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Memoir of Samuel Rogers.
THERE seems to be something so repugnant to|and various passages display uncommon felicity. the pursuits of literature in habits of trade and As a whole, perhaps its chief defect is that it commerce, that the instances have been very rare wants vigor, but the deficiency in this quality in which they have been combined in one indi- is made up in correctness and harmony. Rogers vidual. The historian of the Medici, and ROGERS is one of the most scrupulous of the sons of the the Poet, are almost solitary instances of literary lyre in his metre, and he too often sacrifices that taste and talent being united harmoniously with harshness which sets off the smoother passages traffic. Samuel Rogers is a basker in London, of a writer's works, and prevents sameness and and has been for many years at the head of monotony, to mere cold purity of style. Perhaps a most respectable firm. His father followed no poem of equal size ever cost its author so the same business before him, and amassed con- many hours to produce. Not satisfied with his siderable wealth, both which became the her- own corrections, he repeatedly consulted the taste itage of the Poet, who was born about the of some of his friends; one of the most devoted year 1762, in London; but little or nothing is of whom, Richard Sharpe, then a wholesale hatter, known of the way in which he passed his early and since Member of Parliament,' has said that, years. His education was liberal, no cost having before the publication of this poem, and while been spared to render him an accomplished preparing the successive editions for press, they scholar. That he improved by thought and re- had read it together several hundred times, at flection upon the lessons of his youth, there can home as well as on the Continent, and in every be no doubt; and, it is to be presumed, he lost temper of mind that varied company and varied no opportunity of reaping profit from the extra-scenery could produce.
ordinary advantages which his station obtained In the year 1798, Rogers published "An Episfor him. He always kept the best society, both tle to a Friend, with other Poems," and in 1812 as respected rank and talent, the circle of which "The Voyage of Columbus." Two years afterin the metropolis of England in his younger wards, in conjunction with Lord Byron, or days was more than commonly brilliant. His rather printed in the same volume with Byron's political ideas are what are styled liberal, and no Lara, appeared his tale of "Jacqueline;" a poem one has ever been able to reproach him with the which displays a strange contrast to the fire abandonment of a single principle with which he and energy of the author of Manfred. Sweet originally set out in life. Over most of his early and pleasing rather than striking, "Jacqueline," friends and companions the grave has now closed, though well received, contributed little to inand they included among them inany great crease its author's reputation. "Human Life," next to the Pleasures of Memory, is the most With a strong attachment for the Muses, after finished production of Rogers. The subject was the excellent education Rogers received, it is not a good one, for it was drawn from universal surprising that he ventured before the public. nature, and connected with all those rich assoHis first work was an "Ode to Superstition, and ciations which increase in attraction as we other Poems," which appeared in 1786. This journey onwards in the path of life. It is was followed by a second publication, "The Pleasures of Memory," when he had passed the greenness of youth, having attained his thirtieth year In 1792 this poem was received by the public with universal applause. The subject was happily chosen, coming home to the business and bosoms of all; it was executed with great care,
1 This gentleman has carried the art of brilliant and interesting conversation to an unprecedented degree of perfection, having in fact reduced it to a matter of mere
business, as systematic as Book-Keeping. He keeps an index to his multitudinous commonplace books; and has a debtor and creditor account with his different circles of the jokes let off or the set speeches made.
MEMOIR OF SAMUEL ROGERS.
an epitome of man from the cradle to the grave, prescribed for the conduct of either, by the regu
Our poet has travelled much out of his own
its own resources, would have performed greater as one of great weight; and though not devoid things. of a certain irritability of temper, his general good-nature and kindness, for he shows no tincture of envy in his character,-contribute largely to increase the influence and impression made by his judgment.
Such is the sum of all which is known of Samuel Rogers,-a poet who never rises to the
Among the friends of Rogers were Fox, Sheridan, Windham, and a galaxy of distinguished names, when they were in the zenith of their glory. To the illustrious nephew of Fox, the well-known Lord Holland, and to his friends of the same political party, Rogers still adheres. He is accounted one of the literary coterie at height of Byron or Campbell, but who is of the Holland House, the hospitable receptacle of men same school. He is remarkable principally for of talent from all countries and of all creeds. He the elegance and grace of his compositions, which is introduced in the Novel of "Glenarvon" at he polishes up and smooths off as if he valued the court of the Princess of Madagascar (a only their brilliancy and finish, and forgot that character intended for Lady Holland); and per- strength and force are essential to poetic harmohaps the name of no individual is more on the ny and the perfection of metrical style. Notwithlips of a certain fashionable order of persons who standing this defect, Rogers will be read and are attached to literary pursuits, than that of admired while the English language continues Rogers. His opinion is looked up to, and justly, to be used or spoken in his native islands.