LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynne, 5 March 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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“March 5. 1805.
“Dear Wynn,

“. . . . . I have read Scott’s poem* this evening, and like it much. It has the fault of mixed language which you mentioned, and which I expected; and it has the same obscurity, or, to speak more accurately, the same want of perspicuousness, as his Glenfinlas. I suspect that Scott did not write poetry enough when a boy†, for he has little command of language. His vocabulary of the obsolete is ample; but in general his words march up stiffly, like half-trained recruits,—neither a natural walk, nor a measured march which practice has made natural. But I like his poem, for it is poetry, and in a company of strangers I would not mention that it had any faults. The beginning of the story is too like Coleridge’s Christobell, which he had seen; the very line, ‘Jesu Maria, shield her well!’ is caught from it. When you see the Christobell, you will not doubt that Scott has imitated it; I do not think designedly, but the echo was in his ear, not for emulation, but propter amorem. This only refers to the beginning, which you will perceive attributes more of magic to the lady than seems in character with the rest of the story.

* The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

† This would seem, from Sir W. Scott’s Life, to be true. He mentions, in his Autobiography, having been a great reader of poetry, especially old ballads; but does not speak of having written much, if any, in boyhood.

Ætat. 30. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 317

“If the sale of Madoc should prove that I can afford to write poetry, Kehama will not lie long unfinished. After lying fallow since the end of October, I feel prolific propensities that way.

“My book ought to be delivered before this, upon the slowest calculation. I pray you compare the conscientious type of my notes with that of Scott’s; and look in his title-page*, at the cruelty with which he has actually split Paternoster Row.

“God bless you!

R. S.”