LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.

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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Lines on the Temple at Woburn—Luttrell’s lines on Rogers’s Seat—Lord Holland’s Pamphlet—His ‘Dream’ of University Extension—Sketch of a Poem—Moore and Rogers at Bowood—Stories of Sheridan—Rogers to Mrs. Greg—Sonnet by Lord Holland—Moore and Rogers—Crabbe and his Publisher—Rogers’s ‘Human Life’—Don Juan on Rogers—Offers of Help to Moore—Letter from Crabbe—Rogers out of Politics—Two Generations of Literary Talk.

Moore’s Diary begins in August, 1818, and from that time forward Rogers’s life is almost written in it. The first mention of him is in September, 1818, when Moore says that Rogers has made a paraphrase, in blank verse, of two lines from Pindar, for an inscription on the Temple of the Graces which the Duke of Bedford is building at Woburn. These are the lines—

Approach with reverence. There are those within
Whose dwelling place is Heaven. Daughters of Jove,
From them flow all the decencies of life;
Without them nothing pleases. Virtue’s self
Admired, not loved; and those on whom they smile,
Great though they be, and wise and beautiful,
Shine forth with double lustre.

It was the custom in those days to put up inscriptions of this kind. I have already given the lines placed by Lord Holland on the summer-house in the garden of
Holland House called
Rogers’s seat. On the same building there were some verses by Luttrell, which, many years later, he showed to Macaulay, adjuring him, with mock pathos, to spare his blushes. Macaulay read the lines and speaks of them as very pretty and polished, but too many to be remembered from one reading. They are preserved in MS. probably as Luttrell sent them to Rogers—

How charmed is the eye which in summer reposes
On this haunt of the poet o’ershadowed with roses.
I’ll in and be seated, to try, if thus placed,
I can catch but one spark of his feeling and taste;
Can steal a sweet note from his musical strain,
Or a ray of his genius to kindle my brain.
Well—now I am fairly installed in the bower,
How lovely the scene, how propitious the hour.
The breeze is perfumed from the hawthorn it stirs,
All is silent around us, but nothing occurs.
Not a thought, I protest, though I’m here and alone,
Not a line can I hit on that Rogers would own,
Though my senses are raptured, my feelings in tune,
And Holland’s my host, and the season is June.
Enough of my trial; nor garden, nor grove,
Though poets amidst them may linger or rove;
Not a seat e’en so hallowed as this can impart
The fancy and fire that must spring from the heart.
So I rise, since the Muses continue to frown,
No more of a poet than when I sat down;
While Rogers, on whom they look kindly, can strike
Their lyre at all times and all places alike.1
H. L.
June 2, 1818.

1 There are some slight differences between the lines as given in the MS. and the actual inscription at Holland House. The poem begins—as there inscribed—


Rogers puts on record an inscription written on a pane of glass in a dressing-room at Holland House by J. H. Frere

May neither fire destroy nor waste impair,
Nor time consume thee to the twentieth heir;
May Taste respect thee, and may Fashion spare.

In the year 1818 Lord Holland printed a small pamphlet, for private circulation, entitled, ‘A Dream; addressed to Samuel Rogers.’ A copy of this pamphlet was in Rogers’s library;1 and the original manuscript is among the papers he has left. It is a very striking production, and, more than anything of Lord Holland’s that has yet been given to the world, shows how far his views on many subjects were in advance of his time. The dream takes him first ‘to the spacious apartments of an old castle, and into the presence of a person whose name, since he is still alive, shall be sacred.’ He is surprised to find this person’s condition infinitely less dismal than waking fancy had often painted it. ‘Courtesy and good nature (for I am afraid it was not loyalty, and I am sure it was not hypocrisy) prompted me to inquire, with unusual earnestness, about all that related to his treatment, his welfare, and his feelings in
‘How happily sheltered is he who reposes
In this haunt of the poet o’ershadowed with roses,
While the sun is rejoicing, unclouded, on high,
And summer’s full majesty reigns in the sky.
Let me in and be seated. I’ll try if thus placed,’ &c.

In the thirteenth line, ‘ravished’ is put instead of ‘raptured,’ and the fifteenth begins, ‘The trial is ended.’

‘In the catalogue of the sale in 1856, is (Lot 313), ‘Dream, A, by Lord Holland, addressed to S. Rogers. Privately printed, morocco, large paper, 1818.’ It was bought by the late Lord Holland for 18s.

a situation so different from that in which he has spent the largest part of a very long life. . . . He frankly told me he had never been so happy. . . . He added that, old as he was, and versed as he had been in the great affairs of the world, he had derived more instruction from the short intercourse of a few months with persons now no more than he had collected from the conferences of ministers, the deliberations of councils, the documents of State, or the correspondence with courts for the space of more than fifty years.’ To this intercourse with the Immortals the Dreamer was admitted, that he might write down an outline of their talk. The subject for conversation was to be a certain hundred thousand pounds a-year, which his introducer said he desired to bequeath ‘in a way creditable to his memory and useful to the world.’ Then, adds the Dreamer, ‘taking me by the arm, and nodding and whispering to me most significantly, he opened a door into a large apartment, where I perceived several persons sitting in easy and unconstrained postures, and whom I immediately recognised (though I cannot recollect how or why, for I am but an unobservant handler of old prints) to be no less important personages than
Sir Thomas More, Cardinal Pole, Lord Burghley, Lord Bacon, Lord Clarendon, Mr. Milton, Mr. Cowley, Sir William Temple, Lord Shaftesbury (author of the “Characteristicks”), Mr. Locke, Lord Somers, Bishop Berkeley, and Mr. Addison.’ Sir Isaac Newton had just left the room. The conversation which follows is long and interesting. After a remark from Cowley on the new conditions which make authors no longer dependent upon patrons, Addison points out some
of the disadvantages which arise from the new state of things. ‘The novelty which diverts for the moment is nobly, we will not say extravagantly, encouraged, while genius, when labouring to improve the taste and morals of mankind, is often neglected, or at least somewhat tardily rewarded. Besides, this new and gigantic
Mæcenas, if he has the bulk, has also the stomach of a Leviathan. I will not say his appetite is coarse, but it is exceedingly voracious. There is, therefore, reason to fear that those who study his palate with a view to their own profit rather than to his health will pay more attention to the quantity than to the quality of viands with which they supply his never-ceasing demand.’ Hence, without interfering with the consumption of paper or the harvests of Grub Street, he would like ‘to place, in point of fortune as well as consideration, the devoted sons of permanent fame (and here he looked at John Milton) more nearly upon a level with those who are so amply remunerated for gratifying contemporary caprice and curiosity. Long and laborious endeavours may be cherished by the judicious encouragement of the State, and the lovers of temporary celebrity, like gaudy insects in the sunshine, be left, nevertheless, to enjoy unmolested the transient but enlivening munificence which has kindled them into existence.’ The conversation thus begun leads up to the suggestion for the establishment of a Literary Academy, to which 20,000l. a year is to be allotted. Then the voices take a higher range, and the advancement of knowledge, and the improvement and extension of education are discussed, ‘and the influence which efforts directed to this end might have in consolidating
the strength, concentrating the talent, and uniting the hearts of our countrymen, and thereby exalting the name of Great Britain among the nations of the earth.’ In the conversation which follows, the Dreamer is struck with the cordial agreement of the extraordinary personages before him. ‘The enthusiasm of Sir Thomas More, of Milton and Bishop Berkeley, was directed to a common object; Cardinal Pole, Mr. Locke, and Lord Shaftesbury concurred in the necessity of rendering education subservient to the ends of religious freedom and national union.’ Sir William Temple at length produces a scheme by which England is to establish a great and universal system of education, with the object of preserving, ‘by means of colleges, academies, schools, and universities in various parts of her dominions, English habits of thinking, English manners, and English language.’ Three great universities, with dependencies of schools, military and naval academies, lecturing and travelling professorships, museums, libraries and observatories, are to be established in three distinct quarters of the globe, within the jurisdiction of the throne of Great Britain. One is to be in Canada or the West Indies, another at Fort William in the East, and the third at Malta, Gibraltar, or some possession in the Mediterranean. They are to be intimately connected with one another as well as with the establishments of Marlow and Hertford, the colleges of Eton, Westminster, Winchester, and Maynooth, and the universities of Dublin, Edinburgh, Oxford, and Cambridge. There is to be absolute religious freedom. In the university at Malta, which is first to be established, there
are to be four Christian churches, a mosque, and a synagogue. The scheme of the Maltese University is worked out into minute details; but the Dreamer wakes before the conversation is finished.

This is but a meagre outline of an idea of University Extension sketched by the great Whig potentate for the amusement of his friend. Of course, it was not a serious proposal, and it is only of value as indicating the views and feelings entertained at Holland House before the great war against Napoleon had reached its close. The moral is—‘How many Maltese universities would the expenses of a single campaign have endowed? What knowledge might not be purchased, what genius might not have been rewarded with a sum equal to the cost of some senseless and tedious festival, some fantastic and unprofitable building.’ The fantastic and unprofitable building was then still growing at Brighton, where the dream was dreamed. At breakfast the Dreamer felt that the unsubstantial pageant belonged only to the world of dreams. The sent1ments the talk of the Immortals had raised in his mind seemed ‘trite, sickly, and impracticable morality,’ and when he took up the newspaper, ‘I smiled,’ he says, ‘though I yawned at reading a long debate on the excesses of expenditure in the Master of the Horse and the Lord Chamberlain’s departments.’ The manuscript was sent to Rogers, after some delay, with the following letter.

Lord Holland to Samuel Rogers.

‘Dear Rogers,—I send you my promised letter under a cover to Colonel Bunbury, who will transmit it to you. It was, indeed, necessary to convey it gratis; at least, it
would have been unpardonable to make you pay for such nonsense. As it is, my presumption is not small in submitting so crude a rhapsody to you, who, with a fertile invention, have the good sense of subjecting it always to the control of a severe judgment and a correct taste, but qu’yfaire, when one is full of a thing, one must write it, and when one has written it, one must show it within twenty-four hours or not at all. I had promised you the dissertation. If I keep it till to-morrow I shall never let you see it, and up to this time I am under the illusion of thinking it all perfection.

‘I have no other copy of it, so pray preserve the precious MS., as I should like to shew it to my uncle Ossory and my sister.

Vassall Holland.’

Rogers read and approved. It was a prose poem, and he could only suggest that it should be shortened. Lord Holland replied—

Lord Holland to Samuel Rogers.

‘Dear Rogers,—Your long-expected letter arrived this morning and has lost nothing of its sweetness on the road. Praise is delightful, and I hope it is good for me. I like your notion of compression much. The whole thing is too long, and that, if there were not other objections, would form a strong one against any previous description of the individuals. Let me have my MS., for I have no copy and wish much to show it to my uncle Ossory, and if possible, to compress it. Mark the parts you think susceptible of compression with a pencil,
—you shall have it back again, if you wish it, the moment I have taken a copy.

Vassall Holland.’

There was much correspondence with Richard Sharp on Rogers’s forthcoming poem. As with his earlier writings, so with this, many of the lines were subjected to critical discussion and revision. The idea in the following letter may have been suggested by Wordsworth’s most exquisite poem.

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
[May, 1818.]

‘My dear Friend,—What would you say, and what would Wordsworth say, if I throw what follows into verse? Perhaps you would not recommend it. Besides, the thought is yours, and to be twice stolen is a fate reserved only for the bronze horses of Lysippus.

‘When first we come, a light divine is on all Nature—on earth, and sea, and sky; but, like the Bologna-stone in the dark, we shed it all ourselves. It came with us; it issues from us; and soon, like that stone of lustre, we shed it no longer. It grows fainter and fainter, and at last it dies. Where we imbibed it, we know not. We did not find it here; and when it goes, nothing, nothing can bring it back again. It goes, leaving us to all the flat realities of this life; and nothing can supply its place but the opening gleams of a better.

‘S. R.

‘If you don’t mean to use it yourself, perhaps you will help me a little.’


A further letter recalls an old matter of anxiety—

Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.

‘My dear Friend,—It is now twenty years since we discussed together in Norbury Park the subject of “Columbus and the Spirits” and its merits as a poetical subject. Now, may I ask you what you would have said then, and what you have now to say, in answer to an objection which has been triumphantly brought against it, and which Mackintosh seems to admit to be unanswerable—the impropriety of blending truth and fiction together, when the real circumstances are so recent and so well known?

‘Perhaps you would rather state your sentiments in conversation than in writing. If so, and you can eat a cutlet with me at six o’clock any day this week, I shall be very happy to see you.

‘I have drawn up a short answer, with which I mean to let the subject rest for ever, but I am not quite satisfied with it.

‘Yours ever,
Samuel Rogers.
‘St. James’s Place: Monday [Aug. 17, 1818].

Moore’s Diary continues—

October 18, 1818.—As the morning was fine, set out to Bowood to see Rogers; caught him in the garden on the way to Bowles’s; walked with him; talked much about Sheridan. . . Sheridan once told Rogers of a scene that
occurred in a French theatre in 1772, where two French officers stared a good deal at his wife, and S., not knowing a word of French, could do nothing but put his arms a-kimbo and look bluff and defying at them, which they, not knowing a word of English, could only reply to by the very same attitude and look. He once mentioned to Rogers that he was aware he ought to have made a love scene between Charles and Maria in the “
School for Scandal” and would have done it but that the actors who played the parts were not able to do such a scene justice. Talked of Hastings and the impeachment; asked Rogers whether it was not now looked upon even by the Opposition themselves as a sort of dramatic piece of display, got up by the Whigs of that day from private pique, vanity, &c., &c.,—Francis first urging them on from his hostility to Hastings; Burke running headlong into it from impetuosity of temper; and Sheridan seizing with avidity the first great opportunity that offered of showing off his talent. He said it was so considered now, and in addition to all this, Mr. Pitt gave in to the prosecution with much satisfaction, because it turned away the embattled talent of the time from himself and his measures, and concentrated it all against one individual whom he was most happy to sacrifice, so he could thereby keep them employed. . . . Sat with Rogers in his room till dinner. Told me that Beckford (the Beckford) is delighted with “Lalla Rookh.” Heard so from Beckford himself when I met him at Rogers’s in the spring. Beckford wishes me to go to Fonthill with R., anxious that I should look over his “Travels” (which were printed some years ago but afterwards suppressed by him) and prepare
them for the press. Rogers supposes he would give me something magnificent—a thousand pounds, perhaps; but if he were to give me a hundred times that sum I would not have my name coupled with his. . . . Rogers asked me whether the “Parody on Horace,” lately in the “
Chronicle,” was mine; said how Luttrell was delighted with it at Ampthill and pronounced it to be mine, reading it out to Lords Jersey and Duncannon, who were also much pleased with it. Told me also that he had heard the verses to Sir Hudson Lowe praised at Brookes’s.

‘19th.—Had promised Rogers, who was coming to me this morning, to meet him half-way. Mrs. Phipps, upon whom I called as I went, came out with me in order to get a glimpse of “Memory Rogers.” He and I walked to my cottage, much delighted with the scenery around; said he preferred the valley and village before us to the laid-out grounds of Bowood. Shewed him some of my Sheridan papers. He mentioned “Memoirs of Jackson, of Exeter,” written by himself, which he saw in MS. some years ago, and in which he remembered there was a most glowing description of his pupil, Miss Linley, standing singing by his side, and so beautiful “you might think you were looking into the face of an angel.”

‘20th.—. . . Looked over Rogers’s poem and marked some lines with pencil. . . . Rogers thinks I must not give extracts from Mr. T. Grenville’s letters, he being still living.

‘21st.—. . . Walked to meet Rogers, who said he

1 Rogers had recorded in his Commonplace Book, that Jackson ‘had known Mrs. Sheridan before her marriage. He spoke of Mrs. Sheridan’s countenance when singing as like nothing earthly’ (Early Life, p. 401).

would call upon me. Talked chiefly of
Sheridan. Told me several anecdotes, some of which I have written down in my note-book as fit to use; the rest, practical jokes not easily tellable. His strewing the hall or passage with plates and dishes, and then tempting Tickell (with whom he was always at some frolic or other) to pursue him into the thick of them. Tickell fell among them and was almost cut to pieces, and next day, in vowing vengeance to Lord John Townshend against S. for this trick, he added (with the true spirit of an amateur in practical jokes), “but it was amazingly well done.” At another time, when the women (Mrs. Crewe, Mrs. Tickell, &c.) had received the gentlemen after dinner in disguises which puzzled them to make out which was which, the gentlemen one day sent to the ladies to come down to them in the dining-room. The ladies on entering saw them all dressed as Turks, holding bumpers in their hands, and, after looking amongst them and saying, “This is Mr. Crewe”; “No, this is he,” &c., &c., they heard a laugh at the door and there saw all the gentlemen in propriis personis, for ‘twas the maids they had dressed up in Turkish habits. S. was always at these tricks at country houses.

‘22nd.—. . . Met R. at the park gate and came on towards the cottage. Told him my delicacy on the subject of the Coalition; unwilling as I should be to offend Lord Holland, yet still feeling it my duty to speak sincerely what I thought of Fox’s conduct in that instance. He said there was much to be advanced in palliation, if not in vindication, of that and other coalitions; bid me talk on the subject to Lord Holland and Allen, who
had staggered him by their arguments. Lord H.’s idea of three distinct periods in his uncle’s life: the first when he was opposed to
Lord North and when his eloquence was bold, careless, vehement, vituperative; the second, when Pitt was his antagonist and when he found it necessary to be more cool, cautious and logical; during both these periods ambition of power and distinction was his ruling passion; but in the third and concluding portion of his life all this had passed away, and his sole, steady, chastened-down desire was that of doing good. . . . Rogers, Lord St. John (I think), and Lord Lauderdale were in Mr. Fox’s room in Stable Yard a short time before his death, when Sheridan called. “I must see him, I suppose,” said Fox, and when S. came in put out his hand to him. S. has since told Rogers that when Fox called him over and shook him by the hand he said in a low voice, “My dear Sheridan, I love you; you are, indeed, my friend, as for these others I merely,” &c., &c. This was an excellent invention of Sheridan, who knew no one would contradict him. Talked of the Scotch novels. . . . Scott gave his honour to the Prince Regent, they were not his; and Rogers heard him do the same to Sheridan. . . . We walked through the Devizes fields to meet Crowe. . . . Talked of Milton; his greater laxity of metre in the “Paradise Regained” than in the “Paradise Lost.” R. thought this was from system; but Crowe and I thought it from laziness.’

In November Rogers was at home again, after a summer which had first been broken by a serious illness in June, then by a visit of convalescence to Worthing, and
after that to Bowood, where
Moore met him. Soon after his return he wrote the following letter.

Samuel Rogers to Mrs. Greg.
‘Highbury: Nov. 9, 1818.

‘My dear Friend,—Thank you most sincerely for your kind letter. I should, I believe, have answered it that same day—so grateful did I feel for it—but that I waited to make some enquiries respecting Mr. Cogan’s school. Mr. Towgood has sent all his sons there but one who was not very strong and has never been to any school but as a day boarder; the youngest is there now, and is just fourteen, so that he can’t give a stronger proof of his opinion of it. Only the two eldest of the Sharpes, from some circumstances, have been there, but Miss Sharpe says that she much prefers it to any school she ever heard of, as the boys are not only made to learn while there but are inspired with the love of it, which is certainly of the greatest importance, for what is learnt at school is of trifling consequence provided it is not followed up afterwards. Mrs. Cogan is a very kind and good nurse, but as the house is too much crowded to allow of any rooms being set apart for the sick, it would not be so eligible a situation for a delicate boy whose friends live at a distance, and the majority are certainly under fourteen. Now, if there is anything more you wish to learn about it, do but write and I will send you every particular, which will be no trouble to me to procure. With regard to health, I ought to mention that two physicians whom we know have had all their sons there—Dr. Pett and Dr. Lister—and are, of
course, satisfied or they would not have sent one after the other. . . . My spring campaign was cut very short by a short but severe illness which I had in the beginning of June, the effect of which, as far at least as my looks are concerned, my friends tell me I have but just recovered; in other respects, however, I have been quite well some time, but I have spent a very unsettled summer, as I was some time at Worthing for the benefit of the sea air, and then, with that and visits to different friends, I have only been settled at home since last Wednesday, but now I mean to remain stationary for some time. And so this is a long history of myself, which you kindly asked for or I would not have given you so much of. And now I must scold you a little for saying nothing, absolutely nothing, about one in whom I am sure you know I am so much interested,—I need not say I mean you; I trust, however, that you are well. I dined on Friday with
Dr. Holland in St. James’s Place; as he had so lately returned out of Cheshire I hoped to have heard a great deal about you, and to my disappointment he had not even seen you. He is delighted with his journey to Spa, and well he may. I hear from other quarters that he was so much engaged there professionally that he had scarcely a minute to himself, and could scarcely have cleared less than a thousand pounds,—on Friday he went away to a consultation as soon as we had left the dining-room, and, indeed, almost always is obliged to do so. There can be no doubt of his getting great practice. I am sure your heart must have ached for the Romillys 1 and for poor

1 Sir Samuel Romilly’s death, in a moment of aberration caused by the death of his wife three days before, occurred on the 2nd of November.

Dr. Roget. Of those that are left, I think I feel most for him at present; to him I am sure the consequences will be very, very lasting; the young people will sooner recover. No event ever excited a deeper feeling, not only amongst their friends but in every circle. I was very much pleased with the “Life of Mrs. Hamilton.” I took it up without the least expectation, as I thought the account of any person living in retirement, however amiable and superior in abilities, could not be very interesting, and, likewise, I was not much prejudiced in favour of the author; she has, however, I think, contrived to make me quite in love with her subject and to be sorry to lay the book down, so, then, for the future, I must, I think, admire the author; and, indeed, I ought to say that I had no reason for my former prejudice, excepting that her appearance and manners were unlike other people. Poor Miss Edgeworth’s visits to England must be sadly clouded. I am sorry to hear that she does not mean to publish her father’s life; it must have been very entertaining, but, with a daughter’s feelings, I almost wonder how it was ever thought of. Lord Byron is soon to appear before the public again. You did not like “Beppo” and won’t be glad. Ought I to be ashamed to say how much it entertained me? . . . I am very glad to hear of Sam’s having a home, though in the city, as I hope you may be induced to visit him, now that you can do so with so little trouble. It seems to me much longer than usual since I have seen you, and I can scarcely persuade myself it is only two years. This is the first summer I have missed being in Worcestershire for many years. I am sorry to say my sister Towgood has still got a sick house, her second girl
has been unwell for some time, though I hope not alarmingly so. The rest of us are well. The two eldest Sharpes have been making tours on the Continent, the third is still in Hamburg and is now in a counting-house there. Accept my brother’s and my united kind regards, and believe me, ever very affectionately yours,

S. Rogers.’

The following from Lord Holland seems to belong to this period.

Lord Holland to Samuel Rogers.

‘You are too indulgent to my verse. I have been altering, I hope correcting, it ever since I sent it you.

‘I transcribe the new edition on the other half [sheet], and I had half a mind, so linked is rhyming with vanity, to send a copy of it to Lord Grenville, who used most properly to rebuke me for my heterodoxy about Milton. I have been compulsus intrare, and this is my amende honorable.

‘Excellent as you are both as poet and critic, you don’t shine in logic; for your reason for not coming to Brighton is, according to the best forms of syllogism, a reason for coming.

‘When a man is cold he should go to the warmest place he can find. Rogers is cold, and Brighton is the warmest place he can find. Ergo, Rogers should go to Brighton.

Vassall Holland.

‘You liked the seventh line with “smoothest poesy.” I laboured hard to change it, and thought I had improved
it, but your approbation shakes me—I had written fouler, and am not sure “grosser” is better—tell me. “Tales” for “toys” is an improvement certainly. I am as full of my own verses as our friend
Jack Townshend (who is pretty well) could be.


Homer and Dryden, nor unfrequently
The playful Ovid, or the Italian’s song
That held entranced my youthful thoughts so long,
With dames, and loves, and deeds of chivalry,
E’en now delight me,—from the noisy throng
Thither I fly to sip the sweets that he
Enclosed in tenderest folds of poesy,
Oft as for ease my weary spirits long.
But when recoiling from the grosser scene
Of sordid vice, or rank, atrocious crime,
My sinking soul pants for the pure serene
Of loftier regions,—quitting tales and rhyme,
I turn to Milton, and his heights sublime,
Too long by me unsought, I strive to climb.’

Before the end of November Moore was in London again, and his Diary continues—

November 26.—Went to Holland House. . . . The party at dinner: Lord John, Tierney, Sharp, Whishaw, Roger Wilbraham, Rogers, and Mrs. Sydney Smith.

November 27.—Slept at Holland House. Walked before breakfast with Tierney, Rogers, &c., in the garden, and read Luttrell’s very pretty verses1 written under Lord Holland’s in the seat called “Rogers’s seat.” The breakfast very agreeable. Lord Holland full of sunshine

1 See p. 264.

as usual. “He always comes down to breakfast,” says Rogers very truly, “like a man on whom some sudden good fortune has just fallen.” . . . Party at dinner: Rogers, Tierney,
Sharp, and Mrs. Smith. . . . Had the pleasure of putting into Rogers’s hand a draft for my long-owed debt of five hundred pounds.

‘25th.—Rogers wished me to go and dine this day with his brother and sister at Highbury. I assented if he would take upon himself to stand the brunt of Lady Holland’s displeasure on the occasion. In for a very amusing scene between them on the subject. She insisting upon keeping me, and he most miraculously courageous and persevering in taking me away. “Why,” says she to me, “do you allow him to dispose of you thus like a little bit of literary property?” Dined at Highbury. Miss Rogers very agreeable.

December 1st.—Had some conversation with Rogers before dinner about his poem which he is daily adding couplets to.

‘December 6th.—Breakfasted at Rogers’s. Told me of Crabbe’s negotiation with Murray for his new volume of tales1 consisting of near twelve thousand lines.

‘7th.—Called upon Rogers at half-past four, when I found that Lord Holland had written to the Longmans to meet him there on Crabbe’s business. At five Rees came, and I left them to their deliberations. . . . Went to Rees at nine o’clock. Told me the particulars of the conference at Rogers’s; said he had prefaced the offer he had made by telling them they must not expect

1 The new work was ‘The Tales of the Hall,’ published in 1819. For the copyright of this and of his other poems Murray paid Crabbe 3,000l.

anything like what would be given for a work of mine . . . and for the new work and the old had only offered 1000l.

‘8th.—. . . Paddled back through the swimming streets to Rogers, who had fixed, too, for me to call. Found him in consternation about Crabbe, who had written to Murray immediately after the interview with Rees, to say he would accept his offer, but had not heard from him since. Rogers proposed we should go together to Murray, as he wanted to speak to him about his own poem, which he thinks of publishing with him in shares. Went to Murray, and after Rogers had talked to him about his own poem and told Murray that he was printing it himself, to see how it looked; he said, carelessly, “I am glad to find, Mr. Murray, that you have settled with Mr. Crabbe for his new work.” This clinched the business. Murray answered very cheerfully that he had, so we set off to poor Crabbe (who was moping dismally at home and had nearly given up all hope of his thousands) to tell him the news which, of course, set his mind perfectly at ease.

‘11th.—. . . Rogers, on the last morning I was with him in town, took out of a little cabinet the draft I had given him a week before, and said, “What am I to do with this?” I laughed, and said, “Present it for payment, to be sure, my dear Rogers.” “Well,” he answered, “if it is any convenience to you in your Bermuda business to enable you to allege that you have no means, I will keep it for you.”’

The story of the negotiations for Crabbe with Murray had a sequel, set forth in the following letter—

The Rev. George Crabbe to Samuel Rogers.
‘Trowbridge, Wilts: January 11, 1819.

‘My dear Sir,—Hitherto when I have parted from you in town, I resigned myself to the evil, and knowing that you loved not what is called correspondence—too often, I grant, a very grievous tax on time and patience—I said in my heart, “Farewell till we meet again,” but I have not this time the former resignation. I want to know where you dwell, how you are, what you are doing, and sometimes whether you think of me. I want to read your verses as they come and while they are yet in that changeable state between their first birth and their commitment into the furnace of the compositor.

‘I miss your morning conversation—your anecdotes—your good humour, and even your tyranny and arbitrary rule over me, for which Heaven forgive you.

‘I ordered two clean notes from my brother Timbrell’s bank—brother by a kind of civil latitude of speech; our children married—and a clerk has sent me the things I repay you with, indeed, I can command none more unsullied.

Mr. Murray keeps me employed, but I have a sad affair to communicate. Mr. Colburn, at whose library I was accustomed to meet Miss Carr, and whom I have known and dealt with, by subscription to his collection of novels, &c., and who knew that I was employed in writing a poem (which he calls Recollections, not recollecting the name I gave it), and who always appeared to wish that he might publish for me, though he never in any one speech approximated to the business, nor were any terms
offered by him or by me, nor, in short, was there engagement or tendency to engagement, and yet, notwithstanding, has this man not only bitterly complained that I passed him by, and not only affirmed that he would have given me 500l. more than any other man, but beside all this, he threatens me with a process of law, on what founded I protest to you I cannot tell: there was a time when I would have listened to him and most certainly should have accepted such proposal as he says he would have made, provided my assurance of his fulfilling his part of the conditions had been well established, but he gave no occasion for my assent to, or rejection of, his terms. Have you any notion, Sir, of what this threatener is to do? I sent his letter to Mr. Murray and told all I knew, for I have nothing to conceal. It appears to me that Mr. Colburn is going to law with me for not getting him that work which he never offered to buy; and I am weak enough to be troubled, though not alarmed. The law, I too well know, is open to all men, and I will not say what a mind of certain stamp, urged by disappointment, may do, and not the less because the disappointment originated in his own folly. Forgive me this—I was vexed, and our friends cannot entirely escape our vexations.

‘I hope you are entirely well, and all at Highbury. My son John, who is with me, wants much to know a gentleman who is so kind to his father. My Hampstead friends are detained by the sickness of one in the family and come not yet to Bath. Would that you loved that place of comfort and repose, at least to all who are not members of its peculiar clubs and associations.


‘But I will not detain you. I could not keep to myself this attack upon my peace, but I cannot seriously apprehend mischief. Mr. Colburn talks of his damages, they are 3,000l., for, he says, a publisher expects to gain as much as he gives. The information is curious, and the note Mr. C. makes of it still more so.

‘My best remembrances to Miss Rogers and her brother.

‘Will you not tell me how you proceed? I shall be unfeignedly glad to hear.

‘I was invited to meet Mr. Moore lately, but the place was too distant and the night too cold, and I did not go. Fortune is against our meeting, but has been very kind in some others, and I ought not to complain.

‘If you should see Mr. Murray, would you speak of this man’s claim on me?—though I know not what it is,—but he probably considers it as beneath his notice, and that is what I would do, but I am not sure that I can.

‘This is very blameably begging your time—pardon me.

‘I am, your very obliged, &c.,
Geo. Crabbe.

‘Thanks for the loan of the notes, I had nearly omitted them—grateful people are not the most thankful, are they?’

Rogers, of course, had no difficulty in coming to an arrangement with Mr. Colburn and reassuring Crabbe. Moore writes—

‘Jan. 28th, 1819.—Went to Breakfast with Rogers,
who is in the very agonies of parturition; shewed me the work ready printed and in boards, but he is still making alterations; told me that
Byron’sDon Juan” is pronounced by Hobhouse and others as unfit for publication. . . . Crabbe’s delight at having three thousand pounds in his pocket. Rogers offered to take care of them for him, but no, he must take them down to shew them to his son John. “Would not copies do?” “No, must shew John the actual notes.” Dined with Rogers. He had cancelled the note about Lord Ossory at Lord Holland’s suggestion; it alluded to Lord Ossory’s habit of transacting his magisterial business out of doors, which procured for him the name of Lord chief Justice in Eyre (air). Lord Holland did not wish this joke to remain.’

The poem which Moore saw ready printed and in boards in January, and to which Rogers was still making alterations, came out finally in the spring under the title ‘Human Life.’ He always regarded it as the best of his poems, perhaps because he felt that he had put into it the best of his life and of himself. No reader of my account of Rogers’s early years can fail to see what the inspiration of this poem is. It is full of his early experiences. The boy is himself; the home is the home he had lived in at Newington Green; the mother is the true and tender woman who wrote the letters to her “ever dear T. R.”; and the whole philosophy of life which the poem teaches is that which he had learned from Dr. Price. At various stages of this biography I have found it necessary to refer to this poem, and have
pointed out how his family affections and his political friendships had got expression in his verse. He was in his fifty-sixth year when it was published. There was a good deal of debate with
Sharp as to the reference to—
Young Byron in the groves of Academe,
and it was finally resolved to print only the initial (B * * * *), as
Byron himself had originally printed Rogers’s name in ‘Beppo.’1 Rogers was staying at Althorp with Lord Spencer when this point had to be settled. There were with him in the house the Bessboroughs, the Lytteltons, the Duncannons, Vernon, Macdonald and others, when Byron’s ‘Don Juan’ arrived, and Rogers writes to Richard Sharp that its appearance is ‘another reason for hastening out my panegyric before the gall and wormwood in the Dedication appear.’ So ‘Human Life,’ after six years of incubation, was hurried out at last.

The gall and wormwood in the dedication were not for Rogers. The references to him, both in the dedication and in the body of the poem, are altogether complimentary, and consistent with Byron’s view of Rogers as a poet. Probably most of the guests at Althorp, and the educated public generally, agreed with Byron’s estimate of the relative position of the poets he attacks, but Time has reversed it. Seventy years have passed since these lines were addressed to Southey and Wordsworth, the trial has taken place, and so far as
1 ‘Men of the world, who know the world like men,
Scott, Rogers, Moore, and all the better brothers,
Who think of something else besides the pen.’
Beppo, stanza 76.
Wordsworth is concerned, the verdict is the very reverse of that which Byron anticipated—

The field is universal and allows
Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow;
Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore and Crabbe will try
‘Gainst you the question with posterity.

So Byron wrote, and so many thought. Hence the publication of a new poem by Rogers was regarded all through cultivated society as an important literary event, though there were many who saw that he belonged to the school which must decrease, while Wordsworth and Coleridge belonged to that which must increase. There was nothing remarkable in Rogers being put by Byron on a level with Scott, Crabbe, Campbell and Moore. That was his natural position, and it was equally natural in those days that they should all be put together on a higher level than that of the Lake Poets. In Don Juan’s words the orthodox faith still was—

Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope,
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey,
Because the first is crazed beyond all hope,
The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy;
With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope,
And Campbell’s Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy;
Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor
Commit—flirtation with the muse of Moore.

Sydney Smith, writing of Rogers’s poem before he had seen it, says, ‘The Hollands have read Rogers’s poem and like it. . . . Luttrell approves.’ Writing after he had read it, he says, ‘There are some very good descriptions—the mother and the child, Mr. Fox at St. Anne’s
Hill, and several more. The beginning of the verses on Paestum are very good too.’ The
author of ‘The Man of Feeling’ wrote to Rogers a letter of genial criticism, telling him he had ‘pitched “Human Life” too high,’ and incidentally remarking of Crabbe that ‘he traces Nature amid the filth of its mense-lanes and blind alleys in which the Muse, if she does not forget her proper rank, soils her petticoats and begrimes her face.’ There is a characteristic letter of Erskine’s, asking Rogers to send him a copy of the poem, and adding, ‘I am coming to town next week, but I am invisible to the naked eye, and therefore, when you ask me to dinner, I shall take up no room.’

In May, Moore was again in London, and, as usual, his Diary is full of Rogers. It is ‘breakfasted with Rogers,’ ‘dined with Rogers,’ ‘took a bed at Rogers’s,’ ‘went with Rogers making visits,’ and so forth, day after day. Luttrell is constantly at Rogers’s, and one day Grattan is there, and Moore finds him still very delightful. Another day it is Maltby and Crabbe, and still another it is Mr. Hibbert and his daughters, with Luttrell, Sharp, and Miss Rogers. Luttrell and Rogers are one morning ‘going on the water to follow the Fishmongers’ barge and enjoy the music;’ another morning Moore records that Rogers objects to his making himself a slave to the booksellers, and thinks he ought to accept the offers of friends. ‘There is my 500l.,’ he said, ‘ready for you. Your friend Richard Power will, of course, advance another.’ ‘I answered,’ says Moore, ‘No, my dear Rogers, your 500l. has done its duty most amply, and I am resolved never more, if I can help it, to owe any money
to friends.’ Rogers’s was not the only offer. At the end of July Rogers received a letter from
Francis Jeffrey, which has never been made public, but which is most honourable to Moore’s old antagonist, and deserves to be put on lasting record as an example of generous liberality.

Lord Jeffrey to Samuel Rogers.
‘Edinburgh: 30 July, 1819.

‘My dear Sir,—I have been very much shocked and distressed by observing in the newspaper the great pecuniary calamity which has fallen on our excellent friend Moore, and not being able to get any distinct information either as to its extent, or its probable consequences, from anybody here, I have thought it best to relieve my anxiety by applying to you, whose kind concern in him must both have made you acquainted with all the particulars, and willing, I hope, to satisfy the enquiries of one who sincerely shares in that concern. I do not know, however, that I should have troubled you merely to answer an useless enquiry; but in wishing to know whether any steps have been taken to mitigate this disaster, I am desirous of knowing also whether I can be of any use on the occasion. I have, unfortunately, not a great deal of money to spare. But if it should be found practicable to relieve him from this unmerited distress by any contribution, I beg leave to say that I shall think it an honour to be allowed to take share in it to the extent of 300l. or 500l., and that I could advance more than double the sum named above upon any reasonable security of ultimate repayment, however long postponed.

‘I am quite aware of the difficulty of carrying through
any such arrangement with a man of
Moore’s high feelings and character, and had he been unmarried and without children he might have been less reluctantly left to the guidance and support of that character. But as it is, I think his friends are bound to make an effort to prevent such lasting and extended misery as, from what I have heard, seems now to be impending, and in hands at once so kind and so delicate as yours I flatter myself that this may be found practicable. I need not add, I am sure, that I am most anxious that, whether ultimately acted upon or not, this communication should never be mentioned to Moore himself. If you please, you may tell him that I have been deeply distressed by his misfortunes, and should be most happy to do him any service. But as I have no right to speak to him of money, I do not think he should know that I have spoken of it to you. If my offer is accepted, I shall consider you and not him as the acceptor, and he ought not to be burdened with the knowledge of any other benefactor.

‘Is there no chance of seeing you in Scotland again? We have had a sad loss in Playfair1—and one quite irreparable to our society here. It is a comfort to think that we cannot possibly have such another. We had a great fright about Scott too, but fortunately he is quite recovered.

‘I have a sort of project of running over to Paris again

1 John Playfair, F.R.S., the eminent mathematician and physicist, died on the 19th of July 1819, in his seventy-second year. He was an Edinburgh Reviewer, and Professor of Mathematics, and afterwards of Natural Philosophy, in the University of Edinburgh. His cousin, the Principal of St. Andrews University, was grandfather of the Right Hon. Sir Lyon Playfair, K.C.B., F.R.S., &c.

this autumn. If I had a chance of finding you in the Rue de Rivoli, I should not hesitate a moment. I am not quite so insensible to the advantages of that encounter as I appeared to be,—and yet I have a thousand times since reproached myself for having made too little use of them. Believe me always,

‘Your obliged and very faithful servant, &c.,

F. Jeffrey.’

Moore’s case did not admit of help of this kind, and after a time of great anxiety, of which Rogers had his full share as a sympathising friend, Moore went to Paris, where he arrived on the 8th of October, taking the same rooms Rogers and he had occupied two years before. Meanwhile, Rogers had made his usual round of country visits, and was not able on this occasion to offer Crabbe hospitality during his stay in London. Crabbe writes—

Rev. George Crabbe to Samuel Rogers.
(London: August, 1819.)

‘My dear Sir,—My purposed journey into Suffolk has been deferred, and is now fixed for Monday the 23rd inst., when I must immediately return and, if I do any business, it must be done without delay. My people will want me at Trowbridge, and if not I shall want them.

‘I have thought of your lines, and will claim your pardon when I suggest another alteration. The boy and the butterfly, though a beautiful, is a common image; and harebells have not only the same objection, but they are so seldom seen in cultivated ground that the name brings the idea of a wood or a wild scene. I therefore
prefer the boy’s pursuit of insects and flowers in general, to these particular instances. My memory would not permit me to retain a single line of yours, and therefore I was obliged to make the trial in my own way, and I think these general terms may be introduced without taking from the interest of the scene, nor was I willing to give up the reference to
Raphael and Correggio. Your child is not a rustic, but an educated boy, and there is no impropriety in the introduction of such names; at least, I see none. And now, having confessed so much, I will forgive you if you tell me I had been better employed about my own business.

‘I am not certain when you return to St. James’s Place, but I hope to hear, and shall not fail to make enquiry.

‘Yours most truly,
Geo. Crabbe.’

At this period of Rogers’s life his divorce from politics seems to have been complete. Closely as he had been associated with Dr. Price and Dr. Priestley in his earlier days, with Horne Tooke as well as with Fox and Sheridan in maturer life, and constantly as he was to be seen in the Whig circle at Holland House, he is never found taking any active part in political life. He voted for Sir Samuel Romilly in the Westminster election in 1818 as he had for Horne Tooke in 1796; but he was still the man of letters rather than the politician. His one desire was to be spoken of and recognised as ‘Rogers the poet,’ and that desire was fully satisfied. In this dissociation from public affairs he was not alone. How small a part the political history of the time plays in the lives of
Wordsworth, of Campbell, of Crabbe, and of Byron; and in Moore’s Diary there is no mention even of the death of George III. and the accession of George IV. They were all intent upon literature, and politics were of small concern to them. The publication of a new poem was an event in their lives, the trial of a Queen, a Manchester massacre, even a new settlement of Europe, were events in the lives of other people. So much larger are things in which we have a share, or of which we are a part, than those which we only look at from a distance. The times were troublesome enough in the year when the Six Acts of an English coercion policy were passed, or when a Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Queen was before the House of Commons. The old King died in January, 1820; and in June, 1820, Grattan was taken away. The summer was a season of extreme heat and drought. Horses dropped dead in the roads, says Miss Martineau, and labourers in the fields; yet, along the line of the mails, crowds stood waiting in the burning sunshine for news of the Queen’s trial, and horsemen galloped over hedge and ditch to bear the tidings. ‘In London,’ she continues, ‘the parks and the West-end streets were crowded every evening, and through the bright nights of July neighbours were visiting one another’s houses to lend newspapers or compare rumours.’ Rogers was, in this matter, on the popular side. But the public quarrel did not disturb his private friendships. Families were divided, coteries were broken up, but in Rogers’s circle another interest set these disputes aside. In the beautiful house overlooking the Green Park, small parties of men and women were always gathering to meet great
authors or artists, to talk of the last new book, to criticise a poem of Byron’s, or Wordsworth’s, or
Southey’s, or Campbell’s, or Crabbe’s, to roam at will over all literature, sucking the sweets, as bees from flowers, and to enjoy the good stories of one, the epigrams of another, and the cynical wit of a third. It is curious to reflect that in the same house, and under the same host, this intercourse went on for nearly two generations, in spite of wars, and revolutions, and reforms, and the changes made by death. Men came and went, but the stream of happy, brilliant talk flowed on, and the troubles and triumphs of the outer world only cast their shadows or their sunshine on its waves.