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A of genius, and produced works of a like extreme character, the mind
of Rogers, calm and self-balanced, pursued its course, apparently uninfluenced by all that moved around him. With human nature and human life in general he sympathised, but the love of the true and the beautiful in it prevailed over the contagion of the vast and violent; he dealt rather with the pure and touching incidents of existence than with the passionate and the tragic. Many, on this account, have been disposed to attribute to him a want of power and greatness, forgetting that the predominating character of his taste inevitably decided the character of his subjects, and that to these subjects he gave all the power and beauty which they were capable of. Mr. Rogers was a great master in his own department. In him taste lived as strongly as genius. He was a poetic
artist. The beautiful and the retined mingle themselves with trzem the structure as inseparably as with the material of his composi
tions. He knew that there is greatness in the broad champaign, with its woods and towns, as well as in the huge and splendid
mountain ; in the lofty but pure and placid sky, as well as in the el stormy ocean. It is not the creator only of the Laocoon in all his
agonies, that is a great artist-the Apollo Belvedere, and the Venus de Medicis, and the Mourning Psyche, calm in most perfect repose, or depressed with grief, equally demonstrate the hand of a master.
There is often the most consummate display of genius in the stillest Te statue. Poussin or Claude are not the less admirable because they
do not affect the robust horrors of Rubens or the wildness of Salvator. In Rogers, the true, the pathetic-all those feelings, and sentiments, and associations that are dear to us as life itself-are evolved with a skill that is unrivalled; and the language is elaborated to a perfection
that resembles the finish of a beautiful picture, or the music to Ta' inimitable words. If we needed the excitement of impetuous emotions,
we would turn to Byron ; if the influence of calm, and soothing, and harmonizing ones, we would sit down to Rogers. Each is eminent in his own department, each will exercise the supremacy of his genius upon us.
This, we say,—who, though often invited, never ate one of his breakfasts or dinners; and having said it during his life, we say it I now that the lion is dead, the celebrated breakfast-table is sold, Die and there is a very ungrateful tendency perceptible to depreciate
his genius. These things, however, alway right themselves, and Feb Rogers will eventually hold an honourable position in the ranks of
our best poets.
In the Pleasures of Memory we are forcibly reminded of Goldsmith and the Deserted Village. We feel how deeply the genius of that
exquisite writer had affected the mind of Rogers in his youth. There s is a striking similarity of style, of imagery, and of subject. It is not
a deserted village, but a deserted mansion which is described, and where we are led to sympathise with all that is picturesque in nature, and dear to the heart in domestic life.
** Mark yon old mansion frowning through the trees, Whose hollow turret woos the whistling breeze, That casement, arched with ivy's brownest shade, First to these eyes the light of heaven conveyed.
The moulderinz gateway strews the grass-grown court,
See, through the fractured pediment revealed,
As jars the hinge, what sullen echoes call!
Now stained with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
Ye household Deities! whose guardian eye
As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
This is so exquisite and old English that it will continue to charm as long as there are hearts and memories. The whole of the first part of the poem is of the like tone and feature; the old garden, the old school and its porch, the gipsy group, the old beggar, the village church and churchyard
" On whose grey stone, that fronts the chancel door,
As it advances, however, it takes a wider range, and gradually embraces higher topics and more extensive regions. History and death, and eternity, all swell into its theme.
B.: A new element of style also marks the progress of this poem.
m'here are more animated invocations, and a greater pomp of versifimendontion. It looks as if the muse of Darwin had infused its more piezted, I m bitious tone, without leading the poet away from his purely
gitimate subjects. by whatever passing influences, or processes beskuif thought, this change was produced, there it is. This poem, cie dziecind this peculiar style of versification, soon caught the ear and
iscinated the mind of Campbell when a very young man, and out of dere bestemte me he Pleasures of Memory sprung the Pleasures of Hope. The direct se recognitation of both style, manner, subject, and cast of subject, by
C ampbell, is one of the most striking things in the language; the apezise s eculiarities of the style and phraseology only, as was natural by De n enthusiastic youth, much exaggerated. In Campbell, that
shich in Rogers is somewhat sounding and high-toned, becomes, C2022 rith all its beauty, turgid, and often bordering on bombast. The
very epithets are the same. “ The wild bee's wing,” “the war.
rorn courser,” and “pensive twilight in her dusky car," condet er inually in the Pleasures of Hope remind you of the Pleasures of lemory.
" Hark, the bee winds her small but mellow horn,
Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.
Guards the least link of being's glorious chain."- ROGERS. 129 n the disciple the manner is reproduced, and yet modified as in in the these lines :
" Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow
Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe;
Jow well the master and the scholar may be again recognised in he following passages :
" So, when the mild Tupla dared explore
Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before ;
“And such thy strength-inspiring aid, that bore
The hardy Byron to his native shore,
Peace and repose, a Briton and a friend !"-CAMPBELL.
“When Diocletian's self-corrected mind
The imperial fasces of a world resigned,
What claimed the sorrows of a last adieu!"-ROGERS.
I lay my head beneath the willow tree,
And soothe my parting spirit lingering near ?"-CAMPBELL. But the likeness is found everywhere-in phrase, in imagery, in topics, and in tone. When, after a lapse of twenty-seven years, Mr. Rogers produced his poem of Human Life, what a cbange of manner, what a transformation of style had taken place in him! No longer the grandiloquent invocations were found; no longer the sounding style, no longer the easy recurrence of the cadence, pausing on the cæsura and falling at the close of the line. Here the whole rhythm and construction were of a new school and a new generation. The style was more simple and more vigorous. The sentences marched on with a rare recurrence of the cæsura, the cadence did not fall with the end of the line, but oftener far in the middle of it, and the verse abounded with triplets.
“ He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all-
Take it, and leave me. What a total revolution is here! The old chime is gone, the old melody is exchanged for a new. All depends on entirely new principles, and seeks to give pleasure through an utterly fresh medium. But the poem itself is one of the most beautiful things in any language. It is human life from the cradle to the tomb, with all its pleasures, aspirations, trials, and triumphs. Everything which clings round the spirit of man as precious, everything which wins us rh onward, and sustains us in sorrow, and soothes us under the infliction DELE, of wrong, the glory of public good, and the hallowed charm of
domestic affection, is thrown into this poem, with the art of a master
and the great soul of a sanctified experience. Nor were the varied unds, and as scenes of English life ever more sweetly described. The wedding
and the burial, the village wake and the field sports, the battle and the victory, all are blended inimitably into the great picture of existence, and at times the aged minstrel rises into a strain of power and animation, such as rebuke the doubters of those attributes
ion the sun secret
" Then is the age of admiration-Then
of every age, the living and the dead !”
it is not the less true, or less honourable, that in actual life, there was Federal no man who has remembered the struggling more sympathetically, nor
has held out a more generous hand to the aid of unfriended merit.
From the Voyage of Columbus the following extract will afford an is example of the beautiful description and rich imaginative power which abound in that poem.
THE NEW WORLD.
Then rose, revealing, as they rolled away,
Slowly, bare headed, through the surf we bore