“I am anxious that Mr. Rogers should have all the success he can desire. I am more indebted to him than I could bear to think of, if I had not the highest esteem. It will give me great satisfaction to find him cordially admired. His is a favourable picture, and such he loves so do I, but men’s vices and follies come into my mind, and spoil my drawing.”
Assuredly no more striking antithesis to Crabbe’s habitual impressions of human life can be found than in the touching and often beautiful couplets of Rogers, a poet as neglected today as Crabbe. Rogers’s picture of wedded happiness finds no parallel, I think, anywhere in the pages of his brother-poet:—
the threshold led,
And every tear kissed off as soon as shed,
His house she enters, there to be a light
Shining within, when all without is night;
A guardian angel o’er his life presiding,
Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing!
How oft her eyes read his; her gentle mind
To all his wishes, all his thoughts, inclined;
Still subject—ever on the watch to borrow
Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow.
The soul of music slumbers in the shell,
Till waked to rapture by the master’s spell;
And feeling hearts—touch them but rightly—pour
A thousand melodies unheard before.”
It may be urged that Rogers exceeds in one direction as unjustifiably as Crabbe in the opposite. But there is room in poetry for both points of view, though the absolute—the Shakespearian—grasp of Human Life may be truer and more eternally convincing than either.