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period he tells us that Fox resented Mackintosh's acceptance of the recordership of Bombay from the then existing Government. The slight indications all these circumstances give of Rogers's political position in the closing years of the century combine together to prove that he and his circle of intimate friends held firmly to their Whig principles, and that though he took little part in public movements, he heartily concurred with them in holding aloof from all contact or sympathy with a Government which was, as they held, betraying constitutional freedom in the house of its friends.
The Pursuits of Literature '-- A winter at Exmouth-Classical reading -George Steevens-Jackson of Exeter-Letters to Richard SharpDr. Moore's Mordaunt '-Dr. Moore's death-Richard Sharp and Fredley-Brighton in 1801.
THE contrast presented by the beginning and the end of the last chapter, which opened with poetry and the praise of country life, and closed with political persecution and danger, aptly illustrates Rogers's life during these gloomy years. How completely he was able to live in his poetry, is shown by the entire absence from it of any allusion to the outer world of politics. The chief literary excitement of this period was caused by the publication of the satirical poem, The Pursuits of Literature,' which appeared in parts, the first in 1794, the second and third in 1796, and the fourth in 1797. There was nothing in the poem itself to call attention to it. It is a feeble imitation of Gifford. But it was made the vehicle of an immense bundle of Notes, full of personal attacks on all the chief Liberals of the time. The first part of the poem has only two hundred and fifty lines; but there are many pages which contain but one line or two, and all the rest of the page is 'notes.' In this way the first part swelled to a volume of more than a hundred pages. The authorship of the poem was
at first a mystery; and the magazines were full of speculations about it. It was at last discovered to be by T. J. Mathias. He was a friend of Rogers's, though of different politics, and Rogers had a good deal of intercourse with him in succeeding years. It is a testimony to Rogers's literary position that the political satirists of the period usually let him alone. One of the persons attacked in the notes was Dr. Joseph Warton, whose Life of Pope' was described as 'A Commonplace Book upon Pope.' He was, himself, spoken of as drivelling on the page of Pope;' and a dozen pages of notes were devoted, with all the capitals and italics by which feeble writers attempt to make their sentences emphatic, to what was intended to be a very severe assault upon him as a poet, a critic, and a biographer. Warton wrote to Rogers about it, speaking of Mathias as his ' pious critic,' but Rogers agreed with some of the criticism, as Warton had printed some things-such as the Imitation of the Second Satire of the First Book of Horace '-which Pope had never publicly acknowledged as his own. Nothing in later times has created quite such an excitement and hubbub among literary men as this book. It was an early product of the reaction the French Revolution had produced. Scarcely a single writer who was on the Liberal side escaped, and gross personalities were used in an attempt to throw discredit on them. Rogers, who knew Steevens, used to say that Steevens had said to Mathias: 'Well, since you deny the authorship of "The Pursuits of Literature," I need have no hesitation in telling you that the person who wrote it is a liar and a blackguard!' Rogers one day asked Mathias whether he had written
DREAMING ON PARNASSUS
it, and Mathias replied: Can you suppose that I am the author of the poem when you are not mentioned in it?' But some time after this Lord Bessborough, who was getting up an illustrated edition with portraits, asked Rogers for his portrait for the purpose. Rogers said: 'Why—there is no mention in it of me!' Lord Bessborough, however, turned to the note in which the observation is made that: Time was when bankers were as stupid as their guineas could make them;' but now Mr. Dent is a speaker, Sir Robert has his pencil and his canvas, and Mr. Rogers dreams on Parnassus, and if I am rightly informed there is a great demand among his brethren for "The Pleasures of Memory."
After the publication of An Epistle to a Friend' Rogers seems to have devoted himself to a general course of reading and to the careful study of the principles of art as applied to household furnishing. He was thinking in these years of the 'one fair asylum from the world; ' the one chosen seat that charms with various view;' of
this calm recess, so richly fraught With mental light and luxury of thought;
in which the life of the hero of the Epistle''steals on,' of the humble walls which, thanks to the faithful graver,' thy gallery Florence gilds,' and the low roof which the Vatican recalls.' His first step, however, was the taking of a course of classical literature. His health at this time was very precarious, and he seems to have suffered a good deal mentally from the gloomy aspect of the times. In London he must necessarily live among men who were absorbed in the great struggle which the
Whigs were carrying on against the war and the Government. But away from London, whether he was at Margate, or at Brighton, or travelling, he put all these anxieties aside and, as his letters show, plunged into the social gaieties of the place and of the season. This, however, was not the case in the winter of 1799. In the autumn of that year his health was so delicate that Dr. Moore insisted that he should spend the winter in Devonshire. There was no obstacle to his doing so. The business in Freeman's Court was falling more and more under the management of his brother Henry, whose ability Samuel Rogers was able to trust implicitly. Henry Rogers was now five-and-twenty, and with the other partners had relieved his brother of all concern for the bank when it was needful for him to go away. He therefore took Dr. Moore's advice, and went to winter at Exmouth in 1799-1800.
He made this enforced stay on the Devonshire coast a kind of studious exile. He had left school comparatively early, and had not done much classical reading. He knew a good deal of Latin, and something of Greek, but he had formed the desire to make himself acquainted with the great writers of antiquity. He could not now rub up his classics sufficiently to enable him to read them in the original, and he consequently furnished himself with the best English and French translations. These translations he read with the utmost care, making elaborate notes and criticisms upon them as he went along. There are two volumes of a diary of his readings which show that almost every day had its task, and that the task was well and patiently done. Three or four