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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Philip Henry Stanhope, 12 May 1834

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, May 12. 1834.
“My dear Lord Mahon,

“Thank you for Sir Robert Peel’s speech. I do not wonder at the effect which it produced. But could it be believed of any ministers, except the present, that in the course of a week after the close of the debate in which that speech was delivered, they should have returned to their old base policy of complimenting and truckling to O’Connell?

“In reading that entertaining paper upon the
Ætat. 58. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 233
modern French drama in the last
Quarterly Review, I fancied that we were obliged to you for it. It is indeed, curiously characteristic of the people and the times.

“You will, I think, be pleased with the forthcoming play upon the history of Philip van Artevelde. The subject was of my suggesting, as eminently dramatic, and the first part (which is all that I have seen), is written with true dramatic power. But so was the author’s former tragedy, Isaac Comnenus, which met with few readers, and was hardly heard of. To obtain immediate popularity an author must address himself to the majority of the public—and the vulgar will always be the majority,—and upon them the finer delineations of character and of human feeling are lost.

“If you have not seen Zophiel* it is well worth your reading, as by far the most original poem that this generation has produced. If —— or —— had treated the same subject, they would have made it most mischievously popular; but exceptionable as it is, the story is told with an imaginative power to which the one has no pretensions, and with a depth of feeling of which both were by nature incapable. The poem has attracted no notice; the chief cause of the present failure I suppose to be that it is not always perspicuously told. The diction is surprisingly good; indeed, America has never before produced any poem to be compared with it.

“The authoress (Mrs. Brooks) is a New Englander,

Zophiel, or the Bride of Seven, by Maria del Occidente.

of Welsh parentage. Many years ago she introduced herself to me by letter. When she came to this place, and sent up a note to say she had taken lodgings here, I never was more surprised, and went to call upon her with no favourable expectations. She proved, however, a most interesting person, of the mildest and gentlest manners, and my family were exceedingly taken with her. Coming fresh from Paris she was full of enthusiasm for the Poles, for whom the profits of this poem were intended if there should be any: and she had a burning thirst for fame, which seems now to have become the absorbing passion of her most ardent mind. I endeavoured to prepare her for disappointment by moderating her confident hopes. She left her manuscript in my hands at her departure. When I had failed to obtain a publisher for it, some of her American connections engaged with a bookseller in Great Queen Street; and I corrected the proof sheets.

“Believe me, my dear Lord,

Yours with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”