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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to William Lisle Bowles, 30 June 1832

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, July 30. 1832.
“My dear Sir,

“This morning I received your St. John in Patmos, two months after the date of the note which accompanied it: this is mentioned, that you may not think I have been slow in acknowledging and thanking you for it. I have just read the poem through, and
Ætat. 58. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 193
with much pleasure. Yours I should have known it to have been by the sweet and unsophisticated style; upon which I endeavoured, now almost forty years ago, to form my own. You have so blended the episodical parts, that they do not in any degree disturb the solemn and mysterious character of the whole.

“You will not, I am sure, suppose that I could for even a moment feel hurt by your remarks in the preface. After haying reviewed in the Quarterly Review Grahame’s Georgics, Montgomery’s Poems, and his World before the Flood, and Lander’s Count Julian, I found it necessary to resolve that I would not review the work of any living poet. Applications to me from strangers, and from others in all degrees of acquaintanceship, were so frequent, that it became expedient to be provided with a general reason for refusing, which could offend no one; there was no other means of avoiding offence. Many would otherwise have resented the refusal, and more would have been more deeply displeased if they had not been extolled according to their own estimate of their own merits. From this resolution I did not consider myself as departing when I drew up the account of Mary Colling; her story and her character interested me greatly, and would, I thought, interest most readers. I wished to render her some service, and have the satisfaction of knowing that this has been in some measure effected. It was a case wherein a little praise, through that channel, might be the means of producing some permanent benefit to one who has gentle blood in her veins, and whose sweet
countenance, if you look at her portrait, will say more in her favour than any words of mine could do.

“I have no wish to encourage the growth of humble authors, still less of adventurers in literature, God knows. But I earnestly wish, especially in an age when all persons can read, to encourage in all who have any love of reading that sort of disposition which would lead them to take pleasure in your poems, and in mine, and in any which are addressed, as ours always have been, to the better feelings of our nature. The tendency of our social system has long been to brutalise the lower classes, and this it is that renders the prospect before us so fearful. I wish to see their moral and intellectual condition as much as possible improved; it seems to me that great improvement is possible, and that in bettering their condition the general good is promoted.

“Would that there were a hope of seeing you here, that I might show you this lake and these mountains, and these books, and talk with you upon subjects which might make us forget that we are living in the days of William IV., Earl Grey, the Times newspaper, and the cholera morbus. God save the first, and deliver us from the rest!

Believe me, my dear Sir,
Yours, with sincere respect and regard,
Robert Southey.”