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POETICAL WORKS

THE

SAMUEL ROGERS.

The Pleasures of Memory.

IN TWO PARTS.

PART I.

OF

Hoc est

Vivere bis, vitá posse priore frui.-Mart.

Ou could my mind, unfolded in my page,
Enlighten climes and mould a future age;
There as it glow'd, with noblest frenzy fraught,
Dispense the treasures of exalted thought;
To Virtue wake the pulses of the heart,
And bid the tear of emulation start!
Oh could it still, through each succeeding year,
My life, my manners, and my name endear;
And, when the poet sleeps in silent dust,
Still hold communion with the wise and just!—
Yet should this Verse, my leisure's best resource,
When through the world it steals its secret course,
Revive but once a generous wish supprest,
Chase but a sigh, or charm a care to rest;
In one good deed a fleeting hour employ,
Or flush one faded cheek with honest joy;
Blest were my lines, though limited their sphere,
Though short their date, as his who traced them here.
1793.

Dolce sentier,-
Colle, che mi piacesti,-

Ov' ancor per usanza Amor mi mena;
Ben riconosco in voi l' usate forme,
Non, lasso, in me.

Petrarch.

regularity. They are sometimes excited by sensible objects, and sometimes by an internal operation of the mind. Of the former species is most probably the memory of brutes; and its many sources of pleasure to them, as well as to us, are considered in the first part. The latter is the most perfect degree of memory, and forms the subject of the second.

When ideas have any relation whatever, they are attractive of each other in the mind; and the perception of any object naturally leads to the idea of another, which was connected with it either in time or place, or which can be compared or contrasted with it. Hence arises our attachment to inanimate objects; hence also, in some degree, the love of our country, and the emotion with which we contemplate the celebrated scenes of antiquity. Hence a picture directs our thoughts to the original: and, as cold and darkness suggest forcibly the ideas of heat and light, he, who feels the infirmities of age, dwells most on whatever reminds him of the vigor and vivacity of his youth.

The associating principle, as here employed, is no less conducive to virtue than to happiness; and, as such, it frequently discovers itself in the most tumultuous scenes of life. It addresses our finer feelings, and gives exercise to every mild and generous propensity.

Not confined to man, it extends through all animated nature; and its effects are peculiarly striking in the domestic tribes.

ANALYSIS.

TWILIGHT's soft dews steal o'er the village-green, THE Poem begins with the description of an obscure With magic tints to harmonize the scene: village, and of the pleasing melancholy which it excites Still'd is the hum that through the hamlet broke, on being revisited after a long absence. This mixed When round the ruins of their ancient oak sensation is an effect of the memory. From an effect The peasants flock'd to hear the minstrel play, we naturally ascend to the cause; and the subject And games and carols closed the busy day. proposed is then unfolded, with an investigation of Her wheel at rest, the matron thrills no more the nature and leading principles of this faculty. With treasured tales, and legendary lore. It is evident that our ideas flow in continual succes- All, all are fled; nor mirth nor music flows sion, and introduce each other with a certain degree of To chase the dreams of innocent repose.

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Once the calm scene of many a simple sport,
When nature pleased, for life itself was new,
And the heart promised what the fancy drew.

See, through the fractured pediment reveal'd, Where moss inlays the rudely-sculptured shield, The martin's old hereditary nest:

Long may the ruin spare its hallow'd guest!
As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call!
Oh haste, unfold the hospitable hall!
That hall, where once, in antiquated state,
The chair of justice held the grave debate.

Now stain'd with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung;
When round yon ample board, in due degree,
We sweeten'd every meal with social glee.
The heart's light laugh pursued the circling jest;
And all was sunshine in each little breast.
"Twas here we chased the slipper by the sound;
And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round.
"Twas here, at eve, we form'd our fairy ring;
And fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
Giants and genii chain'd each wondering ear;
And orphan-sorrows drew the ready tear.
Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood,
Or view'd the forest-feats of Robin Hood:
Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
With startling step we scaled the lonely tower;
O'er infant innocence to hang and weep,
Murder'd by ruffian hands, when smiling in its sleep.
Ye Household Deities! whose guardian eye
Mark'd each pure thought, ere register'd on high;
Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground,
And breathe the soul of Inspiration round.

As o'er the dusky furniture I bend, Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend. The storied arras, source of fond delight, With old achievement charms the wilder'd sight; And still, with Heraldry's rich hues imprest, On the dim window glows the pictured crest. The screen unfolds its many-color'd chart; The clock still points its moral to the heart; That faithful monitor 't was heaven to hear, When soft it spoke a promised pleasure near. And has its sober hand, its simple chime, Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time? That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought, Whence the caged linnet soothed my pensive thought; Those muskets, cased with venerable rust; [dust, Those once-loved forms, still breathing thro' their Still, from the frame in mould gigantic cast, Starting to life-all whisper of the Past!

As through the garden's desert paths I rove, What fond illusions swarm in every grove! How oft, when purple evening tinged the west, We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest; Welcomed the wild-bee home on weary wing, Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring! How oft inscribed, with Friendship's votive rhyme, The bark now silver'd by the touch of Time;

Soar'd in the swing, half pleased and half afraid, Through sister elms that waved their summer shade Or strew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven seat, To lure the red-breast from his lone retreat!

Childhood's loved group revisits every scene, The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green! Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and lo, they live! Clothed with far softer hues than Light can give Thou first, best friend that Heaven assigns below To soothe and sweeten all the cares we know; Whose glad suggestions still each vain alarm, When nature fades, and life forgets to charm; Thee would the Muse invoke-to thee belong The sage's precept, and the poet's song. What soften'd views thy magic glass reveals, When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals As when in ocean sinks the orb of day, Long on the wave reflected lustres play; Thy temper'd gleams of happiness resign'd Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind. The School's lone porch, with reverend mosses grey Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, Quickening my truant feet across the lawn: Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, When the slow dial gave a pause to care. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, (1) Some little friendship form'd and cherish'd here, And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems With golden visions, and romantic dreams!

Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blazed The Gipsey's fagot-there we stood and gazed; Gazed on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er; The drowsy brood that on her back she bore, Imps in the barn with mousing owlet bred, From rifled roost at nightly revel fed; [shade, Whose dark eyes flash'd through locks of blackest When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bay'd:And heroes fled the Sibyl's mutter'd call, Whose elfin prowess scaled the orchard-wall. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, And traced the line of life with searching view, How throbb'd my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears, To learn the color of my future years!

Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast; This truth once known-To bless is to be blest! We led the bending beggar on his way, (Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-grey) Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. As in his scrip we dropt our little store, And sigh'd to think that little was no more, [live!" He breathed his prayer, Long may such goodness "Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.

But hark! through those old firs, with sullen swell, The church-clock strikes! ye tender scenes, farewell It calls me hence, beneath their shade, to trace The few fond lines that Time may soon efface.

On yon grey stone, that fronts the chancel-door Worn smooth by busy feet now seen no more, Each eve we shot the marble through the ring, When the heart danced, and life was in its spring, Alas! unconscious of the kindred earth, That faintly echo'd to the voice of mirth.

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The glow-worm loves her emerald light to shed, Where now the sexton rests his hoary head. Oft, as he turn'd the greensward with his spade, He lectured every youth that round him play'd; And, calmly pointing where our fathers lay, Roused us to rival each, the hero of his day.

Hush, ye fond flutterings, hush! while here alone I search the records of each mouldering stone. Guides of my life! instructors of my youth! Who first unveil'd the hallow'd form of Truth; Whose every word enlighten'd and endear'd; In age beloved, in poverty revered; In Friendship's silent register ye live, Nor ask the vain memorial Art can give.

-But when the sons peace, of pleasure sleep, When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep, What spells entrance my visionary mind With sighs so sweet, with transports so refined! Ethereal Power! who at the noon of night Recall'st the far-fled spirit of delight; From whom that musing, melancholy mood Which charms the wise, and elevates the good; Blest MEMORY, hail! Oh grant the grateful Muse, Her pencil dipt in Nature's living hues, To pass the clouds that round thy empire roll, And trace its airy precincts in the soul.

Luli'd in the countless chambers of the brain, Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain. Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise! (2) Each stamps its image as the other flies! Each, as the various avenues of sense Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense, Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art, Control the latent fibres of the heart. As studious PROSPERO's mysterious spell Drew every subject-spirit to his cell; Each, at thy call, advances or retires, As judgment dictates, or the scene inspires. Each thrilis the seat of sense, that sacred source Whence the fine nerves direct their mazy course, And through the frame invisibly convey The subtle, quick vibrations as they play.

Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore; From Reason's faintest ray to NEWTON Soar. What different spheres to human bliss assign'd! What slow gradations in the scale of mind! Yet mark in each these mystic wonders wrought; Oh mark the sleepless energies of thought!

The adventurous boy, that asks his little share, And hies from home with many a gossip's prayer, Turns on the neighboring hill, once more to see The dear abode of peace and privacy;

And as he turns, the thatch among the trees,
The smoke's blue wreaths ascending with the breeze,
The village-common spotted white with sheep,
The church-yard yews round which his fathers
sleep; (3)

All rouse Reflection's sadly-pleasing train,
And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again.
So, when the mild Tupia dared explore
Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before,
And, with the sons of Science, wooed the gale
That, rising, swell'd their strange expanse of sail;
So, when he breathed his firm yet fond adieu, (4)
Borne from his leafy hut, his carved canoe,
And all his soul best loved-such tears he shed,
While each soft scene of summer-beauty fled.

Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
Long watch'd the streaming signal from the mast;
Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye,
And fairy-forests fringed the evening sky.

So Scotia's Queen, (5) as slowly dawn'd the day,
Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away.
Her eyes had bless'd the beacon's glimmering height,
That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light;
But now the morn with orient hues portray'd
Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade:
All touch'd the talisman's resistless spring,
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing'

Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, (6) As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire. And hence this spot gives back the joys of youth, Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. Hence home-felt pleasure (7) prompts the Patriot's sigh;

This makes him wish to live, and dare to die.
For this young Foscari, (8) whose hapless fate
Venice should blush to hear the Muse relate,
When exile wore his blooming years away,
To sorrow's long soliloquies a prey,

When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause,
For this he roused her sanguinary laws;
Glad to return, though Hope could grant no more,
And chains and torture hail'd him to the shore.

And hence the charm historic scenes impart: (9) Hence Tiber awes, and Avon melts the heart. Aerial forms in Tempe's classic vale Glance through the gloom, and whisper in the gale; In wild Vaucluse with love and Laura dwell, And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell. (10) "T was ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb (11) We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom: So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time, (12 On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime; When at his feet, in honor'd dust disclosed, The immortal Sage of Syracuse reposed. And as he long in sweet delusion hung, Where once a Plato taught, a Pindar sung; Who now but meets him musing, when he roves His ruin'd Tusculan's romantic groves?

In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll His moral thunders o'er the subject soul?

And hence that calm delight the portrait gives:
We gaze on every feature till it lives!
Still the fond lover sees the absent maid;
And the lost friend still lingers in his shade!
Say why the pensive widow loves to weep, (13)
When on her knee she rocks her babe to sleep:
Tremblingly still, she lifts his veil to trace
The father's features in his infant face.
The hoary grandsire smiles the hour
away,
Won by the raptures of a game at play;
He bends to meet each artless burst of joy,
Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.

What though the iron school of War erase
Each milder virtue, and each softer grace;
What though the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest
Each gentler, finer impulse of the breast;
Still shall this active principle preside,
And wake the tear to Pity's self denied.

The intrepid Swiss, who guards a foreign shore,
Condemn'd to climb his mountain-cliffs no more,
If chance he hears the song so sweetly wild (14)
Which on those cliffs his infant hours beguiled,

Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise,
And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs.

Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm:
Say why Vespasian loved his Sabine farm; (15)
Why great Navarre, (16) when France and freedom
bled,

Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.
When Diocletian's self-corrected mind (17)
The imperial fasces of a world resign'd,
Say why we trace the labors of his spade,
In calm Salona's philosophic shade.
Say, when contentious Charles renounced a throne, (18)
To muse with monks unletter'd and unknown,
What from his soul the parting tribute drew?
What claim'd the sorrows of a last adieu ?
The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast
Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppress'd.

Undamp'd by time, the generous Instinct glows
Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows;
Glows in the tiger's den, the serpent's nest,
On every form of varied life imprest.
The social tribes its choicest influence hail :—
And when the drum beats briskly in the gale,
The war-worn courser charges at the sound,
And with young vigor wheels the pasture round.
Oft has the aged tenant of the vale
Lean'd on his staff to lengthen out the tale;
Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breathed,
From sire to son with pious zeal bequeath'd.
When o'er the blasted heath the day declined,
And on the scathed oak warr'd the winter-wind;
When not a distant taper's twinkling ray
Gleam'd o'er the furze to light him on his way;
When not a sheep-bell soothed his listening ear,
And the big rain-drops told the tempest near;
Then did his horse the homeward track descry, (19)
The track that shunn'd his sad, inquiring eye;
And win each wavering purpose to relent,
With warmth so mild, so gently violent,
That his charm'd hand the careless rein resign'd,
And doubts and terrors vanish'd from his mind.
Recall the traveller, whose alter'd form
Has borne the buffet of the mountain-storm:
And who will first his fond impatience meet?
His faithful dog's already at his feet!

Yes, though the porter spurn him from the door,
Though all, that knew him, know his face no more,
His faithful dog shall tell his joy to each,
With that mute eloquence which passes
And see,
the master but returns to die!
Yet who shall bid the watchful servant fly?
The blasts of heaven, the drenching dews of earth,
The wanton insults of unfeeling mirth,
These, when to guard Misfortune's sacred grave,
Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.

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Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.
O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course,
And many a stream allures her to its source.
"T is noon, 't is night. That eye so finely wrought,
Beyond the search of sense, the soar of thought,
Now vainly asks the scenes she left behind;
Its orb so full, its vision so confined!
Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell?
Who bids her soul with conscious triumph swell?
With conscious truth retrace the mazy clue
Of varied scents, that charm'd her as she flew?
Hail, MEMORY, hail! thy universal reign
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.

test, (20)
And unborn ages consecrate thy nest.
When, with the silent energy of grief,
With looks that ask'd, yet dared not hope relief,

PART II.

Delle cose custode, e dispensiera.

Tasso.

When the first emotions of despair have subsided, and sorrow has softened into melancholy, she amuses with a retrospect of innocent pleasures, and inspires that noble confidence which results from the consciousspeech.-ness of having acted well. When sleep has suspended the organs of sense from their office, she not only sup plies the mind with images, but assists in their combination. And even in madness itself, when the soul is resigned over to the tyranny of a distempered imagination, she revives past perceptions, and awakens that train of thought which was formerly most familiar.

Nor are we pleased only with a review of the brighter passages of life. Events, the most distressing in their immediate consequences, are often cherished in remembrance with a degree enthusiasm.

ANALYSIS.

THE Memory has hitherto acted only in subservi ence to the senses, and so far man is not eminently distinguished from other animals: but, with respect to man, she has a higher province; and is often busily employed, when excited by no external cause whatever. She preserves, for his use, the treasures of art and science, history and philosophy. She colors all the prospects of life: for "we can only anticipate the future, by concluding what is possible from what is past." On her agency depends every effusion of the Fancy, who with the boldest effort can only compound or transpose, augment or diminish, the materials which she has collected.

Led by what chart, transports the timid dove The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love? Say, through the clouds what compass points her flight? Monarchs have gazed, and nations bless'd the sight. Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise, Eclipse her native shades, her native skies:"Tis vain! through Ether's pathless wilds she goes, to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in a calm and And lights at last where all her cares repose. well-regulated mind that the Memory is most perfect;

But the world and its occupations give a mechanical impulse to the passions, which is not very favorable

Sweet bird! thy truth shall Haarlem's walls at- and solitude is her best sphere of action. With this

sentiment is introduced a Tale illustrative of her influence in solitude, sickness, and sorrow. And the subject having now been considered, so far as it relates to man and the animal world, the Poem concludes with

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