LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John May, August 1799

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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“Stowey, August, 1799.
“My dear Friend,

“. . . . . My walk to Ilfracombe led me through Lynmouth, the finest spot, except Cintra and the Arrabida, that I ever saw. Two rivers join at Lynmouth, You probably know the hill streams of Devonshire: each of these flows down a coombe, rolling down over huge stones like a long waterfall; immediately at their junction they enter the sea, and the rivers and the sea make but one sound of uproar. Of these coombes the one is richly wooded, the other runs between two high, bare, stony hills. From the hill between the two is a prospect most magnificent; on either hand, the coombes and the river before the little village. The beautiful little village, which, I am assured by one who is familiar with Switzerland, resembles a Swiss village,—this alone would constitute a view beautiful enough to repay the weariness of a long journey; but, to complete it, there is the blue and boundless sea, for the faint and feeble line of the Welsh coast is only to be seen on the right hand if the day be perfectly clear. Ascending from Lynmouth up a road of serpentining perpendicularity,
you reach a lane which by a slight descent leads to the Valley of Stones, a spot which, as one of the greatest wonders indeed in the West of England, would attract many visitors if the roads were passable by carriages. Imagine a narrow vale between two ridges of hills somewhat steep: the southern hill turfed; the vale which runs from east to west, covered with huge stones and fragments of stones among the fern that fills it; the northern ridge completely bare, excoriated of all turf and all soil, the very bones and skeleton of the earth; rock reclining upon rock, stone piled upon stone, a huge and terrific mass. A palace of the Preadamite kings, a city of the Anakim, must have appeared so shapeless, and yet so like the ruins of what had been shaped after the waters of the flood subsided. I ascended with some toil the highest point; two large stones inclining on each other formed a rude portal on the summit: here I sat down; a little level platform, about two yards long, lay before me, and then the eye immediately fell upon the sea, far, very far below. I never felt the sublimity of solitude before. . . . .

“Of Beddoes you seem to entertain an erroneous opinion. Beddoes is an experimentalist in cases where the ordinary remedies are notoriously, and fatally, inefficacious: if you will read his late book on consumption, you will see his opinion upon this subject; and the book is calculated to interest unscientific readers, and to be of use to them. The faculty dislike Beddoes, because he is more able, and more successful, and more celebrated, than themselves, and because he labours to reconcile the art of
healing with common sense, instead of all the parade of mystery with which it is usually enveloped. Beddoes is a candid man, trusting more to facts than reasonings: I understand him when he talks to me, and, in case of illness, should rather trust myself to his experiments than be killed off secundem artem, and in the ordinary course of practice. . . . .

“God bless you.

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”