LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Richard Sharp to Samuel Rogers, 2 December 1814

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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Produced by CATH
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.’