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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, February 1797

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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“London, Feb. 1797.
“My dear Friend,

“I am now entered on a new way of life, which will lead me to independence. You know that I neither lightly undertake any scheme, nor lightly abandon what I have undertaken. I am happy because I have no wants, and because the independence I labour to obtain, and of attaining which my expectations can hardly be disappointed, will leave me nothing to wish. I am indebted to you, Cottle, for the comforts of my latter time. In my present situation I feel a pleasure in saying thus much.

“As to my literary pursuits, after some consideration I have resolved to postpone every other till I have concluded Madoc. This must be the greatest

* Feb. 16. 1797.

of all my works. The structure is complete in my mind; and my mind is likewise stored with appropriate images. Should I delay it these images may become fainter, and perhaps age does not improve the poet.

“Thank God! Edith comes on Monday next. I say thank God! for I have never, since my return, been absent from her so long before, and sincerely hope and intend never to be so again. On Tuesday we shall be settled; and on Wednesday my legal studies begin in the morning, and I shall begin with Madoc in the evening. Of this it is needless to caution you to say nothing, as I must have the character of a lawyer; and, though I can and will unite the two pursuits, no one would credit the possibility of the union. In two years the poem shall be finished, and the many years it must lie by will afford ample time for correction. Mary* has been in the Oracle; also some of my sonnets in the Telegraph, with outrageous commendation. I have declined being a member of a Literary Club which meets weekly, and of which I had been elected a member. Surely a man does not do his duty who leaves his wife to evenings of solitude, and I feel duty and happiness to be inseparable. I am happier at home than any other society can possibly make me.

God bless you!
Yours sincerely,
Robert Southey.”