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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John May, 19 September 1829

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, Sept 19. 1829.
“My dear Friend,

“. . . . . I will tell you Murray’s opinion of the Colloquies. The sale, he says, would have been tenfold greater if religion and politics had been excluded from them! The profits, I dare say, will be very little. . . . .

“My third volume of the War is in the press, and my hand has been only taken from it for a short interval, that I might do the needful work of reviewing, by which alone does it seem practicable for me to keep clear with the world. I have written for the London Review a short, but very interesting account of Lucretia Davidson, an American poetess, killed, like Kirke White, by over-excitement, in her seventeenth year. It is a most affecting story. There have been three papers of mine in that work; in the first, second, and fifth numbers; and, as they promise that there shall be no farther delay in payment, I should not like to withdraw from it. . . . .

“I might be paid at the same rate for Sharpe’s London Magazine; but, when that was converted into a magazine, it passed from the hands of Allan Cunningham into those of Theodore Hook and Dr. M’Ginn, with neither of whom did I wish to associate myself. . . . .

“But I am looking forward with much satisfaction
to next year, as setting me free from the
Peninsular War, and thereby leaving me at liberty to commence printing the History of Portugal. I shall be able to live by reviewing, and yet win time enough from that employment to compose this history from the materials which have been so long in preparation, and to carry it through the press. And I shall get by it something better than money: the profits, indeed, cannot be so small as to disappoint me, or to make me in the slightest degree indisposed to the task.

“The best news I can send you of myself must be something like an echo of your own letter,—that I go on working steadily, with little to hope, but cheerfully, and in full belief that the situation in which I am placed is that which is best for me. Had I kept the path wherein I was placed, I might have been a bishop at this day,—probably should have been; and therefore I bless God even for having gone astray, since my aberrations have ended in leading me to a happier, a safer, and (all things considered) a more useful station.

“If there be a later history of Bristol than Barrett’s, it must be a better one; there is no earlier. I do not know the spot which you call the Furies’ Parlour by that name; but I could show you some haunts of mine upon those Downs, and in that neighbourhood, which I know not whether I should have most pain or pleasure in revisiting. Henry Coleridge and his bride are now lodging in Keswick: her mother departs next week, and then we part after six-and-twenty years’ residence under the same roof.
All change is mournful, and, if I thought of myself only, I should wish to be in a world where there will be none. . . . .

“I want to finish the biographical letter in my desk; but you would pity me if you knew what I have in head, and in hand, and at heart, and saw the continual interruptions which cut up my time in large slices, or fritter it away. Withal I have the blessing of being sound in body once more, and can ascend the mountains with something like the strength, and all the spirits of youth. I had more to say of projects, and of approaching evils and dangers; of which we are likely to see the beginning, but not the end. I was born during the American Revolution, the French Revolution broke out just as I grew up, and my latter days will, in all likelihood, be disturbed by a third revolution, more terrible than either. God bless you, my dear friend!

Yours most affectionately,
R. S.”