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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Margaret Holford Hodson, 10 February 1829

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, Feb. 10. 1829.
“My dear Madam,

“If it were true that misfortunes never come singly, it would be a merciful dispensation of them. I at least should choose (if there were the power of choosing) to have my sorrows come thick and threefold, and my pleasures one by one; to drink of misery at a draught, however deep the bowl, but to sip of enjoyment, and taste its full flavour in every glass. The same post brought me the news from York*, and

* Of the burning of York Minster.

King’s speech, and I believe each would have weighed more heavily upon my spirits had it come separately, than both did together. Better a disturbed grief than a settled one. And, to confess the truth, the minster bore a larger part than the constitution, not only in our fireside talk, but in my solitary feelings; for the other evil is the more remediable one, and, moreover, Sir Robert Inglis had prepared me for it.

“We have been betrayed by imbecility, pusillanimity, and irreligion. Our citadel would have been impregnable if it had been bravely defended; and these are times when it becomes a duty to perish rather than submit; for
‘When the wicked have their day assign’d,
Then they who suffer bravely save mankind,’
If we have not learnt this from history, I know not what it can teach.

“And now, you will ask, where do I look for comfort? Entirely to Providence. I should look to nothing but evil from the natural course of events, were they left to themselves; but Almighty Providence directs them, and my heart is at rest in that faith. The base policy which has been pursued may possibly delay the religious war in Ireland; possibly the ulcer may be skinned over, and we may be called on to rejoice for the cure while the bones are becoming carious. But there are great struggles which must be brought to an issue before we shall be truly at peace; between Infidelity and Religion, and be-
tween Popery and Protestantism. The latter battle must be fought in Ireland, and I would have it fought now: two or three years ago I would have prevented it. Fought it must be at last, and with great advantage to the enemy from the delay; but the right cause will triumph at last.

“About three years ago I wrote a paper in the Quarterly Review on Britton’s Cathedral Antiquities, and spoke then of the danger to which these edifices are always liable, in a manner that ought to entitle me, if I were but a little crazy, to set up for a prophet God grant that other and more definite fore-feelings may not be in like manner confirmed.

Believe me, my dear Madam,
Yours with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”