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and his having manifested great civility to the latter on To this testimony Rogers was able to

that occasion.'

add his own in the following letter—

S. Rogers to Dr. Parr.

'Newington Green: February 23rd, 1795. Dear Sir, I can answer your several questions distinctly. I heard of the interview between Dr. Johnson and Dr. Priestley from Dr. Priestley himself. I have heard it mentioned more than once. I understood that it was not solicited by Dr. Priestley, and that if any overture was made for that purpose it came from Dr. Johnson. I found that Dr. Priestley thought Dr. Johnson's behaviour such as it ought to have been from one man of letters to another. Johnson was very civil.

'I hope that I have written satisfactorily, and am happy in the opportunity which you have given me of assuring you with what respect

'I am, dear Sir,

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There were various signs in the periodicals of 1794, 1795, and 1796 of the esteem in which the author of 'The Pleasures of Memory'-was already held by his literary contemporaries. A poem on his poem appeared in the European Magazine, which contained the lines

With more attractive charm the verse appears
Whose magic power calls back our fleeting years,
And binds with Memory's tenacious chain

The airy forms of pleasure and of pain.

'MY CLUB'

In another of the magazines appeared a poem in Spenserian language on his ordering a great coat called a Spenser.' One of the verses ran

6

O precious Impe of Fame, Sam Rogers hight,

Who chauntest Memorie in dulcett straine,
Filling our eares and harts with such delight

Entraunced we live past pleasaunce o'er againe ;
This amplest theme, by others minc'd in vaine,
Was by the sacred sisters nyne withheld,
Immortal guerdon for thy browes to gaine

Certes old Humber's Bard, and he who dwel'd
Whylome in daintie Leasowes, are by thee excel'd.

313

The last references are to Mason's and Shenstone's Odes to Memory. A more amusing reference to him, and to a number of his friends is contained in a short poem entitled 'My Club,' which appeared in the European Magazine in July, 1795:

With Marsden] I would trust my life,
With L[awrence] all my civil strife,
And steal him from Justinian's code
To make him sport another ode;
With B.... write in purest Latin
From classic Celsus to Guy Patin;
From B.... catch some emendation
Of Aristotle or of Tatian,
Impromptu P[arsons] shall rehearse
With ready pen in easy verse,

What R[ennell] tells how Agamemnon,
Diomede and Ajax Telamon,

Forced out from Holland and from Flanders

The Dutch and English Alexanders.
S[harp], too, the subtle and acute
Shall quickly settle the dispute,

And mightiest stagirites among,
Leave his opponents in the wrong.
Meek Rogers, whom the Muses love.
Unites the serpent and the dove;
In business, as in rhyming terse,
Can talk of agio or of verse;
Seward, of anecdotes a storehouse,
Lays gratis all he hears before us,
And tells the whole long ere 'tis seen
In th' European Magazine;
Berdmore], no common politician
At once is chymist and physician.
And of the Roman as was said

He knows his art but not his trade.

R. C..., whose active mind ne'er still is,

Loves Greek, we're sure, but not like G[illies],
Tom Warton, merry wight—ah no!
Death envied us, but left us Jo.

"

• The

Another very satisfactory sign of the recognised place he had taken in literature was given in the reception accorded by the critics to the Rev. R. Polwhele's dull poem called The Influence of Local Attachment with Respect to Home.' So much was said by the reviewers of the similarity of this poem in some parts to the beautiful poem, as they all called it, Pleasures of Memory,' that Mr. Polwhele was obliged to come forward with a laboured vindication. His apology was in the form of a tu quoque. He had been accused of copying some of Rogers's notes verbatim, and he admitted that he had written his own notes hastily with Rogers's before him. But as to plagiarism, had not Rogers borrowed from him? He had written an Epistle to a College Friend,' which he was almost inclined to con

ROGERS AND POLWHELE

sider as the prototype of the first part of The Pleasures of Memory.' Only one of his comparisons need be given. He had written in his Epistle to a College Friend '

While yet 'tis mine to trace the feeling hour
And win young Fancy from the Muse's bower
Ere pressing cares, too numerous, intervene
To disenchant the bosom-soothing scene,
Come, nor too soon, alas! to memory fade
Ye views fast fainting into sombre shade!

315

The passage with which Polwhele compares thiswhich he intimates was suggested by it is this: speaking of childhood's loved group revisiting every scene, the tangled wood-walk and the tufted green,' Rogers proceeds

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 softened views thy magic glass reveals
When o'er the landscape Time's meek twilight steals!

The comparison of these passages-and they are put in juxtaposition by Mr. Polwhele himself-not only shows the ridiculous nature of his suggestion of plagiarism, but conclusively and sufficiently exhibits the immense superiority of Rogers's poem to the boasted productions of the poetasters of the time.

CHAPTER X.

State of the Country in 1795-6-Reaction in Parliament-Westminster election, 1796-Dr. Moore and his sons-Rogers's domestic relations -Correspondence with R. Sharp-Brighton in 1797 -Lady Jersey— A romance without a dénouement-Brighton in 1798-Sarah Rogers.

THERE are but few signs at this period of that lively interest in public affairs which characterised Rogers in earlier days. Many of his first friends were gone. Dr. Price was dead, Dr. Priestley was in exile, William Stone had only lately been acquitted on a charge of high treason for which he had lain two years in Newgate untried; Horne Tooke was cultivating his garden at Wimbledon, after his defeat in the Westminster election; and Fox, though he had headed the poll in the same election was in a state of discouragement at the gloomy aspect of public affairs; Sheridan was enjoying the temporary relief from pecuniary troubles which his new wife's five thousand pounds had given him; and Sharp, Mackintosh, and others of his political friends and acquaintances were keeping comparatively quiet in the vain hope of better days. In the autumn of 1795 there had been a great agitation in the country for reform in Parliament and peace with France. This agitation had been purely political, but there had gone

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