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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Nicholas Lightfoot, 18 June 1815

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 18. 1815.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“You cannot think of me more frequently nor more affectionately than I do of you. These recollections begin to have an autumnal shade of feeling; and habitually joyous as my spirits are, I believe that if we were now to meet, my first impulse would be to burst into tears. I was not twenty when we parted, and one and twenty years have elapsed since that time. Of the men with whom I lived at Oxford, Wynn, Elmsley, and yourself are all that are left. Seward is dead, Charles Collins is dead, Robert Allen is dead, Burnett is dead. I have lost sight of all the rest.

“My family continue in number the same as when you heard from me last. I am my son’s schoolmaster, and, in the process, am recovering my Greek, which I had begun to forget at Balliol. How long I may continue to abide here is uncertain: the first term of my lease will expire in 1817; if I do not remove then, I must remain for another seven years, and I am far too sensible of the insecurity of life to look beyond that time. Having many inducements to remove nearer London, and many to remain where I am, the trouble and enormous expense of moving (for I have not less than 5000 books) will probably turn the scale; certainly they will weigh heavy in it. It is not that I have any business in London as Poet-Laureate; that office imposes upon me no such necessity; it only requires, as a matter of decorum,
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
that when I happen to be there I should sometimes attend a levee, especially on the birth-day, but it is not expected that I should make a journey for this purpose, and accordingly I have never been at court since I kissed hands upon my appointment. . . . .

“I have just been reading the Ludus Literarius of my friend Dr. Bell: happy is the schoolmaster who profits by it, and reforms his school upon the Madras system. I pray you give the subject a serious consideration. The only real obstacle is the want of initiatory books, but they would be very easily made; and I believe that very few pieces of literary labour would be so largely repaid. It is quite certain that his system removes 99 parts in 100 of the miseries of the school-boys and the school-master. . . . .

“Thus, Lightfoot, my life passes as uniformly and as laboriously as yours. There is one difference in your favour: you, perhaps, look on to an end of your labours, which I never must do till ‘my right hand forget its cunning.’ But I am very happy, and I dare say so are you. ‘The cheerful man’s a king,’ says the old song; and if this be true, both you and I are royal by nature.

“God bless you, my dear Lightfoot!

Believe me, most truly and affectionately,
Your old friend,
R. Southey.”