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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 20 January 1804

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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“ January 20. 1804
“Dear Rickman,

“. . . . . Arthur Aikin writes me, that 1200 of the Annual Review have sold of 2000 that were printed, and that the demand continues unabated. He is in high spirits at its success, and wishes me to come to London,—looking upon me, I suppose, as one of his staff-officers—as, in fact, William Taylor and I constitute his main strength. It is clear enough that if I regarded pen-and-inkmanship solely as a trade, I might soon give in an income of double the present amount; but I am looking forward to something better, and will not be tempted from the pursuit in which I have so long and so steadily persevered. . . . . This vile reviewing still birdlimes me; I do it slower than any thing else—yawning over tiresome work; and parcel comes down after parcel, so that I have
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 251
already twice whooped before I was out of the wood. Yesterday
Malthus received, I trust, a mortal wound from my hand; to-day I am at the Asiatic Researches. Godwin’s Life of Chaucer is on the road to me: by the by, the philosopher came in for a hard rap over the knuckles with Mr. Malthus. These things keep me from better employment, but they whet the desire for it, and I shall return to my Portuguese society with doubled zest.

“In the dark ages, medicine was in the hands of the Jews. Why was this? Am I right in supposing it was because they travelled, and brought with them the wisdom and experience, as well as folly, of the East? Christians could not travel safely; but Hebrew, like Arabic, was a passport, for synagogues and mosques were everywhere. A decree of the Lateran Council, that the sacrament should be first prescribed to the sick, seems levelled against Jew physicians.

“Have you read the Institutes of Menu, translated by Sir W. Jones? I should be very glad to see your corollaries from that book. Hindostan, indeed the whole of civilised Asia, puzzles me, and provokes me that we should have so few documents to reason from. As far as their history can be unravelled from fable, nothing is discoverable but the war of sects, not of religions; and how so ridiculous a religion should have been so blended with astronomy, how allegory should put on so ugly a mask, is a puzzle.

“. . . . . I am well, but have an ominous dimness of sight at times, which makes me think of Tobin; that would
indeed be a sore visitation! but I will feed while the summer lasts, that my paws may be fat enough to last licking through the dark winter, if it must come.

R. S. ”