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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 6 June 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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“Keswick, June 6. 1804.
“Dear Rickman,

“Here I am at length, at least all that remains of me,—the skin and bones of Robert Southey. Being now at rest, and, moreover, egregiously hungry, the flesh which has been expended in stage-coaches and in London streets, will soon be replaced. Dulce est actorum meminisse—laborum will not so fully conclude the line as my meaning wishes. Labour enough I had; but there are other things besides my labour in London to be remembered,—more pleasurable in themselves, but not making such pleasurable recollections, because they are to be wished for again.

“However, I found excellent society awaiting me at home;—Florian de Ocampo and Ambrosio Novales,—thirteen of the little quartos, bringing down Spanish history to the point where Prudencio de
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 289
Sandoval takes it up, and where I also begin the full tide of my narration. Novales was the correspondent of Keserdius, into whose work you once looked, and was, like him, an excellent Latinist, and a patient, cautious, martyr-murdering antiquary, an excellent weeder of lies wherever they were to be found. In company with these came the four folios of the Bibliotheca Hispanica; there is affixed a portrait of the late King, so exquisitely engraved and so exquisitely ugly, that I know not whether it be most honourable to Spain to have advanced so far in the arts, or disgraceful to have exercised them upon such a fool’s pate. I am sure Duppa will laugh at his Catholic Majesty, but whether an interjection of admiration at the print, or the laugh (which is the next auxiliary part of speech to the ohs and ahs, interjections), will come first, is only to be decided by experiment.

“. . . . . You will read the Mabinogion, concerning which I ought to have talked to you. In the last, that most odd and Arabian-like story of the Mouse, mention is made of a begging scholar, that helps to the date; but where did the Kimbri get the imagination that could produce such a tale! That enchantment of the bason hanging by the chain from heaven, is in the wildest spirit of the Arabian Nights. I am perfectly astonished that such fictions should exist in Welsh: they throw no light on the origin of romance, every thing being utterly dissimilar to what we mean by that term; but they do open a new world of fiction; and if the date of their language be fixed about the twelfth or thirteenth century, I cannot but think the
mythological substance is of far earlier date, very probably brought from the east by some of the first settlers or conquerors. If
William Owen will go on and publish them, I have hopes that the world will yet reward him for his labours. Let Sharon* make his language grammatical, but not alter their idiom in the slightest point. I will advise him about this, being about to send him off a parcel of old German or Theotistic books of Coleridge’s, which will occasion a letter. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”