LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
William Wordsworth to Samuel Rogers, 21 January 1825

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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‘My dear Rogers,—I take the liberty of enclosing a letter which I have just received from Messrs. Longman, which be so kind as to peruse: it was in reply to one of mine, wishing to know whether they could not make it answer for them to publish my poems on terms somewhat more advantageous to me than hitherto. What those terms were you learn from the letter, and I need scarcely add that after the first expense of printing and advertising was paid out of an edition, the annual expense
of advertising consumed, in a great measure, the residue of profit to be divided between author and publisher. So that, as I frankly told them, it was not worth my while to undergo the trouble of carrying my works through the press unless an arrangement more favourable could be made.

‘The question, then, is, whether there be in the trade more liberality, more enterprise, or more skill in managing the sale of works charactered and circumstanced as mine are, than have fallen to the lot of Messrs. Longman & Co. Of this you are infinitely a better judge than myself; I therefore apply to you for advice and assistance before I make a new engagement with any one, observing, by the by, to you, that I have no positive ground for complaint against my present publishers.

‘Would you be so kind as to try for me wherever you think it most likely to effect a favourable bargain. I am aware that I am proposing a very disagreeable office, but it is not more than I would readily do for you if I had the same advantage of experience, influence, and judgment over you in these matters that you have over me. The letter shows that if Messrs. L. and I part, it is amicably. I must add that they have an interest in the “Ecclesiastical Sketches” and the “Memorials of a Tour,” and which must be given up before I could incorporate them, according to my wish, into a new edition, which I think would contain besides, four or five hundred lines of verses which have not yet seen the light. I have no objection to any publisher whom you might approve.

‘Where were you last summer? Mrs. W., my daughter,
and I spent three weeks in a delightful ramble through North Wales, and saw something of S. W., particularly the course of the Wye above Hereford nearly to its source.

‘I saw Southey the other day; he was well, and busy as usual, and as his late letter shows, not quite so charitably disposed to Don Juan deceased as you evidently are, if I may judge by a tribute to his memory bearing your name, which I accidently met with in a newspaper; but you were the Don’s particular friend, an equal indulgence, therefore, could not be expected from the Laureate, who, I will not say was his particular enemy, but who had certainly no friendship for him. Medwin makes a despicable figure as the salesman of so much trash. I do not believe there is a man living, from a shoeblack at the corner of your street up to the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Lord Chancellor, of whose conversation so much worthless matter could be reported, with so little deserving to be remembered, as the result of an equal number of miscellaneous opportunities. Is this the fault of Lord B. or his Boswell? The truth is, I fear, that it may be pretty equally divided between them.

‘My amanuensis, Mrs. W., says that it is not handsome in me to speak thus of your friend—no more it is, if he were your friend mortuus in every sense of the word, but his spirit walks abroad, to do some good I hope, but a plaguy deal of mischief.

‘I was much shocked when I heard of his death, news which reached me in the cloisters of that college to which he belonged.

‘Where and how is Sharp, and what does he report
of Italy? Last autumn I saw
Uvedale Price, our common friend (so I presume to call him, though really only having a slight acquaintance with him), striding up the steep sides of his wood-crowned hills, with his hacker, i.e. his silvan hanger, slung from his shoulder, like Robin Hood’s bow. He is seventy-seven years of age and truly a wonder both for body and mind; especially do I feel him to be so when I recollect the deranged state of his digestive organs twelve years ago. I dined with him about that time at your table and elsewhere.

‘Poor Mr. Monkhouse, you will be sorry to hear, is wintering in Devonshire, driven thither by a disease of the lungs, which leaves his friends little hope of his recovery. He is one of my most valued friends, and should he sink under this complaint, one of the strongest of my inducements, and the most important of my facilities, for visiting London and prolonging my stay there will be removed.

‘Remember us all most kindly to your sister, and believe me, with all our united regards, my dear Rogers, most faithfully yours,

Wm. Wordsworth.
‘Rydal Mount: 21 January, 1825.

‘Pray send me Longman’s letter back at your convenience.’