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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 29 October 1803

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, Oct. 29. 1803.
“Dear Tom,

“Your letter did not reach me till yesterday, eight days after its date, so that, though this be the earliest reply, perhaps it may not arrive at Cork till after your departure. This place is better suited for me than you imagine—it tempts me to take far more exercise than I ever took elsewhere, for we have the loveliest scenes possible close at hand; and I have, therefore, seldom or never felt myself in stronger health. And as for good spirits, be sure I have the outward and visible sign, however it may be for the inward and spiritual grace.

“My reviewing, more than ordinarily procrastinated, stands still. I began Clarke’s book, and having vented my gall there, laid the others all by till the first

* A favourite terrier.

of November, that I might be free till then for work more agreeable. My main work has been
Madoc. I am now arrived at the old fifth book, and at the twelfth of the booklings into which it is now divided. I mean to call them neither books, cantos, nor any thing else, but simply 1, 2, 3, &c., entitling each part from its peculiar action: thus, 1. The Return; 2. Cadwallon; 3. The Voyage; 4. Lincoya; 5. The War; 6. The Battle; 7. The Peace; 8. Emma; 9. Mathraval; 10. The Gorsedd, i. e. the Meeting of the Bards; 11. Dinevawr; 12. Bards,—and so on. The eleven divisions finished, which bring it down to the end of the old fourth book, contain 2536 lines,—an increase on the whole of 731; but of the whole not one line in five stands as originally written. About 9000 lines will be the extent; but the farther I proceed the less alteration will be needed. When I turn the half-way, I shall then say to my friends, ‘Now, get me subscribers, and I will publish Madoc.’ In what is done there is some of my best workmanship. I shall get by it less money than fame, and less fame than envy, but the envy will be only lifelong; and when that is gone and the money spent—you know the old rhyme.

“It seems we are to have war with poor Portugal. If this be the case, my uncle must of course settle in England. This would be very pleasant to me, were it not so deeply and rootedly my own desire to settle in Portugal; but, adonde não he remedio, então paciencia, as I learnt from the Portuguese. This war has affected me in every possible shape; in the King George packet I lost a whole cargo of books.
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 231
for which I had been a year and a half waiting, and my uncle searching.

“I must go to work for money; and that also frets me. This hand-to-mouth work is very disheartening, and interferes cruelly with better things,—more important they cannot be called, for the bread-and-cheese is the business of the first necessity. But from my History I do expect permanent profit, and such a perpetual interest as shall relieve me. I shall write the volume of letters which you have heard me talk of,—an omnium-gatherum of the odd things I have seen in England.

“Whenever you are at a decent distance, and can get leave of absence, do come. Get to Liverpool by water, or, still better, to Whitehaven. You will be thoroughly delighted with the country. The mountains, on Thursday evening, before the sun was quite down, or the moon bright, were all of one dead-blue colour; their rifts, and rocks, and swells, and scars had all disappeared—the surface was perfectly uniform, nothing but the outline distinct; and this even surface of dead blue, from its unnatural uniformity, made them, though not transparent, appear transvious,—as though they were of some soft or cloudy texture through which you could have passed. I never saw any appearance so perfectly unreal. Sometimes a blazing sunset seems to steep them through and through with red light; or it is a cloudy morning, and the sunshine slants down through a rift in the clouds, and the pillar of light makes the spot whereon it falls so emerald green, that it looks like a little field of Paradise. At night you lose the
mountains, and the wind so stirs up the lake that it looks like the sea by moonlight. Just behind the house rises a fine mountain, by name Latrigg; it joins Skiddaw; we walked up yesterday,—a winding path of three quarters of an hour, and then rode dawn an our awn burros, in seven minutes. Jesu-Maria-Jozè! that was a noble ride! but I will have a saddle made for my burro next time. The path of our slide is still to be seen from the garden—so near is it. One of these days I will descend Skiddaw in the same manner, and so immortalize myself.

“There is a carpenter here, James Lawson by name, who is become my Juniper* in the board-making way. He has made me a pair, of walnut, the large size, and of a reddish wood, from Demerara the small, and is about to get me some yew. This, as you may suppose, is a consolation to me, and it requires all Edith’s powers of prudential admonition to dissuade me from having a little table with a drawer in it. His father† asked Derwent yesterday who made him? D.: James Lawson. Father: And what did he make you of? D.: The stuff he makes wood of. When Derwent had got on thus far in his system of Derwentogony, his imagination went on, and he added,—‘he sawed me off, and I did not like it.’

“We began to wonder uneasily that there was no news of you. Edith’s love. God bless you!

R. S.”