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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 22 May 1809

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, Monday, May 22. 1809.
“My dear Tom,

“My last letter told you of Herbert’s danger, and his recovery. You will be a little shocked at the intelligence in this. We lost Emma yesterday night. Five days ago she was in finer health than we had ever seen her, and I repeatedly remarked it. For a day or two she had been ailing; on Saturday night breathed shortly, and was evidently ill. Edmondson repeatedly saw her, thought her better at ten o’clock, and assured us he saw no danger. In half an hour she literally fell asleep without a struggle. Edith is as well as should be expected, and I, perhaps, better. You know how I take tooth-ache and tooth drawings, and I have almost learnt to bear moral pain, not, indeed, with the same levity, but with as few outward and visible signs. In fact, God be thanked for it, there never was a man who had more entirely set his heart upon things permanent and eternal than I have done; the transitoriness of everything here is always present to my feeling as well as my understanding. Were I to speak as sincerely of my family as Wordsworth’s little girl, my story—that I have five children; three of them at home, and two under
my mother’s care in heaven.——No more of this; and, to convince you that I am not more unhappy than I profess, I will fill up the sheet, instead of sending you a mere annotation of this loss. It is well you left her such an infant, for you are thus spared some sorrow.

Ballantyne has just sent me a present of Campbell’s new poem, and enclosed the last Edinburgh Review in the parcel. They have taken occasion there, under cover of a methodist’s book, to attempt an answer to my Missionary Defence. I hear from all quarters that this article of mine has excited much notice, and produced considerable effect. I had the great advantage of being in earnest, as well as thoroughly understanding the subject. The Edinburgh reviewer knew nothing of Hindoo history except what newspapers and pamphlets had taught him. . . . No wonder, therefore, that I should have the upper hand of such a man in the argument.

Campbell’s poem has disappointed his friends, Ballantyne tells me. It is, however, better than I expected, except in story, which is meagre. This gentleman, also, who is one of Wordsworth’s abusers, has been nibbling at imitation, and palpably borrowed from the two poems of Ruth and The Brothers. ’Tis amusing envy! to see how the race of borrowers upon all occasions abuse us who do not borrow. The main topic against me is, that I do not imitate Virgil in my story. Pope in my language, &c. &c.

Scott is still detained in London, and this will prevent me from going with him to Edinburgh. Indeed, if engagements had not existed, I could not
Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 235
have left home now, for
Edith will find it melancholy enough for some time to come with me, and without me it would be worse. Herbert, thank God, seems well; seems is all one dares say: of all precarious things there is nothing so precarious as life. You would have been delighted with your eldest niece if you could have seen the sorrow she was in this morning, for fear her mother should die for grief: and then she said she should die too, and then her papa would die for grief about her. Just now, Tom, it might have been happier for you and me if we had gone to bed as early as John and Eliza; a hundred years hence the advantage will be on our side. . . . . My notions about life are much the same as they are about travelling,—there is a good deal of amusement on the road, but, after all, one wants to be at rest. Evils of this kind—if they may be called evils—soon cure themselves; the wound smarts, in a little while it heals, and, if the scar did not sometimes renew the recollection of the smart, it would, perhaps, be forgotten.

“My History gets on; the proof before me reaches to page 336.: I look at it with great pleasure. Whether I may live to complete the series of works which I have projected, and, in good part, executed, God only knows; be that as it may, in what is done I shall, to the best of my power, have on all occasions enforced good opinions upon those subjects which are of most importance to mankind.

“God bless you! It is long since I have heard from you; what can you be cruising after? Things
go on well in Spain, and will go on better when the
Wellesleys get there. Once more, God bless you!

R. S.”