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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Neville White, 18 March 1814

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Keswick, March 18. 1814.
“My dear Neville,

“I am afraid I have been silent for a longer time than has ever before passed without a letter since
our communication began. How truly has it been said that the first twenty years of life are the longest part of it, let it be ever so long extended. Days, weeks, and months now pass away so rapidly and yet so imperceptibly, that I am scarcely sensible of the sum of time which has gone by, till some business stares me in the face which has been left undone.

“It is not, however, from uniformity of happiness that time of late has passed so speedily with me. We have had ailments enough among the children to keep me perpetually anxious for the last eight or ten weeks. These are things which a man hardly understands till they have happened to himself, and even then some are affected more by them and some less; but it is one of the weak parts of my nature to feel them more perhaps than the occasion always justifies. I myself have had my share, though not a very heavy one, of the complaints which the unusual length and obstinacy of the winter scattered so plentifully in these parts. And though I have not been idle, and what I have done might be deemed a sufficient quantity for one who had less to do, the last four months have perhaps produced less than any former ones. I readily acknowledge that it may be fortunate for me to be under the necessity of continually bestirring my faculties in composition, otherwise the pleasure of acquiring knowledge, and continually supplying those deficiencies in my own acquirements, of which they who know most are most sensible in themselves, is so much more delightful than the act of communicating what I already know, that very probably I might fall into this kind of self-indulgence.


“My great poem will not be out before June. I am working hard at it. For the Quarterly I have done little, only Montgomery’s poem, and a little Moravian book about the Nicobar Islands. I shall be vexed if the former be either delayed or mutilated.

“This evening’s newspaper brings great news. The old desire of my heart,—that of seeing peace dictated before the walls of Paris—seems about to be fulfilled. But what a dreadful business has this been at Bergen-op-Zoom!* This is the consequence of Government deferring to popular opinion when founded upon false grounds. Graham was extolled and rewarded for the battle of Barrosa,—a battle which he ought not to have fought, and which was worse than useless. Government knew this, and felt concerning it as I am now expressing myself. Yet they of course were glad to raise a cry of success, and the Opposition joined it in extolling Graham for the sake of abusing the Spaniards; whereas, in truth, he was infinitely more in fault than La Peña. After the battle he never ought to have been trusted with command.

Believe me, my dear Neville,
Ever yours with the truest regard,
Robert Southey.”