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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Scott, 11 March 1819

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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“March 11. 1819.
“My dear Scott,

“My conscience will not let me direct a letter to your care without directing one to yourself by the same post.

“A great event has happened to me within this fortnight,—the birth of a child, after an interval of nearly seven years, and that child a son. This was a chance to which I looked rather with dread than with hope, after having seen the flower of my earthly hopes and happiness cut down. But it is well that these things are not in our own disposal; and without building upon so frail a tenure as an infant’s life, or indulging in any vain dreams of what may be, I am thankful for him now that he is come.

“You would have heard from me ere long, even if Mr. Ticknor* had not given a spur to my tardy

* The accomplished author of “The History of Spanish Literature.” Murray, 1850.

intentions. I should soon have written to say that you will shortly receive the concluding volume of my
History of Brazil, for I am now drawing fast toward the close of that long labour. This volume has less of the kite and crow warfare than its predecessors, and is rich in information of various kinds, which has never till now come before the public in any shape. Indeed, when I think of the materials from which it has been composed, and how completely during great part of my course I have been without either chart or pilot to direct me, I look back with wonder upon what I have accomplished. I go to London in about seven weeks from this time, and as soon as I return the Peninsular War will be sent to press.

“Our successors (for you and I are now old enough in authorship to use this term) are falling into the same faults as the Roman poets after the Augustan age, and the Italians after the golden season of their poetry. They are overlabouring their productions, and overloading them with ornament, so that all parts are equally prominent, everywhere glare and glitter, and no keeping and no repose. Henry Milman has spoilt his Samor in this way. It is full of power and of beauty, but too full of them. There is another striking example in a little volume called Night, where some of the most uncouth stories imaginable are told in a strain of continued tip-toe effort; and you are vexed to see such uncommon talents so oddly applied, and such Herculean strength wasted in preposterous exertions. The author’s name is Elliott, a self-taught man, in business
Ætat. 45. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 339
(the iron trade, I believe) at Rotherham. He sends play after play to the London theatres, and has always that sort of refusal which gives him encouragement to try another.
Sheridan said of one of them that it was “a comical tragedy, but he did not know any man who could have written such a one.” I have given him good advice, which he takes as it is meant, and something may come or him yet.

“It was reported that you were about to bring forth a play, and I was greatly in hopes it might be true; for I am verily persuaded that in this course you would run as brilliant a career as you have already done in narrative, both in prose and rhyme, for as for believing that you have a double in the field,—not I! Those same powers would be equally certain of success in the drama; and were you to give them a dramatic direction, and reign for a third seven years upon the stage, you would stand alone in literary history. Indeed, already I believe that no man ever afforded so much delight to so great a number of his contemporaries in this or any other country.

“God bless you, my dear Scott! Remember me to Mrs. S. and your daughter, and believe me,

Ever yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”