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Death and Funeral of the late Mr. Southey.
The Examiner  No. 485  (13 April 1817)  236-37.
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No. 485. SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 1817.


On Thursday se’nnight, according to a notice in the Courier from the pen of his friend and physician the celebrated Dr. Paracelsus Broaduhum Coleridge, departed this life the better portion of Robert Southey, Esquire, formerly “Man of Humanity” and Independent Poet, latterly Poet Laureat and Member of the Royal Spanish Academy. Mr. Southey’s numerous works, remarkable for their impartial argument for and against despotism, and their equally impartial satire upon the writers of the two sides of the question, are well known to the public, especially his Wat Tyler and articles in the Quarterly Review, and his ridicule of the Duke of Marlborough and praise of the Duke of Wellington. He had long been in a sick and lingering way, attended with great irritability; and what is very curious, nothing would satisfy him in his more impatient moments, but imitating Nimrod, who hunted men, and for whose character he had latterly conceived a high admiration; but what is still more curious, he would start none but such as he hunted in company with formerly, and such others as disapproved his new mode of chace in particular.

This, of course, appeared to them very ridiculous and not to be tolerated. They would make all reasonable allowances for eccentricity and weakness, but when he came to presume upon their forbearance, for the purpose of overthrowing and trampling upon them, it was rather too much. He would get up for instance early in the morning, and after taking his breakfast in a very staid manner, and playing with the children which Nature and Mr. Malthus had agreed to favour him with, would mount his hobby; and couching his pen in hand for a lance like Don Quixote, go gallopping after divers Reformers, calling out to them all the while in such terms as the following:—“Hallo there! You vagabonds, thieves, liars, incendiaries, and worse than housebreakers, whom I formerly agreed with,—I was an honest and virtuous youth, a stripling of nine and twenty, for thinking as you do; but you are a pack of rascals, yelping curs, bears, tygers, and boars, for thinking as I did; and you, especially, who are no older than I was and only think half of what I did, are a parcel of provoking beasts, brutes, cattle, vermin, and reptiles. Therefore, in honour of your masters, who have put this bag of money in my pocket and this reverend laurel on my head, and above all, in honour of myself who am all contradiction and perfection, I shall hunt you down, you rascals, into ditches, Bastiles, and Inquisitions.” So saying, he would clap pen to poney, and press forward, uttering the strangest mixture of oaths and exclamations, such as, “Hip there! Halloa! Nimrod for ever! ’For George! By your leaf, Mr. Pye! Ille ego qui quondam! I by myself, I! Ha, ha, my boys! Garrow and well-away! Gibbs for your squibs! I’ll cut ye up there, slaughterly and Quarterly! What are you grinning at? Bon and St. Jago! Oh the days when I was young! King and no King! Here come two of us! Charity and Persecution for ever! Principle and Apostacy ditto! What they agree with me, do they? And without my consent! Hark forward, Impudence, got by Legitimate! Fire and fury! ’Ods bodyguards! Now then I have ’em, says Habeas Corpus!”—with a great quantity of other unaccountable phrases, too numerous and fearful to mention. When he came up to the objects of his pursuit, who in the mean while did not stir a foot, but stood pitying him and laughing by turns, he would ride up to one and say with a hideous grimace—“Grin, Envy!” attempting at the same time to run over him; but missing his aim, would tumble over head and heels, and then mount again, and ride off crying triumphantly, “Kept my seat! Kept my seat!” To another he would say, “You have been consistent, have you!” and then plunge at him with great malice;—a third he would endeavour to knock down, crying out—“So you think still, as we used to do!”—and at a fourth he would ride with exceeding rage and desperation, exclaiming, “So you never thought more than half of what I did!” but he always got the worst of it, though there were a set of hired fellows in waiting to clap you up in dog-kennels, had he obtained the least advantage. One of his opponents would hoist his foot out of the saddle; a second would give him such a dig in the left side as made him groan; a third would crack his laureat skull for him; and a fourth would lay him as flat as his court-poems. It was this day fortnight that he got his mortal blow from one of them. He had met with several rebuffs from this bye-stander, who was a prodigiously sturdy person with the least possible air of pretending it, and who continued looking on with a sort of half-angry, half-melancholy aspect, having, it seems, been an old acquaintance. The rebuffs mortified our hero so much (as indeed they well might, having laid open his head) that he got his friend Dr. Paracelsus Broadbrim Coleridge to come to his assistance, when unfortunately his ally, who has a trick of “encumbering with help,” and wasted his time besides in fumbling and referring to some old books about him to know what to be at, exposed him in the most singular manner to the other blows, and at least fairly pushed him upon his mortal one, which was given in the jaw. His friend the Doctor,—not the other friend formerly known by that title, whose faculties have been rendered incapable long since by the same hand,—but the aforementioned Dr. Coleridge immediately saw how matters were; and after descanting with due ejaculations of sorrow on the wound, which he proved on the spot to be exactly such a one as was given two hundred years ago to an unfortunate Friar Minor mentioned by the profound Samuel Sartorius, in his chapter De Suicidis aliena manu perfectis,—Folio, Londin. Vol. 45, p. 1960, announced the fatal intelligence by saying, that cruel as was the blow, his friend was a good Christian and “would not retaliate;” which being interpreted out of the Doctor’s mystic phraseology, meant, that his patient had no strength or vitality left. The old romances used to say on similar occasions, that the person smitten “had no more need of a surgeon;” but this would have been somewhat too indecorous and lively for Dr. Paracelsus, who never makes even a joke that hath not a grave and worshipful effect.

The funeral took place yesterday week. There were some mourners, whose grief surpassed shew, and who would not attend publicly;—the others, after partaking a good breakfast, made up the procession in the following manner:—

A Corporal and file of Soldiers to clear the way,
Penny-trumpets, two and two,
Jacobins with their coats turned,
A Deputation from the Inquisition, holding thumb-screws.
A Frenchman of the old regime in full costume, powdered and
sallow-faced, out at elbows, taking snuff, and bowing
on all sides.
A Deputation from the Papists at Thoulouse, dragging in the
mud the Effigies of Voltaire and Calas.
A bag-wig and a tattered laurel held up on a cushion.
Renegadoes from Algiers as Pall-Bearers.
Renegadoes from Algiers as Pall-Bearers.
Murray the Bookseller as Chief Mourner,
Holding down his head and looking sideways.
Holding an enormous white handkerchief to his eyes,
and supported by two Bottle-holders.
Dr. Stoddart, a Civilian,
In a very weak condition, his supporters having left him out of
weariness, as well as from the inconvenience occasioned
by his dirty mode of proceeding.
Supported by Involuntary Contributions.
Supported by Gentlemen Pensioners, but very irritable in his
grief, kicking the mud on all sides of him and on the Ladies.
George Canning, Esq. M.P. in a close Carriage.
Empty Carriages of the Ministers of the Court.
Hirelings on Horseback.