LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 23 March 1814

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Keswick, March 23. 1814.
“My dear Rickman,

“Your letter* operated well. Like a good boy I began my task immediately after its arrival, and have now completed one part and begun the second, of a poem which is to consist of three. Can you give me a better title than Carmen Maritale? I distrust my own Latinity, which has long been disused and never was very good. The poem is in six-lined stanzas; first a proem, so called rather than introduction, that the antiquated word may put the reader in tune for what follows. It is a poet’s egotism making the best of the laurel, and passing to the present subject by professing at first an unfitness for it; the second part will be a vision, wherein allegorical personages give good advice; and the concluding part a justification of the serious strain which has been chosen; something about the king; and a fair winding up with a wish that it may be long before the Princess be called upon to exercise the duties of which she has been here reminded. The whole poem 300 to 400 lines,—on which, when they are completed, I will request you to bestow an hour’s reading, with a pencil in your hand.

“In George Gascoigne’s poem there are many things about the Dutch, showing that the English

* My father had been in doubt as to the likelihood of the Princess Charlotte’s marriage with the Prince of Orange, and hesitated whether to commence a poem on that subject.

despised them and despaired of their cause, just as in our days happened to the Spaniards:—
“‘And thus, my lord, your honour may discerne
Our perils past; and how, in our annoy,
God saved me (your lordship’s bound for ever),
Who else should not be able now to tell
The state wherein this country doth persever,
Ne how they seem in careless minds to dwell
(So did they erst, and so they will do ever).
And so, my lord, for to bewray my mind,
Methinks they be a race of bull-beef borne,
Whose hearts their butter mollyfieth by kind,
And so the force of beef is clear outworne.
And eke their brains with double beer are lined,
Like sops of browasse puffed up with froth;
When inwardly they be but hollow geer,
As weak as wind which with one puff up goeth.
And yet they brag, and think they have no peer,
Because Harlem hath hitherto held out;
Although in deed (as they have suffered Spain)
The end thereof even now doth rest in doubt.’

“I dearly love a piece of historical poetry like this, which shows how men thought and felt, when history only tells me how they acted.

R. S.”