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“ Rogers and I,” wrote his lordship to Moore, in July, 1814, “ have almost coalesced into a joint invasion of the public. Whether it will take place or not, I do not yet know; and I am afraid Jacqueline (which is very beautiful) will be in bad company. But in this case the lady will not be the sufferer.” To the author he had written a few days previously : “ You could not have made me a more acceptable present than Jacqueline; she is all grace, and softness, and poetry ; there is so much of the last that we do not feel the want of story, which is simple, yet enough. I wonder that you do not oftener unbend to more of the same kind. I have some sympathy with the softer affections, though very little in my way; and no one can depict them so truly and successfully as yourself. I have half a mind to pay you in kind, or rather un-kind, for I have just supped full of horror' in two cantos of darkness and dismay." In August he wrote to Moore, “Rogers I have not seen, but Larry and Jacky came out a few days ago. Of their effect I know nothing.' He adds in the same letter, 6 Murray talks of divorcing Larry and Jacky,-a bad sign for the authors, who, I suppose, will be divorced too, and throw the blame upon one another. Seriously, I don't care a cigar about it, and I don't see why Sam should.”
so I believe I told you of Larry and Jacky,” he again wrote to Moore. “ A friend of mine was reading -- at least a friend of his was reading- said Larry and Jacky, in a Brighton coach. A passenger took up the book, and queried as to the author. The proprietor said there were two,' to which the answer of the unknown was * Ay, ay, a joint concern, I suppose ; summat like Sternhold and Hopkins.' Is not this excellent? I would not have missed the vile comparison' to have 'scaped being one of the arcades ambo, et can
Byron seems to have lived on terms of the most cordial intimacy with Rogers, who is one of the few persons of whom he always spoke with kindness and respect. The full-length portrait of his lordship, by Sanders, was presented to him. 6. You are one of the few persons,” Byron wrote to him in March, 1816,“ with whom I have lived in what is called intimacy." 6. It is a considerable time,” Byron wrote in the year following, “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."
His diaries and letters frequently refer to their social meetings. “ On Tuesday last,” he writes under date of March 6, 1814, “ I dined with Rogers,
Madame de Staël, Mackintosh, Sheridan, Erskine and Payne Knight, Lady Donegal and Miss R., there. Sheridan told a very good story of himself and Madame de Recamier's handkerchief; Erskine a few stories of himself only.
The party went off very well, and the fish was very much to my gusto. But we got up too soon after the women ; and Mrs. Corinne always lingers so long after dinner, that we wish her in
The next week he makes another entry. “ On Tuesday dined with Rogers, Mackintosh, Sheridan, Sharpe, -- much talk and good, all except my own little prattlement. Much of old times, Horne Tooke, the Trials, evidence of Sheridan, and anecdotes of those times, when I, alas! was an infant."
Of the nature of the relations between his lordship, Rogers, and their common friend Moore, the last mentioned gives us a vivid impression in his account of an evening in St. James'-street. We quote from Moore’s Life of Byron :
Among the many gay hours we passed together this spring (1813), I remember particularly the wild flow of his spirits one evening, when we had accompanied Mr. Rogers home from some early assembly, and when Lord Byron, who, according to his frequent custom, had not dined for the last two days, found his hunger no longer governable, and called aloud for something to eat. Our repast, of his own choosing, was simple bread and cheese ; and seldom have I partaken of so joyous a supper. It happened that our host had just received a presentation copy of a volume of poems, written professedly in imitation of the old English writers, and containing, like many of these models, a good deal that was striking and beautiful, mixed up with much that was trifling, fantastic and absurd. In our mood at the moment, it was only with these latter qualities that either Lord Byron or I felt disposed to indulge ourselves; and, in turning over the pages, we found, it must be owned, abundant matter for mirth. In vain did Mr. Rogers, in justice to the author, endeavor to direct our attention to some of the beauties of the work. It suited better our purpose (as is too often the case with more deliberate critics), to pounce only on such passages as ministered to the laughing humor that possessed us.
In this sort of hunt through the volume, we at length lighted on the discovery that our host, in addition to his sincere approbation of some of its contents, had also the motive of gratitude for standing by its author, as one of the poems was a warm, and, I need not add, well-deserved panegyric on himself. We were, however, too far gone in nonsense, for even this eulogy, in which we both heartily agreed, to stop us. The opening line of the poem was, as well as I can recollect, . When Rogers o'er this labor bent.' And Lord Byron undertook to read it aloud ; but he found it impossible to get beyond the first two words. Our laughter had now increased to such a pitch that nothing could restrain it. Two or three times he began ; but no sooner had the words. When Rogers' passed his lips, than our fit burst forth afresh, till even Mr. Rogers himself, with all his feeling of our injustice, found it impossible not to join us ; and we were, at last, all three in such a state of inextinguishable laughter, that, had the author himself been of the party, I question much whether he could have resisted the infection."
Byron always entertained and expressed an elevated opinion of Rogers as a man of taste and genius. In one of his letters to Moore he says, “I wrote to Rogers the other day, with a message to you. I hope that he flourishes. He is the Tithonus of poetry, -immortal already. You and I must wait for it.” Again he says, “ Will you remember me to Rogers ? — whom I presume to be flourishing, and whom I regard as our poetical papa. You are his lawful son, and I his illegitimate.” So in his journal, under date of November 24, 1813, Byron writes :
" I have not answered W. Scott's last letter, but I will. I regret to hear from others that he has lately been unfortunate in pecuniary involvements. He is, undoubtedly, the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most English of bards. I should place Rogers next in the living list (I value him more as the last of the best school); Moore and Campbell, both third ; Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge; the rest, ól m1022.01 thus :
SOUTHEY, WORDSWORTH, COLERIDGE.
Rogers seems to have cultivated the kindest personal relations with most of his distinguished poetical contemporaries. He was on the most friendly terms with Campbell, who speaks with cordial warmth of the generosity and kindliness of his nature, and his constant search for opportunities of manifesting his benevolence of disposition. With Crabbe, also, he was intimate. This - sternest painter” of nature was introduced to the family of Landsdowne by Bowles, the friend of his latter days; and here he became the acquaintance and friend of Rogers, who invited him to pay a summer visit to London.
66 He accepted this invitation, and, taking lodgings near his new friend's residence, in St. James' Place, was cordially welcomed by the circle distinguished in politics, fashion, science, art and literature, of which Mr. R. was himself the brightest ornament.” The following memoranda from Crabbe’s diary show how largely he was indebted to the attentions of Rogers for the enjoyment of his London visit:
“ June 24, 1817. - 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.
66 20th. - 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.
“ 27th. — Breakfast with Mr. Brougham and Lady Holland. Lord Holland to speak at Kemble’s retiring, at the meeting at Freemason's Tavern, to-morrow. Difficulty of procuring me an admission ticket, as all are distributed. Trial made by somebody, I knew not who, failed. This represented to Lady Holland, who makes no reply. Morning, interview with Mr. Brougham. Mr. Campbell's letter. He invites us to Sydenham. I refer it to Mr. Rogers and Mr. Moore. Return to town. The porter delivers to me a paper containing the admission ticket, procured by Lady Holland's means ; whether request or command, I know not. Call on Mr. Rogers. We go to the Freemason's Tavern. The room filled. We find a place about half-way down the common seats, but not 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 and her party. Stay late. 66 28th.
Go to St. James' Place. Lord Byron's new works, Manfred and Tasso's Lament.
“6 29th. - 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.
- 30th. - First hour at Mr. Murray's. A much younger and more lively man than I had imagined. A handsome drawing-room, where he receives his friends, usually from two to five o'clock. Pictures by Phillips of Lord Byron, Mr. Scott, Mr. Southey, Mr. Campbell, Rogers (yet unfinished), Moore, by Lawrence (his last picture). Mr. Murray wishes me to sit. Advise with Mr. Rogers. He recommends. 6 July 1st. - I foresee a long train of engagements.
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. Meet her at the gallery in Pall Mall, with Mr. Westall.