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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 28 November 1802

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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“Nov. 28. 1802.
“Dear Grosvenor,

“I thought you would know from Wynn that I trespass on my eyes only for short letters; or from

* To William Taylor, Esq., Nov. 21. 1802.

Rickman, to whom my friend Danvers will have carried the latest news of me this day, if those unhappy eyes had been well you would ere this have received Kehama. They have been better, and are again worse, in spite of lapis calaminaris, goulard, cayenne pepper, and the surgeon’s lance; but they will soon be well, so I believe and trust. You have seen my Cid, and have not seen what I wrote to Wynn about its manner. Everywhere possible the story is told in the very phrase of the original chronicles, which are almost the oldest works in the Castilian language. The language, in itself poetical, becomes more poetical by necessary compression; if it smack of romance, so does the story: in the notes, the certain will be distinguished from the doubtful passages quoted, and references to author and page uniformly given. Thus much of this, which is no specimen of my historical style: indeed, I do not think uniformity of style desirable; it should rise and fall with the subject, and adapt itself to the matter. Moreover, in my own judgment, a little peculiarity of style is desirable, because it nails down the matter to the memory. You remember the facts of Livy; but you remember the very phrases of Tacitus and Sallust, and the phrase reminds you of the matter when it would else have been forgotten. This may be pushed, like every thing, too far, and become ridiculous; but the principle is true.

“As a different specimen, I wish you could see a life of St. Francisco, a section upon Mohammedanism, and a chapter upon the Moorish period. Oh, these eyes! these eyes! to have my brain in labour,
Ætat. 28. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 195
and this spell to prevent delivery like a cross-legged Juno! Farewell till to-morrow; I must sleep, and laze, and play whist, till bedtime.

“. . . . . Snakes have been pets in England; is it not Cowley who has a poem upon one?—
‘Take heed, fair Eve, you do not make
Another tempter of the snake.’
They ought to be tamed and taken into our service, for snakes eat mice and can get into their holes after them; and, in our country, the venomous species is so rare, that we should think them beautiful animals were it not for the recollection of the Old Serpent. When I am housed and homed (as I shall be, or hope to be, in the next spring; not that the negotiation is over yet, but I expect it will end well, and that I shall have a house in the loveliest part of South Wales, in a vale between high mountains; and an onymous house too,
Grosvenor, and one that is down in the map of Glamorganshire, and its name is Maes Gwyn; and so much for that, and there’s an end of my parenthesis), then do I purpose to enter into a grand confederacy with certain of the animal world: every body has a dog, and most people have a cat; but I will have, moreover, an otter, and teach him to fish, for there is salmon in the river Neath (and I should like a hawk, but that is only a vain hope, and a gull or an osprey to fish in the sea), and I will have a snake if Edith will let me, and I will have a toad to catch flies, and it shall be made murder to kill a spider in my domains: then,
Grosvenor, when you come to visit me,—N.B., you will arrive per mail between five and six in the morning at Neath; ergo, you will find me at breakfast about seven,—you will see puss on the one side, and the otter on the other, both looking for bread and milk, and
Margery in her little great chair, and the toad upon the tea-table, and the snake twisting up the leg of the table to look for his share. These two pages make a letter of decent length, from such a poor blind Cupid as

Robert Southey.”