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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 29 May 1798

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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“May 29. 1798.

. . . . . “I am writing from Ormsby, the dwelling-place of Mr. Manning, distant six miles from Yarmouth. We came here yesterday to dinner, and leave it to-morrow evening. I have begun some blank verse to you and laid it aside, because, if I do not tell you something about this place now, I shall not do it at all. . . . . This part of England looks as if Nature had wearied herself with adorning the rest with hill and dale, and squatted down here to rest herself. You must even suppose a very Dutch-looking Nature to have made it of such pancake flatness. An unpromising country, and yet, Edith, I could be very happy with such a home as this. I am looking through the window over green fields, as far as I can see,—no great distance; the hedges are all grubbed up in sight of the house, which produces a very good effect. A few fine acacias, whitethorns, and other trees, are scattered about; a walk goes all round, with a beautiful hedge of lilacs, laburnums, the Gueldres rose, Barbary shrubs, &c. &c. Edith, you would not wish a sweeter scene, and being here, I wish for nothing but you; half an hour’s walk would reach the sea-shore.

“I had almost forgot one with whom I am more intimate than any other part of the family. Rover,—a noble dog, something of the spaniel, but huge as a mastiff, and his black and brindled hair curling close, almost like a lady’s wig. A very sympathising dog, I assure you, for he will not only shake
Ætat. 23. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 335
hands, but if I press his paw return the pressure. Moreover, there is excellent Nottingham ale, sent annually by
Mr. Manning’s son-in-law from Nottingham; what my uncle would call ‘fine stuff,’ such as Robin Hood and his outlaws used to drink under the greenwood tree. Robin Hood’s beverage! how could I choose but like it? It is sweet and strong,—very strong,—a little made me feel this. . . . . The cows in this country have no horns; this, I think, a great improvement in the breed of horned cattle, and this kind is found more productive. Another peculiarity about Yarmouth is the number of arches formed by the jawbones of a whale: they trade much with Greenland there. The old walls and old gates of the town are yet standing; the town is certainly a pleasing one. I left it, however, with pleasure, to enjoy the society of Ormsby, and I shall leave Ormsby with pleasure for the society of Norwich. In short, every movement is agreeable, because it brings me homewards.


“We went yesterday in the morning to the ruins of Caister Castle, once the seat of Fastolffe, where, after wasting a great part of his fortune in the French wars, and being defeated at Patay, and disgraced in consequence of his flight, he retired to quarrel with his neighbours. The ruin is by no means fine, compared with several I have seen, but all these things produce a pleasant effect upon the mind; and besides, it is well when I am writing about the man, to have some knowledge of everything knowable respecting
him. In the evening we returned with
William Taylor to Norwich; on the way we left the chaise, and crossed a moor on foot, in hopes of hearing the bittern cry. It was not till we were just quitting the moor, that one of these birds thought proper to gratify us; then he began, and presently we saw one, so that I re-entered the chaise highly satisfied. . . . .

God bless you.
Your affectionate,
Robert Southey.”