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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 15 May 1816

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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“May 15. 1816.
“My dear G.,

“. . . . . If egotism* in poetry be a sin, God forgive all great poets! But perhaps it is allowable in them, when they have been dead a few centuries; and therefore they may be permitted to speak of themselves and appreciate themselves, provided they leave especial

* This refers to some observations which had been made upon the Proem to the marriage song for the Princess Charlotte.

orders that such passages be not made public until the statute of critical limitation expires. Who can be weak enough to suppose that the man who wrote that third stanza would be deterred from printing it by any fear of reprehension on the score of vanity? Who is to reprehend him? None of his peers assuredly; not one person who will sympathise with him as he reads; not one person who enters into his thoughts and feelings; not one person who can enter into the strain and enjoy it. Those persons, indeed, may who live wholly in the present; but I have taken especial care to make it known, that a faith in hereafter is as necessary for the intellectual as for the moral character, and that to the man of letters (as well as the Christian) the present forms but the slightest portion of his existence. He who would leave any durable monument behind him, must live in the past and look to the future. The poets of old scrupled not to say this; and who is there who is not delighted with these passages, whenever time has set his seal upon the prophecy which they contain? . . . .

“My spirits do not recover: that they should again be what they have been, I do not expect,—that, indeed, is impossible. But, except when reading or writing, I am deplorably depressed: the worst is, that I cannot conceal this. To affect anything like my old hilarity, and that presence of joyous feelings which carried with it a sort of perpetual sunshine, is, of course, impossible; but you must imagine that the absence of all this must make itself felt. The change in my daily occupations, in my sports, my relaxations,
Ætat. 42. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 185
my hopes, is so great, that it seems to have changed my very nature also. Nothing is said, but I often find anxious eyes fixed upon me, and watching my countenance. The best thing I can say is, that time passes on, and sooner or later remedies everything. . . . .

“I will have the books bound separately, because a book is a book, and two books are worth as much again as one; and if a man’s library comes to the hammer, this is of consequence; and whenever I get my knock-down blow, the poor books will be knocked down after me. But why did I touch upon this string? Alas! Grosvenor, it is because all things bear upon one subject, the centre of the whole circumference of all my natural associations

“God bless you!

R. S.”