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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 6 January 1809

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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“Jan. 6. 1809.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“You make a confession respecting Milton which nine hundred and ninety-nine persons out of the thousand would make if they were honest enough; for his main excellencies are like M. Angelo’s, only to be thoroughly appreciated by an artist. This, however, by no means incapacitates you from reviewing Hayley’s book, in which your business lies with Cowper and with his biographer, one of whose works (his Animal Ballads) I once reviewed by quoting from O’Keefe’s song,—Hayley, gaily, gamboraily, higgledy, pigglegy, galloping, draggle-tail, dreary dun. Hayley, as Miss Seward has just remarked to me in a letter, is perfectly insane upon the subject of Cowper’s resemblance to Milton; there is no other resemblance between them than that both wrote in blank verse—but blank verse as different as possible. You may compare Cowper’s translations (which, I suppose are very bad, as many of his lesser pieces are, and as Miss Seward tells me) with Langhorne’s; and you may estimate Cowper himself as a poet, as a man of intellect, and as a translator of Homer, showing that he is not over-valued; but
Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 205
that his popularity is owing to his piety, not his poetry, and that that piety was craziness. I like his letters, but think their so great popularity one of the very many proofs of the imbecility of the age. By-the-by, a very pretty piece of familiar verse, by Cowper, appeared, about two years ago, in the
Monthly Magazine.

“Ah, Grosvenor! the very way in which you, admire that passage in Kehama* convinces me that it ought not to be there. Did I not tell you it was clap-trappish? you are clapping as hard as you can to prove the truth of my opinion. That it grew there naturally is certain, but does it suit with the poem? is it of a piece or colour with the whole? Is not the poet speaking in himself, whereas the whole character of the poem requires that he should be out of himself! I know very well that three parts of the public will agree with you in calling it the best thing in the poem; but my poem ought to have no things which do not necessarily belong to it. There will be a great deal to do to it, and a good deal is already done in the preceding parts.

“I have long expected a schism between the Grenvilles and the Foxites. Jeffrey has been trying to unite the Opposition and the Jacobins, as they are called. He hurts the Opposition, and he wrongs the Jacobins; he hurts the former by associating them with a name that is still unpopular, and he wrongs the friends of liberty by supposing that they are not the deadliest enemies of Bonaparte. Walter Scott,

* See Curse of Kehama, Canto x. verse 20. commencing—
“They sin who tell us love can die.”

whom I look upon as as complete an Anti-Jacobin as need be, does not sing out more loudly, ‘Fight on my merry men all!’ than I do.
General Moore must feel himself stronger than we have supposed him to be, or he would not advance into the plains of Castille. If he have 40,000, he will beat twice the number; and, for my own part, superior as he is in cavalry and artillery (ours being the best in the world), I do not see what we have to fear from numbers against him, for nothing can withstand our cavalry in a flat country. You know, Grosvenor, I never felt a fear till it was said he was retreating, and now that he is marching on, all my apprehensions are over. Huzza! it will be Rule Britannia by land as well as by sea.

“I have had a grievous cold, which has prevented me from rising as soon as it is light, and thereby, for awhile, stopped Kehama. This evening I have corrected the fourth sheet of Brazil; the volume will be ready in the spring. I am now busy in filling up some skeleton chapters in the middle of the volume. This will be as true a history, and as industriously and painfully made, as ever yet appeared; yet I cannot say that I expect much present approbation for it. It is deficient in fine circumstances; and as for what is called fine writing, the public will get none of that article from me; sound sense, sound philosophy, and sound English I will give them.

“I was beginning to wonder what was become of Wynn. Can you procure for me a copy of the report of the Court of Inquiry, or will you ask Rickman if he can? I do not write to him till the
Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 207
season of franking returns. I shall want it hereafter as one of my documents.
Lord Moira has risen in my estimation; he is the only person who seems to have had anything like a feeling of the moral strength which was on our side, and which we completely gave up by the convention. God bless you!

R. S.”