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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Samuel Rogers

  • [The English banker-poet; born in a suburb of London, July 30, 1763; published his first poems, 1786; “The Pleasures of Memory,” 1792; “Italy,” 1822 and 1836; his house was for many years the resort of literary and political celebrities; died December, 1855.]
  • When I was young, I used to say good-natured things, and nobody listened to me. Now that I am old, I say ill-natured things, and everybody listens to me.

  • Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley, having severely criticised the poet’s “Italy,” Rogers was called upon to compose extempore an epitaph upon him, and gave this, in allusion to the story that his critic was accustomed to practise his speeches, which he gave out as unpremeditated:—
  • “Ward has no heart, they say, but I deny it:
  • He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it.”
  • When Ward, who had been a Whig, turned Tory, and said, “I wonder what would make me turn Whig again,” Byron replied, “They have only to re-ward you.”
  • A lady, with whom he was constantly at war, exclaiming at table, “Now, Mr. Rogers, I know you are talking about me,” he paid her the doubtful compliment of replying, “Lady Davy, I pass my life in defending you.”
  • When a certain marriage was spoken of, with which the friends of the bridegroom were said to be pleased, Rogers remarked, “His friends are pleased, and his enemies are delighted.”
  • Seeing a painting by Murillo, of Abraham entertaining the angels, who were not represented of angelic appearance, the poet observed, “I do not wonder at Abraham entertaining the angels unawares.”
  • When asked if he attended the lectures on the art of memory, he replied, “I wish to learn the art of forgetting.” This is as old as Themistocles, who, when Simonides offered to teach him the art of memory, replied, “Ah! rather teach me the art of forgetting.”—PLUTARCH: Life, note.
  • When Croker wrote his review of Macaulay’s History in “The Quarterly Review,” he intended murder, but committed suicide.

  • Of Lord Holland’s “sunshiny” face Rogers said, “He always comes to breakfast like a man upon whom some sudden good fortune had fallen.” Talleyrand called Lord Holland “benevolence itself, but the most disturbing that was ever seen” (c’est la bienveillance même, mais la plus perturbatrice qu’on ait jamais vue).
  • Rogers illustrated Tom Moore’s restless temperament by the remark, “Moore dines in one place, wishing he had dined in another place, with an opera-ticket in his pocket which makes him wish he were dining nowhere.”
  • A man who attempts to read all the new productions must do as the flea does,—skip.

  • He also said, “When a new book comes out, I read an old one.” He was of the same opinion as Alonso of Aragon, who said, “Among so many things as are by men possessed or pursued in the whole course of their lives, all the rest are baubles beside old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, old authors to read;” appropriated by Goldsmith, “She Stoops to Conquer,” I. 1. Lord Mansfield used to give a toast, “Young friends and old books.”—CAMPBELL: Life.
  • Women have the understanding of the heart, which is better than that of the head.

    In Italy the memory sees more than the eye.

  • Table-Talk.
  • It does not much signify whom one marries, as one is sure to find next morning that it was some one else.

  • An author saw Rogers looking at the list of subscribers to a new work, and asked him if he were looking at the contents: “No, the dis-contents,” was the reply.