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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 12 November 1797

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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“Bath, Nov. 20. 1797.
“My dear Wynn,

“. . . . . You will be surprised perhaps at hearing that Cowper’s poem does not at all please me: you
Ætat. 23. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 325
must have taken it up in some moment when your mind was predisposed to be pleased, and the first impression has remained; indeed I think it not above mediocrity. I cannot trace the author of the ‘
Task’ in one line. I know that our tastes differ much in poetry, and yet I think you must like these lines by Charles Lamb. I believe you know his history, and the dreadful death of his mother.—

“‘Thou should’st have longer lived, and to the grave
Have peacefully gone down in full old age;
Thy children would have tended thy gray hairs.
We might have sat, as we have often done,
By our fire-side, and talk’d whole nights away,
Old tune, old friends, and old events recalling,
With many a circumstance of trivial note,
To memory dear, and of importance grown.
How shall we tell them in a stranger’s ear!
“‘A wayward son oft times was I to thee:
And yet, in all our little bickerings,
Domestic jars, there was I know not what
Of tender feeling that were ill exchanged
For this world’s chilling friendships, and their smiles
Familiar whom the heart calls strangers still.
“‘A heavy lot hath he, most wretched man,
Who lives the last of all his family!
He looks around him, and his eye discerns
The face of the stranger; and his heart is sick.
Man of the world, what can’st thou do for him?
Wealth is a burthen which he could not bear;
Mirth a strange crime, the which he dares not act;
And generous wines no cordial to his soul.
For wounds like his, Christ is the only cure.
Go, preach thou to him of a world to come,
Where friends shall meet and know each other’s face;
Say less than this, and say it to the winds.’

“I am aware of the danger of studying simplicity of language—but you will find in my blank verse a fulness of phrase when the subject requires it; these lines may instance:—
“‘It was a goodly sight
To see the embattled pomp, as with the step
Of stateliness the barbed steeds came on;
To see the pennons rolling their long waves
Before the gale; and banners broad and bright
Tossing their blazomy; and high-plumed chiefs,
Vidames, and Seneschals, and Chastellains,
Gay with their bucklers’ gorgeous heraldry,
And silken surcoats on the buoyant wind
God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”