LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.

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 and Lord Byron—Letter from Mackintosh—Rogers, Byron, and Godwin—Byron’s Appeal to Rogers—Letter from Walter Scott—Rogers and Sheridan—Sheridan’s Deathbed—Rogers’s Recollections of Sheridan—Lord John Townshend’s Letter—Grattan—Lord Erskine—Ugo Foscolo—Benjamin Constant at Breakfast—Byron, Rogers, and Lady Caroline Lamb—‘Glenarvon’—Rogers at Sydney Smith’s, at Tom Moore’s, at Wordsworth’s, at Southey’s, at the Lakes—Letter from Southey—‘An unfledged Eagle’—Wordsworth on Bernard Barton—Rogers and Crabbe—Crabbe’s Visit to London—Breakfasts at Rogers’s—Crabbe, Moore, Rogers, and Campbell at Sydenham—The Rev. W. Lisle Bowles—‘The Abbot of Fonthill’—The Death of the Princess Charlotte—Lord Bathurst and the Regent—Story of the Father of George III.—Letter from Byron—Letter from Ugo Foscolo on his Literary Plans.

The great subject of talk in London society in the beginning of 1816 was the separation of Lord Byron and his wife. It was little surprise to Rogers, as Byron had often talked to him of his domestic troubles. He knew more of Byron’s peculiarities than most of his friends. He used to say that in the latter days of their brief life together Lord Byron never dined with his wife. He fancied that he could not bear to see a woman eat. When invited to dine with Rogers he would reply with the question, ‘Have any women been invited?’ and he refused to meet Madame de Staël at Rogers’s dinner-table,
but came in the drawing-room later in the evening. The first reference to the separation is in a letter written in reply to one in which Rogers had expressed dissatisfaction at Byron’s return of a presentation copy of his poems.

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘Fy 8th, 1816.

‘Dear Rogers,—Do not mistake me. I really returned your book for the reason assigned and no other. It is too good for so careless a fellow. I have parted with all my own books, and positively won’t deprive you of so valuable “a drop of that immortal man.”

‘I shall be very glad to see you if you like to call as you intended, though I am at present contending with “the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune” some of which have struck at me from a quarter whence I did not indeed expect them. But no matter, “there is a world elsewhere,” and I will cut my way through this as I can: if you write to Moore, will you tell him that I shall answer his letter the moment I can muster time and spirits.

‘Ever yours,

Amid all the domestic ruin of this period, Byron was contemplating, at the suggestion of Mackintosh conveyed through Rogers, an act of chivalrous generosity. Desperate as his straits for money were, Byron adhered to the resolution not to use for himself any of the proceeds of his works. He was about to publish ‘The Siege of Corinth’ and ‘Parisina,’ and Murray
had offered him a thousand guineas for the copyright. Mackintosh thereupon wrote to Rogers with his suggestion.

Sir James Mackintosh to Samuel Rogers.
‘Weedon Lodge: Friday.

‘Dear Rogers,—It is said that Lord Byron has refused a very large sum from Murray for permission to publish separately two new poems which his lordship wishes only to be added to the collection of his works. Knowing the noble use which he has hitherto made of the produce of his works, I venture to point out to you poor Godwin as a person whom Lord Byron could save from ruin by granting the permission on condition of Murray’s giving Godwin such part of the sum spoken of as Lord Byron may be pleased to direct. Godwin is a man of genius, likely, for his independence of thinking, to starve at the age of sixty for want of a few hundred pounds necessary to carry on his laborious occupation.

‘If you agree with me I am certain that the benevolence of your heart will need no solicitor. But if you should not make any application to Lord B., I shall conclude that it would be improper. Say yes or no in writing.

‘Ever yours,
J. Mackintosh.’

Rogers made the suggestion as Mackintosh’s, and Byron at once accepted the proposal.

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
Jay 1 20th, 1816.

‘Dear Rogers,—I wrote to you hastily this morning by Murray to say that I was glad to do as Mackintosh and you suggested about Mr. Godwin. It occurs to me now that as I have never seen Mr. G. but once, and consequently have no claim to his acquaintance, that you or Sir J. had better arrange it with him in such a manner as may be least offensive to his feelings, and so as not to have the appearance of officiousness nor obtrusion on my part. I hope you will be able to do this, as I should be very sorry to do anything by him that may be deemed indelicate. The sum Murray offered, and offers, was, and is, one thousand and fifty pounds: this I refused before because I thought it more than the two things were worth to M. and from other objections, which are of no consequence. I have, however, closed with M. in consequence of Sir J.’s and your suggestion, and propose the sum of six hundred pounds to be transferred to Mr. Godwin in such a manner as may seem best to you and his friend. The remainder I think of for other purposes.

‘As M. offered the money down for the copyrights it may be done directly, and I am ready to sign and seal immediately, and perhaps it had better not be delayed. I shall feel very glad if it can be of any use to Godwin,

1 I do not know why Moore dates this letter February. In the MS. the Jay seems clear enough; in the next letter, which Moore does not publish, the Jn is unmistakable. On the other hand, in the letter on page 210 the Fy is equally clear. I have printed the letters from Byron’s manuscript.

only don’t let him be plagued, nor think himself obliged, and all that which makes people hate one another, &c.

‘Yours ever truly,

The generous intention was frustrated, as is explained in the following letter.

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘Jn 23rd, 1816.

‘Dear Rogers,—I am sorry that I cannot dine with you to-day. I have not lately been very well and am under sentence of pill and potion for an attack of liver, &c.

‘You may set your heart at rest on poor G.’s business. Murray, when it came to the point, demurred, and though not exactly refusing, gave such sort of answers as determine me to take the MS. away and not publish at all.

‘With regard to his offer, I can only say that some weeks ago he even pressed it upon me so far as (after I had returned his draft) to lay the money upon the table if I would consent to a separate publication: this I refused, because the pieces were in my opinion better adapted for, and at any rate safer in, the collection he had got together, and for this purpose I told him he was welcome to them for nothing. I never said, nor meaned to say, that if he was permitted to publish separately, that the purchase of the copyrights would not be accepted. When you sent me Mackintosh’s letter, I felt inclined to comply with its suggestion, and went to Murray, at the same time telling him my reason; in this at the time he
acquiesced; but since, on my sending to him that it was thought a smaller sum would do for
Mr. G., &c., he returns me an answer which—in short—it is no matter.

‘I am sorry for the trouble you have had on this occasion, and still more that I have failed in being of any use to Mr. Gn. Pray explain to Sir J. Mackintosh for me, and believe me,

‘Ever yours most truly,

A month later Byron writes on the painful subject of which everybody was talking.

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘March 25th, 1816.

‘Dear Rogers,—You are one of the few persons with whom I have lived in what is called intimacy, and have heard me at times conversing on the untoward topic of my recent family disquietudes. Will you have the goodness to say to me at once, whether you ever heard me speak of her with disrespect, with unkindness, or defending myself at her expense by any serious imputation of any description against her? Did you never hear me say “that when there was a right and a wrong she had the right”?

‘The reason I put these questions to you or other of my friends is because I am said, by her and hers, to have resorted to such means of exculpation.

‘Ever very truly yours,

Rogers’s answer is not extant. Its tenor may be guessed. He naturally sympathised with his friend. How the literary men of that time viewed the matter
may be seen in an incidental reference to it in a letter to Rogers from
Sir Walter Scott, written about six weeks after Lord Byron had taken leave of England, as it proved, for ever.

Walter Scott to Samuel Rogers.

‘My dear Rogers,—Mr. Skirving of Edinburgh, an unrivalled artist as a painter in crayons, is going to London with the only good portrait of Burns. I think you will like to look at it, and perhaps you may even be disposed to purchase it, provided the artist’s intention of selling it holds water till he gets to London. Mr. Skirving is a man of great genius in his art, and is in circumstances of perfect independence, although his dress, unless he should rectify it when he gets to London, would argue something very different. In fact, both his dress and address require all the allowance which genius knows how to make for the caprices and eccentricities of its brethren. Do not give yourself any trouble with him beyond what lies exactly in the way of a lover of art.

‘I am sure you will join with me in severely regretting this unlucky business of Lord Byron’s. Who would have expected such a consummation last year when I was in town? It is an unlucky business, since it gives stupidity a momentary triumph over genius—and talents. I trust this will find you well in health and enjoying yourself in a milder climate than ours has been this year.

‘Believe me, dear Rogers, always most truly and affectionately yours,

‘Walter Scott.
‘Edin., 30th May (1816).

‘I should think Mr. Sharp would like to look at the
Ayrshire Ploughman. If Skirving does sell it, which appears to me very problematical, I wish this unique representation of our great poet to fall into good hands. If I had not been buying a sort of Oxmoor, like Tristram Shandy, and building, hedging, ditching and draining, Rob should not have crossed the Border.’

In the early months of this year Rogers spent a good deal of his time by the sick-bed of Sheridan. Moore speaks of him as one of the very few who watched the going out of this great light with interest. Rogers had preserved his friendship with him through all the reverses of his later years, and, as I have already shown, had given him much assistance in the way of money. In these closing months of his life, when nearly all his friends had forsaken him, Rogers remained steadfast. On one evening early in May he took Lord Holland to see the dying orator, in what Moore calls ‘the last corner, where he lay down to die.’ Bailiffs were even then in the house, but Rogers and Lord Holland ‘comforted him,’ Moore tells us, ‘with the assurance that some steps should be taken to ward off the immediate evils that he dreaded.’ A few evenings after this Rogers found an almost illegible note lying for him on his table when Moore and he returned home.

‘Savile Row.

‘I find things settled so that 150l. will remove all difficulty. I am absolutely undone and brokenhearted. I shall negotiate for the plays successfully in the course of a week, when all shall be returned. I have desired Farebrother to get back the guarantee for thirty.


‘They are going to put the carpets out of window and break into Mrs. S.’s room and take me. For God’s sake let me see you.

‘R. B. S.’

It was after midnight when Rogers opened this pathetic letter, and the two poets at once went up to Savile Row to see what could be done. There was no need to disturb the Sheridans. They spoke through the railings to the servant in the area and learned that all was safe for the night, but that early the next morning the front of the house would be covered with bills announcing the sale. They went back indignant at the dishonour thus threatened to a great orator, dramatist, and statesman, but determined that he should be saved. Early next morning Moore called on Rogers, who gave him a draft for 150l., and despatched him with it to Sheridan’s house. He found Sheridan full of hope and encouragement, and noted the strength and fulness of his voice and the brightness of his eyes. All would be well if he could but recover and leave his bed. This succour proved a mere temporary relief; and a month later, when he had become seriously worse, a sheriff’s officer arrested him in his bed, and was only prevented from carrying him away, bed-ridden and dying as he was, by the threat of Dr. Bain to hold him responsible for the consequences. Dr. Bain, Peter Moore, the member for Coventry, and Samuel Rogers were the only friends that remained to Sheridan, and their fidelity all through this dismal journey to the grave is the one redeeming feature of this melancholy story of fallen greatness. Rogers
had much to tell in after years of Sheridan’s behaviour on his death-bed. Asked by his doctors if he had ever undergone an operation, he answered, ‘Never, except when sitting for my portrait or having my hair cut.’ To Rogers he said, ‘Tell
Lady Bessborough that my eyes will look up to the coffin lid as brightly as ever.’ Stories were told of his devout behaviour when the Bishop of London read prayers with him, but the Bishop told Rogers that Sheridan was then totally insensible, his wife raising him up and joining his hands during the service. Sheridan died on Sunday, the 7th of July, and on Saturday the 13th was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey, which ‘had seldom seen a costlier funeral.’

Rogers had known Sheridan for four or five and twenty years. His recollections of his oratory went back to the trial of Warren Hastings, and his personal acquaintance to the meeting with him in company with Pamela and Fox at William Stone’s in 1792.1 One of his stories of Sheridan was, that seeing Gibbon among the audience in Westminster Hall, Sheridan had spoken of his ‘luminous page.’ A friend accused him of flattery—you called him ‘the luminous author.’ ‘Luminous,’ said Sheridan; ‘I meant voluminous.’ He pretended never to have read his mother’s story, Sidney Biddulph, which Fox, according to Rogers, regarded as the best of modern novels. Stories were told at Rogers’s table of the practical jokes played by Sheridan in his younger days. His first wife was a sister of Mrs. Tickell, wife of the poet, and the two men were intimate friends, with almost equal love of

1 The Early Life of Samuel Rogers, pp. 244, 245.

frolic. A boyish enjoyment of rollicking fun was a characteristic of Sheridan to the end. In conversation he was not brilliant, Rogers said, till he had been warmed by wine; and he became stupid as soon as he had taken too much.

Rogers’s criticism of his life as a whole was summed up in the phrase that he carried the privileges of genius as far as any man ever carried them before. I find in his Commonplace Book: ‘In an epilogue written to “The Maid of the Oaks” at Salthill, but which came too late, Sheridan introduced faro—
‘Great figure loses—little figure wins.’

‘It has been said,’ writes Rogers, ‘that the “School for Scandal” and the “Duenna” were performed at the London theatres on the night of Sheridan’s celebrated speech on the Begums in the House of Commons; a coincidence very delightful to the imagination, but which did not take place. On that night, the 7th of February, 1787, Kemble played Castalio in “The Orphan” for the first time at Drury Lane, and Mrs. Abington played Lady Townley in “The Provoked Husband” at Covent Garden. A discovery made at Burney’s at Deptford, 7th June, 1816. Present: Frere, Heber, Burney and R.’ Soon after the funeral Rogers had the following letter from one of the old friends of Sheridan and his family.

Lord Frederick Townshend to Samuel Rogers.
Balls: Aug. 2 (1816).

‘My dear Rogers,—Can you tell me anything comfortable about poor Mrs. Sheridan and where she is?


‘I had a letter from her soon after the sad event, from which it appeared to me that she was almost heartbroken. You know, perhaps, the unfortunate cause that prevented my attendance with you at the funeral. I was truly sorry not to be there and grieved also that I have not since been able to go and inquire after Mrs. Sheridan and Charles.

‘Your most kind, affectionate, and generous attentions to poor Sheridan in his last moments were most sensibly felt by her, and the consolation they gave to our dying friend are not to be described. My son, thank God, is in somewhat a more favourable state.

‘Ever truly yours, &c.,
F. Townshend.’

This letter may be compared with one from Mrs. Fox in a former chapter. It was no small honour to Rogers to have given comfort to two such men as Fox and Sheridan in the painful closing hours of their lives. A few days after, another of the same family writes.

Lord John Townshend to Samuel Rogers.
‘Balls: August 13, 1816.

‘My dear Rogers,—I rejoice to hear that Mrs. Sheridan is better. I flattered myself, indeed, this was the case by a few lines I got from her some days ago; but of course there must be recollections yet fresh in her mind that cannot admit of much comfort. The Bishop of London seems to have been very kind indeed to her, and she speaks of him with great affection and gratitude.

‘I am glad you like her son Charles so much. My
Fox is very fond of him, and everybody speaks highly of his goodness and promising talents. But there cannot be two Sheridans, as Mrs. S. observed to me in one of her letters.

‘I wish it may turn out as you hear. But some parts of “Affectation” have been found amongst poor Sheridan’s papers. He was said to have begun it, I think, about the year 1788 or 89, but nobody imagined it was in any degree of forwardness; and I remember some time after saying to Mrs. Sheridan (the first Mrs. Sheridan), when they were assigning this reason and t’other for its not being brought out, that I supposed, in fact, the real reason was its not being quite complete, to which she replied, “the reason it does not come out is not as you suppose, because it is not quite finished, but because it is not even yet begun.” But if there should be only one bit of it, and that in a state to see the light, what a trouvaille it will be! I had once in my possession several things of his writing, and some of a very early date, which were all exquisite. I had put them up with a number of interesting papers, such as letters from Fitzpatrick, with a number of epigrams, sonnets, &c., that never saw the light, and also various things of Tickell’s, which were intended for publication when finished. These became mixed with other papers, and were all unfortunately destroyed when I removed to Balls, as well as some trash of my own, which well deserved to be burnt. One of these jeux d’esprit, which Sheridan struck off at a moment one day while we were waiting dinner, was incomparable. The subject would have been thought not very promising—the appraisement of an old, worn-
out gig belonging to Fitzpatrick which I was to purchase at Sheridan’s valuation. You can have no idea what fun he made of this.
Fox used to say it was the most comical thing ever written, and Fitzpatrick, though it was in a good humour and was not a little severe upon him, was delighted with it. But no one, you know, cared so little about a joke against himself as Fitzpatrick, who was as remarkable for his immovable good temper as he was for his excellent understanding and polished wit.

‘There was a Westminster song or two, patched up amongst us at one of the elections, but principally Sheridan’s doing, which I was sorry to lose. I can only remember one stanza which was Sheridan’s. I thought it so good that I used to repeat it over and over again for weeks together, and I remember Wilkes, when he was told of it, was much diverted. The stanza was this (to the tune of “Dr. Arne, Dr. Arne, It gives us concarn”)—

Johnny Wilkes, Johnny Wilkes,
Thou boldest of bilks,
How changed is the song you now sing.
For your dear forty-five
‘Tis Prerogative,
And your blasphemy, God save the King,
Johnny Wilkes.
And your blasphemy, God save the King.

‘This song was printed and may probably be got.

‘I am happy to tell you that my son is going on well. Dr. Ainslie’s view of his case affords me great comfort. If he continues to improve, I may possibly go to town for a few days. Shall I find you then? I am afraid there
is no inducing you to come and see us at Balls. It would make us very happy if you would. I’ll get
Malthus to meet you, and Lord Cowper if he should be in the country. Say everything that is most kind from me to Mrs. Sheridan, and believe me, truly and faithfully yours,

John Townshend.’

During the spring of this year Grattan was visiting Rogers’s friend, Richard Sharp, at Mickleham, and Rogers spent some time with him, treasuring up the talk which forms a pleasant part of his volume of ‘Recollections.’ ‘It was June,’ says Rogers, ‘and the limes were full of bees.’ Standing under the trees, Grattan said, ‘Now what are these senators about. A great humble bee is now addressing them—they are now in Committee.’ He used to say in the morning, ‘Shall we visit those senators?’ Rogers put the recollection into his next poem, ‘Human Life’—

A walk in spring—Grattan, like those with thee,
By the heath side (who had not envied me?)
When the sweet limes, so full of bees in June,
Led us to meet beneath their boughs at noon,
And thou didst say which of the Great and Wise,
Could they but hear and at thy bidding rise,
Thou wouldst call up and question.

Sheridan naturally became the subject of some of their talk, and Grattan remarked that his faults were like those of most men of genius—they were of a poetical character, the excesses of the generous virtues. Rogers quoted Sheridan’s remark, ‘What will they think of the public-speaking of this age in after times when they read
Mr. Burke’s speeches, and are told that in his day he was not accounted either the first or second speaker.’1 Grattan replied that Burke’s speeches were far better to read than to hear. They were, he said, better suited to a patient reader than to an impatient hearer. The best speaker is to be found among the most enlightened people. Cicero would not have pleased at Athens. He was better to read than to hear.

To this year also some of the recollections of Lord Erskine belong. Rogers had known him intimately from very early days. They had been politically associated before the trial of Horne Tooke. He records that Erskine’s recollections were dictated to him as he sat with his pen in his hand after dinner in St. James’s Place in 1816.2

In the summer Ugo Foscolo came to London. His fame both as a poet and a patriot had come before him, and he was received with favour by men of all parties. Rogers, who was full of recollections of his tour in Italy and of enthusiasm for everything Italian, met Foscolo at Holland House, where he was staying, and where he charmed everybody by his vivacity, his great and various knowledge, his warm sympathy, his lively imagination, and his excellent qualities as a man. ‘We are all engoués with him,’ said Lord Holland, and Rogers was as much engoué as any. I find in his Diary, too, a record of the visit of another man of genius.

July 14, 1816.—Benjamin Constant at breakfast. Always kept a diary in a mixed language—German,

1 Recollections, p. 89. 2 Ibid., p. 167.

French and English—unintelligible to others. Now much briefer than formerly, from many motives. “
Adolphe,” many parts he will confess, from his own experience. He had often in his mind an Englishwoman still living with a Frenchman at Paris—a Mrs. Lindsay. . . . Never corrects his works, though he sometimes adds to them, expecting nobody to read them twice. “Corinne,” by far Madame de Staël’s best novel. “Delphine” falls off terribly. Her “Allemagne” very fatiguing. She writes her works four or five times over, correcting them only in that way. The end of a chapter always the most obscure, as she ends with an epigram. Rocca,1 full of simplicity and observation. His work singular and interesting. Marivaux 2 good. His comedies will always be acted, as some actress will always produce them. Mars.3 Contat.4 Mackintosh vague in his conversation, particularly when in a tête-à-tête. “I always like him best in mixed society.” His want of punctuality. Ward very brilliant. Never saw Pitt, Fox, Burke, or Sheridan. Bonaparte lost much of his decision, had a contempt for mankind, having formed his opinion from Voltaire’sCandide,” &c.; a good mathematician, a very vague talker, ever restless, because unacknowledged by the kings. No leisure for a man of letters in London. In Paris, no morning visits; if a man calls three times upon a woman he must be in love with her. Racine a

1 M. de Rocca, the young French hussar officer whom Madame de Staël had privately married.

2 Marivaux, Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de, French dramatist and novelist, author of Le Jeu de l’Amour et du Hazard, &c., 1688-1763.

3 Mlle. Mars, famous actress of the Théâtre Français, 1779-1847.

4 Mlle. Louise Contat, also of the Théâtre Français, 1760-1813.

better artist than
Virgil. Montesquieu a very great man. “Iliad” and “Odyssey” by different men. Has written a tract to prove this, but never published it. The “Odyssey” the best story. The death of Priam very fine.’

One of the literary events of this year was the publication of Lady Caroline Lamb’sGlenarvon.’ It is unreadable trash, and is only of interest as showing how a temporary popularity may be obtained by books which have no literary quality, but which are supposed to bear on the men and the controversies of the time. Lady Caroline Lamb was a kind of Ophelia ‘divided from herself and her fair judgment’ by her passion for Byron. She wrote to him when his difficulties as to money were reported, assuring him that all her jewels were at his service. Byron, who on this and other matters found a confidential friend in Rogers, showed him this letter. There was no breach of confidence in doing so, for Lady Caroline did not conceal from Rogers her passion for Byron. On returning home at night, Rogers more than once found her pacing his garden waiting for him to implore his good offices with Byron in some passing quarrel. He had seen her waiting in the street to catch Byron on his way home from a party to which she had not been invited. One night, she had waited in this manner outside Devonshire House, and Rogers saw her talking to Byron with such eagerness that half her body was thrust into the window of Byron’s carriage. If she met him at a party she nearly always contrived that he should drive her home. They had finally quarrelled before Byron left England, and ‘Glenarvon’ is an attack
upon him, and incidentally upon Rogers as his friend. Rogers, who had the best opportunity of knowing, always asserted that the flirtation, violent as it was, had nothing criminal about it; and in proof of Lady Caroline’s state of mind, told the story of a holocaust she made, not of Byron’s letters and portrait, but of copies of them. She had retired to the country, and one day made a bonfire in the garden on which these effigies, as it were, were flung, while some girls, dressed in white, danced round, singing a song she had written for the occasion, the burden of which was, ‘Burn, fire, burn.’

This is sufficient explanation of a passage in the following letter which Moore omitted, without any indication of the omission, in printing the letter in his ‘Life of Byron.’

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘Diodati, near Geneva: July 29th, 1816.

‘Dear Rogers,—Do you recollect a book, Mathisson’sLetters,” which you lent me, which I have still, and yet hope to return to your library? Well, I have encountered at Coppet and elsewhere Gray’s correspondent (in its appendix), that same Bonstetten to whom I lent the translation of his correspondent’s epistles for a few days, but all he could remember of Gray amounts to little, except that he was the most “melancholy and gentlemanlike” of all possible poets. Bonstetten himself is a fine and very lively old man, and much esteemed by his compatriots, he is also a littérateur of good repute, and all his friends have a mania of addressing to him volumes of letters, Mathisson, Müller the historian, &c., &c. He
is a good deal at Coppet, where I have met him a few times. All there are well, except
Rocca, who, I am sorry to say, looks in a very bad state of health; the Duchess seems grown taller, but as yet no rounder since her marriage. Schlegel is in high force, and Madame1 as brilliant as ever.

‘I came here by the Netherlands and the Rhine route, and Basle, Berne, Morat and Lausanne. I have circumnavigated the lake, and shall go to Chamouni with the first fair weather, but really we have had lately such stupid mists, fogs, rains, and perpetual density, that one would think Castlereagh had the Foreign Affairs of the kingdom of Heaven also upon his hands. I need say nothing to you of these parts, you having traversed them already. I do not think of Italy before September. I have read “Glenarvon”—
‘“From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate,
——2 by her love or libelled by her hate”—
and have also seen
Ben Constant’sAdolphe” and his preface denying the real people; it is a work which leaves an unpleasant impression, but very consistent with the consequences of not being in love, which is perhaps as disagreeable as anything except being so. I doubt, however, whether all such liens (as he calls them) terminate so wretchedly as his hero and heroine’s.

‘There is a third Canto (a longer than either of the former) of “Childe Harold” finished, and some smaller things—among them a story on the “Chateau de Chillon”; I only wait a good opportunity to transmit

1 Madame de Staël. 2 The dash is Byron’s.

them to the grand
Murray, who, I hope, flourishes. Where is Moore? Why ain’t he out?1 My love to him, and my perfect consideration and remembrances to all, particularly to Lord and Lady Holland, and to your Duchess of Somerset.

‘Ever yours very truly,

‘P.S. I send you a fac-simile, a note of Bonstetten’s, thinking you might like to see the hand of Gray’s correspondent.’

During the summer Rogers paid a visit to Sydney Smith at Foston, where, we are told, he charmed young and old by his kindness and inexhaustible fund of anecdote. He left London in August, intending to go to Scotland, and to take Tom Moore, Wordsworth and Southey on the way. ‘Rogers stayed with us here,’ says Moore in a letter to Lady Donegal, ‘from Wednesday to Sunday and left “an image of himself” (I mean intellectually speaking) very favourable indeed on the minds both of Bessy and the little ones. He was, indeed, particularly amiable: and took no fright at the superfluity either of melted butter or of maids, and even saw with composure a little boy who comes to clean my shoes, not that I can quite answer for his subsequent reflections on these luxuries.’ The subsequent reflections, with pleasant glimpses of many eminent contemporaries, are in the following letters—

1 The publication of Lalla Rookh was postponed because the year 1816 was one of great distress, and consequently unfavourable to publishers. The poem appeared in 1817, dedicated to Rogers, ‘by his very grateful and affectionate friend, Thomas Moore.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Low-wood Inn: Friday morning, 28 Aug. 1816.

‘My dear Sarah,—I should have written before, but the last post here I missed, and there is one here only every other day. I travelled to Leicester, where I arrived at 11 at night, without an incident, only that in Wells’s Row, Islington, we took up an old lady blind and deaf, whose only pleasure seemed to be to shake hands with us all round very often. She spoke, however, of her dinner with great pleasure, and expressed a wish that she might have some fish, an observation to which we could make no reply. Left Leicester next morning at half-past five in an empty coach, and at eleven found myself at Moore’s. His cottage is all alone in a pretty little valley with fields and woods about it, and is new and neat. They say, however, it is leaky and smoky. She struck me as much taller and much improved in expression, and still very handsome, tho’ a little of her lustre is gone, and she is thinner. But she surprised me agreeably, and would be admired anywhere. The two little girls are not pretty nor otherwise, and quiet and merry and caressing beyond anything. I wished for you with them very often, and they had made arrangements for you. I staid till Sunday—having passed into Dovedale with M. and seen Ham, and then went off alone (for, after all, he left me in the lurch) to Manchester. Napped there, and at one in the morning came on in the mail to Kendal, arriving here on Monday at three. On Tuesday, after a row on the lake, I walked and drank tea with the Wordsworths, who are all as before. They still talk of
their day with you on the Thames, and
Miss W. counts the years since she saw you. Their present abode is princely—by the side of Rydal Hall. Their windows command Windermere, and their garden (Miss H. and the clerk keep it full of flowers) looks down upon Rydal water. I was asking my way to them at a cottage door in the road, when the child I spoke to ran in, and a little girl came smiling out and took my hand with a curtsey, It was Miss W., as I guessed, who had called to ask after a child in the measles, and she conducted me to their house. Yesterday I dined there, and to-day he spends the day with me. He is very cheerful and pleasant, and so are they all. I believe they heard of my arrival a few minutes after I came, for they called early the next day while I was on the water. The weather here has been wretched. Now it is mending a little, but still cold and cheerless—the Moores live by a fire, and so do the Ws., and I live in my great-coat. I am now writing in it. What will become of me, I am at a loss to say—but my heart fails me, and I think I shall go on no further. Pray write, my dear Sarah, and tell me your plans, to Lowwood—if you write in four or five days, but afterwards to Keswick. The regatta here is next Wednesday, and W. offers to accompany me to Ulleswater, an offer I am glad to accept, so I think I shall not be at K. before the end of next week. Pray remember me very affectionately to all, and believe me to be,

‘Ever yours,
‘S. R.

‘There is nothing but complaint anywhere. No
posting, nobody travelling—and no wonder—when there is no sun in the sky, and no money in people’s pockets.

‘The natives here are all astounded at Sharp’s absence two years running. Miss W., to whom it was a great event in her retired life, is, I believe, chief mourner, after whom come the innkeepers, &c.’

Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers.
‘Keswick: Sept. 1, 1816.

‘My dear Sarah,—Many thanks for your letter. The mountains and lakes are just as beautiful as ever, and have lost little by the comparison, so you may come and see them without apprehension. After all, I did not see the regatta, as Wordsworth was impatient for Ulleswater. We set off on Monday, and had two beautiful days for it. On Wednesday we dined at a Mr. Marshall’s, a Liverpool merchant, whose wife’s sister, living in a small house on the lake, said she had seen you at Mr. Lloyd’s, and slept at Keswick that night, since which we have had cold, wet and cheerless weather, but on Thursday there were races here on Crow Park on the lake notwithstanding, and on Friday I went up Causay Pike, a huge mountain, with Wordsworth, Southey, and Sir George Beaumont—nor have I ever dined at my inn but once, and then W. dined with me. Mrs. Wood has lost her old mother and her husband; and has married again, and is now Mrs. Jackson. She asked after you the first moment she saw me, and is the same tidy, civil lady as ever, and no older to my eyes. Southey’s house is a model of neatness and comfort, the admiration of Wordsworth, and I must say, a contrast to his. We have had two wet days, and
Lady B. lent me Dorothy’sTour in Scotland,” in which we are mentioned.1 It is full of sweetness, and very interesting from her dialogues with people in the fields and highways. She seems exceedingly affected hy the kind or sour looks of her hostess, and many of the last did they meet with on the high roads. A delightful air of na’ivte and benevolence and enthusiasm runs thro’ it, and I know you would enjoy it much. Take the last day’s history for a sample—

‘“Sunday, September 25, 1803.—A beautiful autumnal day. Breakfast at a public-house by the road-side. Dined at Threkeld. Arrived at home between eight and nine o’clock, where we found Mary in perfect health, Mary2 Hutchinson with her, and little Johnny asleep in the clothes-basket by the fire.

‘“Finished copying this journal May 31, 1805, in the moss hut at the top of the orchard. William, Mary, and I finished the moss hut on the afternoon of June 6, 1805. After the work was ended we all sate down in the middle of the seat, looking at the clouds in the west.”

‘But, after all, it leaves a sadness on the mind from the perpetual difficulties they had to struggle with—rain, fatigue, and bad accommodation. I am very sorry indeed to hear of Sutton. I was in hopes he was better before I left town, and wish with all my heart he was

1Mr. Rogers and his sister, whom we had seen at our own cottage at Grasmere a few days before, had arrived there that same afternoon on their way to the Highlands; but we did not see them till the next morning, and only for about a quarter of an hour’ (Recollections, &c., edited by J. C. Shairp, LL.D., p. 5).

2 It should be Joanna. In the published journal the entry at the close is omitted, but it is surely as characteristic as any the journal contains.

here with me. I have scarcely been warm since I left you, and a vile toothache such as I set out with on our journey abroad began in the night before I set out, and has seldom left me long. I have a glass of brandy now on the table, and dare not be without it night or day, but in other respects have been perfectly well. What will become of me I will not yet say, but I think I shall write in a day or two, and give up Scotland. To-day, snow fell in Borrowdale, and snow is visible from my garret window on several of the mountains. There is ice an inch thick on Skiddaw. No wonder, tho’ the sun shone a little to-day, everybody complains of the cold.
Southey says the winter is come three weeks earlier than he ever knew it. Farewell, my dearest Sarah, pray direct to me at the Post Office, Penrith, and with my love to all, believe me to be ever yours,

Samuel Rogers.’

There is a letter without date from Moore to William Gardiner, which Lord John Russell puts too early, in which he says that Rogers ‘returning by Kegworth, and not finding me there, has come by the evening coach, and is now sitting by the pianoforte at Mr. Peach’s waiting the effect of this note in bringing you back to us. He is a warm admirer of your music, and is anxious to see the author before he leaves Leicester, which must be early in the morning.’ In November Sydney Smith writes to Lady Holland: ‘I suppose Samuel Rogers is mortgaged to your ladyship for the autumn and early part of the winter. Perhaps you would have the goodness to say that Miss thinks him charming. Next to the Con-
greve rocket, he is the most mischievous and powerful of modern inventions.’ He was then in his fifty-fourth year, and at the very height of his social popularity and fame.

The following letters carry on his social history—

Robert Southey to Samuel Rogers.
‘Keswick: 13 Dec., 1816.

‘My dear Sir,—Without preface or apology, let me tell my story. Some little time ago I received a letter requesting me to peruse a manuscript poem, and allow the writer to dedicate it to me, if I thought it worthy of publication. The writer stated himself to be very young, and that his reason for publishing was necessity. I received the poem, it was brimful of genius, with more of Lord Byron in it than of any other writer; but no more than showed a proper and discriminating sense of Lord Byron’s powers. It was crude, exuberant, and ill-planned, had it not been so, I should have thought it far less hopeful. Enquiring into the circumstances of the author, I find that his name is Herbert Knowles, that he is an orphan, taken from a very low situation and placed at an excellent school at Richmond in Yorkshire by the contributions of some persons who had discovered his uncommon talents, the Dean of Canterbury giving ten pounds a year, two other clergymen five pounds each, his relations had promised among them thirty more, and it was intended when he was fit for college to place him upon this allowance as a sizar at St. John’s. These times have pressed heavily upon his relations, and they could not fulfil their promise; so that his hopes were struck down at once, and he was advised to go as usher
to some school. In abhorrence of such a situation, he thought of authorship. Of course, I pointed out the impracticability of this scheme. I wrote to his master, and obtained the highest possible character of the youth in every respect. My next thought was how to supply the thirty pounds annually for the next four years, it will be one year before he is ready for Cambridge. Ten I will give myself, I think you will not be displeased with me for having thought of you. And if Lord Byron had been in England, I would have asked you to apply to him. Amid all that storm and tumult of unhappy passions, and more unhappy opinions, there must be good and generous feelings, it is wholesome for him that they should be exercised, and proud as he is, it might gratify him to have them acknowledged and appealed to by one who condemns and pities him as I do.

‘Sure I am, that Poets can best appreciate each other’s merits, and in looking for friends for this unfledged Eagle (indeed I think he is of eagle breed) of whom could I think more properly than you. Among all the Pleasures of Memory there is none so lasting as that of the good which we have done.

‘Believe me, my dear Sir, with the highest esteem, very truly and respectfully yours,

Robert Southey.’

The ‘unfledged eagle’ never got his wings. His ‘Lines written in the Churchyard of Richmond, Yorkshire,’ which Southey published, are still to be found in some collections of religious poetry. He died in 1817 at the age of nineteen.


Here is another sign of Rogers’s love for children—

Samuel Rogers to Daniel Rogers.
‘London: Jan. 21, 1817.

‘My dear Dan,—I write just now to say that our grand festival is finally fixed for Monday next, the 27th; the twelfth cake is bespoke and the hurdygurdy; and I hope and trust you will come, one and all—the boys because they are coming at all events, and Lucy to write a full account of it, and Patty to prompt her and console Signor Binda for her long absence, and Mary and Eliza, because I missed them at Derby, and have not seen them for an age, and mamma most of all because she will be most welcome, and you because I lost you the other day when you came. I have no news, and you must have heard all from Highbury. As for me, I have been idling away my time at many castles of Indolence. At Woburn I found Lady M. Palmer, and she talked much of you and Payne. I like her very much indeed. Pray give my love to all, and believe me to be, ever yours,

Samuel Rogers.

‘I am going down to Highbury to-day with Mr. Johnstone, Fanny’s husband, and wish you were all of the party. I saw the Lytteltons at Althorp. L. has since been in your country.’

Byron was at this time in Italy, and occasional letters passed between him and Rogers. Moore gives but one—shortened as usual—but I am able to restore it in reproducing it—

Lord Byron to Samuel Rogers.
‘Venice: April 4th, 1817.

‘My dear Rogers,—It is a considerable time since I wrote to you last, and I hardly know why I should trouble you now, except that I think you will not be sorry to hear from me now and then. You and I were never correspondents, but always something better, which is very good friends.

‘I saw your friend Sharp in Switzerland, or rather in the Genevan territory (which is and is not Switzerland), and he gave Hobhouse and me a very good route for the Bernese Alps; however, we took another from a German, and went by Clarens over the Dent de Jaman to Montbovon, and through the Simmenthal to Thun, and so on to Lauterbrunnen; except that from thence to the Grindelwald instead of round about, we went right over the Wengern Alp’s very summit, and being close under the Jungfrau, saw it, its glaciers, and heard the avalanches in all their glory, having famous weather therefor. We, of course, went from the Grindelwald over the Scheideck to Brienz, and its lake; past the Reichenbach and all that mountain road, which reminded me of Albania and Ætolia and Greece, except that the people here were more civilised and rascally. I did not think so very much of Chamouni (except the source of the Arveyron, to which we went up to the teeth of the ice, so as to look into and touch the cavity, against the warning of the guides, only one of whom would go with us so close) as of the Jungfrau, and the Pissevache and Simplon, which are quite out of all mortal computation.


‘I was at Milan about a moon, and saw Monti and some other living curiosities, and thence on to Verona, where I did not forget your story of the assassination during your sojourn there, and brought away with me some fragments of Juliet’s tomb, and a lively recollection of the amphitheatre. The Countess Goetz (the governor’s wife here) told me that there is still a ruined castle of the Montecchi between Verona and Vicenza. I have been at Venice since November, but shall proceed to Rome shortly. For my deeds here, are they not written in my letters to the unreplying Thomas Moore? To him I refer you; he has received them all, and not answered one.

‘Will you remember me to Lord and Lady Holland? I have to thank the former for a book which I have not yet received, but expect to reperuse with great pleasure on my return, viz., the second edition of “Lope de Vega.” I have heard of Moore’s forthcoming poem: he cannot wish himself more success than I wish and augur for him. I have also heard great things of “Tales of my Landlord,” but I have not yet received them; by all accounts they beat even “Waverley,” &c., and are by the same author. Maturin’s second tragedy has, it seems, failed, for which I should think anybody would be sorry except perhaps Sotheby, who I must say was capriciously and evilly entreated by the Sub-Committee about poor dear “Ivan,” whose lot can only be paralleled by that of his original—I don’t mean the author, who is anything but original,—but the deposed imperial infant who gave his name and some narrative to the drama thereby entitled. My health was very victorious till within the last month, when I had a fever. There is a typhus in these parts, but
I don’t think it was that. However, I got well without a physician or drugs.

‘I forgot to tell you that, last autumn, I furnished Lewis with “bread and salt” for some days at Diodati, in reward for which (besides his conversation) he translated Goethe’sFaust” to me by word of mouth, and I set him by the ears with Madame de Staël about the slave-trade. I am indebted for many and kind courtesies to our Lady of Coppet, and I now love her as much as I always did her works, of which I was and am a great admirer. When are you to begin with Sheridan? what are you doing, and how do you do?

‘Ever and very truly and affectionately yours,


In a letter to Moore, written a week later, Byron speaks of Rogers: ‘I hope he flourishes. He is the Tithonus of poetry—immortal already. You and I must wait for it.’ Here is a fragment from another of the immortals.

William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers.
‘Rydal Mount: May 13, 1817.

‘I presume you are in a state of earthly existence, as I have heard nothing to the contrary since we parted in a shower near the Turnpike Gate of Keswick. Need I add that I hope and wish that you may be well? In the former part of this sentence, you may have divined there lurks a charitable reproach; for you left me with some reason to expect that I should hear of, from, or about you. Though this favour has not been granted, I am not
discouraged from asking another, the exact amount of which I am unable to calculate. A friend of mine, a near relation of
Mrs. Wordsworth, is smitten with a desire of seeing the pictures brought together by the members of the British Institution, and exhibited in the evening—I feel I have expressed my meaning cumbrously and ill—he wishes to attend the evening greatly, and has applied to me to procure him a ticket, for one night, if I conveniently can. Is it in your power to enable me to gratify this laudable ambition in a worthy person? Having come to the point, I have only to add that his address is, Thomas Monkhouse, Esq., 28, St. Anne’s Street; and could you enclose him a ticket, I shall be most thankful.

‘Are we to see you among us this summer? I hope so—and also that Sharp will not desert us. How is he in health, and what does he say of Switzerland and Italy, both in themselves and as compared with the scenes in our neighbourhood, which he knows so well? Is George Philips as great an orator as ever, and do you and Dante continue as intimate as heretofore? He used to avenge himself upon his enemies by placing them in H—ll, a thing Bards seem very fond of attempting in this day, witness the Laureate’s mode of treating Mr. W. Smith. You keep out of these scrapes, I suppose; why don’t you hire somebody to abuse you? and the higher the place selected for the purpose the better. For myself, I begin to fear that I should soon be forgotten if it were not for my enemies. Yet, now and then, a humble admirer presents himself, in some cases following up his introduction with a petition. The other day, I had a letter of this sort
from a poetical, not a personal, friend—a Quaker of the name of
Barton, living at “Woodbridge, in Suffolk. He has beguiled me of a guinea, the promise of one at least, by way of subscription to a quarto volume of poems, which he is anxious to print partly for honour, partly for profit. He solicits my interest to promote his views. I state the fact, I do not beg—I have not sufficient grounds to go upon—I leave the affair to the decision of your own mind, only do not contemn me for abusing—’1

In the succeeding month we find Rogers in contact with an older poet, thus linking together in characteristic fashion, two periods of English literary history. Rogers’s acquaintance with Crabbe probably began some time between 1810 and 1812. Crabbe’s son, in his ‘Life’ of the poet, published in 1834, speaks of him as having begun at Bowood ‘an acquaintance which also soon ripened into a strong friendship with the author of “The Pleasures of Memory.”’ Rogers probably sought him out at Trowbridge, and not finding him at home, suggested some opportunity of meeting. Crabbe sent thereupon a copy of ‘The Borough,’ published in 1810, with the following note—

The Rev. George Crabbe to Samuel Rogers.

Mr. Crabbe feels himself much gratified by the obliging attentions of Mr. Rogers. He has great pleasure in the prospect of meeting a gentleman to whom Mr. Bowles had given him hope that he should be introduced. In the morning, Wednesday, he promises himself this satisfaction, which is abated solely by the fear that (from

1 This is a fragment which leaves off abruptly.

want of foresight) he has occasioned trouble to Mr. Rogers, when he so obligingly sought to communicate the pleasure he intended that Mr. Crabbe should receive.

‘Tuesday morning.’

The acquaintance made, or friendship begun, at Bowood was the immediate cause of the introduction of Crabbe to the literary and social circles to which Rogers belonged. Crabbe’s biographer tells us that Mr. Rogers urged him to pay a visit in the summer season to the metropolis, and that he did so, taking lodgings near his new friend’s residence in St. James’s Place, where he was ‘welcomed in the most cordial manner by the whole of that wide circle—including almost every name distinguished in politics, fashion, science, literature, and art—of which Mr. Rogers has been so long considered the brightest ornament.’ Crabbe came to London on the 19th of June, 1817, in company with his friend Mr. Waldron. No record has been preserved of the feelings with which he returned to the metropolis, in circumstances which contrasted so happily with those with which he had made the plunge thirty-seven years before. It was not that he showed any reluctance to speak of it. In talking about him, Rogers used to say that Crabbe had spoken of the mixture of feelings with which he stood on London Bridge during his first visit to London. In one of his later visits he was staying at the Old Hummums hotel, where he was only known as an ordinary clergyman, bearing the name of Crabbe. But a friend, calling on him in his absence, told the waiters that their clerical visitor was the celebrated poet, and when he came back Crabbe was
astonished at the curiosity he excited, and the attentions paid to him. It was a revelation to him of the extent of his literary fame.

That first visit to London took place in 1780, when Rogers, like Crabbe, was first beginning to dream of literary fame, and thirty years before they were destined to meet. The Suffolk rustic had taken lodgings in the house of Mr. Vickery, a hairdresser near the Exchange, and sometimes had to pawn his watch, and to find how ‘it’s the vilest thing in the world,’ as he says to his sweetheart, ‘to have but one coat,’ since ‘a confounded stove’s modish ornament’ had caught the elbow of his only one ‘and rent it half away.’ A generation had passed. He had gone through rural exile, had been, as he described himself, ‘a solitary with a social disposition—a hermit without a hermit’s resignation’; had been chaplain at Belvoir Castle, and known the intolerable hardships of the cultivated dependant on a great man’s patronage; had married, brought up a family, lost the wife of his striving years, and gained competence and fame. He had been presented, three years before, to the living of Trowbridge, and was at work on his last great poem, ‘The Tales of the Hall.’ He now came back to be an honoured guest in the London where, thirty-seven years before, he had walked twelve miles to seek a job as an amanuensis, and been bitterly disappointed to find that another had been before him. As soon as he arrived, Rogers invited him to meet a few literary friends at breakfast, and he replied in a letter which is an admirable illustration of the tone of this gentle and simple-minded poet in his intercourse with his distinguished contemporaries.

The Rev. George Crabbe to Samuel Rogers.
[June 23rd, 1817.]

‘Dear Sir,—I will breakfast with you in the morning, or on Tuesday, or on both: one principal purpose of my coming to town again was the pleasure you held up to me when I was so kindly received by you: you told me that I should see Lord Holland, and you made your own house all that was pleasant and engaging. What, dear Sir, can I say? Do not, however, permit me to intrude too much on your time, for I well know how you are consulted and engaged, but, speaking for myself alone, I would say, dear Sir, dispose of me as it seems best to you. I will dine with you when you can take me into your company, and I will wait on Lord Holland when it shall appear to you that his Lordship will be disposed to receive me. In fact, I will commit myself to you in that way which, to a mind like yours, I may do safely and with propriety. You will be a guide to me, and I shall do what is proper and becoming; neither presuming on the kindness which is shown to me, nor coldly withdrawing myself from the honour which I know how to estimate. My few engagements and my small business in town, I reckon as nothing—the society to which you introduce me is all! I can put nothing—of my concerns here—in comparison with it. I repeat, therefore, dear Sir, I am at your command, gratefully

‘And obediently yours,
Geo. Crabbe.

‘I am ashamed of the trouble your servant has, but I
mean to approach nearer on the morrow or the next day.

‘Do not, I entreat, let me, by my desire of being with you, break in upon your better purposes. I am not ignorant of the sacrifices your politeness may make, but I would—if possible—claim the privilege of a friend, and entreat that I may see you only when it is perfectly convenient, and then it will be very pleasant. Will the ladies pardon me if I beg to be respectfully remembered by them.’

Crabbe’s Journal records this breakfast in St. James’s Place, and many other of his visits to Rogers, and with Rogers, during his stay in London.

June 24.—Mr. Rogers, his brother and family, Mr, and Mrs. Moore, very agreeable and pleasant people. Foscolo, the Italian gentleman, Dante, &c. Play. Kemble in “Coriolanus.”

June 26.—Mr. Rogers and the usual company at breakfast. Lady Holland comes and takes me to Holland House. . . . Meet Mr. Campbell. Mr. Moore with us. Mr. Rogers joins us in the course of the day.

June 27.—Mr. Campbell’s letter.1 He invites us to Sydenham. I refer it to Mr. Rogers and Mr. Moore. Return to town. . . . Call on Mr. Rogers. We go to the Freemason’s Tavern.2 The room filled. We find a place about half-way down the common seats, but not

1 Printed in Beattie’s Life of Campbell, vol. ii. p. 330.

2 To a festival held to do honour to J. P. Kemble, for which Campbell’s valedictory verses, beginning ‘Pride of the British stage,’ were written.

where the managers dine above the steps. By us,
Mr. Smith, one of the authors of the “Rejected Addresses.” Known, but no introduction. Mr. Perry, editor of the Morning Chronicle, and Mr. Campbell find us, and we are invited into the committee room. Kemble, Perry, Lord Erskine, Mr. Moore, Lord Holland, Lord Ossory, whom I saw at Holland House. Dinner announced. Music. Lord Erskine sits between me and a young man whom I find to be a son of Boswell. Lord Holland’s speech after dinner. The Ode recited. Campbell’s speech. Kemble’s. Talma’s. We leave the company and go to Vauxhall to meet Miss Rogers. Stay late.

June 29.—Breakfast at the coffee house in Pall Mall, and go to Mr. Rogers and family. Agree to dine, and then join their party after dinner. Mr. Stothard. Foscolo. Drive to Kensington Gardens in their carriage. . . .

July 1.—Dine with Mr. Rogers. Company: Kemble, Lord Erskine, Lord Ossory, Sir George Beaumont, Mr. Campbell, and Mr. Moore. Miss R. retires early, and is not seen any more at home. Met her at the gallery in Pall Mall with Mr. Westall. ‘July 2.—Dine at Sydenham with Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Moore, and Rogers. Poet’s Club.’

Regarding this visit to Sydenham, Campbell writes to Crabbe’s son

‘One day—and how can it fail to be memorable to me when Moore has commemorated it?—your father, and Rogers, and Moore, came down to Sydenham pretty early in the forenoon, and stopped to dine
with me. We talked of founding a Poet’s Club, and even set about electing the members, not by ballot, but vivâ voce. The scheme failed, I scarcely know how; but this I know, that a week or so afterwards I met with
Perry of The Morning Chronicle, who asked me how our Poet’s Club was going on. I said, “I don’t know—we have some difficulty in giving it a name,—we thought of calling ourselves The Bees.” “Ah,” said Perry, “that’s a little different from the common report; for they say you are to be called The Wasps.” I was so stung with this waspish report, that I thought no more of the Poet’s Club.’

The Journal continues—

July 3.—Go with Mr. Rogers in his carriage to Wimbledon. Earl and Countess Spencer. The grounds more beautiful than any I have yet seen; more extensive, various, rich. The profusion of roses extraordinary. Dinner. Mr. Heber, to whom Mr. Scott addresses one canto of “Marmion.” Mr. Stanhope. A pleasant day. Sleep at Wimbledon.

July 4.—Morning view, and walk with Mr. Heber and Mr. Stanhope. Afterwards Mr. Rogers, Lady S., Lady H. A good picture if I dare draw it accurately. Return with Mr. Rogers.

July 6.—Call at Mr. Rogers’s, and go to Lady Spencer’s. Go with Mr. Rogers to dine at Highbury with his brother and family. Miss Rogers the same at Highbury as in town. . . .

July 7.—Dinner at Mr. Rogers’s with Mr. Moore and Mr. Campbell, Lord Strangford and Mr. Spencer.
Leave them, and go by engagement to see
Miss O’Neil, in Lady Spencer’s box.

July 11.—Breakfast with Mr. Rogers; talk of Mr. Frere.

July 14.—Go to Mr. Rogers’s, and take a farewell visit to Highbury. Miss Rogers. Promise to go when ——. Return early. Dine there, and purpose to see Mr. Moore and Mr. Rogers in the morning, when they set out for Calais.

July 15.—Was too late this morning. Messrs. Rogers and Moore were gone.’

Extract from a letter, July 25.

‘This visit to London has, indeed, been a rich one. I had new things to see, and was perhaps something of a novelty myself. Mr. Rogers introduced me to almost every man he is acquainted with; and in this number were comprehended all I was previously very desirous to obtain a knowledge of.’

During part of Crabbe’s visit to London, Tom Moore and his wife and children were staying at Rogers’s house, and on the 15th of July, when Crabbe records that he found they were gone, Moore and Rogers had left London on a visit to Paris. In October Rogers was again at Bowood, where Moore found him when he went down to see ‘the Cottage, a small thatched cottage, and we get it, furnished, at forty pounds a-year,’ near Lord Lansdowne’s. While Rogers was at Bowood he saw a family connection and brother poet, from whom he received the following letter.

The Rev. William Lisle Bowles to Samuel Rogers.
‘Bremhill: Oct. 1st, 1817.

‘My dear Rogers,—I am very anxious that you should inform Lord Lansdowne that, though the house at Heddington is situated very low, yet it is within a quarter of a mile of the most beautiful views in Wiltshire, and has, I believe, every accommodation, and is in complete repair. I should think it would answer his plan very well—but, verbum sapienti, he must not go to look at it with Moore, or even send a servant from Bowood, unless he wishes double price to be charged for rent, perhaps treble.

‘If he would leave the arrangement to me, in case Moore should like the situation, I am sure I could make a much better bargain, and could either ride over with Moore, or settle with Hughes, in case of approval. I leave that, as I said, to your and Lord Lansdowne’s consideration, and have no other object than Moore’s interest in the suggestion I have ventured to make.

‘A word about Tytherton. I don’t know whether you were in earnest about walking there with Mrs. Orde, but, if so, you will come here to-morrow at about a quarter past one o’clock; you could go down with me in the carriage, and my boat, with flag, gardener, and pony, should wait your arrival at Tytherton Bridge, and waft you along the canal to within half a mile of Bowood gate.

‘I conclude all this with a song, which I hope you won’t mistake for a “vile” Baptist hymn.

On hearing a Young Lady sing Haydn’s “Benedictus.
‘Oh! in the realms of Light (should I attain
Those seats where saints and angels swell the strain
Before the Throne, ‘mid troops of Seraphs bright,
Whose farthest circles fade in distant light),
Even when the high and holy harmony
Went up acclaiming everlastingly,
Should some soft voice more musically clear
Steal with an added sweetness on the ear,
Methinks (for so to my rapt thought it seems
As now I listen, dallying with vain dreams)
I should recall, in Tytherton’s still shade,
Thy voice and look, Oh! mild Moravian maid.

‘The prose you will submit to Lord Lansdowne; the verse is left to your discretion.

‘If you could come to Bremhill, you shall have six white sticks, and stick them in where you like in the garden, and I will plant six trees, or as many or few as you choose, where you mark, for which I have more reasons than one, but which I shall not mention to you. You need not write; come or not, just as you feel inclined, to-morrow. I shall go about two o’clock.

‘Yours ever,
W. L. Bowles.’

Here is an equally characteristic letter from a person living in another moral and intellectual climate.

‘If Mr. Rogers continues to feel any inclination to hear the secrets of the prison house of Eblis unfolded, he may perhaps be inspired to appoint a day and a night for the purpose.


‘Nothing would afford the Abbot of Fonthill higher gratification.

‘Fonthill Abbey,
‘Thursd., Octr. 17, 1817.’

Rogers was at Longleat when this epistle arrived, and he accepted the invitation. He drove to Fonthill, and on arriving at the gates of the Abbey was told that his servant and horses must return, as Beckford’s would be at his service. Rogers stayed three days, which were chiefly spent in driving about the grounds in pony carriages. The other visitors were James Smith, the author of a book entitled ‘Select Views in Italy,’ and a French priest. In the evening, Beckford improvised on the piano or read from one of his unpublished books; two of these were unprinted additions to ‘Vathek.’ Rogers never told the secrets of the prison house of Eblis, if they were ever unfolded to him. He slept in a bedroom which was approached through a gallery where lights were burned all night, and where there was an illuminated picture of St. Antonio, to which it was reported that Beckford sometimes said his prayers.

In the beginning of November, Rogers was staying with Lord Bathurst, when news came in the evening that the Princess Charlotte had been confined, that the child was dead, but that the Princess was doing well; and this was followed in the early morning by the terrible news that the Princess was dead. Rogers told the story thirty years afterwards to his nephew, Samuel Sharpe, from whose Diary I reproduce it.1

1 Samuel Sharpe, Egyptologist and translator of the Bible, p. 182.


‘At four o’clock in the morning there was a stir in the house; an express had arrived to tell Lord Bathurst that the Princess was dead. He got up immediately to carry the news to the Regent, her father. He went to town, and called up the Duke of York at St. James’s Palace, and took him with him. When they got to the Regent’s they roused Colonel [Sir Benjamin] Bloomfield, told him their errand, and begged him to inform the Regent of his daughter’s death. He positively refused. “Tell it yourselves,” he said. “Let him know, then, that we want to speak to him,” said the Duke of York and Lord Bathurst. This Bloomfield did, and they were shown up. The Duke of York made Lord Bathurst go into the room first. They found the Regent sitting up in bed, and told him they had sad news for him. He said he had heard it—the child was dead. Then they let him understand that his daughter was dead. He was, of course, much upset, but three hours afterwards he was consulting with those about him as to the ceremony of the funeral.’

Mr. Dyce reports the story, as told by Rogers, somewhat differently. He says, that on hearing of his daughter’s death, the Regent struck his forehead violently with both hands and fell forward into the arms of the Duke of York. Among other exclamations the intelligence drew from him was: ‘Oh, what will become of that poor man,’ referring to Prince Leopold.

At Lord Bathurst’s Rogers saw a good many letters of Pope, Bolingbroke, and others, and Lady Bathurst lent him a packet of letters from Queen Mary to King
William (many of which have since been published), of which Rogers recollected one in which she called the king her ‘dear husban.’ One or two of Lord Bathurst’s own recollections are set down in Rogers’s Commonplace Book.

‘The Prince (father of George III.) was a very weak man. The King, his father, never would be reconciled to him, though the Prince would have done anything for it. The only person of the family he seemed at all to like was the Princess Amelia. He would nod at her sometimes. The day before the Prince died the King was informed of his danger, but took no notice of it. Seven or eight days afterwards he paid a visit to the Princess, and some formal conversation took place, but with little concern expressed, or perhaps felt, on either side, when the Princess Amelia, then a child, seeing them sitting side by side on the sofa, just as her father used to sit with her mother, burst into tears; the King instantly rose, and, taking her up, kissed her, saying, “You are the only person of any feeling in the family,” and instantly left the house. The Princess Amelia told me this story.—Lord Bathurst.

‘The Prince of Wales took delight in giving away, in great form, titles and places beforehand, to be confirmed when he came to the Crown. My grandfather used often to kiss hands.—Lord Bathurst.

The next letter from Byron to Rogers which Moore prints in his ‘Life of Byron’ is dated Venice, the 3rd of March, 1818. It has no particular bearing on Rogers’s
story, and it is only needful to mention it here to supply a striking omission which Moore has made without giving any indication of it. This is how the letter really begins—

‘I have not, as you say, “taken to wife the Adriatic,” but if the Adriatic will take my wife, I shall be very glad to marry her instead. In the meantime, I have had wife enough: as the grammar has it, “tædet vitæ, pertæsum est conjugii.” However, the last part of this exquisite quotation only is applicable to my case. I like life very well in my own way.’ In the same letter he speaks of his ‘mathematical Medea.’ He tells Rogers, too, that in his effort to have ‘Fazio’ brought out at Drury Lane he ‘was overruled, as also in an effort I made in favour of Sotheby’s trash, which I did to oblige the mountebank, who has since played me a trick or two (I suspect) which, perhaps, he may remember, as well as his airs of patronage which he affects with young writers, and affected both to me and of me many a good year. He sent me (unless the handwriting be a most extraordinary coincidental mistake) an anonymous note at Rome about the “Poeshie” of Chillon, &c. I can swear also to his phrases, particularly the word “effulgence.” Well, I say nothing.’

It will not be inappropriate to close this chapter with a letter from Ugo Foscolo. which is interesting in itself, though chiefly interesting here as a further proof, among many, of the pains which Rogers was always willing to take to do a service to a man of letters. Foscolo, introduced at Holland House, had taken London society by storm. But he was an exile, and must earn an exile’s
bread. He had been more than half a year in London, and Rogers and
Allen had already been in communication with him as to his plans of work, when he wrote the outspoken and pathetic letter which Rogers ever after kept among his literary treasures.

Ugo Foscolo to Samuel Rogers.1

‘Mon cher Monsieur,—Vendredi, à peine rentré chez moi j’ai été obligé de me faire appliquer un vessicatoire sur la poitrine, ce qui m’a empêché de vous écrire de suite, et je n’avais personne à qui dicter ma lettre. Je commence, monsieur, par vous répéter les sentimens les plus sincères de mon cœur pour les soins que vous prenez avec tant de bonté pour un étranger qui a peu de titres à votre affection, et qui ne vous donne que de nouvelles peines. Veuillez bien dire les mêmes choses à Mr. Allen. Puisque la nécessité me force d’écrire pour vivre (quoique je doute s’il est necessaire que je vive) tous les jours sont précieux pour moi; et tout moment de travail perdu aujourd’hui peut m’être funeste demain, d’autant plus que dans ma manière de travailler il y a deux fatalités inhérentes, et qui sont plus fortes que tous mes raisonnements et mes tentatives pour les éviter. Premièrement, lorsque je pense et écris sur un sujet, je ne puis pas brider mes idées, ma mémoire, on ma plume. Il m’est dernièrement arrivé d’écrire quinze heures de suite et vingt-sept pages dans un jour. Mais il me faut quinze et quelquefois vingt-sept jours pour arranger le désordre inséparable de l’abondance, pour donner la substance

1 Some obvious slips in grammar and spelling have been corrected, otherwise Foscolo’s French has been left untouched.

des idées sans leur indigestion, pour citer les faits avec exactitude et l’érudition sans pédanterie; enfin pour placer le sujet avec ordre et donner à chaque partie le style convenable—en second lieu (je ne sais si par trop d’égards pour moi ou pour le public), je suis si difficile à me contenter de ce que je fais, qu’avant de donner mon livre à l’imprimeur, il me faut entre la composition et la publication un intervalle de temps convenable pour l’examiner avec l’esprit calme. Il est vrai que l’homme dans le besom ne doit pas avoir autant d’égards pour sa réputation ni pour les acheteurs de ses livres; mais je ne suis pas loin de ma quarantième année, j’ai fait bien des sacrifices pour tout ce que je crois honneur et conscience, je ne puis pas me changer, et je répète que ma manière de sentir et d’agir, à ce sujet, l’emporte sur tous mes raisonnemens.

‘Mais puisque ces deux difficultés détruisent, pour ainsi dire, une grande partie de mon temps, il faut que je tâche d’en perdre le moins possible, d’autant plus que la grande assiduité et rapidité de travail détruisent aussi ma santé et je suis depuis trois semaines dans un état continuel de fièvre, d’insomnie et de langueur.

‘J’ai fait une partie de mes lettres sur le plan dont j’ai souvent parlé à vous et à Mr. Allen et que j’ai envoyé tracé dans une préface à Lord Holland et que vous avez tous approuvé. Mes lettres sont un parallèle des Usages, de la Littérature et de l’Histoire politique d’Angleterre et de l’Italie. Je les ai divisées en trois séries selon les trois sujets; je voulais commencer par publier le premier volume qui traite des Usages.

‘Mais en écrivant et en préparant mes matériaux j’ai
vu s’accroître à chaque instant en nombre et en poids bien de difficultés que j’avais d’ailleurs prévues, mais sans m’apercevoir de toute leur conséquence. D’abord le sujet est très vaste, il exige des grandes lectures de toute espèce. Il est dangereux pour un homme exilé, et qui doit parler tantôt bien et tantôt mal de la nation où il s’est réfugié; et provoquer la critique avec des armes inégales: et les voyageurs avant de publier leurs opinions sur les nations étrangères se retirent dans leur propre pays. Enfin ma langue, ma diction trop Italienne combinée avec ma manière particulière d’exprimer mes idées, s’opposent à une bonne traduction en Anglais; surtout les lettres qui traitent des Usages exigent que la petitesse de la matière soit relevée par l’imagination et le ridicule. En parlant d’une nation barbare, ou nouvellement découverte, il suffit d’écrire ses usages avec simplicité: la nouveauté et la curiosité font le reste. Mais le beau monde en Europe est presque partout le même; et il est indispensable que l’esprit et le style de l’auteur soient comme une espèce de microscope qui aide les différentes sociétés de l’Europe à distinguer leurs nuances respectives. C’est pour cela que
Montesquieu et Goldsmith ont fait écrire leurs lettres par des Persans et des Chinois; mais malgré que par cette précaution ils ont pu peindre à grands traits, les objets étaient trop menus et trop connus aux yeux de leurs lecteurs; et par conséquent ils se sont aidés des attractives du style et du ridicule. Mais les Lettres Persanes traduites ne font pas la dixième partie de l’effet.

‘Comme cette difficulté de la traduction est la seule importante au libraire, je me suis livré à la providence—
puisque ma fortune le veut ainsi—relativement aux autres difficultés qui dépendent aussi un peu de moi, et j’ai envoyé à
Mr. Murray une longue lettre écrite avec assez d’originalité et de humour et de tournure de style, et de verve, afin qu’il la fasse essayer par un traducteur de sa confiance.

Mr. Murray m’a dit qu’en Angleterre on aime les quotations même dans les sujets qui ne sont pas littéraires; je me crois en état de lui complaire; mais je n’ai presque d’autres livres que ma mémoire. Il est bien facile de dire que j’aille consulter les bibliothèques de mes amis; mais il est difficile de sortir chaque jour de chez soi pour courir les maisons des autres chercher des ouvrages que souvent on ne trouve pas, troubler ses amis, prier pour chaque livre qu’on désire et en même temps avoir assez de calme et de loisir pour continuer son ouvrage.

Mr. Murray a senti ces difficultés et même il les a prévenues, et a eu la bonté de me dire qu’il me fournirait ou me ferait prêter les livres dont j’aurais besoin; je lui ai envoyé une note de classiques Grecs et Latins et de quelques autres auteurs. En attendant, depuis que je travaille j’ai été souvent forcé de marcher jusqu’à Londres pour consulter un livre, et souvent aussi j’ai dû en acheter, en dépensant les trois choses dont je n’ai pas du reste, le tems, l’argent, et la santé.

‘Il est donc de toute nécessité que je sache positivement quelle espèce d’ouvrage Mr. Murray croit plus utile à ses intérêts et aux miens, afin qu’aux autres dommages je ne sois pas obligé d’ajouter la dépense de faire transcrire des manuscrits.


‘Vous m’avez dit, Monsieur, que maintenant il désirerait un ouvrage qui traite principalement de Littérature Italienne. Je préférerais de mon côté aussi et pour la tranquillité de ma vie et pour mon caractère, de ne m’adonner qu’à l’histoire critique littéraire, et je crois d’être pourvu d’assez de moyens pour cette branche de travail. La traduction seroit plus aisée, car le style demanderoit moins d’effusion naturelle d’âme, moins d’art et d’imagination; et se borneroit à l’élégance et à la clarté nécessaires à la narration et au criticisme.

‘Je donnerais donc pour perdu ou je réserverais pour d’autres occasions le travail que j’ai fait jusqu’ici, et je traiterais uniquement de littérature; mais il faut que je sois positivement assuré de trois choses

‘1°. Si Mr. Murray déclare de se servir de mon travail après qu’il sera fait.

‘2°. Combien d’argent approximativement il serait disposé à dépenser pour deux volumes, chacun de 400 pages environ in 8° à 30 lignes par page et 40 lettres par ligne.

‘3°. Sur quel plan il voudrait que l’ouvrage fût fait—si en forme épistolaire, et par matière, comme par exemple, poésie, histoire, éloquence, et la poésie subdivisée en épique, tragique, satirique, &c., avec des subdivisions pareilles dans les autres branches—ou si par époques d’histoire en commençant depuis le 13e siècle jusqu’à nos jours. La première manière peut se traiter en lettres, en y mêlant aussi des observations comparatives sur la littérature anglaise. La seconde exige d’être traitée dans un cours chronologique.

‘Mais quant au plan on peut l’arranger facilement;
pour le moment ma position me force à exiger une réponse définitive sur les deux premières questions. Il est indispensable que le contrat soit fait d’avance, au moins pour le premier volume; et d’après le bon ou le mauvais succès, l’on s’arrangera sur le second.

‘Si Mr. Murray désire que je continue dans mon projet primitif, l’ouvrage sera en trois volumes et il faudra aussi commencer pour convenir sur le prix; mais ayez la bonté de le prévenir que la traduction du premier volume qui traite des Usages sera tout à fait difficile; que le second volume traite de la litterature plus vaguement que dans le plan proposé au dessus qui n’aura d’autre but que la Littérature Italienne, et l’influence que les révolutions politiques, les mœurs, les auteurs de l’antiquité et les livres des nations modernes ont exercés sur elle.

‘Dans tous les cas j’ose vous prier d’arranger avec Mr. Allen les choses de manière que je sache positivement ce que je dois faire et sur combien d’argent je pourrai compter à la fin de mon travail. Il faut, mon cher Monsieur, que je me sente le cœur rassuré sans craindre l’avenir ou les dettes, sans éprouver l’humiliation de la honte, sans faire à chaque instant des combats pour relever mon esprit tandis que mon âme par la force de mes circonstances retombe dans la prostration. Dans ces combats toutes mes facultés s’épuisent, et je crains fort qu’elles dépériront bien vite—

‘Pectora nostra duas non admittentia curas.

‘Vous, Monsieur, et mes amis m’avez fait oublier une grande partie des désagremens de l’exil; mais l’homme
dans mon état de solitude et d’infirmité et sans espérances pour l’avenir, ne peut pas trouver, ni ne doit pas chercher des soulagements que ou dans les personnes qui l’ont connu depuis son enfance, ou dans soi-même. Il est donc extrêmement urgent que je me hâte à prendre un parti définitif. En retardant, il s’agirait de mon honneur, et si je m’enchaîne avec des dettes je perdrai même la liberté de mourir.

‘Si Mr. Murray ne peut se décider, il est bien que je le sache tout de suite. En continuant de travailler pour lui, les livres qu’il a promis de me fournir me seront indispensables; différement (sic) ils me sont inutiles; et je vous prie de le remercier et de lui exprimer ma sincère reconnaissance, d’autant plus qu’à cette promesse il a souvent ajouté des présents de ses publications et toujours avec des manières nobles et obligeantes. Et quant à vous, Monsieur, et à Mr. Allen, je vous donne la plus grande preuve de ma reconnaissance et de ma confiance en vous ouvrant la triste position de mon état. Pour que vous puissiez traiter avec pleine connaissance de cause, j’ai été obligé de vous accabler d’une longue lettre; mais vous avez le bonheur de savoir en tirer bien vite la substance. Pardonnez aussi à un pauvre malade qui dicte comme il peut de son lit, et qui vraiment n’a presque pas de tête; mais je ne perdrai pas la mémoire de vos bontés que lorsque je ne pourrai plus me rappeller de moi-même. Mardi matin je serai chez vous, adieu.

‘Votre Ami,
Hugues Foscolo.
‘Dimanche matin, 19 février, 1818.’