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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 23 August 1817

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, Aug. 23. 1817.
“My dear Wynn,

. . . . . They tell me, both here and in town, that travelling has fattened me. Certainly it agreed with my bodily health most admirably; whether it be attributable to early rising, continual change of air, or copious libations of good wine, or to all these. The early rising is unluckily the only practice which it would be possible to continue here. As for the wine*, when I

* Let not the reader suppose from this and other commendations of the juice of the grape, that my father was inclined to over-indulgence therein; for no man was ever more strictly temperate. Indeed, his constitution required more generous living than he ordinarily gave it; and part of the benefit he always derived from continental travelling was, as he here intimates, from his partaking more freely of wine when abroad than in the regularity of his domestic life.

Ætat. 43. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 277
think of the red wines of Savoy (the Montmelian in particular), and the white wines of the Rhine and the Moselle, I feel something as the children of Israel did when they remembered the flesh-pots of Egypt. Were I to settle anywhere on the continent, Switzerland should be the country, and probably Lausanne the place. There are lovelier places in the Oberland of Berne, and the adjacent small cantons; but Lausanne has all those comforts which are desirable, and there is as good society in the canton of Vaud as need be desired. We could not gain admittance into
Gibbon’s garden, though his house belongs to a banker on whom we had bills. The assigned reason for refusing was, that the way lay through a chamber which was occupied by an invalid. I confess that I doubted this, and could not believe that the only way into the garden should be through a bed-chamber. This was a mortifying disappointment. As some compensation, however, our own apartments were not more than 100 yards off, and opened upon a terrace which commanded exactly the same view of the lake and mountains, with no other difference of foreground than a hundred yards will make in looking over gardens and groves of fruit-trees. . . . .

“Does this country, you will ask, appear flat and unprofitable after Alpine scenery? Certainly not. It has lost very little by the comparison, and that little will soon be regained. Skiddaw is by much the most imposing mountain, for its height, that I have yet seen. Many mountains, which are actually as high again from their base, do not appear to more advantage. I find here, as Wordsworth and Sir G.
Beaumont had told me I should, the charm of proportion, and would not exchange Derwentwater for the Lake of Geneva, though I would gladly enrich it with the fruit trees and the luxuriant beauties of a Swiss summer. Their waterfalls, indeed, reduce ours to insignificance. On the other hand, all their streams and rivers are hideously discoloured, so that that which should be one of the greatest charms of the landscape, is in reality a disgusting part of it. The best colour which you see is that of clean soap-suds; the more common one that of the same mixture when dirty. But the rivers have a power, might, and majesty which it is scarcely possible to describe.

“God bless you, my dear Wynn!

Yours most affectionately,
R. S.”