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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Charles Collins, 31 March 1793

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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“Ledbury, Herefordshire; Easter Sunday, 1793.

“Had I, my dear Collins, the pen of Rousseau, I would attempt to describe the various scenes which have presented themselves to me, and the various emotions occasioned by them. On Wednesday morning, about eight o’clock, we sallied forth. My travelling equipage consisted of my diary, writing-book, pen, ink, silk handkerchief, and Milton’s Defence. We reached Woodstock to breakfast, where I was delighted with reading the Nottingham address for peace. Perhaps you will call it stupidity which made me pass the very walls of Blenheim, without turning from the road to behold the ducal palace: perhaps it was so; but it was the stupidity of a democratic philosopher who had appointed a day in summer for the purpose. . . . . Evesham Abbey detained me
Ætat. 19. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 179
some time: it was here where
Edward defeated and slew Simon de Montfort. Often did I wish for your pencil, for never did I behold so beautiful a pile of ruins. I have seen the Abbeys of Battle and Malmsbury, but this is a complete specimen of the simple Gothic: a tower, quite complete, fronts the church, whose roof is dropping down, and admits through the chasm the streaming light,—the high pointed window frames, where the high grass waves to the lonely breeze,—and that beautiful moss, which at once ornaments and carpets the monastic pile, rapt me to other years. I recalled the savage sons of superstition, I heard the deep toned mass, and the chaunted prayer for those that fell in fight; but fancy soon recurred to a more enchanting scene,—‘The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and his Daughter’: you know how intimately connected with this now mouldering scene that ballad is. Over this abbey I could detain you, Collins, for ever,—so many, so various, are the reveries it caused. We reached Worcester to dinner the second day. . . . . Here we staid three days; and I rode with Mr. Severn to Kidderminster, with intent to breakfast at ——, but all the family were out. We returned by Bewdley; there is an old mansion, once Lord Herbert’s, now mouldering away, in so romantic a situation, that I soon lost myself in dreams of days of yore,—the tapestried room—the listed fight—the vassal-filled hall—the hospitable fire—the old baron and his young daughter;—these formed a most delightful day-dream. How horrid it is to wake into common life from these scenes! at a moment when you are transported to
happier times to descend to realities! Could these visions last for ever! Yesterday we walked twenty-five miles over Malvern Hills to Ledbury, to
Seward’s brothers; here I am before breakfast, and how soon to be interrupted I know not. Believe me, I shall return reluctantly to Oxford; these last ten days seem like years to look back—so crowded with different pictures. . . . . This peripatetic philosophy pleases me more and more; the twenty-six miles I walked yesterday neither fatigued me then nor now. Who, in the name of common sense, would travel stewed in a leathern box when they have legs, and those none of the shortest, fit for use? What scene can be more calculated to expand the soul than the sight of nature, in all her loveliest works? We must walk over Scotland; it will be an adventure to delight us all the remainder of our lives: we will wander over the hills of Morven, and mark the driving blast, perchance bestrodden by the spirit of Ossian.”