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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John May, 12 June 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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“Keswick, June 12. 1816.
“My dear Friend,

“I have not written to you for some weeks. Time passes on, and the lapse of two months may perhaps enable me now to judge what permanent effect this late affliction may produce upon my habitual state of mind. It will be long before I shall cease to be
sensible of the change in my relaxations, my pleasures, hopes, plans, and prospects; very long, I fear, will it be before a sense of that change will cease to be my latest thought at night and my earliest in the morning. Yet I am certainly resigned to this privation; and this I say, not in the spirit with which mere philosophy teaches us to bear that which is inevitable, but with a Christian conviction that this early removal is a blessing to him who is removed. We read of persons who have suddenly become gray from violent emotions of grief or fear. I feel in some degree as if I had passed at once from boyhood to the decline of life. I had never ceased to be a boy in cheerfulness till now. All those elastic spirits are now gone; nor is it in the nature of things that they should return. I am still capable of enjoyment, and trust that there is much in store for me; but there is an end of that hilarity which I possessed more uninterruptedly, and in a greater degree, than any person with whom I was ever acquainted. You advised me to write down my recollections of
Herbert while they were fresh. I dare not undertake the task. Something akin to it, but in a different form, and with a more extensive purpose, I have begun; but my eyes and my head suffer too much in the occupation for me to pursue it as yet; and as these effects cannot be concealed, I must avoid as much as possible all that would produce them. This, believe me, is an effort of forbearance, for my heart is very much set upon completing what I have planned. The effect upon Edith will be as lasting as upon myself; but she had not the
Ætat. 42. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 189
same exuberance of spirits to lose, and therefore it will be less perceptible. The self-command which she has exercised has been truly exemplary, and commands my highest esteem. Your
god-daughter, thank God, is well. Her daily lesson will long be a melancholy task on my part, since it will be a solitary one. She is now so far advanced that I can make some of her exercises of use, and set her to translate passages for my notes, from French, Spanish, or Portuguese. Of course this is not done without some assistance and some correction. Still while she improves herself she is assisting me, and the pleasure that this gives me is worth a great deal. She is a good girl, with a ready comprehension, quick feelings, a tender heart, and an excellent disposition. I pray God that her life may be spared to make me happy while I live, and some one who may be worthy of her when it shall be time for her to contract other ties and other duties.

“I suppose you will receive my Lay in a few days.

“God bless you, my dear friend!

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”