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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 17 January 1813

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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“Keswick, Jan. 17. 1813.
“My dear Wynn,

“It is somewhat late to speak of Christmas and the New Year; nevertheless I wish you as many as you may be capable of enjoying, and the more the better. Winter is passing on mildly with us; and if it were not for our miry soil and bad ways, I should not wish for pleasanter weather than January has brought with it. Ailments rather than inclination have led me of late to take regular exercise, which I was wont to think I could do without as well as a Turk; so I take two or three of the children with me, and, giving them leave to call upon me for their daily walk, their eagerness overcomes my propensities for the chair and the desk; we now go before breakfast, for the sake of getting the first sunshine on the mountains, which, when the snow is on them, is more glorious than at any other season. Yesterday I think I heard the wild swan, and this morning had the finest sight of wild-fowl I ever beheld: there was a cloud of them above the lake, at such a height, that frequently they became invisible, then twinkled
into sight again, sometimes spreading like smoke as it ascends, then contracting as if performing some military evolution,—once they formed a perfect bow; and thus wheeling and charging, and rising and falling, they continued to sport as long as I could watch them. They were probably wild ducks.

“Your godson is determined to be a poet, he says; and I was not a little amused by his telling me this morning, when he came near a hollow tree which has caught his eye lately, and made him ask me sundry questions about it, that the first poem he should make should be about that hollow tree. I have made some progress in rhyming the Greek accidence for him,—an easier thing than you would perhaps suppose it to be; it tickles his humour, and lays hold of his memory.

“This last year has been full of unexpected events, such indeed as mock all human foresight. The present will bring with it business of importance at home, whatever may happen abroad.

“There is one point in which most men, however opposite in their judgments about the affairs of the Peninsula, have been deceived,—in their expectations from the Cortes. There is a lamentable want of wisdom in the country; among the peasantry its place is supplied by their love of the soil and that invincible perseverance which so strongly marks the Spanish character. Bonaparte never can subdue them, even if his power had received no shock, and his whole attention were exclusively directed towards Spain: his life, though it should be prolonged to the length of Aurengzebe’s (as great a villain as himself),
would not give him time to wear out their perseverance and religious hatred. I have never doubted of the eventual independence of Spain; but concerning the government which may grow out of the struggle my hopes diminish, and I begin to think that Portugal has better prospects than Spain, because the government there may be induced to reform itself.

“If Gifford prints what I have written, and lets it pass unmutilated, you will see in the next Quarterly some remarks upon the moral and political state of the populace, and the alarming manner in which Jacobinism (disappearing from the educated classes) has sunk into the mob; a danger far more extensive and momentous than is generally admitted. Very likely a sort of cowardly prudence may occasion some suppressions, which I should be sorry for. Wyndham would have acknowledged the truth of the picture, and have been with me for looking the danger in the face. It is an old fact that the favourite song among the people in this little town just now as I have happened to learn; is upon Parker the mutineer: it purports to have been written by his wife, and is in metre and diction just what such a woman would write.

“"What part do you take in the East Indian question? I perceive its magnitude, and am wholly incapable of forming an opinion.

Coleridge’s tragedy*, which Sheridan and Kemble

* After the successful appearance of this tragedy, which was entitled “Remorse,” my father wrote—“I never doubted that Coleridge’s play would meet with a triumphant reception. Be it known now and remembered hereafter, that this self-same play, having had

rejected fifteen years ago, will come out in about a fortnight at Drury Lane.

“God bless you!

R. S.”