September, and my turn-over near Stilton in returning, my occupations have been very dull. Three days at Romilly’s on Leith Hill are the only incident of consequence, but I think ot overcoming my aversion to great houses and of going to Bowood about Christmas. Lord Byron is the only
friend of yours now in town whose society you would care for; for Parliament sat too short a time to bring the women to town, and you properly disdain most of the men.

‘The Club met in full strength, where I related your adventures and quoted some of your sayings. I forgot to say that Brougham took me from Ulleswater to his delightful old residence, and showed me his agreeable mother and sister and the river scenery at Lowther. I was very much pleased with Haweswater. Brougham has taken his mother since to Paris and has left her there. She is a niece of your old Edinburgh acquaintance, Dr. Robertson the Historian.

‘At Bolton’s, on Winandermere, I spent a whole day with Canning, who is now gone to Lisbon. I then fell into a very pleasant party with whom I lived above a week. The attractions were: a sensible, amiable man (Lord Calthorpe), and an extraordinary person, a youngish, handsome, accomplished widow of great possessions, Lady Olivia Sparrow, a daughter of the late Lord Gosforth. You must know her, as you visited her father. They are Wilberforcians, and, like him, she is very lively and very pious. You will soon go on, I suppose, to Naples, which, we hear by the newspapers, is made very gay by our Princess, who is abused in our newspapers for keeping bad company. I can scarcely believe that I am to direct this letter to the author of “The Pleasures of Memory” and “Columbus,” at Rome, even Rome itself. If you can spare five minutes from the Vatican and the Coliseum, pray tell me what you felt on entering the sacred city. Pray tell Miss Rogers that I
hope she has health and strength to make the most of her opportunities. Farewell.

‘Yours ever affectionately,
R. Sharp.’

From the date of the last letter to R. Sharp the Diary proceeds. On the 24th they were at Arqua visiting Petrarch’s house.

‘Through a large room, or covered court, we entered a smaller. The ceiling was divided into small squares, each containing a rose, and the beam that crossed it was painted in like manner of a dark colour. The upper part of the walls was painted round, and not ill-painted, in compartments, or rather, a series of pictures in a slight manner, and in light or faded colours, faded from age, but most probably of an after time, representing his interviews with Laura, his grief, and the progress of his passion. In the next room, the ceiling the same, over the door was his cat, dried, in a glass case with some lines written under it in Latin hexameters. A third room, less than the second and much less than the first, contained, behind some old wire trellis, his arm-chair and wardrobe, half perished. Above lay his inkstand, in bronze—the form very elegant. A winged cupid formed the stopper, sitting on the top, and the vessel a circular vase with the heads of four sphinx-like women at the corners, each terminating in a branch or flower; the feet small and scarcely discernible. The chair was an armchair. Sitting in it, in a closet, six feet by five, into which another door led, with his head resting upon his
hand, he was found dead.1 The windows mostly down to the floor and opening each into a small iron balcony that looked over the valley. . . . Went again down the hill, and in the churchyard saw his tomb—a large stone sarcophagus on four short columns, resting on a double stone base. On the sarcophagus was sculptured his bust, his head wrapped round in that close head-dress he usually wore, the fashion of the time, and such as he is always represented in. The features, too, the same. A laurel tree, probably often renewed, being of no age, grew at each corner.’

To Rovigo, to Ferrara—where he visits the hospital of St. Anne in which Tasso was confined, the house of Ariosto and the room in which he died, and the University Library, and remarks, ‘We tread on classic ground, every hill and valley, every bit of pavement in every town “by sacred poets venerable made.”’—to Bologna, then with a muleteer over the mountains to Florence, where they spent ‘the Day of the Dead,’ and lingered, fascinated, more than half the month. Then on to Rome, which was seen in the morning haze on the 24th of November. The greater part of the Diary is written in Rome, where they stayed till the beginning of February. Interspersed with long accounts of the antiquities and descriptions of things seen with Millingen and bought,

1 See the lines in ‘Italy’ on Arqua:—

‘This was his chamber—’Tis as when he went,
As if he now were in his orchard grove.
And this his closet. Here he sat and read.
This was his chair, and in it, unobserved,
Reading or thinking of his absent friends,
He passed away as in a quiet slumber.’
are glimpses of the social life of the English in Rome in that winter. ‘We dwell among the clouds,’ he says, ‘and look down on the seven hills of Rome. We are in the Rondinini Palace, distinguished for the possession of the celebrated mask of the Medusa, and, from the windows, command a little world.’ The social amusements are innumerable. There are concerts at
Lucien Bonaparte’s; dinners at Lord Holland’s, Lady Westmoreland’s, and Lord Cawdor’s; visits to Canova and Thorwaldsen; drives with the Torlonias; and a visit to the Pope. He ‘was standing in his white cloth habit, buttoned up to the chin, and his shoes of scarlet crimson velvet embroidered with gold flowers. He received us most courteously, and we formed a circle before him; said much of the English, that he was now too old to travel, that he would rather have gone to England than where he did go, that he was going to receive some English ladies in the garden, to each of whom he gives a rosary. When we knelt to kiss his hand he seemed distressed, and affected to shrink back from us, and made many efforts as if to assist us to rise. His manners, however, are very simple, his courtesy equal to the most refined, and the sort of hysteric laugh, half subdued, with which he spoke generally to us as we were named to him, discovered a modesty and an anxiety to please which were very engaging.’ This was on Twelfth Day. Twelfth Night was spent at the Hollands’, where the Italians were afraid of sitting near the fire. Another day, ‘dined at Sir H. Davy’s. Canova shewed how he kissed his bed three times when he went into it after dinner. His bed regularly warmed.’ On the 17th:
‘Early visit from the Cawdors. Dined with the Hollands. Canova sat by at dinner, then came
Macpherson, President of the Scotch College here, Lucien Bonaparte, and Rosa introducing a bishop. The Bonapartes and M. came to us in the evening.’ 19th: Lord Holland ill . . . 24th: ‘After dinner at the Duke of Bedford’s, the Duchess waltzed and danced with castanets before Canova. Looked in at Lord Holland’s, and went to a splendid ball at the Marchioness of Mariscotti’s. Silk hangings. Sixty lights in each of the two rooms. Dancing in one, cards in the other.’ Many pages are filled with brilliant descriptions of the scenes of the Carnival, as well as with accounts of works of art. On the 8th of February they left Rome for Naples, where they went ‘to the locanda del Sole, into a large room with columns and carved ceiling, but without a fireplace, the windows looking directly into a piazza as busy as the Palais Royal, and up to the summit of Vesuvius.’ There were English friends everywhere, among them the Princess of Wales, Lady Oxford, Lord Clare, and the Hollands. Murat was king. Rogers was presented to him; he spoke of the weather of Rome as triste and of the Pope’s enmity. At a ball at the house of the Minister of Finance, ‘all the world danced, and the king himself, in a quadrille, with the Princess of Wales. Wonderful play with his limbs, too much so with his head and body. It gave him the balancing air of a rope-dancer, or of a dancing-master teaching ease to his scholars.’ Murat was extremely polite to Rogers, whose fame as a poet had reached him. The Queen talked to him about ‘The Pleasures of Memory.’ Murat him-
self, as he rode on horseback about Naples, often met Rogers, and always saluted him with the question, ‘Eh bien, Monsieur, êtes-vous inspiré aujourd’hui?’
Lady Holland would not go to Murat’s parties; but he paid great attention to her, and, at a concert given to her, placed her between himself and the Queen.

On the 6th of March, after a visit with Lord Holland to Pompeii, Rogers was at Lord Holland’s at night, when the rumour came, ‘Bonaparte gone from Elba.’ Rogers adds: ‘Fainting of his sister the Queen; many conjectures;’ ‘un peu d’espoir,’ says Mosbourg, ‘et beaucoup de desespoir.’ There was no reason at present for hurrying home. On the 11th ‘took leave of the Princess of Wales,’ and on Sunday, the 12th, at a magnificent dinner at the Comte de Mosbourg’s—‘a dinner without end’—and a Ball afterwards; he records, ‘Few Neapolitans there. Many rumours and much anxiety.’ On the 18th, ‘left Naples, a band of music playing God save the King and other tunes at our door. First to Rome, then to Florence, where one day Du Cane, Fazakerley, and Lord John Russell came to dinner, and Rogers writes: ‘After all Florence strikes me most. I acknowledge the grandeur of Rome, the beauty of Naples, but Florence has won my heart, and in Florence I should wish to live of all the cities of the world. Rome is sad, Naples is gay, but in Florence there is a cheerfulness, a classic elegance, that at once fills and gladdens the heart.’ On Monday, April the 3rd: ‘Waked in the night by the baggage and carriages of the old King of Spain passing under the window. A bright moonshine. Overtook them afterwards in a state of hesitation, some returning, those in advance having been
seized in Bologna. Men at house doors called to us, saying the Neapolitans were at Bologna and even at Lojano . . . . Slept at a lone house within twelve miles of Bologna. Next morning rose at half-past three.’ Approaching Bologna they found the bridge was shut. ‘Sent in a scout, who saw the
King get into his carriages and set off with his staff. Went in myself, the gates open, the streets silent, almost empty. Saw the Comte de Mosbourg, “Je m’engage pour vous, Monsieur.” Rumours of a battle.’ April 5th: ‘Troops filing through. A battle last night; a wounded officer leaning on his servant in the street. A General dangerously wounded. Called again on Mosbourg. Said he would write to the King to-night, and asked us to dinner. Lord John Russell and Fazakerley arrived.’

These brief extracts from a voluminous Diary may suffice. All the way home through the Tyrol and down the Rhine through Holland, and over Belgium, there were the signs and sounds of war. Brussels itself was all gaiety and warlike preparation, and Lord Wellington was already there. The road to Ostend was full of English cavalry, and at Ostend itself horses were being slung ashore from English transports, and cannon-balls being landed. As I have given only brief extracts from the more personal references in the Diary, it is only just to add one of the descriptive and reflective passages of which it is full.

‘Country open and level; did not see the Paestum Temples till we approached them. The temples in a plain, on three sides shut in by the mountains, on the
fourth open to the sea, and the sea itself half shut in by them, by the promontory of Sorrentum, within which are the isles of the sirens. A magnificent theatre, worthy of such objects; the columns almost bare, broken, and of an iron-brown, like iron rust; the floor green with moss and herbage; the columns and cornices of the richest tints and climbed by the green lizards that fly into a thousand chinks and crevices at your approach; the snail adheres to them, the butterfly flutters among them, and the kite is sailing over them; fluted fragments of columns and moulded cornices among briars strew the middle space between the temple and the basilica, and no noise is heard but the rustling of the lizards or the grazing of the silver-grey ox just relieved from the plough. Many twice-blowing roses here, not now in bloom; innumerable violets in bloom among the fragments, the air sweet with them. . . . How many suns have risen from behind the mountains and set in the Tyrrhene sea, throwing these gigantic shadows across the green floor, since in these temples gods were worshipped! Is it true that they remained buried for ages in the night of woods till a young hunter or a shepherd fell in with them? Was it on such an evening as this, the sun’s disc just shining through them? Now the sea breeze and the mountain breeze sweep through them. Now the fisherman of Salerno, as he passes, sees them standing on the desert plains, under the mountains, and pilgrims visit them from the corners of the earth. The little towns (Capaccio old and new), that hang upon the mountains like an eagle’s eyrie, look down always upon them. Still is the solitude awful from the vastness and grandeur of the theatre.’


These remarks, written in haste in the evening after the visit, compared with the lines headed ‘Paestum’ in the second part of ‘Italy,’ sufficiently show how the Diary formed the basis of the poem.

They stand between the mountains and the sea,
Awful memorials, but of whom we know not.
The seaman, passing, gazes from the deck,
The buffalo-driver, in his shaggy cloak,
Points to the work of magic and moves on.
How many centuries did the sun go round
From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea,
While, by some spell rendered invisible,
Or, if approached, approached by him alone
Who saw as though he saw not, they remained
As in the darkness of a sepulchre
Waiting the appointed time! All, all within
Proclaims that Nature had resumed her right
And taken to herself what man renounced;
No cornice, triglyph or worn abacus,
But with thick ivy hung or branching fern;
Their iron-brown o’erspread with brightest verdure.
How solemn is the stillness! Nothing stirs
Save the shrill-voiced cicala flitting round
On the rough pediment to sit and sing;
Or the green lizard rustling through the grass,
And up the fluted shaft with short, quick spring,
To vanish through the chinks that Time has made.
In such an hour as this, the sun’s broad disc
Seen at his setting, and a flood of light
Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries
(Gigantic shadows, broken and confused
Athwart the innumerable columns flung);
In such an hour he came, who saw and told,
Led by the mighty Genius of the Place.