LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Samuel Rogers to Sarah Rogers, 11 November 1821

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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‘Florence: Sunday, 11 November, 1821.

‘My dear Sarah,—I wrote you a long letter from Milan, and a large budget of verse and prose from Venice. At Milan I slept four nights, at Venice seven, and passed much of my time with Sir G. Beaumont at Venice, overtaking him for a day at Bologna and for an hour only here. At Bologna I waited a day for Lord Byron and crossed the Apennines with him. Our party consisted of a dog, a cat, a hawk, an old gondolier from Venice, and other sundries. His “Foscari” is already printed, and will, I fear, get the start of us. I hope you passed some time,
and very agreeably at Paris. Perhaps you are not returned home yet, for I am quite in the dark, having heard nothing since we parted at the inn door that dismal morning. I begin now to be a little fidgety, but console myself with thinking all is well.
Hoppner, I find, was sorry to miss me at Venice, as I was to miss him—I wished much to see the boy who lay stretched on the hearth at N. G. There is no end to the English on their road to Rome. I am at the little inn vis-à-vis Sneyder’s—now belonging to him—for that leviathan swallows up everything, and is said to be worth half a million. I have three windows at top, and the sun is upon me before ten o’clock. I am always up at seven, and out by eight, for the weather, though very cold, is sunny. Snow is on all the hills—but the sunsets are beautiful, the hills over the Cascine of a bright rose colour. I have been here just a fortnight—and had only one rainy day. Just now, however, I have a wretched cold, having committed a great folly in going with Miss Fanshawe in an open carriage to see Galileo’s house. From my windows I look over to Sneyder’s, as you know—and every morning see English carriages with mules or post-horses at the door for Rome. Lord Byron is gone to live at Pisa. He spent only one day here. I wish you had seen him set off, every window of the inn was open to see him. My dinner comes over the bridge to me, and is cold enough. To-day I mean to omit it.

‘The Beaumonts were very impatient to get to Rome. Sir G. to his old haunts at Tivoli and Albano. Lady Westmoreland is at Civita Vecchia just now. I expect a sad change in my quarters at Rome. Our old house,
Casa Joubert, at least
Lord Holland’s part of it, is now an hotel. Several have offered to hire for me, and Sneyd writes me word (I gave him a sort of commission) that he has secured for me one in Via Babuino between Piazza d Espagna and del Popolo, as you know—a sad fall from ours—and at twenty louis a month! However, he has done better than Dr. Holland, for I see by the drawing he sends me there are two fire-places. Here is nobody I know but the Dysons and Miss Fanshawe. The Ponsonbys and Bessboroughs are just arrived, but I have seen only Lord B. The boy we saw at Mornay died at Parma; “I suppose you have heard of the accident we have had? “Lord Bessborough said to me on the bridge yesterday—I could not conceive he alluded to it. Lady Ellenborough, five daughters and a son, passed through to Rome yesterday. It was but last May she returned to England. The ortolan season is over, and no orange blossoms, no violets are about in the streets, only a pink carnation and china roses. The figs are gone. I have twenty in a basket here on the table—one of the old baskets—but they are tasteless and frost-bitten, and the grapes begin to shrivel.

‘Florence is to me as beautiful as ever; the Tribune and the Pitti as glorious; but somehow or other I should not be sorry to find myself home again among you, and am sorry the Easter falls twelve days later than it did when we were here. How my winter will turn out I don’t know; but hitherto I have lived almost entirely to myself. Yesterday I engaged our old laquais de place (till then I had none); he accosted me on the bridge (my walk) and asked after you, so I took him directly, though
to-day I fear I have not much for him to do. The instant I can I shall set out, I hope in three or four days, so henceforth pray write always to me at the Poste Restante at Rome. I received a visit from our old friend the poet, with his book.
Lord Byron amused himself with writing a sonnet for him, in which he makes him describe himself as a bore; whether he will shew it about I don’t know. You will here receive three more things. On second thoughts I think something more is wanting (considering the material) to give it any importance, so pray add them at the end, printing the notes in their place among the rest—all together numerically—and not broken by the heads of this chapter or that. The printer to use a figure or a letter of reference as he pleases. The notes to be en masse at the end, lumped together. I have been sadly perplexed by information, true and false. Till my second visit to Padua I could not learn the truth about Ezzelino’s tower. You will here receive the lines about it as they are to stand. The opening of “Venice,” too, must be changed, or I should be found out. You will here receive a new one to as far as “by many a dome,” omitting all before. I have also been obliged to alter about Masaccio and the sons of Cosmo, as you will see, having found out the portraits with much trouble in another house, and finding no tombstone of Masaccio in the chapel, though he lies thereabouts. You must be heartily sick of your commission by this time. Pray don’t send me these three new ones unless you are much perplexed about them indeed, which I hope you will not [be], or think the new lines so bad as to want alteration. When I return the sheets
of the others they will help you much with these, and sending them would, I fear, cause a great delay of two months at least.

‘Only think—poor Lady Bessborough died this morning at the “Pelican”—Sneyders could not take her in—Lord B. mentioned her being ill and unable to see me yesterday, but he looked very cheerful and I thought nothing of it. She arrived only on Friday, travelling all night, ill, from Bologna (’twas from an inflammation in the bowels) and to-day is Sunday. After she was given over, she wrote three letters to her three children in England and took the Sacrament with great composure.

‘I think the Tuscans the least handsome people I have seen. They walk every Sunday afternoon under my window, as thick as they used to do in the Green Park—and I can hardly meet with anything pretty. The Boboli Gardens I lounge in constantly when they are open—Thursdays and Sundays. The moonlight nights here are divine. From my window at this moment the river, the bridges, and the houses are as bright as day—even the heights and villas over the town are visible. At Bologna I saw a lizard in the sun, such as we never saw—seven or eight inches long and very like the diamond beetle! The mosquito is still about; but he does not bite me to signify. Nobody I know has been to Vallombrosa. The view from your window which you took is just as it was, the garden on this side next the bridge just as you left it. What memories some people have! When I went to the banker’s yesterday he called me by my name. I hope you have found “The Brides of Venice.” If not, I think I must have locked it up in the secrétaire in the
dressing-room, the key (a gold one, a patent) is, I believe, lying in one of the drawers, hid. I dare say Jemima could find it. Pray tell her to tell Andrews to hang the
Guercino and the Tintoret as he has hung the Charles V. and the Titian, opposite to them on irons that come out. I take it for granted that the pictures are come back from the Institution in Pall Mall. The Titian is, I believe, gone to the Royal Academy; at least, they wrote to borrow it, but it was to return in January. I hope you met Maltby at Paris. I hope, what is more to the purpose, that Patty and her children are all well. Pray give my love to all. I shall direct this to Henry.

‘Ever yours,
‘S. B.

‘For the future I shall write little and often, and pray do you write often. If you knew how lonely I feel, I am sure you would. I met Boddington’s lacquais (at Rome), acting as courier to Sir Henry Lushington and Lady A’Court, yesterday. He saluted me with the familiarity of an old friend, and I him.

‘I hope all your pictures are hung and to your mind. I have seen nothing like your Bassano and think of it very often. Has Philips done nothing about Webb’s picture, the Callcott. Do get Henry to speak to P., a word or two would shame him out of it.

‘I hope the watch deserves its high character, and that Ariel sings as well as ever in his prison. My sylphs are pretty well. . . . I was very sorry to hear of Miss Agar’s death; but I expect a great many to slip out of life in my absence. May none of them be friends.’