LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.

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 on Poetical Composition—Lines at Meillerie—Letters from Mackintosh, Coleridge, Uvedale Price, and William Lisle Bowles—At Lady Hardwicke’s—The Authorship of ‘Auld Robin Grey’—Rogers at Lord Spencer’s—Captain Usher—Paris under the Allies—Letters from Richard Sharp—Rogers to his Sister—Rogers’s Twelfth-night Parties—His Love of Children—Letters to Richard Sharp.

The Diary, of which I have given a brief account in the preceding chapter, was the prose preparation for the poem by which Rogers is most likely to be remembered by posterity. He had not yet conceived the plan of his ‘Italy,’ for he was much occupied during the six years from 1813 to 1819 with his poem ‘Human Life.’ His method of composition involved this long deliberation. He described it himself in a letter, the substance of which was probably sent to more than one budding genius, or, in Southey’s words, unfledged eagle, who sent his poems to Rogers with requests for his criticism and help.

Samuel Rogers to ——.

‘I need not say how much flattered I am by your request, nor how happy I should be to render any service in my power to any young man of genius, but I would recommend to him a much better scheme, if I may say so, than you propose.


‘Let him lay aside his composition for some months and then look at it with fresh eyes, and let him in the interval read attentively some of the great masters (Milton or Dryden for instance) and then read what he has written. His good sense and feeling will then enable him to come to a much better judgment concerning himself than any criticism of mine. I may be wrong, but such was my practice, and I would recommend it to others.’

‘S. R.

‘P.S. Few, says Sir J. Reynolds, have been taught to any purpose who have not been their own teachers. Some, says Gibbon, praise from politeness, and some criticise from vanity. The author himself is the best judge of his own performance; no one has so deeply meditated on the subject; no one is so interested in the event.’

Rogers was not entirely faithful to the principle contained in these last sentences. He constantly consulted his friends, and his letters to Richard Sharp, and some of those to Moore, are full of lines, and alternative lines, of whatever poem he has in hand at the time. This was in accordance with what seems to have been a custom in his circle. Moore, for example, was fitfully busy at this time with ‘Lalla Rookh,’ and in one of his letters tells his mother that Rogers’s criticisms had twice upset all that he had done, and that he has told Rogers he shall see it no more till it is finished. The immediate poetical result of his continental tour in 1814 and 1815 was the production of a short poem, which was included in the
edition of his poems published in 1816, and now, with some changes, forms part of ‘

Written at Meillerie, September 30, 1814.
These grey majestic cliffs that tower to Heaven,
These glimmering glades and open chestnut groves,
That echo to the heifer’s wandering bell,
Or woodman’s axe, or steersman’s song beneath,
As on he urges his fir-laden bark
Or shout of goatherd boy above them all,
Who loves not? And who blesses not the light,
When through some loophole he surveys the lake,
Blue as a sapphire stone, and richly set
With chateaux, villages, and village spires,
Orchards and vineyards, alps and alpine snows?
Here would I dwell; nor visit but in thought
Ferney, far south, silent and empty now.
As now thy Chartreuse and thy bowers, Ripaille;
Vevay, so long an exiled Patriot’s home;
Or Chillon’s dungeon-floors beneath the wave,
Channelled and worn by pacing to and fro;
Lausanne, where Gibbon in his favourite walk
Nightly called up the shade of antient Rome;
Or Coppet, and that dark untrodden grove1
Sacred to Virtue and a daughter’s tears!
Here would I dwell, forgetting and forgot;
And oft, methinks (of such strange potency
The spells that Genius scatters where he will),
Oft should I wander forth like one in search,
And say, half-dreaming, ‘Here St. Preux has been
Then turn and gaze on Clarens.

Yet there is,
Within an eagle’s flight, a nobler scene:
Thy lake, Lucerne, shut in among the mountains,
Mountains that flank its waves as with a wall

1 The burial place of Necker.

Built by the Giant race before the flood;
Where not a cross or chapel but inspires
Holy delight, lifting our thoughts to God
From God-like men—men in a barbarous age
That dared assert their birthright, and displayed
Deeds half-divine, returning Good for Ill;
That in the desert sowed the seeds of life,
Framing a band of small Republics there,
Which still exist, the envy of the World!
Who would not land in each, and tread the ground;
Land where Tell leaped ashore; and climb to drink
Of the three sacred fountains? He that does
Comes back the better; and relates at home
That he was met and greeted by a race
Such as he read of in his boyish days;
Such as Miltiades at Marathon
Led, when he chased the Persians to their ships.
There, while the well-known boat is heaving in,
Piled with rude merchandise, or launching forth,
Thronged with wild cattle for Italian fairs,
There in the sunshine, mid their native snows,
Children, let loose from school, contend to use
The cross-bow of their fathers; and o’er-run
The rocky field where all, in every age,
Assembling sit, like one great family,
Forming alliances, enacting laws;
Each cliff and head-land and green promontory
Graven to their eyes with records of the past
That prompt to hero-worship, and excite
Even in the least, the lowliest, as he toils,
A reverence no where else or felt or feigned;
Their chronicler great Nature; and the volume
Vast as her works above, below, around!
The fisher on thy beach, Thermopylæ,
Asks of the lettered stranger why he came,
First from his lips to learn the glorious truth!
And who that whets his scythe in Runnemede,
Though but for them a slave, recalls to mind
The barons in array, with their great charter?
Among the everlasting Alps alone,
There to burn on as in a sanctuary,
Bright and unsullied lives th’ ethereal flame;
And ’mid those scenes unchanged, unchangeable,
Why should it ever die?

These verses, having been sent to Sir James Mackintosh, called forth from him the following interesting letter.

Sir James Mackintosh to Samuel Rogers.
‘Friday, August 18th, 1815.

‘Dear Rogers,—A thousand thanks for your beautiful verses, which call before my eyes our agreeable travels. The Lakes of Geneva and Lucerne are strongly and justly contrasted. The first naturally cheerful and surrounded by animated cultivation, or by places distinguished as the residence of men of talent. The second tremendously sublime—a fit scene for heroic virtue. I know not whether the Lake of Lucerne might not be characterised still more clearly, or, to speak more truly, whether its characteristic feature might not be more brought out. What morally distinguishes the Lake of Uri from most, if not all, other spots on the globe, is that it is perhaps the only place where the whole inhabitants, without excepting the most simple and least instructed, contemplate the scenes of the noble acts of their forefathers in far-distant times with a reverence which study, in most places, teaches the best very
imperfectly to feel and sometimes to feign. Fields of battle are, indeed, in many countries interesting to the vulgar, but mere acts of patriotic virtue have not rendered any spot mother countries the object of permanent popular veneration. I fear it could scarcely have happened in a Protestant country. A religion which tolerates hero worship was necessary to perpetuate the sanctity of
Tell’s Chapel. Travellers from the Isles of the Ocean come to announce to the people of Thessaly that the beach of Thermopylæ differs from other portions of their coast. Not many of the neighbouring inhabitants know what was done on Runnymede, and very few indeed pass over it with unaffected feeling. The inhabitants of Altdorf and Gersau look on the Chapel of Tell with probably stronger feelings than their ancestors who saw it rise from the ground.

‘In countries of industry and wealth the stream of events sweeps away these old remembrances. The solitude of the Alps is a sanctuary destined for the monuments of ancient virtue. Here all is quiet and unchanged. Six centuries have passed away unmarked by any events but three or four pure victories which guarded from profanation the temples of the patriots, and rooted still more deeply the devotion to their memory.

‘Excuse this talk, and believe me, dear Rogers,

‘Very truly yours,
J. Mackintosh.’

Immediately on his return from Italy Rogers had been in correspondence with Coleridge, who was then living at Calne. Coleridge had long got over his antipathy
to Rogers, if it was ever any more than a passing feeling due to low spirits. He had been at Rogers’s house, and one morning, breakfasting there with
Hookham Frere, he talked for three hours on poetry, while Rogers and Frere sat spell-bound, and when he had done ‘thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear.’ The correspondence in this spring was about some literary undertaking. Coleridge wrote to Rogers, who replied, and then Coleridge wrote again.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Samuel Rogers.
‘Calne, Wilts.

‘Dear Sir,—I rejoice that you have returned in safety, “lætis quam lætus amicis,” and after having seen what no poet or philosopher can have seen in vain—the Benedictine Church of San Paolo fuori del Porto,1 the Moses of M. Angelo, his prophets, sibyls, and the central picture in the Sistine Chapel, and (I hope that I may add) that rude but marvellous pre-existence of his genius in the Triumph of Death and its brother frescoes in the Cemetery at Pisa. This, and the Moses, were deeply interesting to me, the one as the first and stately upgrowth of painting out of the very heart of Christendom, underived from the ancients, and having a life of its own in the spirit of that revolution of which Christianity was effect, means, and symbol; the other, the same phenomenon in statuary, but unfollowed and unique (for there is no analogy to it in the unhappy attempt at picture petrifactions by Bernini, in whom a great genius was bewildered and lost by excess of fancy over imagination,

1 This is commonly called ‘San Paolo fuori le Mura.’

the aggregative over the unifying faculty). Were I forced into exile, or if, without a perforce, I could take with me those whom I most love and regard, I should wish to pass my summers at Zurich, and the remaining eight months alternately at Rome and in Florence, so to join as much as I could German depth, Swiss ingenuity, and the ideal genius of Italy; that, at least, which we cannot help thinking, almost feeling, to be still there, be it but as the spirit of one departed hovering over his own tomb, the haunting breeze of his own august, desolate mausoleum. For it is scarce possible to live over again in such thoughts and express oneself in the language of one’s ordinary feelings.

‘I feel, and shall ever retain, a grateful acknowledgment of your great kindness in replying to my letter so quickly after your return, and when both your thoughts and time must be so much occupied. I am still most desirous to undertake the translation either of Cervantes or of Boccaccio’s works, the Don Quixote and Decameron excepted, and want no other encouragement than a settled promise from some respectable publisher, such as Mr. Cadell, that he will purchase the manuscript when it is ready for the press. Cervantes will, with the Life and Critical Essay, form three large octavo volumes, each of which will form an entire work. I am about to send a volume of MS. poems in the course of a few weeks to Lord Byron, to whom I was encouraged by Mr. Bowles to write, and from whom I received a no less kind than condescending answer. I trust that they will appear to him not likely to disgrace any recommendation from him.

Mr. Bowles leaves Bremhill on Monday next for
town. The being so near him has been a source of constant gratification to me. He has an improved edition of his “
Missionary” in the press, and a volume of sermons worthy of a calm-minded clergyman, and which will, I trust, contribute to counteract the poison of Fanaticism, by way of preventive antidote; for the already diseased are incurable. We cannot expect that a man should attend to the reason of another, the pride of whose faith is to contradict and abjure his own.

‘Should you find an opportunity to speak to Mr. Cadell, I should be only so far solicitous about the terms as that they should not be humiliatingly low in proportion to the labour and effort. With unfeigned regard, I remain, dear Sir,

‘Your obliged and grateful
S. T. Coleridge.
‘May, 1815, Thursday (postmark, 26 May).’

The next letter tells its own story.

Uvedale Price to Samuel Rogers.
Foxley: June 17th, 1815.

‘My dear Sir,—I have often thought of you, often wished to hear of you, and still more to hear from you, but till within these few days (such is the profound ignorance in which we are buried here) I did not know that you were in England. I particularly desired my son to inquire about you, and I was very glad to hear from him that you had escaped all perils and dangers and were returned sano e salvo. The last letter I had from you was dated Venice; and in that, which gave me
a great desire to receive more of them, you expressed a wish to hear from me again at Florence or Rome. What became of the letter I wrote almost immediately in consequence I know not; but I should be very sorry you should think I had neglected thanking you for the very pleasant one I had received, or giving myself some claim to others of the same kind. I can bring witnesses, if necessary, that I did fill a single letter as full as it could hold, and directed as you desired. I beg, however, to be understood that all this is meant to justify myself from the charge of neglect, not to accuse you. A letter of yours from Rome or Naples would have been highly interesting, and in truth we were all most anxious to receive one. If your conscience tells you that you ought to have written it, there is but one way of making us amends for the disappointment; that is, by coming here, not merely for a day or two, this summer, and telling us vivâ voce the whole history of your travels and adventures dal alto a basso. If you do this I acknowledge that the amends will be ample, and I beg we may have it soon under your own hand, that nothing shall prevent you coming in the course of the summer or the autumn to this place, where, by the by, I have been doing a good deal in my little way, and flatter myself that I have some interesting things to show you.

‘You may, perhaps, remember, though it is a long time ago, that when you set off on your tour you carried a little MS. of mine with you to Paris and then sent it to Dr. Burney. If he received it and did read it he probably thought no more of the paper or its contents, and has now forgot every circumstance about it. It is
just possible, however, that he may remember something of it and of what occurred to him at the time. Any remarks of his would be very valuable, and if it would not be giving you too much additional trouble about such a trifle, you will, perhaps, have the kindness to find out whether he ever did receive the paper and whether he recollects anything about it.

‘I must now end this letter, et pour cause ; about two months ago I received a very severe blow on one of my eyes, unfortunately the best and strongest of the two, which has very much impaired the sight of it. On stating my case to Sir William Adams he said that such accidents generally bring on a cataract. Dii meliora ; as the eye is not only dim but weak, I must leave off. Lady Caroline and my daughter desire to be kindly remembered to you. They depend upon seeing you here.

‘Most truly yours,
U. Price.’

There is a letter from another interesting person, who had made a great reputation as a critic and as a pleasing writer of poetry some years before.1

Rev. William Lisle Bowles to Samuel Rogers.
‘Bremhill: June 21st, 1815.

‘My dear Rogers,—Lawyer Williams, the barrister, a friend of Horner’s, has been here, since I came home,

1 Bowles published his Fourteen Sonnets in 1789. The Spirit of Discovery was issued in 1804. His edition of Pope, which created great controversy, appeared in 1807.

and has excited some anxiety in my mind by saying that, according to strict etiquette, I should not have said in my dedication “My dear Lord,” but only “My Lord.” I am sorry if I have done wrong; you will witness for me it was unintentional, as it was my common mode of address, and I thought to have done otherwise would have appeared affected formality; but he seems to think that, what might be proper in private, might not be so before the public.

‘Had I, contrary to my general usage, addressed Lord Lansdowne as “My Lord,” it might also appear that I spoke as less independent than I have always been, and always shall be. Dallaway ought to have addressed the Duke of Norfolk, or Crabbe his patron, the Duke of Rutland, so,—but I have no patron, nor want one, though I never forget the most trifling kindness I have ever received in the common intercourse of life; and I do not see, in my situation, why I should use a different language in public, from that which I use in private, to any man living: at the same time there is no one who would less willingly violate the common etiquette of cultivated society.

‘Your good-nature will, if I have done wrong, put the thing in such a light that no offence can be taken; indeed, I know it contrary to the nature of so noble a mind to take any.

‘I wrote some verses, in the midst of the lame and blind men at Greenwich, which I sent Lady Beaumont, as I thought them something in the way of the Father of the Lake Poets (what blasphemy! her Ladyship will say). I brought you in, I think, happily enough—

‘And He, to whom sad Memory gave her shell,
And bade him tones of sweetest music swell,
Was with us.

‘As I was struck with the circumstance of the blind man and the bird, just as it happened, I am pleased with the verses, but shall put them in my little hymn book.

‘Remember me to all at Highbury Terrace, and I hope to dine there another Sunday, and I wish I could see the same party to dine some Sunday here.

‘So no more from your’s ever,

W. L. B.

‘Do write to me and tell me what I am to think of the public news—écrivez. You will seriously oblige me if you will let me know whether all is right about the Dedication, and, if you have had time to look over my corrections and additions, I shall find it an additional favour if you will give me your opinion with respect to the conception and execution of what has been added to the “Missionary1 . . .’

Two entries in a diary and a letter to his sister show how Rogers spent a summer holiday this year.

July, 1815.—At Lady Hardwicke’s, Tunbridge Wells. “My sister Anne wrote ‘Auld Robin Gray’ into the album at Dalkeith; and somebody, on a public day there, tearing out several of the leaves, upon one of which it had been written, it became known. She had no idea

1 The Missionary of the Andes, published in 1815.

when she wrote it of ever making it public. An old Laird, a friend of ours, pronounced it instantly modern, from the use of the words ‘a crown’ and ‘a pound,’ a Scotch pound having been but tenpence of our money. I wish he had lived to know it was my sister’s. It is always sung incorrectly—‘but a kiss’ should be ‘but one kiss.’”—Lady Hardwicke.

August 7, 1815.—Met Glover, son of the author of “Leonidas,” in St. James’s Street. “Did Brydone go up Etna?” “I saw him at the top.” “Did you see the prospect he describes?” “We could not see an inch for the mist.” “Why was it said he did not go up?” “The fellow had provoked many by his book. They said so to vex him.”—S. R.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Westfield, Hyde: Friday, six a.m.!! (? 1815).

‘My dear Sarah,—I hope you had no cross accidents in your way to Wassall—that you met with no armies, no refractory mules or muleteers, no Irish Bishops, and are now enjoying fine weather in a beautiful country with everybody well and happy about you. As for me, I performed my journey almost all the way alone, and, passing through Portsdown Fair, the gayest scene in the world, had a beautiful sail to this island in the packet for one shilling! Lord S[pencer]’s house is deliciously seated on a green lawn among flowers and flowering shrubs, and looking over a grove of trees to a sea so blue and smooth, and so full of sails of all sizes and colours in perpetual motion, that one does not know which way to
look. I walk to Binstead churchyard in five minutes, and there, in Quarr woods and about Quarr Abbey, I generally pass the best part of the morning, if I don’t wander through the grounds of St. John’s (Captain Hutt’s and
Mr. Simeon’s), which are still as lovely as ever. The Star Inn is just as we left it; whether our indefatigable attendant is there still, and still talking of Mrs. Clarke, I don’t know. Lord Spencer passes most of his mornings in his sailing vessel, but I have hitherto resisted all his kind invitations, though the sea is like glass; but to-day I mean to venture, as it is my last day, and I wish to board a ship of the line once in my life. I found Lyttelton and Lady Sarah here. Lyttelton left us yesterday in the “Northumberland,” the Captain, C., being an old friend of his, and having a very natural wish to see, if he can, the man no less attractive, though less accessible, than Gulliver himself. The ship left us last night and dropt down to St. Helen’s on her way to Plymouth, having taken in six months’ stores and provisions, as Lord Spencer discovered at breakfast the other morning. . . . As we are seldom without an admiral at dinner we learn every way. The other day Captain Usher dined with us who had conveyed Bonaparte to Elba. He is a very interesting man, and was once so bitter against him as to be laughed at by all the Service in the Mediterranean. His cabin was covered with all his caricatures; nor were they removed, as he told me, when B. came into it. U. is now as violent in his favour, and of course has lost his ship. Lyttelton goes directly from Plymouth to his constituents at Worcester, so perhaps you will hear all about his expedition. To-
morrow I go with great regret, but, as I shall not stir again for a little while, I mean to console myself now and then with a good sleep at Highbury. . . .

S. R.

‘P.S. I have had a letter from Du Cane. He is delighted with the purchase of the marble, and speaks of you and his journey with you from the Maschero in a way to make me like him. He goes again to Italy in a few weeks, and asks if you have any commissions for Rome or Naples!’

Richard Sharp writes from Paris, whither the English were again flocking when Waterloo had brought lasting peace—

Richard Sharp to Samuel Rogers.
‘Paris: Wednesday, 23rd August, 1815.

‘My dear Friend,—You said something about visiting Paris in October, and I therefore cannot help informing you that a few days ago I saw sixty pictures of the Dutch School taken away, and a hundred and sixty-five more have since been removed. Yesterday I actually saw two noble statues removed under the direction of a Prussian officer and a superintendent of the gallery. Denon told me yesterday that his heart was broken. It is generally understood that the Emperor of Austria claims all the pictures and statues belonging to his Italian states; and that the Pope has sent a minister to demand his. Ministers are here from all parts of Europe to require
restitution. By accident the noble Spanish Raphaels are here.
Joseph Bonaparte sent them to be cleaned. The gentleman at whose house we saw them says that the King of Spain has ordered them back, but that they are to be cleaned first. Such pictures I never saw. They realise one’s notions of the pictures of Apelles. They are called “Lo Spasimo,” the “Madonna del pesche,” and “The Pearl” and “The Salutation.” The tendency of this information and the motive you cannot but see, yet I must fairly add that the diligences to Amiens and to Calais have lately been robbed, and I shall not venture to travel by night.

‘It is impossible to give you the faintest conception of the scene now passing before our eyes. Montmartre fortified by the English, who exclude all French from their lines. Three of our regiments encamped in the Champs Elysées. Rufflius, the Prussian Governor of Paris, and Prince Schwartzenberg, live in hotels surrounded by troops. So do the Emperors of Russia and Austria—at Wellington’s door are only two sentinels.


‘Ever yours affectionately,
R. Sharp.

‘P.S. I am hourly annoyed by English invitations. You would be covered by cards and notes.’

In the middle of September Rogers followed the universal example and went over to Paris. A letter to his sister is the only record of the journey.

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
Paris: Oct. 14th, 1815.

‘My dear Sarah,—I wish you had seen the “Pie Voleuse” with us. It was for the ninetieth time, and, though in a little theatre on the Boulevard, charmingly acted throughout. Palaiseau is a mountain village, and given to the life—the headdresses, I confess, from their extravagance, disturbed me. Little Annette’s cap of white crape resembled at a little distance a plume of feathers. I have seen Mlle. Mars many times with great delight, and Talma, though the life is a little laborious, as I am obliged to read Play and Entertainment before I go (a work of three hours at least) or I don’t understand a word they say. The best dancer at the opera—the best, they say, they ever had—is a Mlle. Goselin; she is very young and one of a large family. When Talma acts the orchestra is full, and the music sent off. I begin rather to like the French tragedy. Talma plays for his benefit next Thursday “Hamlet” and “Shakespeare Amoureux.” The lady, some Warwickshire beauty of course, is to be performed by Mlle. Mars. I was enrhumé for many days last week, but the situation of the hotel consoled me a little for the confinement, as from my windows I see the whole of the palace, and the gardens full of orange trees, and statues, and idlers, and newspaper readers. I wish so much that we had lodged there last year. To dine at Very’s we only cross the street. The King goes out every day. If you remember, there were two carriages. The last is always empty and follows in case of accident. I suppose some king of France once broke down and
had to return on foot.
Du Cane had left Paris before I came, I suppose for Italy. When we had been here seven or eight days, who should walk into our room before breakfast but Millingen! He had been detained by illness and had seen B. at a distance in the street. He set off two hours afterwards. I mentioned your regret at missing him. The Conynghams and Lord Ebrington are at Geneva. Stuart is here from Italy; he saw the last of poor Eustace and was at Genoa when Lady Jane died. The Duchess comes home immediately. The Philipses and Dr. H. removed to our hotel and left us ten days ago, returning by Holland. Jeffrey, the Edinburgh Reviewer, succeeded them, and we have generally dined together.1 As to the English world, I have seen nothing of it. Once I was asked to a ball, but I did not go, and have called on nobody. Lawrence dined with us once at Beauvillier’s and walked afterwards in the Palais Royal. Lord Stuart gave him a horse, and he lived upon it. I wonder whether he ever rode before. The Emperor of Russia promised to sit to him, but never did. I think there are more men here without a leg or an arm than I ever saw anywhere. At a dance (bal paré) on the boulevard last night (where were more fireworks and a conjuror, and all for two livres) a Frenchman quadrilled and waltzed on a wooden leg with an agility and neatness of execution such as I have not often seen on a natural one. We had a fine day for St. Cloud, but saw only half the house, Blucher having rummaged the

1 Jeffrey says to Moore, ‘I was lucky far beyond my deservings in meeting with Sam Rogers at Paris, and we had great comfort in talking of you.’—Life, vol. ii., p. 102.

library, and the
Duchess of Angoulême, who visits the chateau almost every day, being there. I met Lord Mountmorres and his wife and daughter there. Our old friends the concierge and the gardener are gone. In our way we passed, as you know, through the Bois de Boulogne, full of English tents and just like a fair—many French with wares and eatables having established their stalls among them—and I am sorry to say that the axe is very busy in our hands. Last Sunday we were at Versailles, the gardens were gay and full of people, the palace still unfurnished, and I don’t think you lost much. With regard to the gallery, a subject I don’t like to begin upon, it is now only full of picture frames and pedestals, and the swallows are literally on the wing there. Every marble of note, except the Borghese Vase and the fighting gladiator, are gone, and every picture, except a small Correggio and Titian. Much difficulty and many repulses we found, while they were removing—even from our own soldiers, to whom our officers often gave instructions to admit only officers—but now all is thrown open and the French have full leave to contemplate the wreck, a leave none of the better sort avail themselves of. The French are said to show no feeling; but the melancholy groups assembled for some days before the Venetian horses—till our engineers took them down (for the Austrians did not know how)—and those afterwards round the column with the same sad presentiment, would have affected you not a little. The English are very unpopular, a caricature is in circulation of Wellington with large moustaches and a stern countenance, under-written “M. Blucher,” and it is everywhere said
that our officers in the gallery presented their ladies publicly with small Correggios and
Raphaels, a tale we contradict to no purpose. Denon has resigned, and, when I called upon him the other day, I found him in a condition that overcame me. I saw Canova out in the open street with the “Transfiguration,” the “St. Jerome” of Domenichino, and two other Raphaels, half supported in the dirt, and at a loss how to marshal the Austrian soldiers who were to transport them on their heads, uncovered, to the barrack, where I have been two or three times, and which is a terrible scene of confusion.

‘The horses went by our windows, one by one, in as many carts, uncovered, like dead horses, and the people stood at the doors to see them pass by. It is very strange to see an English guard in the Palais Royal and English soldiers strolling in every street. One poor fellow in a jacket accosted me the other day in a Babylonish dialect perfectly unintelligible; at last I said in despair, “Are you an Englishman?” “Thank God, I am, Sir,” he answered very briskly. We dine sometimes at Beauvillier’s, sometimes at Very’s. The first gives far the best dinner and we always see many ladies there—French and English. Why was not it so when we were there? One day when we were there, Lady Caroline Lamb came in alone. I wish Henry had come. We could have lodged him well. It was indeed a cruel thing to come in as Stothard went out. I am glad to hear from Patty (pray thank her for her kind letter—I have just received it) that you have taken possession of your alabasters.

‘Our month is out next Tuesday, and I hope to set
out on that day. In that case we shall be in town probably early in the next week, but don’t expect me till you see me.

‘I have not seen Miss Williams yet. I have called and written and have been asked to a party where I could not go. Mosbourg called and paid me a long visit. My love to Henry and Patty, and all at Highbury and at Newington.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘P.S. You remember the avenue by which we entered Paris from Neuilly and St. Germains? The English, men and ladies, and many French ladies, ride up and down there as in Hyde Park every afternoon.

‘I have taken our catalogues from the Wagram Hotel, now removed to another street. The moment I mentioned them, our landlord pointed to them on the table tied up as we had left them. The Spanish Raphaels, so celebrated, are now in the picture gallery we saw opposite our hotel.

‘One of the Lees from Highbury is here—the only one I know. I spent a beautiful morning at Malmaison yesterday. The Emperor of Russia has bought Canova’s marbles, and they are gone with many pictures. The conservatory is the prettiest I ever saw. Mr. Davis from Mark Lane is here. He lost all the gallery. Lord Wellington reviews all the troops to-day under Montmartre—we are going to see them.

‘The Chambers are so violent as to alarm even the Court. M. de Richelieu, the Minister, went down, and in
the House of Peers remonstrated against their recommendation of further measures of punishment, but without success.’

The following letters to Richard Sharp illustrate the character of Rogers.

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
‘Jan. 11, 1816.

‘My dear Friend,—To-morrow I am to exhibit a Twelfth Cake, and an electrical machine, and if you and your little ward are inclined to come and make a little noise with us, I cannot say how happy you will make us. Jekyll and his boys will not fail at half-past five, when our tea-table rites will be beginning. Oh, the evil hour in which you and I removed from Lilliput to Brobdingnag; but we may still visit the first now and then as aliens and foreigners.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.’

This was a yearly custom. An esteemed octogenarian friend, whom I have before mentioned, tells me that one of her most vivid early recollections is of one of these Twelfth Night parties at Rogers’s house, some years earlier than the one mentioned in the above letter. The beautiful rooms, she says, were all opened, and on the table in the centre of one of the rooms was a splendid ice-cake, half of which was made of wood. The children drew characters, and this little girl, being the youngest, was made Queen of Twelfth Night. She remembers sitting in State on a sofa of crimson silk, and the King,
Martin Shee, sat by her. Mr. Rogers came up to her and dropped on one knee and kissed her hand, he was followed by Tom Moore, Lord Byron, ‘Conversation’ Sharp, Boddington, and others. Mr. Rogers then amused the children by conjuring. More than thirty years after this, Crabb Robinson, mentioning Rogers in a letter to a friend, says, ‘Rogers loves children, and is fond of the society of young people.’ ‘When I am old and bedridden,’ he says, ‘I shall be read to by young people—Walter Scott’s novels perhaps.’ His living relations bear the same testimony; and there are scores of letters among his papers from ladies of title full of the most affectionate regard arising out of his kindness to them when they were children.

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp. [Jan. 16, 1816.]

‘My dear Friend,—Inclosed is the draft. Pray use it as you please.

‘Ever yours,
Saml. Rogers.

‘Ten o’clock.—I am just returned from “Romeo and Juliet.” At Verona I could think of nothing else through the night. A strange romantic melancholy hung over me there, such as we remember to have felt at sixteen.

‘In a Convent Garden they showed us Juliet’s coffin—the spiracle through which she breathed, and the niche in which her lamp stood burning. I looked at it, as you will believe, with the eye of Faith.’