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To find a kindred order to exert
the sun's unwearied course,
Few poets of any note have been so highly favoured by the gifts of fortune as the author of the Pleasures of Memory. He never knew what it was to write for bread or to sing for hire. The power of his strains owes nothing to the stimulus of poverty, nor does their plaintiveness owe any thing to its anxieties or humiliations. Born to opulence, educated with care, and passing a life, which has now, in 1838, reached its seventy-sixth year, almost unknown to adversity, and totally exempted from the persecutions of the world, Samuel Rogers has had every opportunity a poet could wish, of indulging his predilections for song, and of bringing his effusions, under the best auspices, before the public. Why then, it may be asked, has he produced so little of an effective character? Why is the Pleasures of Memory, written while he was yet in youth, still the best and most popular effort of his genius? The answer is easy ;-he was a man of business and of wealth. He inherited the
responsibilities and the cares, as well as the splendour and affluence of a great banking establishment, to support the credit and preserve the prosperity of which, as his father had done, was with him, very properly, so much a matter of pride as at all times to absorb the chief portion of his attention. His station, besides, exposed him to the seductions of high society, which was likely to occupy much of the time he could spare from the pursuits of money dealing. What leisure he possessed, he naturally enjoyed, as men of fortune usually do, in relaxation and rest, which scarcely ever fails to engender a habit of languor very unfavourable to the exercise of high intellectual powers, particularly of the poetical kind.
The possession of great wealth has been often pronounced a formidable obstacle to the cultivation of poetical talents, and there is no doubt that the pursuit of traffic is an obstacle still more formidable. The poetical propensity of Rogers had to contend against both these adverse circumstances, It is therefore unnecessary to look for any other causes to account for the paucity and the general placidity of his productions.
Our poet was born in London, in 1762. His father had been an eminent and successful banker, and, as has been already intimated, left his son the inheritor of both his wealth and his business. The education of the latter was conducted under every advantage that abundant means could command and eligible locality afford. He, in fact, became an accomplished