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visible even in his first and most beautiful
poem; and sometimes he seems to give up the task of completing his couplet in despair. For, at the opening of that exquisite piece, amidst the tranquil stillness of the village-green, and the dying sounds of a summer twilight, when the occupations and sports of the hamlet are alike hushed, is the following disconnected distich, which he seems, by every effort of joinery, to have vainly attempted to force together :
· All, all are fled, yet still I linger here
What pensive sweets this peaceful spot endear!”
Even then it was the fashion to liken the pale visage of the poet to all sorts of funereal things Tristissima mortis imago! But Ward's (now Lord Dudley) were the most felicitous resemblances. Rogers had been at Spa, and was telling Ward that the place was so full, that he could no so much as find a bed to lie in, and that he was obliged, on that account, to leave it. “Dear me,” replied Ward," was there no room in the church-yard?"
At another time, Murray was showing him a portrait of Rogers, observing, that“ it was done to the life.” • To the death, you mean," replied Ward. Amongst other amusing sallies of the same kind, was his asking Rogers
Why don't you keep your hearse, Rogers ?you can well afford it.”
I remember well, that Rogers, just after the publication of his “ Pleasures of Memory," had received, from some powerful but unknown hand, some elegant stanzas on the subject of the poem, but selecting only topics of unpleasing and mournful retrospect. One stanza, he particularly admired, and repeated it to us :
“ To me, she tells of bliss for ever lost;
Of fair occasions, gone for ever by;
These lines he considered almost perfect, and wished very anxiously to know the author. This opportunity was afterwards presented to him at the King of Clubs. It was a Mr. Soames, a young man of great promise, formerly at Cambridge. He afterwards entered the army, and died in India, Lieutenant of His Majesty's 25th Dragoons.
If these recollections, in which candour will not demand a regular series or continuity, or any thing more than a miscellaneous groupe of shadows, like those evoked by the Sybil in Virgil, (though I must not say with her, explebo numerum, for the catalogue is inexhaustible, and might be lengthened to many volumes); if these recollections have been laborious to peruse, they have not been less laborious to trace.
Many have been sought for through the mist of intervening years, or roused from their burial-places in the memory, which has rendered them up with reluctance. The portraitures, however, will be found in the main tolerably correct. Being sketched at a close, perhaps too close a proximity to the characters themselves, some of them who are high in rank, and high in public estimation, may have lost some of the effect which distance lends to great and elevated objects. They have
been taken too in their undress attire, in the carelessness of the social hour; in short, amidst the unrestrained ease and familiarity of the Club. They are a part, at least, of an experiment to arrest and delineate the humours of the national character, which is never seen, in its native and unmixed form, better than in these friendly corporations. And these little corporations are, characteristically, British; for, I have seen many countries, and conversed with many travellers, and I have never heard that, out of this island, they have been carried on in the same spirit, or founded upon the same principle. In Germany, besides the collateral purpose of smoking, they would be dedicated to one specific end. Where they consisted of literary men, discussions on transcendental metaphysics would raise a cloud as dense as their pipes. They would never (an essential requisite in our Clubs)
“ Let Euclid rest or Archimedes pause.”
And, in France, the appetite of our agreeable neighbours for change, to whom sameness is torture, and who always are fatigued out of exist