LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Samuel Rogers, [26] May 1815

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