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think justice has never been done by an ungrateful world to the hero of the family to say all they have to say; let there be nothing left that can possibly be printed ;-and then let some industrious man, not naturally given to despondency, collate the authorities; or appoint a commission, if you will, and let the puns and the personal reminiscences remain in abeyance while its members meet. Only let Lord John be excluded, or he will infallibly insist on all being published in extenso, and add notes explanatory of the jokes.

Holland House has not been happy in its reporters: we have had brilliant general descriptions of the host, the hostess, and the guests, and enthusiastic generalising on the uniform feast of reason and flow of soul which prevailed; but of all this nothing has survived but a few personal anecdotes and a great deal of indifferent wit. In fact, though the beginning of this century was rich in conversational talent, the kind of conversation was not that which will bear reporting. A ready and well-stored memory, and a quick and lively wit, were the essentials of success, and so perhaps they should be in general conversation ; but then, general conversation ought to be allowed to expire with the occasion. Small gossip about individuals, interesting and amusing while the subjects are fresh and present to the minds of all the hearers, become the worst of annoyances when coldly inflicted in print on a new generation.

The only table-talk really worth preserving is that which reflects an individual mind of capacity and originality enough to let fall, even in its lighter moments, matter pregnant with thought and observation. Some men, like Selden and Johnson, survive mainly in the records of their conversation. And sometimes, as in the case of Coleridge, the sayings thus rescued from oblivion are not only of the highest value in themselves, but are a sort of key to the mind of the speaker and corrective and interpretive of his written works.

The present work is not of this class. It would more properly have been entitled Table-Silence of Samuel Rogers; for in it is recorded, not what Samuel Rogers thought and said, but what Samuel Rogers had heard other people say. From a man whose taste and connoisseurship were so eminent, readers will be apt to expect some nicety of criticism in painting and poetry. They must be content to suffer disappointment. A few casual expressions of likings and dislikings, a few minute cavillings and trite remarks, make up the sum of Mr. Rogers's conversation on this subject. Such as they are, they are almost the only original thing in the work; and what is said on Pope may be quoted as the most favourable example of them :

“In Pope's noble lines To the Earl of Oxford, prefixed to Parnell's Poems, there is an impropriety which was forced upon the poet by the rhyme;

"The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade :

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She waits, or to the scaffold or the cell,

When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.' It should be, of course, ‘or to the cell or the scaffold.'

Pope has sometimes a beautiful line rhyming to a very indifferent one. For instance, in the Epistle to Jervas,

* Alas, how little from the grave we claim !

Thou but preserv'st a face, and I a name :' the latter line is very good : in the former, 'claim’ is forced and bad ; it should have been save' or 'preserve. Again, in the Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady,

• A heap of dust alone remains of thee ;

'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be,' the former line is touching, the latter bad. What a charming line is that in The Rape of the Lock!

If to her share some female errors fall,

Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
These verses in his Imitation of the Second Epistle of the Second
Book of Horace (verses which Lord Holland is so fond of hearing me
repeat) are as good as any in Horace himself;

• Years following years, steal something every day,
At last they steal us from ourselves away ;
In one our frolics, one amusements end,

In one a mistress drops, in one a friend.' But perhaps the best line Pope ever wrote is in his Imitation of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace ;

• Bare the mean heart that lurks beneath a star.' The want of pauses is the main blemish in Pope's versification : I can't recollect at this moment any pause he has, except that in his fine Prologue to Cato;

The triumph ceas'd; tears gush'd from every eye ;

The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by.' People are now so fond of the obscure in poetry, that they can perceive no deep thinking in that darling man Pope, because he always expresses himself with such admirable clearness.

My father used to recommend Pope's Homer to me : but, with all my love of Pope, I never could like it.” It by no means follows, that because a man has

no

power criticise he has no faculty of enjoyment, or even great accuracy and delicacy in the perception of beauty and skill in art. But to have a taste so good as Mr. Rogers's undoubtedly was in the main, and a critical judgment of this calibre, indicates that he

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was not much in the habit of bringing his thoughts to bear on his intuitions.

Anecdotes and characteristic sayings of the men by whom Rogers was surrounded are what we next look for, when we find there is nothing characteristic of the man's own mode of thinking except that negative trait itself. We are not surprised that there should be very few of these. Men do not easily conceive that the conversation and demeanour of those with whom they live on the same level and in daily intercourse can be worth noting and remembering. Besides, Mr. Rogers was a little of a virtuoso as well as a man of taste, and little bits of out-of-theway personal information and gossip had more charm for him, and left a more permanent impression on him, than the conversation of Lamb, and Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Mack. intosh.

Characteristic traits of great men, however minute, are always worth preserving. We gratefully receive—we only too eagerly grasp at—the smallest incidents or sayings which can help us to give greater vividness or truth to the figure existing in the imagination. But then the recorded traits must have something characteristic about them ; it is sufficient to have one or two of a class; selected without discrimination, and reiterated without mercy, they are perhaps more trying to the temper than any other reading. That Fox had not been able to read Mickle's Lusiad through ; that he thought Robertson's Columbus pleasingly written ; how Lord Holland looked at breakfast; what

1 Tierney thought of Burke's eloquence; whether Sheridan had 2001. sent him by the Prince; whether more than 2001.; whether it might not have been 2001. with an intimation that there was more if he wished for it; whether it might not be an annuity; these and such like petty details and trivial discussions are trying enough: but when the persons themselves are as little important as the incidents are significant, then a reader resigns. We would at any time rather read the Supplement to the Times than much of Mr. Rogers's Table-Talk. What on earth do we care about Hoppner's “awful temper?or how can any man conscientiously ask us to pay for the printing of this sort of thing?

“Lord Holland and Lord Lansdowne having expressed a wish to be introduced to Cumberland, I invited all the three to dine with me. It happened, however, that the two lords paid little or no attention to Cumberland (though he said several very good things),--scarcely speaking to him the whole time : something bad occurred in the House which occupied all their thoughts ; and they retired to a window, and discussed it.”

We have never been able ourselves to find much satisfaction in seeing a person who has simply seen another. That degree of approximation to the king which consists in your brother having seen the Duke of York is generally deemed unsatisfactory, and only becoming in an Irishman to boast of. From Mr. Rogers we learn that

“ Sir George Beaumont, when a young man, was introduced at Rome to an old painter, who in his youth had known an old painter, who had seen Claude and Gaspar Poussin riding out, in a morning, on mules, and furnished with palettes, &c., to make sketches in the Campagna

Throw in another handful or two of old painters, you might see Zeuxis; exchange them for gardeners, and you may get a vicarious view of Adam himself. This process is like constructing an opaque telescope to see an invisible object; or like travelling to York by conversation with the coachman who drives the first stage out of London.

“If the favour,” says the editor of the last English TableTalk that deserved to be printed,—“if the favour shown to several modern instances of works nominally of the same description as the present were alone to be considered, it might seem that the old maxim, that nothing ought to be said of the dead but what is good, is in a fair way of being dilated into an understanding that every thing is good that has been said by the dead." The present editor appears to be very much of this opinion; and when we learn that the present is a selection from a large mass of memoranda of Mr. Rogers's conversation, we have no difficulty in believing a fact we learn from the preface, that he "sometimes had the mortification of finding impatient listeners.” Yet it would be unjust to deny that this memorial of his sayings contains some curious and characteristic anecdotes, and one or two good sayings. Gray's notion about keeping a dog is new, we think; it throws a ray both on the coldness and the cautiousness of his nature :

“At Brighton,' during my youth, I became acquainted with a lawyer who had known Gray. He said that Gray's pronunciation was very affected, e.g. What naise (noise) is that?'

Henley (the translator of Beckford's Vathek) was one morning paying a visit to Gray, when a dog came into the room.

• Is that your dog ?' said Henley. 'No,' replied Gray: do you suppose that I would keep an animal by which I might possibly lose my life po

We will omit Mr. Rogers's criticism on Gray, and only cite the following, which gives a lively picture of Wordsworth pouncing upon his own property as it were; for whether Gray took it from Oldham or not, the phrase and idea are both so eminently Wordsworthian, that we are not surprised at his feeling as if he had been robbed of.them :

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"I once read Gray's Ode to Adversity to Wordsworth ; and at the line,

* And leave us leisure to be good,'Wordsworth exclaimed, 'I am quite sure that is not original; Gray could not have hit

upon

it.'” Part of the book is occupied with scattered reminiscences of old social habits ; but generally either vague or trivial. Thus, Rogers remembers the time when every gentleman's family had only one large cotton umbrella. He has seen ladies and gentlemen walking on the pier at Calais with small fox-muffs; and he has heard thus much of Vauxhall and Ranelagh :

“By the by, General Fitzpatrick remembered the time when St. James's Street used to be crowded with the carriages of the ladies and gentlemen who were walking in the Mall,—the ladies with their heads in full dress, and the gentlemen carrying their hats under their arms. The proprietors of Ranelagh and Vauxhall used to send decoy-ducks among them, that is, persons attired in the height of fashion, who every now and then would exclaim in a very audible tone, What charming weather for Ranelagh' or 'for Vauxhall !

Ranelagh was a very pleasing place of amusement. There persons of inferior rank mingled with the highest nobility of Britain. so orderly and still, that you could hear the whishing sound of the ladies' trains, as the immense assembly walked round and round the

If you chose, you might have tea, which was served up in the neatest equipage possible. The price of admission was half-a-crown. People generally went to Ranelagh between nine and ten o'clock.”

This is a lively and startling picture of the indiscriminating severity of our criminal code at no very distant period :

“ When I was a lad, I recollect seeing a whole cartful of young girls, in dresses of various colours, on their way to be executed at Tyburn. They had all been condemned, on one indictment, for having been concerned in (that is, perhaps, for having been spectators of) the burning of some houses during Lord George Gordon's riots. It was quite horrible.—Greville was present at one of the trials consequent on those riots, and heard several boys sentenced, to their own excessive amazement, to be hanged. “Never,' said Greville with great naïveté, did I see boys cry 80.'

Mr. Rogers evidently had little or no power of observing men; his great opportunities were wasted on him; he is always occupied with little isolated facts about men. In his life, in his poetry, in his conversation, he is always the same; he is curious in the husks of things; he was provided with plenty of nuts through life, and he spent it in cracking them, dilating upon and preserving the shells, instead of eating and digesting the kernels. Coleridge and he are the two opposite poles of mental

room.

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