Samuel Rogers.

The pleasures of memory. : In two parts. : With some other poems online

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Dolce fentier, ,

Colle, che mi piacefti, _

Ov' ancor per ufanza Amor mi mena ;
Ben riconofco in voi 1'ufate forme,
Non, Mb, in me.




The Pleafures of Memory. Part I. 9

Part II 41

Notes - - - - - - - - - - - - -. 73

Ode to Superftition 93

Notes ....................... 105

The Sailor, an Elegy - - - -. - - -.- 113

Verfes on a Tear 116

Sketch of the Alps at Day-break 119

AWifh 121

An Italian Song 123

could my Mind, unfolded in my page,
Enlighten climes and mould a future age !
There as it glow'd, with nobleft frenzy fraught,
Difpenfe the treafures of exalted thought ;
To Virtue wake the pulfes of the heart,
And bid the tear of Emulation flart !
Oh could it ftill, thro' each fucceeding year,
My life, my manners, and my name endear ;
And, when the poet deeps in fllent duft,
Still hold communion with the wife and juft !
Yet mould this Verfe, my leifure's beft refource,
When thro' the world it fteals its fecret courfe,

Revive but once a generous wifli fupprefl,

Chafe but a figh, or charm a care to reft ;

In one good deed a fleeting hour employ,

Or flufli one faded cheek with honeft joy ;

Bkft were my lines, tho' limited their fphere,

Tho' fhort their date, as his who trac'd them here.

S. R.




JL HE Poem begins with the defcription of an
obfcure village, and of the pleafing melancholy
which it excites on being revifited after a long ab-
fence. This mixed fenfation is an effect of the
Memory. From an effect we naturally afcend to
the caufe ; and the fubject propofed is then un-
folded with an inveftigation of the nature and
leading principles of this faculty.


It is evident that there is a continued fucceflion
of ideas in the mind, and that they introduce each
other with a certain degree of regularity. Their
complexion depends greatly on the different per-
ceptions of pleafure and pain which we receive
through the medium of fenfe ; and, in return,
they have a confiderable influence on the animal

They are fometimes excited by fenfible objecls,
and fometimes by an internal operation of the
mind. Of the former fpecies is moft probably the
memory of brutes ; and its many fources of pleaf-
ure to them, as well as to ourfelves, are confid-
ered in the firft part. The latter is the moft
perfect degree of memory, and forms the fubjecT:
of the fcccnd.


When ideas have any relation whatever, they
are attractive of each other in the mind ; and the
perception of any object naturally leads to the
idea of another which was connected with it either
in time or place, or which can be compared or
contrafled with it. Hence arifes our attachment
to inanimate objects ; hence alfo, in fome degree,
the love of our country, and the emotion with
which we contemplate the celebrated fcenes of
antiquity. Hence a picture directs our thoughts
to the original : and, as cold and darknefs fugged:
forcibly the ideas of heat and light, he, who feels
the infirmities of age, dwells moil on whatever
reminds him of the vigour and vivacity of his


The aflbciating principle, as here employed, is
no lefs conducive to virtue than to happinefs ;
and, as fuch, it frequently difcovers itfelf in the
moft tumultuous fcenes of life. It addrefTes our
finer feelings, and gives exercife to every mild and
generous propenfity.

Not confined to man, it extends through all
animated nature ; and its effects are peculiarly
{inking in the domefUc tribes.






1 WILIGHTs foft dews (leal o'er the village-green,
With magic tints to harmonize the fcene.
Still'd is the hum that thro' the hamlet broke,
When round the ruins of their ancient oak
The peafants ilock'd to hear the minftrel play, 5
And games and carols clcs'd the bufy day.


Her wheel at reft, the matron charms no more

With treafur'd tales of legendary lore.

All, all are fled ; nor mirth nor mufic flows

To chafe the dreams of innocent repofe. 10

All, all are fled ; yet ftill I linger here !

What penlive fweets this filent {pot endear !

Mark yon old Manfion, frowning thro' the trees,
Whofe hollow turret wooes the whittling breeze.
That cafement, arch'd with ivy's browned made, 15
Firft to thefe eyes the light of heav'n convey'd.
The mouldering gateway ftrews the grafs-grown court,
Once the calm fcene of many a fimple {port ;
When nature pleas'd, for life itfclf was new,
And the heart promis'd what the fancy drew. 20


See, thro* the fraclur'd pediment reveal'd,
Where mofs inlays the rudely-fculptur'd fhield,
The martin's old, hereditary neft.
Long may the ruin fpare its hallow'd gueft !

As jars the hinge, what fallen echoes call ! 25
Oh hafte, unfold the hofpitable hall !
That hall, where once, in antiquated frate,
The chair of juftice held the grave debate.

Now ftain'd with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung ; 30

When round yon ample board, in due degree,
We fweeten'd every meal with focial glee.
The heart's light laughter crown'd the circling jeft j
And all was funfhine in each little bread.



5 Twas here we chas'd the flipper by its found 5 35
And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round.
? Twas here, at eve, we form'd our fairy ring ;
And Fancy fluttered on her wildeft v/ing.
Giants and gcni! chained the wondering ear ;
And orphan-woes drew Nature's ready tear. 40

Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood,
Or view'd the foreft-feats of Robin Hood :
Oft, fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
With ftartling ftep we fcal'd the lonely tower ;
O'er infant innocence to hang and weep, 45

Murder'd by ruffian hands, when fmiiing in its fleep.

Ye Houfehold Deities ! whofe guardian eye
Mark'd each pure thought, ere regiiler'd on high ;
Still, ftill ye walk the confecrated ground,
And breathe the foul of Inspiration round. 5 a


As o'er the dufky furniture I bend,
Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend.
The ftoried arras, fource of fond delight,
With old achievement charms the wilder'd fight ;
And ftill, with Heraldry's rich hues impreft, 55

On the dim window glows the pictur'd creft.
The fcreen unfolds its many-colour'd chart.
The clock ftill points its moral to the heart.
That faithful monitor 'twas heav'n to hear !
When foft it fpoke a promis'd pleafure near : 60
And has its fober hand, its fimple chime,
Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of Time ?
That maffive beam, with curious carvings wrought,
Whence the caged linnet footh'd my penfive thought $
Thofe mufkets cas'd with venerable ruft ; 65

Thofe once-lov'd forms, ftill breathing thro' their duft,


Still from the frame, in mould gigantic caft,
Starting to life all whifper of the pad !

As thro' the garden's defert paths I rove,
What fond illufions fwarm in every grove ! Jo

How oft, when purple evening ting'd the weft,
We watch'd the emmet to her grainy neft ;
Welcom'd the wild-bee home on weaned wing,
Laden with fweets, the choked of the fpring !
How oft infcrib'd, with Friendfhip's votive rhyme, 75
The bark now filver'd by the touch of Time ;
Soar'd in the fwing, half pleas'd and half afraid,
Thro' filter elms that wav'd their fummer-made ;
Or ftrew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven feat,
To lure the red-bread from iiis lone retreat ! So


Childhood's lov'd group revifits every fcene,
The tangled wood-walk, and the tufted green !
Indulgent MEMORY wakes, and, lo, they live !
Cloth'd with far fofter hues than Light can give.
Thou laft, bed friend that Heav'n afligns below, 85
To foothe and fweeten all the cares we know ;
Whofe glad fuggefKons flill each vain alarm,
When nature fades, and life forgets to charm ;
Thee would the Mufe invoke ! to thee belong
The fage's precept, and the poet's fong. 90

What foften'd views thy magic glafs reveals^
When o'er the landfcape Time's meek twilight fteals !
As when in ocean finks the orb of day,
Long on the wave reflected luftres play ;
Thy temper'd gleams of happinefs refign'd gtf

Glance on the darken'd mirror of the mind.



The School's lone porch, with reverend mo/Fes grey,
Juft tells the penfive pilgrim where it lay.
Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn,
Quickening my truant-feet acrofs the lawn ; I oo

Unheard the fhout that rent the noontide air,
When the flow dial gave a paufe to care.
Up fprings, at every flep, to claim a tear,
Some little friendfhip form'd and cherifh'd here !
And not the lighted leaf, but trembling teems 105

With golden vifions, and romantic dreams !


Down by j^on hazel copfe, at evening, blaz'd
The Gipfy's faggot there we flood and gaz'd ;
Gaz'd on her fun-burnt face with /ilent awe,
Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood .of ftraw 5 no
Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er ;
The drowfy brood that on her back fhe bore ;


Imps, in the barn with moufing owlet bred,
From rifled rood at nightly revel fed ;
Whofedarkeyesflafh'dthro'locksof blackeftmade, 1 15
When in the breeze the diftant watch-dog bay'd :
And heroes fled the Sybil's mutter'd call,
Whofe elfin prowefs fcal'd the orchard-wall.
As o'er my palm the filver piece me drew,
And trac'd the line of life with fearching view, 120
How throbb'd my fluttering pulfe with hopes and fears,
To learn the colour of my future years ! '

Ah, then, what honeft triumph flufh'd my bread !
This truth once known To blefs is to be bleft !
We led the bending beggar on his way ; 1 25

(Bare were his feet, his trefles lilver-grey)
Sooth'd the keen pangs his aged fpirit felt,
And on his tale with mute attention dwelt.


As in his fcrip we dropt our little {lore,

And wept to think that little was no more, 130

He breath'd his prayer, " Long may fuch goodnefs

live !"
'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.

But hark ! thro' thofe old firs, with fullen fwell
The church-clock ftrikes ! ye tender fcenes, farewell !
It calls me hence, beneath their made, to trace 135
The few fond lines that Time may foon efface.

On yon grey {lone, that fronts the chancel-door,
Worn fmooth by bufy feet now feen no more,
Each eve we mot the marble thro' the ring,
When the heart danc'd, and life was in its ipring; 140
Alas ! unconfcious of the kindred earth,
That faintly echoed to the voice of mirth.


The glow-worm loves her emerald light to fhed,
Where now the fexton refts his hoary head.
Oft, as he turn'd the greenfward with his fpade, 145
He leclur'd every youth that round him play'd ;
And, calmly pointing where his fathers lay,
Rous'd him to rival each, the hero of his day.

Hum, ye fond flutterings, hum ! while here alone
I fearch the records of each mouldering (lone. 150
Guides of my life ! Inftrudlors of my youth !
Who firft unveil'd the hallow'd form of Truth ;
Whofe ev'ry word enlighten'd and endear'd ;
In age belov'd, in poverty rever'd ;
In Friendfhip's filent regifter ye live, 155

Nor afk the vain memorial Art can give.


But when the fons of peace and pleafure fleepy
When only Sorrow wakes, and wakes to weep,
What {pells intrance my vifionary mind,
With fighs fo fweet, with raptures fo refin'd ? 1 60

Ethereal Power ! whofe fmile, at noon of night,
Recalls the far-fled fpirit of delight ;
Inftils that mufing, melancholy mood,
Which charms the wife, and elevates the good ;
Blefl ME M OR Y, hail ! Oh, grant the grateful Mufe, 1 65
Her pencil dipt in Nature's living hues,
To pafs the clouds that round thy empire roll,
And trace its airy precincts in the foul.

LulPd in the countlefs chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain. 1 70


Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rife !

Each (lamps its image as the other flies !

Each, as the varied avenues of fenfe

Delight or forrow to the foul difpenfe,

Brightens or fades ; yet all, with magic art, 1 75

Control the latent fibres of the heart.

As ftudious PROSPEROUS myfterious fpell

Conven'd the fubject-fpirits to his cell ;

Each, at thy call, advances or retires,

As judgment dictates, or the fcene infpires. 1 80

Each thrills the feat of fenfe, that facred fource,

Whence the fine nerves direct their mazy courfe,

And thro* the frame invifibly convey

The fubtle, quick vibrations as they play.


Survey the globe, each ruder realm explore ; 1 85
From Reafon's fainteft ray to NEWTON foar.
What different fpheres to human blifs affign'd !
What flow gradations in the fcale of mind !
Yet mark in each thefe myftic wonders wrought ;
Oh mark the fleeplefs energies of thought ! 1 90

The adventurous boy, that afks his little mare,
And hies from home, with many a goflip's prayer,
Turns on the neighbouring hill, once more to fee
The dear abode of peace and privacy ;
And as he turns, the thatch among the trees, 195
The fmoke's blue wreaths afcending with the breeze,
The village-common fpotted white with fheep,
The churchyard yews round which his fathers fleep ;


All roufe Reflection's fadly-pleafing train,

And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again. 200

So, when the daring fons of Science drew *
The mild TUPIA'S firm yet fond adieu
To all his foul beft lov'd, fuch tears he fhed,
While each foft fcene of furnmer-beauty fled :
Long o'er the wave a wiftful look he caft, 205

Long watch'd the dreaming fignal from the maft ;
Till twilight's dewy tints deceiv'd his eye,
And fairy forefts fring'd the evening fky.

So Scotia's Queen, as flowly dawn'd the day, *
Rofe on her couch, and gaz'd her foul away. 210
Her eyes had blefs'd the beacon's glimmering height,
That faintly tipt the feathery furge with light ;



But now the morn with orient hues pourtray'd
Each caftled cliff, and brown monaftic fhade :
All touched the talifman's refiftlefs fpring, 215

And lo, what bufy tribes were inftant on the wing !

As kindred objects kindred thoughts excite, 3
Thefe, with magnetic virtue, foon unite.
And hence this fpot gives back the joys of youth,
Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. 220
Hence home-felt pleafure prompts the Patriot's figh ;
This makes him wim to live, and dare to die.
For this FOSCARI, whofe relentlefs fate 4
Venice mould blufh to hear the Mufe relate,
When exile wore his blooming years away, 225

To forrow's long foliloquies a prey,
When reafon, juftice, vainly urg'd his caufe,
For this he rous'd her fanguinary laws \



Glad to return, tho' Hope could grant no more,
And chains and torture hail'd him to the more. 230

And hence the charm hiftoric fcenes impart :
Hence Tiber awes, and Avon melts the heart.
Aerial forms, in Tempe's clalHc vale,
Glance thro' the gloom, and whifper in the gale ;
In wild Vauclufe with love and LAURA dwell, 235
And watch and weep in ELOISA'S cell. $
5 Twas ever thus. As now at VIRGIL'S tomb, 6
We blefs the made, and bid the verdure bloom :
So TULLY paus'd, amid the wrecks of Time, 7
On the rude (lone to trace the truth fublime ; 240
When at his feet, in honoured duft difclos'd,
The immortal Sage of Syracufe repos'd.
And as his youth in fweet delufion hung,
Where once a PLATO taught, a PINDAR fung ;


Who now but meets him mufing, when he roves 245
His ruin'd Tufculan's romantic groves ?
In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll
His moral thunders o'er the fubjed foul ?

And hence that calm delight the portrait gives :
We gaze on every feature till it lives ! 250

Still the fond lover views the abfent maid ;
And the loft friend ftill lingers in the made !
Say why the penfive widow loves to weep, 8
When on her knee (he rocks her babe to fleep :
Tremblingly ftill, (he lifts his veil to trace 255

The father's features in his infant face.
The hoary grandfire fmiles the hour away,
Won by the charm of Innocence at play ;
He bends to catch each artlefs burfi: of joy,
Forgets his age, and ads again the boy. 260


What tho' the iron fchool of war erafe
Each milder virtue, and each fofter grace ;
What tho' the fiend's torpedo-touch arreft
Each gentler, finer impulfe of the bread ;
Still mall this active principle prefide, 265

And wake the tear to Pity's felf denied.

The intrepid Swifs, that guards a foreign more,
Condemn'd to climb his mountain-cliffs no more,
If chance he hears the fong fo fweetly wild 9
| Wljich on thofe cliffs his infant hours beguil'd, 270
Melts at the long-loft fcenes that round him rife,
And finks a martyr to repentant fighs.

Afk not if courts or camps diflblvc the charm :
.Say why VESPASIAN lov'd his Sabine farm ; I0


Why great NAVARRE, when France and freedom
bled, II 275

Sought the lone linjits of a foreft-fhed.
When DIOCLETIAN'S felf-corre<5ted mind IZ
The imperial fafces of a world refign'd,
Say why we trace the labours of his fpade,
In calm Salona's philofophic made. 280

Say, when ambitious CHARLES renounc'da throne, l l
To mufe with monks unlettered and unknown,
What from his foul the parting tribute drew ?
What claimed the forrows of a laft adieu ?
The ftill retreats that footh'd his tranquil breaft, 285
Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares opprefs'd.

Undamp'd by time, the generous Inftinft glows
Far as Angola's fands, as Zembla's fnows ; \


Glows in the tyger's den, the ferpent's neft,

On every form of varied life impreft. 290

The focial tribes its choiceft influence hail :

And, when the drum beats brifkly in the gale,

The war-worn courfer charges at the found,

And with young vigour wheels the pafture round.

Oft has the aged tenant of the vale 295

Lean'd on his flafF to lengthen out the tale ;
Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breath'd,
From fire to fon with pious zeal bequeath' d.
When o'er the blafted heath the day declin'd,
And on the fcath'd oak warr'd the winter wind ; 300
When not a diftant taper's twinkling ray
Gleam'd o'er the furze to light him on his way ;


When not a fheep-bell footh'd his listening ear,
And the big rain-drops told the tempeft near ;
Then did his horfe the homeward track defcry, J 4 305
The track that fhunn'd his fad, inquiring eye ;
And win each wavering purpofe to relent,
With warmth fo mild, fo gently violent,
That his charm' d hand the carelefs rein refign'd,
And doubts and terrors vanifh'd from his mind. 310

Recall the traveller, whofe alter'd form
Has borne the buffet of the mountain-ftorm ;
And who will firfl his fond impatience meet ?
His faithful dog 's already at his feet !
Yes, tho' the porter fpurn him from his door, 3 1 5
Tho* all, that knew him, know his face no more,
His faithful dog (hall tell his joy to each,
With that mute eloquence which pafTcs fpeech.


And fee, the matter but returns to die !

Yet \vho (hall bid the watchful fervant fly ? 320

The blafts of heav'n, the drenching dews of earth,

The wanton infults of unfeeling mirth ;

Thefe, when to guard Misfortune's facred grave,

Will firm Fidelity exult to brave.

Led by what chart, tranfports the timid dove 325
The wreaths of conqueft, or the vows of love ?
Say, thro' the clouds what compafs points her flight ?
Monarchs have gaz'd, and nations blefs'd the fight.
Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rife,
Eclipfe her native fliades, her native fides ; 330
? Tis vain ! thro* Ether's pathlefs wilds flie goes,
And lights at lafl where all her cares repofe.




Sweet bird ! thy truth (hall Harlem's walls atteft, *s
And unborn ages "confecrate thy neft.
When with the filent energy of grief, 335

With looks that aik'd, yet dar'd not hope relief,
Want, with her babes, round generous Valour clung,
To wring the flow furrender from his tongue,
'Twas thine to animate her clofing eye ;
Alas ! 'twas thine perchance the firft to die, 340
Crufh'd by her meagre hand, when welcomed from
the fky. j

Hark ! the bee winds her fmall but mellow horn, l6
Blythe to falute the funny fmile of morn.
O'er thymy downs {he bends her bufy courfe,
And many a ftream allures her to its fource. 345
'Tis noon, 'tis night. That eye fo finely wrought,
J3eyond the fearch of fenfe, the foar of thought,


Now vainly afks the fcenes fhe left behind ;

Its orb fo full, its vifion fo confin'd !

Who guides the patient pilgrim to her cell ? 350

Who bids her foul with confcious triumph fwell ?

With confcious truth retrace the mazy clue

Of varied fcents, that charm'd her as fhe flew ?

Hail, MEMORY, hail ! thy univerfal reign

Guards the leaft link of Being's glorious chain. 355







Degli anni e de 1'obblio netnica,

Delle cofe cuftode, e difpenfiera.





JL HE Memory has hitherto a&ed only in fubfer-.
vience to the fenfes, and fo far man is not emi-
nently diftinguiftied from other animals : but, with
rerpect to man, me has a higher province ; and is
often bufily employed, when excited by no external
caufe whatever. She preferves, for his ufe, the
treafures of art and fcience, hiftory and philofo-


phy. She colours all the profpecls of life : for
* we can only anticipate the future, by conclud-
ing what is poffible from what is paft.' On her
agency depends every efTufion of the Fancy,
whofe boldeft effort can only" compound or tranf-
pofe, augment or diminifh the materials which
fhe has collected and retained.

When the firft emotions of defpair have fubfid-
cd, and forrow has foftened into melancholy, fhe
amufes with a retrofpect of innocent pleafures,
and infpires that noble confidence which refults
from the confcioufnefs of having acted well.
When fleep has fufpended the organs of fenfe
from their office, fhe not only fupplies the mind
with images, but affifts in their combination.


And even in madnefs itfelf, when the foul is re-
figned over to the tyranny of a diftempered imagi-
nation, me revives pad perceptions, and awakens
that train of thought which was formerly moft fa-

Nor are we pleafed only with a review of the
brighter paflages of life ; events, the moft diftrefT-
ing in their immediate conferences, are often
cheriflied in remembrance with a degree of enthu-

But the world and its occupations give a mechan-
ical impulfe to the paffions, which is not very fa-
vourable to the indulgence of this feeling. It is in
a calm and well regulated mind that the Memory


is mofl perfect ; and folitude is her beft fphere of
action. With this fentiment is introduced a Tale,
illuftrative of her influence in folitude, ficknefs, and
forrow. And the fubject having now been confid-
ered, fo far as it relates to man and the animal
world, the Poem concludes with a conjecture, that
fuperior beings are bleft with a nobler exercife of
this faculty.






OWEET MEMORY, wafted by thy gentle gale,
Oft up the tide of Time I turn my fail,
To view the fairy-haunts of long-loft hours,
Bleft with far greener fliades, far fremer flowers.

Ages and climes remote to Thee impart 5

What charms in Genius, and refines in Art ;


Thee, in whofe hand the keys of Science dwell,
The penfive portrefs of her holy cell ;
Whofe conftant vigils chafe the chilling damp
Oblivion fceals upon her veftal-lamp. 10

The friends 6$ Reafon, and the guides of Youth,
Whofe language breath' d the eloquence of Truth ;
Whofe life, beyond perceptive wifdbm, taught
The great in conduct, and the pure in th ought ;
Thefe frill exift, by Thee to Fame confign'd, 15
Still fpeak and ac% the models of mankind.

From Thee fweet Hope her airy colouring draws ;
And Fancy's flights are fubject to thy laws.
From Thee that boforn-fpring of rapture flows,
Which only Virtue, tranquil Virtue, knows. 20




When Joy's bright fun has fhed his evening-ray,
And Hope's delufive meteors ceafe to play $
When clouds on clouds the fmiiing profpect clofe,
Still thro' the gloom thy {tar ferenely glows :
Like yon fair orb, me gilds the brow of night 25
With the mild magic of reflected light.

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Online LibrarySamuel RogersThe pleasures of memory. : In two parts. : With some other poems → online text (page 1 of 3)