LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. X. 1804

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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Such were my father’s plans at the commencement of the month,—to take up his abode at Richmond, and to devote himself almost wholly to this great work; and, had nothing interfered to prevent this scheme being carried into effect, his future life would probably have taken, in some respects, a very
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 225
different course. He was now, as it were, about to cast anchor (as he used himself to phrase it), and, as it proved even against probabilities, the place where he now fixed himself was to be his permanent abode. But the Bibliotheca Britannica was not to be the turning point of his life; nor were the banks of Thames and the fair and fertile scenes of Richmond to inspire his verse. Public troubles and private griefs, combined to disarrange his present plans, and to influence his future ones. The
little girl whose birth had been so joyfully hailed barely a twelvemonth before, of whom he was “foolishly fond” beyond the common love of fathers for mere infants, who had hitherto shown “no sign of disease, save a somewhat unnatural quickness and liveliness,” now suddenly began to manifest unequivocal tokens of the presence of one of those diseases most fatal to children (and often worse than fatal, as permanently affecting the intellect), “hydrocephalus” produced by teething; and, after happily a brief period of suffering, she was laid to her early rest, and the fond parents were again childless.

Bristol was now a place only recalling painful sensations, and Mr. and Mrs. Coleridge being still resident at Keswick, my father and mother hastened down thither.

To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Greta Hall, Keswick, Sept 8. 1803.
“Dear Tom,

“We arrived yesterday. Yours reached me today. I was glad to hear from you;—a first letter after such a loss is always expected with some sort of fear,—it is the pulling off the bandage that has been put upon a green wound. . . . .

Edith was very ill at Bristol. On the way we staid five days with Miss Barker, in Staffordshire—one of the people in the world whom I like. To escape from Bristol was a relief. The place was haunted, and it is my wish never to see it again. Here my spirits suffer from the sight of little Sara*, who is about her size. However, God knows that I do not repine, and that in my very soul I feel that his will is best. These things do one good: they loosen, one by one, the roots that rivet us to earth; they fix and confirm our faith till the thought of death becomes so inseparably connected with the hope of meeting those whom we have lost, that death itself is no longer considered as an evil.

“Did I tell you that, in this universal panic and palsy, Longman has requested me to delay the Bibliotheca? This is a relief to me. I feel freer and easier. In consequence, I do not go to Richmond, but remain here, where I can live for half the expense. My design is to finish and print Madoc, that by the profits I may be enabled to go to Por-

* Mr. Coleridge’s only daughter.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 227
tugal. But my plans have been so often blasted, that I look upon every thing as quite vague and uncertain. This only you may know, that while I am well I am actively employed; and that now, not being happy enough for the quiet half-hours of idleness, I must work with double dispatch.

“I hope you will see the Annual Review. There are some admirable things by Wm. Taylor in it; my own part is very respectable, and one article I hear is by Harry. I shall probably do more in the next volume. You could have helped me in the maritime books. Do you know Harry is an ensign in the Norwich Volunteers?

Edward has written to me; he was to go on board the following day. I could not at that time see to his fitting out as I should have done; but, when once fairly quit of her*, the boy shall not want as far as my means will go. It is you and I who have fared the worst; the other two will have fewer difficulties to cope with, yet perhaps they will not go on so well. Men are the better for having suffered;—of that, every year’s experience more and more convinces me.

Edith suffers deeply and silently. She is kept awake at night by recollections,—and I am harassed by dreams of the poor child’s illness and recovery, but this will wear away. Would that you could see these lakes and mountains! how wonderful they are! how aweful in their beauty. All the poet-part of me will be fed and fostered here. I feel already in tune, and shall proceed to my work with such a

* Miss Tyler.

feeling of power as old Sampson had when he laid hold of the pillars of the Temple of Dagon. The
Morning Post will somewhat interrupt me. Stuart has paid me so well for doing little, that in honesty I must work hard for him. Edith will copy you some of my rhymes.

Amadis is most abominably printed; never book had more printer’s blunders: how it sells is not in my power to say,—in all likelihood, badly; for all trade is suspended, to a degree scarcely credible. I heard some authentic instances at Bristol. Hall, the grocer, used to have tea and sugar weighed out in pounds and half pounds, &c., on a Saturday night, for his country customers. Thirty years’ established business enabled him to proportion the quantity to this regular demand almost to a nicety. He has had as much as twenty poundsworth uncalled for. Mrs. Morgan on a Saturday used to take, upon the average, 30l. in her shop; she now does not take 5l. But this will wear away. I am quite provoked at the folly of any man who can feel a moment’s fear for this country at this time.

“We look to the Morning Post, with daily disappointment, for news of the Galatea. Stuart has sold the paper, having thus realised 25,000l. While his advice and influence upholds it, little difference will be perceived; but whenever that be withdrawn, I prophesy a slow decline and downfall. How comes on the Spanish? you will find it useful before the war is over, I fear,—fear, because the Spaniards are a good and honourable people; and, in spite of the plunder which will fall to the share of the sailors, I
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 229
cannot but wish they may be spared from suffering in a war to which they assuredly are averse.

“God bless you, Tom. You must enquire of Danvers for Joe*; he will look after him, and drop a card occasionally at his door. Poor fellow, I was sorry to leave him—’twas a heart-breaking day, that of our departure. Can’t you contrive to chase some French frigate through the race of Holyhead up to the Isle of Man, engage her there, and bring her into Whitehaven? Edith’s love.

R. S.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Keswick, Oct. 29. 1803.
“Dear Tom,

“Your letter did not reach me till yesterday, eight days after its date, so that, though this be the earliest reply, perhaps it may not arrive at Cork till after your departure. This place is better suited for me than you imagine—it tempts me to take far more exercise than I ever took elsewhere, for we have the loveliest scenes possible close at hand; and I have, therefore, seldom or never felt myself in stronger health. And as for good spirits, be sure I have the outward and visible sign, however it may be for the inward and spiritual grace.

“My reviewing, more than ordinarily procrastinated, stands still. I began Clarke’s book, and having vented my gall there, laid the others all by till the first

* A favourite terrier.

of November, that I might be free till then for work more agreeable. My main work has been
Madoc. I am now arrived at the old fifth book, and at the twelfth of the booklings into which it is now divided. I mean to call them neither books, cantos, nor any thing else, but simply 1, 2, 3, &c., entitling each part from its peculiar action: thus, 1. The Return; 2. Cadwallon; 3. The Voyage; 4. Lincoya; 5. The War; 6. The Battle; 7. The Peace; 8. Emma; 9. Mathraval; 10. The Gorsedd, i. e. the Meeting of the Bards; 11. Dinevawr; 12. Bards,—and so on. The eleven divisions finished, which bring it down to the end of the old fourth book, contain 2536 lines,—an increase on the whole of 731; but of the whole not one line in five stands as originally written. About 9000 lines will be the extent; but the farther I proceed the less alteration will be needed. When I turn the half-way, I shall then say to my friends, ‘Now, get me subscribers, and I will publish Madoc.’ In what is done there is some of my best workmanship. I shall get by it less money than fame, and less fame than envy, but the envy will be only lifelong; and when that is gone and the money spent—you know the old rhyme.

“It seems we are to have war with poor Portugal. If this be the case, my uncle must of course settle in England. This would be very pleasant to me, were it not so deeply and rootedly my own desire to settle in Portugal; but, adonde não he remedio, então paciencia, as I learnt from the Portuguese. This war has affected me in every possible shape; in the King George packet I lost a whole cargo of books.
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 231
for which I had been a year and a half waiting, and my uncle searching.

“I must go to work for money; and that also frets me. This hand-to-mouth work is very disheartening, and interferes cruelly with better things,—more important they cannot be called, for the bread-and-cheese is the business of the first necessity. But from my History I do expect permanent profit, and such a perpetual interest as shall relieve me. I shall write the volume of letters which you have heard me talk of,—an omnium-gatherum of the odd things I have seen in England.

“Whenever you are at a decent distance, and can get leave of absence, do come. Get to Liverpool by water, or, still better, to Whitehaven. You will be thoroughly delighted with the country. The mountains, on Thursday evening, before the sun was quite down, or the moon bright, were all of one dead-blue colour; their rifts, and rocks, and swells, and scars had all disappeared—the surface was perfectly uniform, nothing but the outline distinct; and this even surface of dead blue, from its unnatural uniformity, made them, though not transparent, appear transvious,—as though they were of some soft or cloudy texture through which you could have passed. I never saw any appearance so perfectly unreal. Sometimes a blazing sunset seems to steep them through and through with red light; or it is a cloudy morning, and the sunshine slants down through a rift in the clouds, and the pillar of light makes the spot whereon it falls so emerald green, that it looks like a little field of Paradise. At night you lose the
mountains, and the wind so stirs up the lake that it looks like the sea by moonlight. Just behind the house rises a fine mountain, by name Latrigg; it joins Skiddaw; we walked up yesterday,—a winding path of three quarters of an hour, and then rode dawn an our awn burros, in seven minutes. Jesu-Maria-Jozè! that was a noble ride! but I will have a saddle made for my burro next time. The path of our slide is still to be seen from the garden—so near is it. One of these days I will descend Skiddaw in the same manner, and so immortalize myself.

“There is a carpenter here, James Lawson by name, who is become my Juniper* in the board-making way. He has made me a pair, of walnut, the large size, and of a reddish wood, from Demerara the small, and is about to get me some yew. This, as you may suppose, is a consolation to me, and it requires all Edith’s powers of prudential admonition to dissuade me from having a little table with a drawer in it. His father† asked Derwent yesterday who made him? D.: James Lawson. Father: And what did he make you of? D.: The stuff he makes wood of. When Derwent had got on thus far in his system of Derwentogony, his imagination went on, and he added,—‘he sawed me off, and I did not like it.’

“We began to wonder uneasily that there was no news of you. Edith’s love. God bless you!

R. S.”

* A carpenter at Bristol. Mr. Coleridge.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 233
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Greta Hall, Keswick, Nov. 10. 1803.
“Dear Grosvenor,

“You will have guessed why I have not written: to say any thing about a painful subject is painful; I do not love to write concerning what I never mention. I am very well, very cheerful, and very actively employed; and yet, with all this, hæret lateri. . . . .

“You asked me some questions about the Bibliotheca. Longman wrote to me to postpone it, he being infected with the universal panic. I was no ways averse to the delay of the scheme—the discontinuance being optional with me. In truth, I have plans enough without it, and begin to think that my day’s work is already sufficiently cut out for me. I am preparing Madoc for publication, and have so far advanced in the correction as to resolve upon trying my fortune at a subscription. I will print it for a guinea, in one quarto, if possible at that price; if not, in three small volumes. I will not print my intention till the success of a subscription has been tried privately; that is, without being published; because if it fails, I can better go to a bookseller. If you can procure me some names, do; but never make yourself uncomfortable by asking. Of course, no money till the delivery of the book.

“It is now fifteen years since the subject first came into my occiput,—and I believe Wynn was made
acquainted with it almost at the time: it has been so much the subject of my thoughts and dreams, that in completing it, in sending off what has been so peculiarly and solely my own, there is a sort of awfulness and feeling, as if one of the purposes of my existence will then be accomplished. . . . .

“I am growing old, Bedford; not so much by the family bible, as by all external and outward symptoms: the grey hairs have made their appearance; my eyes are wearing out; my shoes, the very cut of my father’s, at which I used to laugh; my limbs not so supple as they were at Brixton in ’93; my tongue not so glib; my heart quieter; my hopes, thoughts, and feelings, all of the complexion of a sunny autumn evening. I have a sort of presage that I shall live to finish Madoc and my History. God grant it, and that then my work will be done.

God bless you!
R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Nov. 18. 1803.
“Dear Rickman,

“I am manufacturing a piece of Paternoster Row goods, value three guineas, out of Captain Burney’s book; and not very easy work, it being always more difficult to dilate praise than censure: however, by help of Barros I have been able to collate accounts with him in the great voyage of Magelhaens (for he
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 235
has misnamed him), and so to eke out my pages by additions. About the other worthy,
Sir Francis, I have invented a quaint rhyme, which I shall insert as ancient, and modestly wonder that, as the author has a genuine love for all quaint things, it should have escaped his researches:
‘Oh Nature, to Old England true,
Continue these mistakes;
Give us for our Kings such Queens,
And for our Dux such Drakes.’

“. . . . . My History goes on well; I am full sail in the Asiatic Channel, and have found out some odd things. The Christians of St. Thomas worshipped the Virgin Mary, which throws back that superstition to an earlier date than is generally allowed it. The astrolabe, the quadrant, the compass, were found in the east, quomodo diabolus? Martin Behaim invented the sea astrolabe at Lisbon, by express direction of Joam II., and behold! within ten or a dozen years Vasco da Gama finds it in India.

“They had gunpowder there, espingards, what shall I call them? and cannon; but the Portuguese owed their success to the great superiority of their artillery: in fact, the main improvements in sea artillery were invented by Joam II. himself. But the great intercourse between India and the old world is most remarkable In the first voyage of Gama: he met with a moor of Fez, a moor of Tunis, a Venetian and a Polish Jew. The world was not so ignorant as has been supposed; individuals possessed knowledge, which
there were no motives for communicating; no sooner was it known that K. Joam II. would reward people for intelligence respecting the East, than two of his own Jew subjects came, and told him they had been there. The commercial spirit of the Moors is truly astonishing; Dutchmen or East India directors could not be more jealous of their monopolies. The little kingdoms which Gama found resemble
Homer’s Phæacia. Every city had its monarch, and he was the great merchant, his brothers were captains of ships. Spice, spice, was what the Europeans wanted; and for what could they require it in such quantities and at such a cost? spiced wines go but a little way in answering this. The Hindoos, too, wanted coral from the Portuguese—odd fellows! when it grows in their own seas. I believe the Portuguese conquests to have been the chief cause that barbarised the Mohammedans; their spreading commerce would else have raised up a commercial interest, out of which an enlightened policy might have grown. The Koran was a masterpiece of policy, attributing sanctity to its language. Arabic thus became a sort of freemason’s passport for every believer,—a bond of fraternity. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 237
To Richard Duppa, Esq.
“Greta Hall, Keswick, Dec. 14. 1803.
“Dear Duppa,

“I have not had the heart to write to you, though the long silence had lain like a load upon my conscience. When we parted I had as much present happiness as man could wish, and was full of all cheerful hopes: however, no man, if he be good for any thing, but is the better for suffering. It has long been my habit to look for the good that is to be found in every thing, and that alchemy is worth more than die grand secret of all the adepts.

“I had almost completed my arrangements for removing to Richmond at Christmas, and here we are at the uttermost end of the north, and here for some time we shall probably remain; how long, God knows. I am steady in my pursuits, for they depend upon myself; but my plans and fortunes, being of the τά ούκ έϕ΄ ήμιν, are more mutable; they are fairly afloat, and the winds are more powerful than the steersman. Longman caught the alarm—the Bonaparte ague or English influenza—after I left town, and sent to me to postpone my Bibliotheca, at the very time when I wished the engagement off my mind, not being in a state of mind to contemplate it with courage. He shall now wait my convenience, and I shall probably finish off my own works of choice here, where living cheaper, I have more leisure. My History is in a state of rapid progression. The
last time I saw Mr. —— in town he gave me a draft for fifty pounds as his subscription, he said, to this work. I tell you this because you know him, and, therefore, not to tell you would make me feel ungrateful for an act of uncommon liberality, done in the handsomest way possible. I little thought, at the time, how soon an unhappy circumstance would render the sum needful. This work I am alternating and relieving by putting
Madoc to the press, and my annual job of reviewing interrupts both for awhile; but, happily, this job comes, like Christmas, but once a year, and I have almost killed off my contemporaries.

Haslitt, whom you saw at Paris, has been here; a man of real genius. He has made a very fine picture of Coleridge for Sir George Beaumont, which is said to be in Titian’s manner; he has also painted Wordsworth, but so dismally, though Wordsworth’s face is his idea of physiognomical perfection, that one of his friends, on seeing it, exclaimed, ‘At the gallows—deeply affected by his deserved fate—yet determined to die like a man;’ and if you saw the picture, you would admire the criticism. We have a neighbour here who also knows you—Wilkinson, a clergyman, who draws, if not with much genius, with great industry and most useful fidelity. I have learnt a good deal by examining his collection of etchings.

Holcroft, I hear, has discovered, to his own exceeding delight, prophetic portraits of himself and Coleridge among the damned in your Michael Angelo. I have found out a more flattering antetype
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 239
of Coleridge’s face in
Duns Scotus. Come you yourself and judge of the resemblances. Coleridge and our lakes and mountains are worth a longer journey. Autumn is the best season to see the country, but spring, and even winter, is better than summer, for in settled fine weather there are none of those goings on in heaven which at other times give these scenes such an endless variety. . . . . You will find this house a good station for viewing the lakes; it is, in fact, situated on perhaps the very finest single spot in the whole lake country, and we can show you things which the tourists never hear of. . . . .

Edith desires to be remembered to you; she is but in indifferent health. I myself am as well as I ever was. The weather has been, and is, very severe, but it has not as yet hurt me; however, it must be owned the white bears have the advantage of us in England, and still more the dormice. If their torpor could be introduced into the human system, it would be a most rare invention. I should roll myself up at the end of October, and give orders to be waked by the chinmey-sweeper on May-day.

“God bless you. Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Dec 17. 1803.
“Dear Tom,

“The news in your letter has vexed me, and, after my manner, set me upon discovering all the consolations that can be extracted from it. First and foremost, that if you go as convoy, you will not be stationed there; and, therefore, to sail at this season into warm weather is no such bad thing. If you go to Jamaica you will find a whole lot of letters, unless they have been burnt at the post-office. As you will keep a keen look-out for all imaginable things, I need give you only one commission, which is, that you do use your best endeavours to bring home a few live land-crabs for me, that I may endeavour to rear a breed in England.

“Do not send off Henry, because it will be lost at the custom-house; keep it till you yourself come to England, and can safely get it ashore; ’tis a good book for a long voyage—very dull, but full of matter, and trustworthy as far as the author’s information goes.

“My review of Miss Baillie was for the Critical; that in the Annual I suspect to be by Mrs. Barbauld, who wrote the review of Chasteaubriand’s Beauties of Christianity, and that infamous account of Lamb’s Play, for infamous it is. Harry’s only article is Soulavie’s Memoirs, and I have never seen the book since this was told me. The rules you lay down will always point out Wm. Taylor.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 241

“I think it possible, Tom, that you might collect some interesting information from the negroes, by inquiries of any who may wait upon you, if they be at all intelligent, concerning their own country; principally what their superstitions are—as Whom do they worship? Do they ever see apparitions? Where do the dead go? What are their burial, their birth, their marriage ceremonies? What their charms or remedies for sickness? What the power of their priests; and how the priests are chosen, whether from among the people, or if a separate breed, as the Levites and Bramins? You will easily see with what other questions these might be followed up; and by noting down the country of the negro, with what information he gave, it seems to me very likely that a very valuable account of their manners and feelings might be collected. Ask also if they know anything of Timbuctoo, the city which is sought after with so much curiosity as being the centre of the internal commerce of Africa. This is the way to collect facts respecting the native Africans and their country. I would engage, in twelve months, were I in the West Indies, to get materials for a volume that should contain more real importancies than all travellers have yet brought home. Ask also what beasts are in their country; they will not know English names for them, but can describe them so that you will know them: the unicorn is believed to exist by me as well as by many others,—you will not mistake the rhinoceros for one. Inquire also for a land crocodile, who grows to the length of six, eight, or ten feet, having a tongue slit like a snake’s; my Portuguese
speak of such animals in South Africa—they may exist in the western provinces.

“You would have been very useful to me if you had been at the table when I was reviewing Clarke’s book, and Captain Burney’s. Indeed, I often want a sailor to help me out. In the process of my History some curious facts respecting early navigation have come to light. I find the needle and the quadrant used in the Indian seas before any European vessel had ever reached them; and, what surprises me more, the same knowledge of soundings in our own seas in 1400 as at present, which is very strange, for that practice implies a long series of registered experiences. The more I read, the more do I find the necessity of going to old authors for information, and the sad ignorance and dishonesty of our boasted historians. If God do but give me life, and health, and eyesight, I will show how history should be written, and exhibit such a specimen of indefatigable honesty as the world has never yet seen. I could make some historical triads, after the manner of my old Welsh friends, of which the first might run thus: The three requisites for an historian—industry, judgment, genius; the patience to investigate, the discrimination to select, the power to infer and to enliven.

Edith’s love. God bless you!

R. Southey.”
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 243
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Dec. 23. 1803
“Dear Rickman,

“. . . . . I am about a curious review of the Mission at Otaheite. Capt. Burney will find his friends rather roughly handled, for I look upon them as the most degraded of the human species. . . . . They have induced me to think it probable that the Spaniards did less evil in Hispaniola than we suppose. Coleridge’s scheme to mend them is, by extirpating the bread-fruit from their island, and making them live by the sweat of their brows. It always grieves me when I think you are no friend to colonisation: my hopes fly farther than yours; I want English knowledge and the English language diffused to the east, and west, and the south.

“Can you get for me the evidence upon the Slave Trade as printed for the House of Commons? I want to collect all materials for speculating upon the negroes. That they are a fallen people is certain, because, being savages, they have among them the forms of civilisation. It is remarkable that, in all our discoveries, we have never discovered any people in a state of progression, except the Mexicans and Peruvians. That the Otaheiteans are a degraded race, is proved by their mythology, which is physical allegory—ergo, the work of people who thought of physics. I am very desirous to know whether the negro priests and
jugglers be a caste; or if any man may enter into the fraternity; and if they have a sacred language. We must continue to grope in darkness about early history, till some strong-headed man shall read the hieroglyphics for us. Much might yet be done by comparison of languages: some hundred words of the most common objects—sun, moon, and stars, the parts of the body, the personal pronouns, the auxiliary verbs, &c.,—if these were collected, as occasion could be found, from every different tribe, such languages as have been different we should certainly be able to trace to their source. In New Holland, language is said to be confluent; every tribe, and almost family, having its own: but that island is an odd place—coral above water, and coal; new birds, beasts, and plants; and such a breed of savages! It looks like a new country, if one could tell where the animals came from.

“Do you know that the Dodo is actually extinct, having been, beyond doubt, too stupid to take care of himself. . . . . There is no hope of recovering the species, unless you could get your friend —— to sit upon a gander’s egg. God bless you.

R. S.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Dec. 31. 1803.
“Dear Tom,

“I have just received yours, and regret that I did not write sooner, upon a reasonable calculation
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 245
that convoys are even more uncertain than packets. A letter, per Bottle, I see by the newspapers, thrown in on the way to the West Indies, if I recollect right, in latitude 47, has found its way to the Isle of Sky, having travelled five miles per day against prevalent winds—therefore a current is certain. I will send into town for the paper, and send you the particulars in this or my next. Do not spare bottles in your passage; and be sure that I have a letter from the Western Isles.

“For God’s sake adapt your mode of living to the climate you are going to, and abstain almost wholly from wine and spirits. General Peche, an East Indian officer here, with whom we dined on Christmas-day, told me that in India the officers who were looking out for preferment, as a majority, &c., and who kept lists of all above them, always marked those who drank any spirits in a morning with an X, and reckoned them for nothing. ‘One day,’ said he,. ‘when we were about to march at day-break, I and Captain —— were in my tent, and we saw a German of our regiment, so I said we’d try him; we called to him, said it was a cold morning, and asked him if he would drink a glass to warm him. I got him a full beaker of brandy-and-water, and, egad! he drank it off. When he was gone, I said. Well, what d’ye think; we may cross him, mayn’t we? Oh yes, said he, cross him by all means. And the German did not live twelve months.’ Spice is the stimulus given by nature to hot countries, and eaten in whatever quantities can do no harm. But the natives of all hot countries invariably abstain from spirits, as deadly.
Eat fruits plentifully, provided they do not produce flux; animal food sparingly in the hot season: fish will be better than meat. Do not venture to walk or ride in the heat of the sun; and do not be ashamed of a parasol,—it has saved many a man’s life. I am sure all this is very physical and philosophical sense. But I will desire King, who knows the West Indies, to write out to you a letter of medical advice. This is certain, that bilious people fare worst, and nervous people, for fear predisposes for disease: from these causes you are safe.

Edith will go on with Madoc for you, and a letter full shall go off for Barbadoes this week. My last set you upon a wide field of inquiry; I know not what can be added, unless you should be at St. Vincent’s, where the Caribs would be well worthy attention; making the same queries of and to them as to the negroes. Of course there are no Spanish books except at the Spanish islands. Oh! that I were at Mexico for a hunt there! Could you bring home a live alligator? a little one, of course, from his hatching to six feet long; it would make both me and Carlisle quite happy, for he should have him. And tray pray, some live land-crabs, that they may breed; and any other monsters. Birds lose their beauty; and I would not be accessory to the death of a humming-bird, for the sake of keeping his corpse in a cabinet: but with crocodiles, sharks, and land-crabs it is fair play—you catch them, or they you. Your own eyes will do all that I can direct them. How unfortunate that neither of us can draw! I want drawings of the trees.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 247

Thompson, the friend of Burns, whose correspondence with him about songs fills the whole fourth volume, has applied to me to write him verses for Welsh airs: of course I have declined it; telling him that I could as soon sing his songs as write them, and referring him to Harry, whom he knows, for an estimate of that simile of disqualification. Still I am at reviewing; but ten days will lighten me of that burthen, and then huzza for history, and huzza for Madoc, for I shall be a free man again! I have bought Pinkerton’s Geography after all, for the love of the maps, having none; it is a useful book, and will save me trouble.

“We shall not think of holding any part of St. Domingo. What has been done can only have been for the sake of what plunder was to be found, and perhaps also to save the French army from the fate which they so justly deserved. God forbid that ever English hand be raised against the negroes in that island! Poor wretches! I regard them as I do the hurricane and the pestilence, blind instruments of righteous retribution and divine justice; and sure I am that whatever hand be lifted against them will be withered. Of Spanish politics I can say nothing, nor give even a surmise. Here at home we have the old story of invasion; upon which the types naturally range themselves into a very alarming and loyal leading paragraph. Let him come, say I, it will be a fine thing for the bell-ringers and the tallow-chandlers.

“I trust this will reach you before your departure. Write immediately on your arrival, and afterwards
by every packet, for any omission will make me uneasy. I will not be remiss on my part

“God bless you! Edith’s love. A happy new year, and many returns!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Greta Hall, Keswick, Jan. 9. 1804.

Infailix homo! infailix homo! said a German to Coleridge, who did not understand for whom he was inquiring by the name of Tωctωr Tωd; infailix homo! suspensus a patibulo! Without any patibulary reflexion, infailix homo is the soul of exclamation that your letter prompts. Zounds! if Giardini were in your inside, what an admirable solo he might play upon guts that must, by this time, have been fretted to fiddle-strings! I verily believe that your gripes must be organic, and not, as in all other men, bagpipical.

“The plain English of all this is, that your metaphysics, as you call them, are to your mind what a regular course of drastic physic would be to your body,—very disagreeable, and very weakening; that, being neither a man of business, nor of fashion, nor of letters, you want object and occupation in the world; and that if you would study Arabic, Welsh, or Chinese, or resolve to translate Tristram Shandy into Hebrew, you would soon be a happy man.

“. . . . . Here we live as regularly as clock-work; indeed, more
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 249
regularly than our own clocks, which go all paces! The old Barber has been at work for some days. I take
Horace’s liberty to personify the sky, and then simply barbarise the prosopopœia.

“Of the only three visitable families within reach, one is fled for the winter, and the others flying. N’importe, our dog Dapper remains, and he is as intimate with me as heart could wish. I want my books, and nothing else; for, blessed be God, I grow day by day more independent of society, and feel neither a want nor a wish for it. Every thing at present looks, from the window, like the confectioners’ shops at this season in London; and Skiddaw is the hugest of twelfth-cakes: but when I go down by the lake side, it would puzzle all my comparison-compounding fancy to tell you what it looks like there—the million or trillion forms of beauty soon baffle all description.

Coleridge is gone for Devonshire, and I was going to say I am alone, but that the sight of Shakspeare, and Spenser, and Milton, and the Bible, on my table, and Castanheda, and Barros, and Osorio at my elbow, tell me I am in the best of all possible company. Do not think of getting any subscribers for Madoc; I am convinced the plan of publishing it by subscription was foolish, and shall doubtless convince those who induced me to think of it. Have you seen the Critical Reviewal of Thalaba? I wish to see it, for it comes not only from one of my best friends, but from one of the most learned, most able, and most excellent men within the circle of my knowledge. . . . .
My brother
Harry is at Edinburgh, distinguishing himself as a disputant in the Medical Society. Poor Tom is going for the West Indies! What are our dunces sending troops there for? I could find in my heart to set at them; for, to tell you the truths a set-to at the Methodists in this Review has put me in a very pamphleteering mood. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“ January 20. 1804
“Dear Rickman,

“. . . . . Arthur Aikin writes me, that 1200 of the Annual Review have sold of 2000 that were printed, and that the demand continues unabated. He is in high spirits at its success, and wishes me to come to London,—looking upon me, I suppose, as one of his staff-officers—as, in fact, William Taylor and I constitute his main strength. It is clear enough that if I regarded pen-and-inkmanship solely as a trade, I might soon give in an income of double the present amount; but I am looking forward to something better, and will not be tempted from the pursuit in which I have so long and so steadily persevered. . . . . This vile reviewing still birdlimes me; I do it slower than any thing else—yawning over tiresome work; and parcel comes down after parcel, so that I have
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 251
already twice whooped before I was out of the wood. Yesterday
Malthus received, I trust, a mortal wound from my hand; to-day I am at the Asiatic Researches. Godwin’s Life of Chaucer is on the road to me: by the by, the philosopher came in for a hard rap over the knuckles with Mr. Malthus. These things keep me from better employment, but they whet the desire for it, and I shall return to my Portuguese society with doubled zest.

“In the dark ages, medicine was in the hands of the Jews. Why was this? Am I right in supposing it was because they travelled, and brought with them the wisdom and experience, as well as folly, of the East? Christians could not travel safely; but Hebrew, like Arabic, was a passport, for synagogues and mosques were everywhere. A decree of the Lateran Council, that the sacrament should be first prescribed to the sick, seems levelled against Jew physicians.

“Have you read the Institutes of Menu, translated by Sir W. Jones? I should be very glad to see your corollaries from that book. Hindostan, indeed the whole of civilised Asia, puzzles me, and provokes me that we should have so few documents to reason from. As far as their history can be unravelled from fable, nothing is discoverable but the war of sects, not of religions; and how so ridiculous a religion should have been so blended with astronomy, how allegory should put on so ugly a mask, is a puzzle.

“. . . . . I am well, but have an ominous dimness of sight at times, which makes me think of Tobin; that would
indeed be a sore visitation! but I will feed while the summer lasts, that my paws may be fat enough to last licking through the dark winter, if it must come.

R. S. ”
To Messrs. Longman and Rees.
“Jan. 26. 1804.
“Dear Sirs,

“If Mr. ——’s little tale (which reached me last night) be long enough for publication, I should think it possesses sufficient interest to be saleable. The author is, in my judgment, a man of very considerable, and indeed extraordinary, talents. This —— he has probably written hastily, and, I fear, upon the spur of want.

“Having myself sought after information respecting the countries on the Mississippi, I can say that the descriptions and natural history are, as far as my knowledge goes, accurate, and therefore it is fair to presume that such circumstances as were new to me are equally true to nature.

“I know nothing of —— but from his Travels; from that he appears to be a self-taught man, who has all his life long been struggling with difficulties; and the book left upon me a melancholy impression, that however much adversity had quickened his talents, it had injured his moral feelings. Pride and vanity are only defensive vices in a poor and neglected
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 253
man of talents; and being defensive, they cease to be vices. Something of the same palliation, may be pleaded for an evident libertinism of heart and thought which is everywhere too manifest in his book; in this he resembles
Smollett and Defoe, which last truly great man he resembles also in better things.

“Should you execute your design of the Collection of Voyages and Travels, which I hope and trust you will, this man might be made exceedingly useful to you. Being himself a sailor, and having seen and observed many countries, you will rarely find one so well qualified to digest many travels into one full account. I had begun a letter to you upon the subject of the Collection some months ago, but laid it aside when the alarm of invasion seemed to suspend all literary, and indeed all other, speculation. Should you resume the scheme, I will willingly send you an outline of what seems to me to be the most advisable plan.

“. . . . . It has occurred to me that I could make a good companion to Ellis’s very excellent book, under the title of Specimens of the Modern English Poetry, beginning exactly where he leaves off, and following exactly his plan; coming down to the present time, and making death the time where to stop. Two volumes would comprise it, perhaps. Let me know if you like the scheme; it would require more trouble and more search than you will be at first aware of, but, with Ellis’s work, it would form such a series of arranged selections as no other country can boast. I could do it well, and should do it willingly. If it
should be taken by the public as a supplement, it would be a good speculation. Should you see
Coleridge, show him this. I would, of course, affix my name.”

To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Keswick, Jan. 31. 1804.
“Dear Tom,

“From this uttermost end of the north it will not be easy, or indeed possible, to send anything to the West Indies, except what will go in the compass of a letter; else you should have the Iris’s* bundled up for you. . . . . My plan for Madoc stands, then, at present, that Longman shall risk all expenses, and share the eventual profits; printing it in quarto, and with engravings, for I am sure the book will sell the better for being made expensive. Having now cleared off all my Annual Reviewing (oh Tom, such a batch I almost as much as last year’s rabble) I am now for a while at full leisure, and of course direct it principally to Madoc, that it may be off my hands, for I should not be willing to leave the world till I have left that in a fair state behind me. I am now finishing the 14th section. . . . . They tell me that Walter Scott has reviewed Amadis

* A Norwich newspaper, edited by Mr. William Taylor.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 255
in the
Edinburgh Review; to what purport I know not, but probably a favourable one, if it be his doing, for he is a man whose taste accords with mine, and who, though we have never seen each other, knows that I respect him, as he, on his part, respects me. The same friendly office has been performed in the Critical at last for Thalaba, by William Taylor—this, too, I have not seen.

“As for politics, Tom, we that live among the mountains, as the old woman said, do never hear a word of news. This talk of war with Spain I do not believe, and I am at last come round to the opinion that no invasion is intended, but that the sole object of Bonaparte is to exhaust our finances. Booby! not remembering that a national bankruptcy, while it ruins individuals, makes the state rich. . . . . How long the present Duncery may go on, God knows; I am no enemy to them, for they mean well, but in this broil with the Volunteers they are wrong, and dangerously wrong as regards their own popularity. I wish every Volunteer would lay down his arms,—being fully persuaded that in case of necessity he would take them up again;—but this attempt to increase the system of patronage, by depriving them of their covenanted right of electing their own officers, is rascally and abominable. The elections universally made, show that the choice always falls upon men who have either the claim of property, character, or talents. Of more permanent political importance will be a circumstance of which there is no talk of at all. Inquiries are making into the actual state of the poor in England, an office has
been established for the purpose, and the superintendence, by
Rickman’s recommendation, assigned to Poole, Coleridge’s friend, of whom you must have heard me speak,—a man of extraordinary powers, more akin in mind to Rickman than any man I know. This is a very gratifying circumstance to me, to see so many persons, with whom I became acquainted before the world did, rising in the world to their proper stations. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Amelia.
“Feb. 11. 1804.
“Dear Tom,

“It is not possible that my letters can give you more pleasure than yours give me. You have always reason to suppose that all is well with me when you hear nothing to the contrary. I am only exposed to the common accidents of life, but you are in the way of battle and slaughter, pestilence and hurricanes, And every letter that arrives from you relieves me from a certain kind of apprehension. . . . . As this letter was not finished at a heat, it has lain two or three weeks; to own the truth fairly, I had such a fear about me of the yellow fever, because you mentioned indisposition on the night preceding the date of your last, that I had not heart to go on with
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 257
it. Once I received a letter from a poor fellow three months after he was dead,—it excited a most painful feeling; and it is little less unpleasant to address one to a person whom you fear may not be among the living. However, yours of Dec 4. has just come to hand. You do not tell me whether the fever is out of the ship; but I conclude it must almost have done its work, and will go out like a fire when it no longer finds anything it can destroy. I have a sort of theory about such diseases which I do not understand myself, but somebody or other will, some of these days. They are so far analogous to vegetables as that they take root, grow, ripen, and decay. Those which are eruptive, blossom and seed; for the pustule of the smallpox, &c. is, to all intents and purposes, the flower of the disease, or the fructification by which it is perpetuated. Now these diseases, like vegetables, choose their own soil,—some plants like clay, others sand, others chalk; so the yellow fever will not take root in a negro, nor the yaws in a white man. There is a hint for a new theory; you will see the truth of the analogy at once, and I can ho more explain it than you can, but so it is. . . . . We have been dreadfully shocked here by the fate of
Wordsworth’s brother, captain of the Abergavenny East Indiaman, which has just been lost in Portland Bay; almost as shocking as the Halsewell—300 lives. . . . . Bonaparte wants peace; a continental war is a far more probable event. What will become of Portugal, heaven knows: and till that be decided, I can as
little tell what will become of me. Meantime I shall continue to work hard and to economise.

“God bless you!

Yours very affectionately,
R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Greta Hall, Feb. 16. 1804.
“Dear Grosvenor,

“I have seen a sight, more dreamy and wonderful, than any scenery that fancy ever yet devised for Faeryland. We had walked down to the lake side; it was a delightful day, the sun shining, and a few white clouds hanging motionless in the sky. The opposite shore of Derwentwater consists of one long mountain, which suddenly terminates in an arch, thus [figure of an arc], and through that opening you see a long valley between mountains, and bounded by mountain beyond mountain; to the right of the arch the heights are more varied and of greater elevation. Now, as there was not a breath of air stirring, the surface of the lake was so perfectly still, that it became one great mirror, and all its waters disappeared; the whole line of shore was represented as vividly and steadily as it existed in its actual being—the arch, the vale within, the single houses far within the vale, the smoke from their chimneys, the farthest hills, and the shadow and substance joined at their bases so indivisibly, that you could make no separation even in your judgment. As I stood on the shore, heaven and the clouds seemed
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 259
lying under me; I was looking down into the sky, and the whole range of mountains, having one line of summits under my feet, and another above me, seemed to be suspended between the firmaments. Shut your eyes and dream of a scene so unnatural and so beautiful. What I have said is most strictly and scrupulously true; but it was one of those happy moments that can seldom occur, for the least breath stirring would have shaken the whole vision, and at once unrealised it. I have before seen a partial appearance, but never before did, and perhaps never again may, lose sight of the lake entirely; for it literally seemed like an abyss of sky before me, not fog and clouds from a mountain, but the blue heaven spotted with a few fleecy pillows of cloud, that looked placed there for angels to rest upon them.

“I am treating with my bookseller to publish a supplementary or companion work to Ellis’s Specimens, beginning where he leaves off, and coming down to the present time, exclusive of the living poets, so that my work, with his, should contain a brief notice of all the English poets, good, bad, and indifferent, with specimens of each, except the dramatic writers. If this take place, it will cost me a journey to London, and a month’s hard work there; the main part can be done here. You know Ellis’s book, of course, and if you do not Nicholl can show it you (who, by the by, will go to the devil for charging half-a-guinea a volume for it, unless he can send Ellis instead). Now, if I should make this work, of which there is little doubt, you may, if so disposed, give me an opportunity of acknowledging
my obligations for assistance to my friend
Mr. G. C. Bedford, in the preface, and perhaps find some amusement in the task. So tell me your lordship’s pleasure, and I will prescribe to you what to do for me; and if you shall rouse yourself to any interest in the pursuit, it may prove really a good prescription. By doing something to assist me, you may learn to love some pursuit for yourself.

“With what can Isaac Reid have filled his one-and- twenty volumes? Comments upon Shakspeare seem to keep pace with the National Debt, and will at last become equally insufferable and out of fashion; yet I should like to see his book, and would buy it if I could. There must be a mass of English learning heaped together, and his Biog. Dramatica is so good a work that I do not think old age can have made him make a bad one; besides, this must have been the work or amusement of his life. . . . .

“I live almost as recluse a life as my neighbour, the Bassenthwaite Toad, whose history you have seen in the newspapers; only if he finds it dull I do not, for I have books, and port wine, and a view from my window. I feel as much pleasure in having finished my reviewing, as ever I did at school when my Bible exercise was done; and what sort of pleasure that was you may judge, by being told that one of the worst dreams that ever comes athwart my brain is, that I have those Latin verses to make. I very often have this dream, and it usually ends in a resolution to be my own master, and not make verses, and not stay any longer at school, because I am too old. It is odd that school never comes pleasantly in
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 261
my dreams; it is always either thus, or with a notion that I cannot find my book to go on with. I never dream of Oxford; perhaps my stay was not long enough to make an impression sufficiently deep.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. S.“
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“Keswick, Friday, Feb. 17. 1804.
“Dear Tom,

“When I remember how many letters I wrote to you on your last West Indies station, and that you never received one of the number, it seems as if this, too, was to be sent upon a forlorn hope. However, I will now number what I send, that you may see if any be missing, and make inquiry for them.

“I have wanted you to help me in weighing anchor for Madoc, and for want of you have been obliged to throw into shade, what else should have been brought out in strong light. Had you been at my elbow, he should have set sail in a very seaman-like manner; if this reaches you, it may yet be in time for you to tell me what I should say to express that the sails are all ready for sailing next day. I am afraid bent is not the word, and have only put it in just to keep the place, designing to omit it and clap some general phrase in, unless you can help me out in time. The whole first part of the poem is now finished; that is,
as far as Madoc’s return to America, 3600 lines; the remaining part will be longer. As my guide once told me in Portugal, we have got half way, for we have come two short leagues, and have two long ones to go; and upon his calculation I am half through the poem.

“Of my own goings on, I know not that there is anything which can be said. Imagine me in this great study of mine from breakfast till dinner, from dinner till tea, and from tea till supper, in my old black coat, my corduroys alternately with the long worsted pantaloons and gaiters in one, and the green shade, and sitting at my desk, and you have my picture and my history. I play with Dapper, the dog, down stairs, who loves me as well as ever Cupid did, and the cat, upstairs, plays with me; for puss, finding my room the quietest in the house, has thought proper to share it with me. Our weather has been so wet, that I have not got out of doors for a walk once in a month. Now and then I go down to the river, which runs at the bottom of the orchard, and throw stones till my arms ache, and then saunter back again. James Lawson, the carpenter, serves me for a Juniper; he has made boards for my papers, and a screen, like those in the frame, with a little shelf to hold my ivory knife, &c., and is now making a little table for Edith, of which I shall probably make the most use. I rouse the house to breakfast every morning and qualify myself for a boatswain’s place by this practice; and thus one day passes like another, and never did the days appear to pass so fast. Summer will make a difference. Our neighbour General Peche will
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 263
return in May;
Harry, also, will come in May. Sir George and Lady Beaumont are expected to visit Mrs. Coleridge. Danvers is to come in the autumn. The Smiths of Bownham (who gave me Hayley’s Life of Cowper) will probably visit the Lakes this year, and most likely Duppa will stroll down to see me and the mountains. I am very well—never better. Edith tolerable. God bless you! If you do not henceforward receive a letter by every packet, the fault will not be mine.

R. S.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Greta Hall, Feb. 19. 1804.

Parson-son,*, the Piscis Piscium sive Piscissimus, left us to-day. . . . . He is piping-hot from Bristol, and brimful of admiration for Beddoes, who, indeed, seems to have done so much for Mrs. C., that there are good hopes of her speedy recovery. He is in high spirits about the Slave Trade, for the West India merchants will not consent to its suspension for five years, to prevent the importation of hands into the newly conquered islands; and what from that jealousy, and from the blessed success of the St. Domingo negroes, I believe we may hope to see the traffic abolished. . . . .

“If I were a single man and a Frenchman, I would

* Mr. Clarkson.

go as a missionary to St. Domingo, where a world of good might be done in that way: the climate may be defied by any man in a high state of mental excitement I know not whether I sent you some curious facts respecting vivaciousness, but I have met with enough to lead to important physiological conclusions, and in particular to explain the sufficiently common fact of sick persons fixing the hour of their deaths and living exactly to that time; the simple solution is, that they would else have died sooner. In proceeding with my History, I continually find something that leads to interesting speculation: it would, perhaps, be better if there were always some one at hand, to whom I could communicate these discoveries, and who should help me to hunt down the game when started; not that I feel any wish for such society, but still it would at times be useful. It is a very odd, but a marked, characteristic of my mind,—the very nose in the face of my intellect,—that it is either utterly idle, or uselessly active, without its tools. I never enter into any regular train of thought unless the pen be in my hand; they then flow as fast as did the water from the rock in Horeb, but without that wand the source is dry. At these times conversation would be useful. However, I am going on well, never better. The old cerebrum was never in higher activity. I find daily more and more reason to wonder at the miserable ignorance of English historians, and to grieve with a sort of despondency, at seeing how much that has been laid up among the stores of knowledge, has been neglected and utterly forgotten.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 265

Madoc goes on well; the whole detail of the alteration is satisfactorily completed, and I shall have it ready for the press by Midsummer. I wish it could have been well examined first by you and William Taylor; however, it will be well purged and purified in the last transcription, and shall go into the world, not such as will obtain general approbation now, but such as may content most men to read. I am not quite sure whether the story will not tempt me to have a cross in the title-page, and take for my motto. In hoc signo. . . . .

“If Μακρος Αυθρωπος agrees with me about the Specimens, it will oblige me to go to London. Perhaps we may contrive to meet. . . . .

“I am sorry, sir, to perceive by your letter that there is a scarcity of writing-paper in London; perhaps, the next time you write, Mr. Rickman or Mr. Poole* will have the goodness to accommodate you with a larger sheet, that you may have the goodness to accommodate me with a longer letter; and if, sir, it be owing to the weakness of your sight that you write so large a hand, and in lines so far apart, there is a very excellent optician, who lives at Charing Cross, where you may be supplied with the best spectacles, exactly of the number which may suit your complaint.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient humble servant,
Robert Southey.”

* Of Nether Stowey, Somersetshire; at that time officially employed in superintending an inquiry into the state of the poor in England and Wales.

To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Feb. 1804.

“I am not sorry that you gave Godwin a dressing, and should not be sorry if he were occasionally to remember it with the comfortable reflection ‘in vino Veritas;’ for, in plain truth, already it does vex me to see you so lavish of the outward and visible signs of friendship, and to know that a set of fellows whom you do not care for and ought not to care for, boast every where of your intimacy, and with good reason, to the best of their understanding. You have accustomed yourself to talk affectionately, and write affectionately, to your friends, till the expressions of affection flow by habit in your conversation, and in your letters, and pass for more than they are worth; the worst of all this is, that your letters will one day rise up in judgment against you (for be sure, that hundreds which you have forgotten, are hoarded up for some Curl or Philips of the next generation), and you will be convicted of a double dealing, which, though you do not design, you certainly do practise. And now that I am writing affectionately more meo, I will let out a little more. You say in yours to Sara, that you love and honour me; upon my soul I believe you: but if I did not thoroughly believe it before, your saying so is the thing of all things that would make me open my eyes and look about me to see if I were not deceived: perhaps I am too intolerant to these kind of
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 267
phrases; but, indeed, when they are true, they may be excused, and when they are not, there is no excuse for them.

“—— was always looking for such things, but he was a foul feeder, and my moral stomach loathes anything like froth. There is a something outlandish in saying them, more akin to a French embrace than an English shake by the hand, and I would have you leave off saying them to those whom you actually do love, that if this should not break off the habit of applying them to indifferent persons, the disuse may at least make a difference. Your feelings go naked, I cover mine with a bear-skin; I will not say that you harden yours by your mode, but I am sure that mine are the warmer for their clothing. . . . . It is possible, or probable, that I err as much as you in an opposite extreme, and may make enemies where you would make friends; but there is a danger that you may sometimes excite dislike in persons of whose approbation you would yourself be desirous. You know me well enough to know in what temper this has been written, and to know that it has been some exertion; for the same habit which makes me prefer sitting silent to offering contradiction, makes me often withhold censure when, perhaps, in strictness of moral duty, it ought to be applied. The medicine might have been sweetened perhaps; but, dear Coleridge, take the simple bitters, and leave the sweetmeats by themselves.

“That ugly-nosed Godwin has led me to this. I dare say he deserved all you gave him; in fact, I have never forgiven him his abuse of William Tay-
lor, and do now regret, with some compunction, that in my
reviewal of his Chaucer, I struck out certain passages of well-deserved severity. . . . . Two days of S. T. C.’s time given to ——. Another Antonio! If we are to give account for every idle hour, what will you say to this lamentable waste? Or do you expect to have them allowed to you in your purgatory score? . . . . . If he had not married again, I would have still have had some bowels of compassion for him; but to take another wife with the picture of Mary Wollstonecroft in his house! Agh! I am never ashamed of letting out my dislikes, however, and, what is a good thing, never afraid; so let him abuse me, and we’ll be at war.

“I wish you had called on Longman. That man has a kind heart of his own, and I wish you to think so: the letter he sent me was a proof of it. Go to one of his Saturday evenings; you will see a coxcomb or two, and a dull fellow or two: but you will, perhaps, meet Turner and Duppa, and Duppa is worth knowing; make yourself known to him in my name, and tell him how glad I should be to show him the Lakes. I have some hope, from Rickman’s letter, that you may see William Taylor in town; that would give me great pleasure, for I am very desirous that you should meet. For universal knowledge, I believe he stands quite unrivalled; his conversation is a perpetual spring of living water; and then in every relation of life so excellent is he, that I know not any man who, in the circle of his friends, is so entirely and deservedly beloved.”

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 269
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“March 8. 1804.

“I have not the Spanish Gil Blas; such a book exists, but, if I remember rightly, with the suspicious phrase restored to the Spaniards, which may imply a retranslation of what they say is translated. Yet it is very likely that the story is originally Spanish, and, indeed, if the Spaniards claim it, I am ready to believe them, they being true men, and Le Sage’s being a Frenchman strong reason for suspecting him to be a thief; however, if he has stolen, there can be no doubt that he has tinkered old metal into a better shape, and I should think your time ill employed in Englishing what everybody reads in French.

“And now let me tell you what to do for me, and how to do it.*

“Take half-a-quartain, or a whole one doubled; write as a title the name of the poet in question; then under that, the time or place of his birth, when discoverable, and the time of his death. After that, a brief notice of his life and works to the average length of a Westminster theme, as much shorter as his demerits deserve, as much longer as apt anecdotes, or the humour of pointed and rememberable criticism, may tempt your pen. . . . .

* See p. 260.

Now for a list of those whom I can turn over to your care at once:—

Henderson—this you will do con amore.

GarrickTom D’UrfeyTom Browne.

Cary, the author of Chrononhotonthologus—see if his namby-pamby be of suitable brevity; the Biographia and a Biog. Dictionary will be sufficient guides. Lady M. W. Montague, Stephen Duck,—kill off these, and put them by till I see you; and kill them off, the faster the better, that you may fall upon more; for so much labour as you do, so much am I saved, which is very good for both of us, says Dr. Southey.

“Great news at Keswick; a firing heard off the Isle of Man at four o’clock in the morning yesterday! The French are a-coming, a-coming, a-coming—and what care we? We who have eighteen volunteers and an apothecary at their head! Did I ever tell you of De Paddy, one of the ‘United,’ who was sent to serve on board Tom’s ship last war? The first day of his service, he had to carry the plum-pudding for the dinner of his mess, and the Patrician had never seen a plum-pudding before; he came holding it up in triumph, and exclaimed, in perfect ecstasy, ‘Och! your sowls! look here! if dis be war, may it never be paice!’ . . . .

“No time for more; farewell!

R. Southey.”
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 271
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Greta Hall, March 12. 1804.

“Your going abroad appeared to me so doubtful, or, indeed, so improbable an event, that the certainty comes on me like a surprise, and I feel at once what a separation the sea makes; when we get beyond the reach of mail coaches, then, indeed, distance becomes a thing perceptible. I shall often think, Coleridge, Quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse! God grant you a speedy passage, a speedy recovery, and a speedy return! I will write regularly and often; but I know by Danvers, how irregularly letters arrive, and at how tedious a time after their date. Look in old Knolles before you go, and read the siege of Malta, it will make you feel that you are going to visit sacred ground. I can hardly think of that glorious defence without tears. . . . .

“You would rejoice with me were you now at Keswick, at the tidings that a box of books is safely harboured in the Mersey, so that for the next fortnight I shall be more interested in the news of Fletcher* than of Bonaparte. It contains some duplicates of the lost cargo; among them the collection of the oldest Spanish poems, in which is a metrical romance upon the Cid. I shall sometimes want you for a Gothic etymology. Talk of the happiness of

* The name of a Keswick carrier.

getting a great prize in the lottery! What is that to the opening a box of books! The joy upon lifting up the cover, must be something like what we shall feel when Peter the Porter opens the door upstairs, and says, Please to walk in, sir. That I shall never be paid for my labour according to the current value of time and labour, is tolerably certain; but if any one should offer me 10,000l. to forego that labour, I should bid him and his money go to the devil, for twice the sum could not purchase me half the enjoyment. It will be a great delight to me in the next world, to take a fly and visit these old worthies, who are my only society here, and to tell them, what excellent company I found them here at the lakes of Cumberland, two centuries after they had been dead and turned to dust. In plain truth, I exist more among the dead than the living, and think more about them, and, perhaps, feel more about them. . . . .
Moses has quite a passion for drawing, strong enough to be useful were he a little older. When I visit London, I will set him up in drawing-books. He was made quite happy yesterday by two drawings of Charles Fox, which happened to be in my desk, and to be just fit for him. The dissected map of England gives him his fill of delight, and he now knows the situation of all the counties in England as well as any one in the house, or, indeed, in the kingdom. I have promised him Asia; it is a pity that Africa and America are so badly divided as to be almost useless, for this is an excellent way of learning geography, and I know by experience that
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 273
what is so learnt is never forgotten. . . . . You would be amused to see the truly Catholic horror he feels at the Jews, because they do not eat pork and ham, on which account he declares he never will be an old clothes man.
Sara is as fond of me as Dapper is, which is saying a good deal. As for Johnny Wordsworth, I expect to see him walk over very shortly; he is like the sons of the Anakim. No M. Post yesterday, none to-day; vexatious after the last French news. I should not suppose Moreau guilty; he is too cautious a general to be so imprudent a man. . . . .

God bless you!
R. S.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Greta Hall, March 14. 1804.

“Your departure hangs upon me with something the same effect that the heavy atmosphere presses upon you—an unpleasant thought, that works like yeast, and makes me feel the animal functions going on. As for the manner of your going, you will be on the whole better off than in a king’s ship. Now you are your own master; there you would have been a guest, and, of course, compelled to tolerate the worst of all possible society, except that of soldier-officers.

“I had hopes of seeing you in London; for almost as soon as Edith is safe in bed, if safe she be (for my life has been so made up of sudden changes, that I
never even mentally look to what is to happen without that if, and the optative utinam),—as soon, I say, as that takes place, I shall hurry to town, principally to put to press this book of
Specimens, which can only be finished there, for you will stare at the catalogue of dead authors whom I shall have to resurrectionise. This will be a very curious and useful book of mine; how much the worse it will be for your voyage to Malta, few but myself will feel. If it sells, I shall probably make a supplementary volume to Ellis’s to include the good pieces which he has overlooked, for he has not selected well, and, perhaps, to analyse the epics and didactics, which nobody reads. Had I conceived that you would think of transcribing any part of Madoc, you should have been spared the trouble; but, in writing to you, it has always appeared to me better to write than to copy, the mere babble having the recommendation that it is exclusively your own, and created for you, and in this the feeling of exclusive property goes for something. The poem shall be sent out to you, if there be a chance of its reaching you; but will you not have left Malta by the time a book to be published about New Year’s Day can arrive there?

“Had you been with me, I should have talked with you about a preface; as it is, it will be best simply to state, and as briefly as possible, what I have aimed at in my style, and wherein, in my own judgment, I have succeeded or failed. Longman has announced it, in his Cyclopædic List, under the title of an epic poem, which I assuredly shall not affix to it myself; the name, of which I was once over-fond,
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 275
has nauseated me, and, moreover, should seem to render me amenable to certain laws which I do not acknowledge.

“If I were at Malta, the siege of that illustrious island should have a poem, and a good one too; and you ought to think about it, for of all sieges that ever has been, or ever will be, it was the most glorious, and called forth the noblest heroism. Look after some modern Greek books, in particular the poem from which the Teseide of Boccaccio and the Knight’s Tale are derived; if, indeed, it be not a translation from the Italian. Could you lay hand on some of these old books, and on old Italian poetry, by selling them at Leigh and Sotheby’s you might almost pay your travels.

“More manuscripts of Davis come down to-day. I have run through his Life of Chatterton, which is flimsy and worthless. I shall not advise Longman to print it, and shall warn the writer to expunge an insult to you and to myself, which is not to be paid for by his praise. We formed a just estimate of the man’s moral stamina, most certainly, and as for man-mending, I have no hopes of it. The proverb of the silk purse and the sow’s ear, comprises my philosophy upon that subject.

“I write rapidly and unthinkingly, to be in time for the post. Why have you not made Lamb declare war upon Mrs. Bare-bald? He should singe her flaxen wig with squibs, and tie crackers to her petticoats till she leapt about like a parched pea for very torture. There is not a man in the world who could so well revenge himself. The Annual Review
(that is, the first vol.) came down in my parcel today. My articles are wickedly misprinted, and, in many instances, made completely nonsensical. If I could write Latin evn as I could once, perhaps I should talk to
Longman of publishing a collection of the best modern Latin poets; they were dulli canes many of them, but a poor fellow who has spent years and years in doing his best to be remembered, does deserve well enough of posterity to be reprinted once in every millenium, and, in fact, there are enough good ones to form a collection of some extent.

God bless you! prays your
Old friend and brother,
R. Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, March 30. 1804.
“My dear Rickman,

Turner wrote to me and complained heavily of Scotch criticism, which he seems to feel too much; such things only provoke me to interject Fool! and Booby! seasoned with the. participle damnatory; but as for being vexed at a review—I should as soon be fevered by a flea-bite! I sent him back a letter of encouragement and stimulant praise, for these rascals had so affected him as to slacken his industry. I look upon the invention of reviews to be the worst injury which literature has received since its revival. People formerly took up a book to learn from it, and with a feeling of respectful thankfulness to the man who
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 277
had spent years in acquiring that knowledge, which he communicates to them in a few hours; now they only look for faults. Every body is a critic, that is, every reader imagines himself superior to the author, and reads his book that he may censure it, not that he may improve by it. . . . .

“You are in great measure right about Coleridge; he is worse in body than you seem to believe, but the main cause lies in his own management of himself, or rather want of management. His mind is in a perpetual St. Vitus’s dance—eternal activity without action. At times he feels mortified that he should have done so little; but this feeling never produces any exertion. I will begin to-morrow, he says, and thus he has been all his life-long letting to-day slip. He has had no heavy calamities in life, and so contrives to be miserable about trifles. Poor fellow! there is no one thing which gives me so much pain as the witnessing such a waste of unequalled power. I knew one man resembling him, save that with equal genius he was actually a vicious man.

“If that man had common prudence, he must have been the first man in this country, from his natural and social advantages, and as such, we who knew him and loved him at school used to anticipate him. I learnt more from his conversation than any other man ever taught me, because the rain fell when the young plant was just germinating and wanted it most; and I learnt more morality by his example than any thing else could have taught me, for I saw him wither away. He is dead and buried at the Cape of Good Hope, and has left behind him nothing to keep his memory
alive. A few individuals only remember him with a sort of horror and affection, which just serves to make them melancholy whenever they think of him or mention his name. This will not be the case with
Coleridge; the disjecta membra will be found if he does not die early: but having so much to do, so many errors to weed out of the world which he is capable of eradicating, if he does die without doing his work, it would half break my heart, for no human being has had more talents allotted.

Wordsworth will do better, and leave behind him a name, unique in his way; he will rank among the very first poets, and probably possesses a mass of merits superior to all, except only Shakspeare. This is doing much, yet would he be a happier man if he did more.

“I am made very happy by a reinforcement of folios from Lisbon, and I shall feel some reluctance in leaving them, and breaking off work to go for London to a more trifling employment; however, my History is to be considered as the capital laid by—the savings of industry. And you would think me entitled to all the praise industry can merit, were you to see the pile of papers. . . . .

R. S.”
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 279
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Greta Hall, March 31. 1804
“Dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . I am bound for London, chiefly to complete these Specimens, and put them to press. Alas! for your unhappy habit of procrastination! ‘Don’t delay,’ you write in your postscript, and this in answer to a letter which had lain above a fortnight in your desk! Here it happens to be of no moment; but you tell me the habit has produced and is producing worse consequences. I would give you advice if it could be of use; but there is no curing those who choose to be diseased. A good man and a wise man may at times be angry with the world, at times grieved for it; but be sure no man was ever discontented with the world if he did his duty in it. If a man of education who has health, eyes, hands, and leisure, wants an object, it is only because God Almighty has bestowed all those blessings upon a man who does not deserve them. Dear Grosvenor, I wish you may feel half the pain in reading this that I do in writing it. . . . .


“And what shall I say after this? for this bitter pill will put your mouth out of taste, for whatever insipidities I might have had to offer; only the metaphor reminds me of a scheme of mine, which is to improve cookery by chemical tuning, making every dish prepare the palate for that which is to come
next: and this reminds me that I have discovered most poignant and good galvanism in drinking water out of an iron cup,—how far this may improve fermented liquors remains to be experimented;—the next time you see a pump with an iron ladle thereunto appended, stop, though it be on Cornhill, and drink and try.

“I am very happy, having this week received the oldest poem in the Castilian language, and the oldest code of Gothic laws, and a reinforcement of folios besides, containing the history of Portugal, from the Creation down to 1400 a.d. God bless you!

Yours very affectionately,
R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“March, 1804.
“Dear Rickman,

“. . . . . I have more in hand than Bonaparte or Marquis Wellesley,—digesting Gothic law, gleaning moral history from monkish legends, and conquering India, or rather Asia, with Alboquerque; filling up the chinks of the day by hunting in Jesuit chronicles, and compiling Collectanea Hispanica et Gothica. Meantime Madoc sleeps, and my lucre of gain compilation* goes on at night, when I am fairly obliged to lay history aside, because it perplexes me in my dreams, ’Tis a vile thing to be pestered in sleep

* Specimens of English Poets.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 281
with all the books I have been reading in the day jostled together, God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“April 23. 1804.
“Dear Grosvenor,

“I thought to have seen you before this time, and am daily, indeed hourly, in anticipation of being able to say when I set out. You know that I design to take up with me the first part of Madoc, and leave it with the printer. Now have I been thinking that your worship would, perhaps, be not unwilling to stand man-midwife upon the occasion, and be appointed grand plenipotentiary over commas, semicolons, and periods. My books have all suffered by misprinting. In fact, there is a lurking hope at the bottom of this request, that when you have once been brought into a habit of dealing with the devil on my account, you may be induced to deal with him on your own.

“I shall bring up with me as much towards the Specimens as can be supplied by Anderson’s Collection, Cibber’s Lives, and an imperfect series of the European Magazine. The names omitted in these may, beyond all doubt, be supplied from the obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine, alias the Oldwomania, a work which I have begun to take in here at Keswick, to enlighten a Portuguese student among the mountains, and which does amuse me by its exquisite inanity,
and the glorious and intense stupidity of its correspondents; it is, in truth, a disgrace to the age and the country. My list of names is already long enough to prove, that there will be some difficulty in getting at all the volumes requisite, not that it is or can be a matter of conscience to read through all the dull poetry of every rhymester. The language of vituperation or criticism has not yet been so systematised as to afford terms for every shade of distinction. I had an idea of applying the botanical nomenclature to novels, and dividing them into monogynia, monandria, cryptogamia, &c., but for poems the pun will not hold good.

“’Tis a long way to London! I wish I were on my way, and then shall I wish myself arrived, and then be wishing myself back again; for complete rest, absolute, unprospective, rooted rest, is the great object of my desires. Near London must be my final settlement, unless any happy and unforeseen fortune should enable me to move to the south, and thus take a longer lease of life; in fact, if I could afford the money sacrifice, I would willingly make the other, and keep my History unpublished all my life, that I might pass it in Portugal. Society, connections, native language,—all these are weighty things; but what are they to the permanent and perpetual exhilaration of a climate that not merely prolongs life, but gives you double the life while it lasts? I have actually felt a positive pleasure in breathing there; and even here, in this magnificent spot, the recollection of the Tagus, and the Serra de Ossa, of Coimbra, and its cypresses, and orange
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 283
groves, and olives, its hills and mountains, its venerable buildings, and its dear river, of the Vale of Algarve, the little islands of beauty amid the desert of Alentego, and, above all, of Cintra, the most blessed spot in the habitable globe, will almost bring tears into my eyes.

R. S.”
To Mrs. Southey.
“Palace Yard, May 10. 1804.
“My dear Edith,

“Safe, sound, and rested sufficiently—this is the best information; and if you can send me as complete an ‘all’s well’ in return, heartily glad shall I be to receive it.

“On Friday I dined with . . . . . At six that evening got into the coach; slept at Warrington; breakfasted at Stowe; dined at Birmingham; slept gt Stratford-upon-Avon; in the dark we reached that place, so that I could not see Shakspeare’s grave, but I will return that road on purpose. At five, on Sunday morning, we arrived in Oxford, and I walked through it at that quiet and delightful hour, and thought of the past and the present. We did not reach London till after five last evening, so that I was forty-eight hours in the coach. I landed at the White Horse Cellar; no coach was to be procured, and I stood in all the glory of my filth beside my trunk, at the Cellar door, in my spencer of the
cut of 1798 (for so long is it since it was made), and my dirty trowsers, while an old fellow hunted out a porter for me; for about five minutes I waited; the whole mob of Park loungers and Kensington Garden buckery, male and female, were passing by in all their finery, and all looked askance on me. Well, off I set at last, and soon found my spencer was the wonderful part of my appearance. I stopped at the top of St. James’s Street, just before a group, who all turned round to admire me, pulled it off, and gave it to my dirty porter, and exhibited as genteel a black coat as ever Joe Aikin made. . . . . They have inserted my
account of Malthus instead of William Taylor’s, for which, as you know, I am sorry, and also preferred my account of poor Ritson’s romance to one which Walter Scott volunteered. Scott, it seems, has shown his civility by reviewing Amadis here and in the Edinburgh, which I had rather he had left alone; for, though very civil, and in the right style of civility, he yet denies my conclusion respecting the author, without alleging one argument, or shadow of argument, against the positive evidence adduced. . . . . Bard Williams is in town, so I shall shake one honest man by the hand, whom I did not expect to see.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 285
To Mrs. Southey.
“London, May 16. 1804.
“My dear Edith,

A. Aikin had need send me certain complimentary sugar-plums; he has cut out some of my bitterest and best sentences, and has rejected my reviewal of his father’s Letters on the English Poets, to make room for something as Bare-bald* as the book itself. However, no wonder; there must be a commander-in-chief, and the Annual Review has at least as good, or better, than either army, navy, or government in England.

“You should have seen my interview with Hyde. I was Eve, he the tempter; could I resist Hyde’s eloquence? A coat, you know, was predetermined; but my waistcoat was shameful. I yielded; and yielded also to a calico under-waistcoat, to give the genteel fulness which was requisite. This was not all. Hyde pressed me further; delicate patterns for pantaloons,—they make gaiters of the same; it would not soil, and it would wash. I yielded, and am tomorrow to be completely hyded in coat, waistcoat, under-waistcoat, pantaloons, and gaiters; and shall go forth, like ——, conquering and to conquer. If Mrs. —— should see me! and in my new hat—for I have a new hat—and my new gloves. O Jozé! I will show myself to Johnny Cockbain† for the benefit of the North. Davy talks of going to the Lakes with Sir G. Beaumont, probably, and, in that case, soon.

* See page 276. † A Keswick tailor.

Elmsley talks of going in the autumn, and wishes me to accompany him to Edinburgh. Wynn wants me in Wales, and would fetch me. I cannot be in two places at once, and must not be cut in half, for to Solomon’s decision I have an objection. . . . . I shall desire A. Aikin, my commander, to ship me down a huge cargo, that I may get at least fifty pounds for next year, and look to that for a supply in April. In the foreign one which he proposes, I will not take any active part; it will take more time, and yield less money in proportion. The whole article upon Peter Bayley is in, in all its strength. . . . . I perfectly long to be at home again, and home I will be at the month’s end, God willing, for business shall not stand in my way. I will do all that is possible next week and the beginning of the following, and then lay such a load upon Dapple’s back as he never trudged under before; he shall work, a lasy, long-eared animal, he shall work, or the printer’s devil shall tease him out of his very soul.* . . . .

“Dear Edith, how weary I am! God bless you!

R. S.”

* These kind intentions refer to the Specimens of the English Poets, and were directed toward Mr. Bedford, who had long borne very patiently the flattering appellation here given him.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 287
To Mrs. Southey.
“London, May, 1804.

“. . . . . The Thames is ebbing fast before the window, and a beautiful sight it is, dear Edith; but I wish I were upon the banks of the Greta! I will not remain an hour longer than can be helped. You have no notion of the intolerable fatigue it is to walk all day and not get to bed till after midnight. . . . . I have lost a grand triumph over you, Edith. Had you seen me in my Hyde, when I tried it, you would never have sent me to a London hyde-maker again. The sleeves are actually as large as the thighs of my pantaloons, and cuffs to them like what old men wear in a comedy. I am sure, if I were a country farmer, and caught such a barebones as myself in such a black sack, I would stick him up for a scarecrow.

“I saw Longman yesterday, who was very glad to see me. I am trying to make him publish a collection of the scarce old English poets, which will be the fittest thing in the world for Lamb to manage, if he likes it; or, perhaps, to manage with my co-operation. The Amadis sells not amiss; the edition, they say, will go off. Thalaba goes off slowly, but is going. They got me W. Taylor’s review, which is very characteristic of his style, talents, and good-will for the author. I will bring down the number.

“. . . . . On Thursday Carlisle gives me a dinner. There must be one day for Turner; and as for all my half
a thousand acquaintances, they may ask till they are blind, for I won’t go. I might live all the year here, by being invited out as a show, but I will not show myself. I write you very unsatisfactory letters, dear
Edith, but you know how like a bear with a sore head this place makes me; and never was I more uncomfortable in it, though with a pleasanter house over my head than ever, and better company.

“God bless you!
R. S.“
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, June 6. 1804.
“Dear Rickman,

“Here I am at length, at least all that remains of me,—the skin and bones of Robert Southey. Being now at rest, and, moreover, egregiously hungry, the flesh which has been expended in stage-coaches and in London streets, will soon be replaced. Dulce est actorum meminisse—laborum will not so fully conclude the line as my meaning wishes. Labour enough I had; but there are other things besides my labour in London to be remembered,—more pleasurable in themselves, but not making such pleasurable recollections, because they are to be wished for again.

“However, I found excellent society awaiting me at home;—Florian de Ocampo and Ambrosio Novales,—thirteen of the little quartos, bringing down Spanish history to the point where Prudencio de
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 289
Sandoval takes it up, and where I also begin the full tide of my narration. Novales was the correspondent of Keserdius, into whose work you once looked, and was, like him, an excellent Latinist, and a patient, cautious, martyr-murdering antiquary, an excellent weeder of lies wherever they were to be found. In company with these came the four folios of the Bibliotheca Hispanica; there is affixed a portrait of the late King, so exquisitely engraved and so exquisitely ugly, that I know not whether it be most honourable to Spain to have advanced so far in the arts, or disgraceful to have exercised them upon such a fool’s pate. I am sure Duppa will laugh at his Catholic Majesty, but whether an interjection of admiration at the print, or the laugh (which is the next auxiliary part of speech to the ohs and ahs, interjections), will come first, is only to be decided by experiment.

“. . . . . You will read the Mabinogion, concerning which I ought to have talked to you. In the last, that most odd and Arabian-like story of the Mouse, mention is made of a begging scholar, that helps to the date; but where did the Kimbri get the imagination that could produce such a tale! That enchantment of the bason hanging by the chain from heaven, is in the wildest spirit of the Arabian Nights. I am perfectly astonished that such fictions should exist in Welsh: they throw no light on the origin of romance, every thing being utterly dissimilar to what we mean by that term; but they do open a new world of fiction; and if the date of their language be fixed about the twelfth or thirteenth century, I cannot but think the
mythological substance is of far earlier date, very probably brought from the east by some of the first settlers or conquerors. If
William Owen will go on and publish them, I have hopes that the world will yet reward him for his labours. Let Sharon* make his language grammatical, but not alter their idiom in the slightest point. I will advise him about this, being about to send him off a parcel of old German or Theotistic books of Coleridge’s, which will occasion a letter. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“June 11. 1804, Keswick.
“Dear Coleridge,

“The first news of you was from Lamb’s letter, which arrived when I was in London. I saw, also, your letter to Stuart, and heard of one to Tobin, before I returned and found my own. Ere this you are at Malta. What an infectious thing is irregularity! Merely because it was uncertain when a letter could set off, I have always yielded to the immediate pressure of other employment; whereas, had there been a day fixed for the mail, to have written would then have been a fixed business, and performed like an engagement.

“All are well—Sara and Sariola, Moses and Justiculus, Edith and the Edithling. Mary is better.

* Sharon Turner, Esq.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 291

“I was worn to the very bone by fatigue in London,—more walking in one day than I usually take in a month; more waste of breath in talking than serves for three months’ consumption in the country; add to this a most abominable cold, affecting chesty bead, eyes, and nose. It was impossible to see half the persons whom I wished to see, and ought to have seen, without prolonging my stay to an inconvenient time, and an unreasonable length of absence from home. I called upon Sir George* unsuccessfully, and received a note that evening, saying he would be at home the following morning; then I saw him, and his lady, and his pictures, and afterwards met him the same day at dinner at Davy’s. As he immediately left town, this was all our intercourse; and, as it is not likely that he will visit the Lakes this year, probably will be all.

“I went into the Exhibition merely to see your picture, which perfectly provoked me. Hazlitt’s does look as if you were on your trial, and certainly had stolen the horse; but then you did it cleverly,—it had been a deep, well-laid scheme, and it was no fault of yours that you had been detected. But this portrait by Northcote looks like a grinning idiot; and the worst is, that it is just like enough to pass for a good likeness, with those who only know your features imperfectly. Dance’s drawing has that merit at least, that nobody would ever suspect you of having been the original. Poole’s business will last yet some weeks. As the Abstract is printed, I can give

* Sir George Beaumont.

you the very important result: one in eight throughout Great Britain receives permanent parish pay*;—what is still more extraordinary, and far more extraordinary, one in nine is engaged in some benefit society,—a prodigious proportion, if you remember that, in this computation, few women enter, and no children.

“I dined with Sotheby, and met there Henley, a man every way to my taste. Sotheby was very civil, and as his civility has not that smoothness so common among the vagabonds of fashion, I took it in good part. He is what I should call a clever man. Other lions were Price, the picturesque man, and Davies Giddy, whose face ought to be perpetuated in marble for the honour of mathematics. Such a forehead I never saw. I also met Dr. —— at dinner; who, after a long silence, broke out into a discourse upon the properties of the conjunction Quam, Except his quamical knowledge, which is as profound as you will imagine, he knows nothing but bibliography, or the science of title-pages, impresses, and dates. It was a relief to leave him, and find his brother, the captain, at Rickman’s, smoking after supper, and letting out puffs at the one comer of his mouth and puns at the other. The captain hath a son,—begotten, according to Lamb, upon a mermaid; and thus far is certain, that he is the queerest fish out of water. A paralytic affection in childhood has kept one side of his face stationary, while the other has continued to grow, and the two sides form the most ridiculous whole you

* This seems almost incredible.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 293
can imagine; the boy, however, is a sharp lad, the inside not having suffered.

William Owen lent me three parts of the Mabinogion, most delightfully translated into so Welsh an idiom and syntax, that such a translation is as instructive (except for etymology) as an original. I was, and am, still utterly at a loss to devise by what possible means, fictions so perfectly like the Arabian Tales in character, and yet so indisputably of Cimbric growth, should have grown up in Wales, Instead of throwing light upon the origin of romance, as had been surmised, they offer a new problem, of almost impossible solution. Bard Williams communicated to me some fine arcana of bardic mythology, quite new to me and to the world, which you will find in Madoc. I have ventured to lend Turner your German Romances, which will be very useful to him, and which will be replaced on your shelves before your return, and used, not abused*, during your absence. I also sent him the Indian Bible, because I found him at the Indian grammar, for he is led into etymological researches. That is a right worthy and good man; and, what rarely happens, I like his wife as well as I do him. Sir, all the literary journals of England will not bring you more news than this poor sheet of Miss Crosthwaite’s letter-paper. I have proposed to Longman to publish a collection of the scarcer and better old poets, beginning with Pierce Ploughman, and to print a few only

* This was a gentle hint to Mr. Coleridge, who valued books nonetheless for being somewhat ragged and dirty, and did not take the same scrupulous care as my father to prevent their becoming so.

at a high price, that they may sell as rarities. This he will determine upon in the autumn. If it be done, my name must stand to the prospectus, and
Lamb shall take the job and the emolument, for whom, in fact, I invented it being a fit thing to be done, and he the fit man to do it.

“The Annual Review succeeds beyond expectation; a second edition of the first volume is called for. Certain articles respecting the Methodists and Malthus are said to hare contributed much to its reputation. By the by, that fellow has had the impudence to marry, after writing upon the miseries of population. In the third volume I shall fall upon the Society for the Suppression of Vice.

“Thus far had I proceeded yesterday, designing to send off the full sheet by that night’s post, when Wordsworth arrived, and occasioned one day’s delay. I have left him talking to Moses, and mounted to my own room to finish. What news, you will wish to ask, of Keswick? The house remains in statu quo, except that the little parlour is painted, and papered with cartridge-paper. Workmen to plaster this room could not be procured when Jackson sent for them, and so unplastered it is likely to remain another winter. A great improvement has been made by thinning the trees before the parlour window,—just enough of the lake can be seen through such a framework, and such a fretted canopy of foliage as to produce a most delightful scene, and utterly unlike any other view of the same subject. The Lakers begin to make their appearance, though none have, as yet, reached us. But Sharpe has announced his approach
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 295
in a letter to W. We are in hourly expectation of
Harry; and in the course of the year I expect Duppa to be my guest, and probably Elmsley.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Galatea.
“June 27. 1804, Keswick.

“’Tis a heartless thing, dear Tom, to write from this distance, and at this uncertainty,—the more so when I recollect how many letters of mine were sent to the West Indies when you were last there, which never reached you. Two packets, say the papers, have been taken; and if so, two of my epistles are now deeper down than your sounding-lines have ever fathomed,—unless, indeed, some shark has swallowed and digested bags and bullets. We are uneasy at receiving no letter since that which announced your arrival at Barbadoes. I conceived you were at the Surinam expedition, and waited for the Gazette to-day with some unavoidable apprehensions. It has arrived, and I can find no trace of the Galatea, which, though so far satisfactory, as that it proves you have not been killed by. the Dutchman, leaves me, on the other hand, in doubt what has become of you and your ship. . . . .

“About the changes in the Admiralty, I must tell you a good thing of W. T. in the Isis; he said it was grubbing up English oak, and planting Scotch fir in
its place, for the use of the navy. An excellent good thing! If, however, I am not pleased that
Lord Melville should be in, I am heartily glad that his predecessor is out, for no man ever proved himself so utterly unfit for the post. Our home politics are become very interesting, and must ultimately lead to the strongest administration ever seen in England. Pitt has played a foolish game in coming in alone; it has exasperated the Prince, who is the rising sun to look to, and is playing for the regency.

“The Lakers and the fine weather have made their appearance together. As yet we have only seen Sharpe, whose name I know not if you will remember; he is an intimate of Tuffin, or Muffin, whose name you cannot forget; and, like him, an excellent talker; knowing every body, remembering every thing, and having strong talents besides. Davy is somewhere on the road; he is recovering from the ill effects of fashionable society, which had warped him. Rickman told me his mind was in a healthier tone than usual, and I was truly rejoiced to find it so. Wordsworth came over to see me on my return, and John Thelwall, the lecturer on elocution, dined with us on his travels. But the greatest event of Greta Hall is, that we have had a jack of two-and-twenty pounds, which we bought at threepence a pound. It was caught in the Lake with a hook and line. We drest it in pieces, like salmon, and it proved, without exception, one of the finest fish I had ever tasted; so if ever you catch such a one, be sure you boil it instead of roasting it in the usual way. I am in excellent good health, and have got rid of my sore eyes,—for how
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 297
long God knows. The disease, it seems, came from Egypt, and is in some mysterious manner contagious, so that we have naturalised another curse.

Madoc is in the printer’s hands—Ballantyne, of Edinburgh, who printed the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,—if you remember the book. Next week I expect the first proof. Do not be frightened to hear after this that I have not done a stroke further in correcting and filling up the MSS. since my return. Reviewing is coming round again; I have a parcel upon the road, and groan in spirit at the prospect; not but of all trades it is the least irksome, and the most like my own favourite pursuits, which it certainly must, in a certain degree, assist, as well as, in point of time, retard. There is much of mine in the second volume*, and of my best; some of which you will discover, and some perhaps not. A sixth of the whole is mine;—pretty hard work. I get on bravely with my History, and have above three quarto volumes done,—quartos as they ought to be, of about 500 honest pages each. It does me good to see what a noble pile my boards make.

“My dog Dapper is as fond of me as ever Cupid was; this is a well-bred hound of my landlord’s, who never fails to leap upon my back when I put my nose out of doors, and who, never having ventured beyond his own field till I lately tempted him, is the most prodigious coward you ever beheld; he almost knocked Edith down in running away from a pig: but I like him, for he is a worthy dog, and frightens

* Of the Annual Review,

the sauntering Lakers as much as the pig frightened him.

“The Scotch reviewers are grown remarkably civil to me; partly because Elmsley was, and partly because Walter Scott is, connected with them. My Amadis and the Chatterton have been noticed very respectfully there. I told you in my last that Amadis sold well—as much in one year as Thalaba in three! But I feel, and my booksellers feel, that I am getting on in the world, and the publication of Madoc will set me still higher.

“How goes on the Spanish? keep to it by all means; for it is not an impossible nor an improbable thing that you and I may one day meet in Portugal; and, if so, take a journey together. You will then find it useful; for it turns readily into Portuguese. My uncle and I keep up a pretty regular intercourse. I am trying to set his affairs here in order. A cargo of books value about eleven pounds, which were lost for twelve months, have been recovered, and I am feeding upon them. God bless you, Tom! lose no opportunity of writing. Edith’s love.

R. S.”