LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 1 May 1800

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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“My dear T.,

“I parted from you at Liskeard with a heavy heart. The thought of seeing you upon the way was a plea-
sure to look on to when we took our departure from Bristol; but having left you, we had taken leave of the last friend before our voyage. Falmouth was not a place to exhilarate us: we were in the room where I met poor
Lovel on my former journey; he was the last person with whom I shook hands in England as I was stepping into the boat to embark, and the first news on my return, when, within three hours, I expected to have been welcomed by him, was, that he was in his grave. Few persons bear about with them a more continual feeling of the uncertainty of life, its changes and its chances, than I do. Well! well! I bear with me the faith also, that though we should never meet again in this world, we shall all meet in a better.

“Thanks to the zephyrs, Capt. Yescombe was yet in the harbour. I went on board, chose our berths, passed the custom-house, and then endeavoured to make poor Time as easy as he could be upon the rack of expectation. Six days we watched the weathercock, and sighed for north-easterns. I walked on the beach, caught soldier-crabs, and loitered to admire the sea-anemones in their ever-varying shapes of beauty; read Gebir, and wrote half a book of Thalaba. There was a sight on the Monday, but the rain kept me within doors: six boys eat pap for a hat, and six men jumped in sacks for a similar prize; in the evening there was an assembly, and the best dancer was a man with a wooden leg. A short account of six days;—if, however, I were to add the bill, you would find it a long one!

“We embarked at four on Thursday afternoon.
As we sailed out of the harbour, the ships there and the shore seemed to swim before my sight like a vision. Light winds and favourable, but we were before the wind, and my poor inside, being obliged to shift every moment with the centre of gravity, was soon in a state of insurrection. There is a pleasure in extracting matter of jest from discomfort and bodily pain; a wholesome habit if it extends no further, but a deadly one if it be encouraged when the heart is sore. I lay in my berth, which always reminded me of a coffin whenever I got into it, and, when any one came near me with inquiries, uttered some quaint phrase or crooked pun in answer, and grunted in unison with the intestinal grumbling which might have answered for me. . . . . We saw the Berlings* on Tuesday night: on Wednesday,
Edith and I went on deck at five o’clock; we were off the rock, and the sun seemed to rest upon it for a moment as he rose behind. Mafra was visible; presently we began to distinguish the heights of Cintra and the Penha Convent: the wind blew fresh, and we were near enough the shore to see the silver dust of the breakers, and the sea-birds sporting over them in flocks. A pilot boat came off to us; its great sail seemed to be as unmanageable as an umbrella in a storm; sometimes it was dipped half over in the water, and it flapped all ways, like a woman’s petticoat in a high wind. We passed the church and light-house of Nossa Senhora de Guia†, the Convent of St. An-

* Some rocks on the coast of Portugal.

† I find some verses upon this light-house, translated from Vieira, the painter, which were intended to go in a note to this letter:—

tonio with a few trees behind it, and the town of Cascaes* Houses were now scattered in clusters all along the shore; the want of trees in the landscape was scarcely perceived, so delightful was the sight of land, and so cheerful does every thing look under a southern sun.

“Our fellow-traveller was much amused by the numerous windmills which stood in regiments upon all the hills. A large building he supposed to be an inn, and could see the sign and the great gateway for

“Now was the time, when in the skies,
Night should have shown her starry eyes;
But those bright orbs above were shrouded,
And heaven was dark and over-clouded.
And now the beacon we espied,
Our blessed Lady of the Guide;
And there, propitious, rose her light,
The never-failing star of night.
The seaman, on his weary way,
Beholds with joy that saving ray,
And steers his vessel, from afar,
In safety o’er the dangerous bar.
A holy impulse of delight
Possessed us at that well-known sight;
And, in one feeling all allied,
We blest Our Lady of the Guide.
‘Star of the sea, all hail!’ we sung,
And praised her with one heart and tongue;
And, on the dark and silent sea,
Chaunted Our Lady’s litany.”
From a letter to Lieut Southey, July 11. 1808.

The reader may perhaps be reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s beautiful impromptu on a similar subject:—

Pharos loquitur.
Far in the bosom of the deep,
O’er these wild shelves my watch I keep,
A ruddy gem of changeful light.
Bound on the dusky brow of Night;
The seaman bids my lustre hail,
And scorns to strike his timorous sail.”
Lockhart’s Life of Scott, vol ii. p. 184.

the stage-coaches: the glass enabled him to find out that it was a convent door, with a cross before it. An absence of four years had freshened every object to my own sight, and perhaps there is even a greater delight in recollecting these things than in first beholding them. It is not possible to conceive a more magnificent scene than the entrance of the Tagus, and the gradual appearance of the beautiful city upon its banks.

“The Portuguese say of their capital,
Quem naõ ha visto Lisboa
Naõ ha visto cousa boa.
‘He who has not seen Lisbon, has not seen a fine thing.’

“It is indeed a sight, exceeding all it has ever been my fortune to behold, in beauty and richness and grandeur. Convents and Quintas, gray olive-yards, green orange-groves, and greener vineyards; the shore more populous every moment as we advanced, and finer buildings opening upon us; the river, bright as the blue sky which illuminated it, swarming with boats of every size and shape, with sails of every imaginable variety; innumerable ships riding at anchor far as eye could reach; and the city extending along the shore, and covering the hills to the farthest point of sight.”