Page images


It is now more than a third of a century since Lord Byron alluded to the author of “Human Life” as the Nestor of the living poets. Since that time most of his then celebrated brethren have passed away; but the venerable bard still lives, to enjoy the society he adorns, and the fame which brightens with his years. He has taken leave of Byron, and Campbell, and Moore, and all his poetical rivals and contemporaries; but he has kept alive the sentiments and sympathies of his nature, and is still cheered by the company of younger poets, who regard him with the genial warmth of old friendship.

It was the consolation of Campbell, in his declining years, that he had never written a line against religion or virtue. We may say, with equal truth, of Rogers, that he leaves no verse which, "dying,” he could " wish to blot.” Exquisite taste and judgment pervade everything from his pen. But,

, while this purity of style and sentiment renders him a favorite poet for the study of the young, his great and peculiar merits, we think, are better felt and appreciated, in later years, by those who have become wearied with the intense straining for effect, and the passionate eccentricities, of some of our more recent schools of verse, and recur with fresh pleasure to pages that are marked everywhere with simplicity, refinement, and tranquil beauty.

It has been our object to furnish an edition of the Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Rogers, in a form so handsome that everybody might be pleased to possess it, and so cheap that anybody might be able to buy. We have thrown together, in a prefatory memoir, such materials for the personal and literary life of the author as were within our reach; and, among them, we are sure that the admirable critiques of Mackintosh and Jeffrey will be considered as imparting additional value to the volume.

« PreviousContinue »