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and accomplished gentlemen living. His opinion on literary matters is much looked up to by his numerous acquaintances, for as he envies the reputation of no one, his opinions are unprejudiced, and have acquired full credit for impartiality. His peculiarities are but few, either as a man or a poet. In the former character, suavity and good-nature are the traits which predominate ; in the latter, accuracy of thought and an extreme polish of versification are the prevailing characteristics.
POEM OF THE PLEASURES OF MEMORY.
The pleasure of reflecting on the joys of other days, is one of the sweetest and purest in life. It is also one of the most frequently enjoyed. Being within the reach of every rational being, there are few, even among those of the most gloomy and despondent tempers, who do not recur to its indulgence with satisfaction and delight.
It is true that retrospection often recalls images and scenes which the mind would wish to forget; for scarcely any have passed even the most innocent and happy period. of life, without having experienced misfortune, and committed acts productive of self-condemnation and regret. Still, on the other hand, there are few whose enjoyment of the spring-time of existence, has not been greater than their disrelish; and such is the fortunate formation of the human mind, that even they whose past life has been most darkened by affliction, are prone to revert their view most frequently to those moments of brightness which a benignant Providence permits to gleam on the gloomiest career.
In reviewing the scenes of past years, their charms seem to become attractive in proportion to their age; while those which were once harsh and forbidding in their aspect, are softened, and, in many instances, even sweetened, by the mellowing hand of time. For the remark of the poet of Hope, that
“ Distance lends enchantment to the view," will apply as well to the backward as to the forward views which we take along the vista of life.
It is not necessary to animadvert on the causes of this happy characteristic of our nature. Its effects are too universally felt to be questioned; and from it proceed too many of the best blessings of life, to permit its importance, in yielding consolation and comfort to our checkered existence, to be undervalueď.
In this tendency of the mind to cherish reflections of an agreeable rather than a disagreeable character, the author of the pleasures of Memory found for his poem a ready passport. to public favour, while it presented an obstacle to the success of a counterpoem on
The Pains of Memory,” written by Robert Merry, to the composition of which at least equal talent, if not equal care and labour, was applied, and the poetical merit of which, apart from its subject, is certainly not inferior.
When the remarkable fertility of his subject is considered, it must be confessed that Rogers has limited the range of his muse to exceedingly few topics. The whole of the first part may, in truth, be apportioned into two heads,-a retrospect of the pastimes of childhood, and reflections on the power of association to produce in the memory a succession of images which afford pleasure.
There is, indeed, considerable variety furnished in the illustrations of these topics. Yet various as they are, they are all drawn from familiar sources. They exhibit no pedantic display of scholastic learning or of peculiar thinking. They are all such as it may be supposed every man of reasonable information, at the present era, must be acquainted with. And in this judicious selection of illustrations and allusions, consists one of the chief charms of the work. Poetry is never more pleasing to unsophisticated minds, than when it portrays scenes with which they are acquainted, or celebrates events which have administered to their happiness. The attractions of Thomson's Seasons, and of Goldsmith's Deserted Village, proceed, in a great degree, from the familiarity of the pictures they present to our contemplation. In imitation of these undying bards, Rogers has chosen to give us drawings from real nature, and to introduce to us incidents of apparently actual occurrence. On these we delight to dwell, for they restore to our sensations, departed fascinations and joys we had felt before. Where is the well regulated mind or the rightly disposed heart, to which such a picture as the following will not communicate pleasure ? Speaking of the old hall where once “ Justice held the grave debate," the poet says,
“ Now stain'd with dews, with cobwebs darkly hung,
Oft has its roof with peals of rapture rung.
Some of the passages illustrative of the reminiscences of childhood, will strongly remind the reader of Goldsmith's distinct and impressive manner of grouping rural and domestic images; and although he may not find the exquisite simplicity of that most natural of poets, he will meet with sufficient sweetness and elegance to induce him to hesitate whether he should not place those fine passages in the same rank of poetical excellence with the strains of the bard of Auburn.
The poet, having dismissed the consideration of these endearing remembrances, proceeds to elucidate the power which one idea has in calling up another in the mind. To this connexion of ideas he ascribes