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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Savage Landor, 21 February 1827

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, Feb. 21. 1827.

“I know not how I have lost sight of you so long, nor whether this may find you at Florence, nor what may have befallen you in the interval since we have communicated. No such affliction, I hope, as has befallen me, in the loss of my youngest daughter. Seven months have elapsed since we suffered this bereavement. She was the flower of my family,—and a lovelier flower this earth never produced. It was long before I could recover heart for anything, and sometimes I fear that my spirits will never again be what they have been. My wife’s, I have but too much cause to apprehend, have received a shock from which they will not recover. Yet we have much left for which to be thankful; and, above all, I am thankful for that settled and quiet faith which makes me look on to the end of my journey as a point of hope.

“My friend Kenyon talks of going to Italy this year, and if he goes, I shall get him to carry my last book.

“Last summer, like the one preceding, I travelled for my health. On the first occasion I came back with erysipelas (the effect of an accident), which
undid the good that had been done; and the shock which awaited my return the second time in like manner counteracted the benefit I had found.

“Holland is to me a very interesting country. Except Amsterdam, which outstinks Lisbon, I like everything in it. There is a greater appearance of domestic comfort and decent wealth, and less appearance of vice, poverty, and wretchedness, than in any other part of Europe that I have seen, and I verily believe than in any other part of the world. In prospect there is enough to sadden one, for the bright days of Holland are gone by, and there seems no likelihood, scarcely indeed a possibility, that they ever should return. Decay is felt there, but it is not apparent, and you must inquire and look for it before you perceive that it is going on. But the Dutch merchants are not like the English, who so generally live up to the full measure of their prosperity. In their best times they have been frugal; and they are very generally at this time living upon the interest of old capital, great part of which is vested in the English funds.

“You will not wonder when you call to mind in how many things the two nations resemble each other, that Dutch poetry should in its character of thought and feeling resemble English, much more than the English resembles that of any other nation, ancient or modern. Their poets have been as numerous, in proportion to the country, as their painters, and not a few of them as skilful in their art. One has two things to get over in the language, its ugli-
Ætat. 52. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 289
ness and its difficulty: I wish I could overcome the latter as well as I have got over the first.

“While I am writing the post has brought news that Lord Liverpool has had an apoplectic stroke, which is likely to be fatal, but which certainly incapacitates him from ever taking any farther part in public affairs. How often do I wish that you were in England. The curious state of things in this country can hardly be understood, even by an Englishman, at a distance; the strange complexity and contrariety of interests, the strange coalitions, the ferment of opinions, and the causes which are at work to bring about greater changes in the constitution of society, than even the last half century has produced. No guess can as yet be formed as to the effect that this accident will produce upon the administration. Canning’s health is broken, and in my judgment it would be fortunate for his reputation if this cause should prevent him from taking possession of the premiership. Every one had confidence in Lord Liverpool; there are none who will have confidence in him; with all his brilliancy of talent, with all his personal good qualities, (and they are such that he is liked wherever he is known,) he must ever be distrusted as a statesman. New scenes are opening upon us, new men will come forward, and some of the old ones be seen in new characters; but for statesmen, such as they are and long have been in England, there will always be an abundant supply. What can be expected as long as St. Pitt and St. Fox have their red letter days in the political calendar?


“I would give a great deal to enjoy three such days as those which I passed at Como now ten years ago.

“God bless you!

R. S.”