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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Wood Warter, 9 June 1830

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 9. 1830.
“My dear Warter,

“. . . . . Are there any remains at Shrewsbury of the Amphitheatre which in Elizabeth’s reign had been made there in an old quarry between the city walls and the Severn? Churchyard the poet (a Shrewsbury man) describes it as holding ten thousand spectators; the area served for bear-baiting, wrestling, &c., and
on better occasions your school predecessors acted plays there; certainly in a more classical theatre than the Dormitory at Westminster.
Sir Philip Sydney and his friend and biographer Lord Brook, entered that school on the same day; and it was then in as high estimation as any public school in England.

“Danish is so easy and straightforward a language that you may make yourself acquainted with it without study, while you are studying German; and enlarge your vocabulary thereby, without confounding your grammar. Danish seems to me the easiest language into which I have ever looked, not excepting Spanish and Portuguese; but German is as difficult as Greek, and the difficulty is very much of the same kind. I am glad you are under the necessity of acquiring the one; the other you cannot help acquiring. Lamentable experience makes me know how much is lost by a monoglot traveller: that epithet, perhaps, is not exactly what should be applied to myself, who get on with a mingle-mangle of many languages, put together without regard to mood, tense, gender, number, or person; but my ear is the very worst in the world at catching sounds, and I have therefore more difficulty in understanding others than in making them understand me. . . . .

“Do not think anything which relates to the manners or appearance—the in- or out-of-door nature—of a foreign country, unworthy of noticing in your journal or note-book. At your age I was satisfied with two or three lines of memoranda, when the same objects would now give me good matter for
Ætat. 56. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
perhaps as many pages. I should like to know a great deal more of Denmark than I can gather from books; there is no later book than
Lord Moleworth’s that gives me any satisfaction, and in that there is very much wanting. Coxe is, as he always was, dry and dull; giving only the caput mortuum of what information he had gathered, which was generally from the most accessible authorities, when it did not consist of statistic details. Later travellers tell us a great deal more of Sweden. I want to know why Denmark is a poor country, the people being industrious, and the government neither oppressive nor wasteful. Two years ago, having occasion to make some inquiry concerning foreign funds, I thought Danish the safest, looking upon the government as safe, and the nation as honourable and honest, and not likely to be involved in wars or revolutions. But I was informed that it paid the interest of its debt with borrowed money, and, therefore, that it was not a safe stock in which to invest money. This came from a person more than ordinarily versed in such things; but the stock has gradually risen ten per cent, since that time; and will be more likely to keep up than that of any other country, if there should be a convulsion in France, which God in his mercy avert.

“We are in no slight danger here: unless the Whigs are alarmed in time at the progress of their own opinions. In this country there are symptoms of their being so. But it must be a strong sense of their own danger in the men of property that can save us from a popular parliamentary reform in the
course of the next parliament: the direct consequence of which will be a new disposal of church property, and an equitable adjustment with the fund-holders: terms which in both cases will be soon found to mean spoliation. . . . .

“Meantime it is a comfort to know that though man proposes, the disposal is ordered by a higher power. God bless you!

R. S.”