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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 7 December 1805

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, Dec 7. 1805.
“Dear Tom,

“I was preparing last night to write to you, but the newspaper came, and, seeing therein that a mail was arrived, I waited till this evening for a letter, and have not been disappointed. Thank you for the turtle, and thank heaven it has never reached me: in bodily fear lest it should, I wrote off immediately to Wynn, and if he had not been in town, should have given it to any body who would have been kind enough to have eased me of so inconvenient a visitor. How, Tom, could you think of sending me a turtle! When, indeed, I come to be Lord
Mayor, it may be a suitable present; but now! its carriage down would not have been less than forty shillings. Nobody would have known how to kill it, how to cut it up, or how to dress it;—there would have been nobody here to help us to eat it, nobody to whom we could have given it. Whether Wynn has got it I cannot tell, but most likely it has been eaten upon the way.

“Your extracts are very interesting, but several have miscarried;—the Devil seems to be Postmaster-General on that station. Go on as you have begun, and you will soon collect more, and more valuable, materials than you are aware of. Describe a West Indian tavern,—its difference from ours. Go to church one Sunday, to describe church and congregation. Inquire at every town if there be any schools there,—any Dissenters;—how the Methodists get on;—collect some Jamaica newspapers,—and, if you can, the Magazine which is printed there. Your Tortola-letter is a very delightful one. Put down all the stories you hear. When you go ashore, take notice of the insects that you see, the birds, &c.—‘all make parts of the picture.’ Lose nothing that a Creole, or any man acquainted with the islands, tells you concerning them. Send me all the stories about Pompey—he must be a curious character; ask him his history. What sort of church-yards have they? any epitaphs? Where do they bury the negroes? Is there any funeral service for them?

“You talk of invasion: depend upon it it never will and never can be attempted while our fleet is what it is; and poor Nelson has left its name higher than ever. What a blaze of glory has he departed in!
Ætat. 30. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 359
The Spaniards, you will see, behaved most honourably to the men who were wrecked, and who fell into their hands,—and about our wounded; and the French very ill. Continental politics are too much in the dark for me to say anything. It is by no means clear that Prussia will take part against France—though highly probable, and now highly politic. If she should, I think
Bonaparte’s victories may prove his destruction.

“No further news of the sale of Madoc. The reviews will probably hurt it for a time; that is in their power, and that is all they can do. Unquestionably the poem will stand and flourish. I am perfectly satisfied with the execution,—now eight months after its publication, in my cool judgment. Wm. Taylor has said it is the best English poem that has left the press since the Paradise Lost;—indeed this is not exaggerated praise, for unfortunately there is no competition.

“I want you grievously to tell Espriella stories about the navy, and give him a good idea of its present state, which of course I cannot venture to do except very slightly, and very cautiously, fully aware of my own incompetence. Some of your own stories you will recognise. The book will be very amusing, and promises more profit than any of my former works. Most praise I have had for Amadis, for the obvious reason that it excited no envy;—they who were aiming at distinction as poets, &c., without success, had no objection to allow that I could translate from the Spanish. But praise and fame are two very distinct things. Nobody thinks the higher of me for that translation, or feels a wish
to see me for it, as they do for
Joan of Arc and Thalaba. Poor Thalaba got abused in every review except the Critical;—and yet there has not any poem of the age excited half the attention, or won half the admiration, that that kind has. I am fairly up the hill.

Little Edith looks at the picture of the ships in the Cyclopedia, and listens to the story how she has an uncle who lives in a ship, and loves her dearly, and sends her a kiss in a letter. Poor Cupid* has been hung at last for robbing a hen-roost! Your three half-crown sticks, you see, were bestowed upon him in vain. He is the first of all my friends who ever came to the gallows; and I am very sorry for him;—poor fellow! I was his god-father. Of Joe the last accounts were good. Thus have I turned my memory inside out, to rummage out all the news for you, and little enough it is. We live here in the winter as much out of the way of all society as if we were cruising at sea. From November till June not a soul do we see,—except, perhaps, Wordsworth, once or twice during the time. Of course it is my working season, and I get through a great deal. Edith’s love. God bless you, Tom.

R. S.”