Saturday, July 30, 2011

Samuel Rogers

Samuel Rogers, the English poet, was born on July 30, 1763.  Popular in his day, Rogers is largely forgotten now, but he influenced literature and other poets in his day.  Walter Scott commented on Rogers in the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808:


'The followers and imitators of Campbell would probably rejoice more in being termed of the school of Goldsmith or Johnson: yet when we read the Pleasures of Friendship, the Pleasures of Solitude, the Pleasures of Love, and so forth, — or even when we see such titles in an advertisement, — we are naturally led to think the subjects could only have been chosen from the popularity of the Pleasures of Hope, or of the Pleasures of Memory. The latter beautiful poem probably gave Mr. Campbell the original hint of his plan, though it expanded into a more copious and holder field of composition than had been attempted by Mr. ROGERS, and contains beauties of a kind so different, that the resemblance of title is almost the only circumstance which connects them. The Pleasures of Memory is a gem in which the exquisite polish makes up for the inferiority of the water. There is not a line in it which has not been earnestly and successfully refined to melody, nor is there a description left unfinished, or broken off harshly. The sentiments are easy and elegant, and of that natural and pleasing tendency which always insures a favourable reception, even when destitute of novelty. We have in Mr. Rogers' poetry none of Campbell's sublime bursts of moral eloquence, which exalt us above the ordinary feelings of our nature; but we are gently and placidly led into a current of sentiment most congenial to all the charities and domestic attachments of life. Yet those who have by heart the Deserted Village of Goldsmith, will hardly allow Mr. Rogers' title to originality. Something he has gained over his model by an intimate acquaintance with the fine arts, and the capacity of appreciating their most capital productions. The delicacy and accuracy of discrimination inseparable from such attainments, diffuses, through his poetry, a certain shade of classical and chastened taste, which may serve, perhaps, more than any of the circumstances we have mentioned, to discriminate his productions from those of his contemporaries.'

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