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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 August 1800

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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“Cintra, August 25. 1800.
“My dear Harry,

. . . . . “On my return to England in the next spring, I shall take a house in or near London, where you shall live with me and study anatomy at the Westminster Hospital, under Carlisle, whom you know to be a man of genius and my friend. By the time you have acquired enough previous knowledge, I trust some of my eggs will have hatched, so that you may graduate either at Edinburgh or in Germany, as shall appear best. Till my return you will remain where you are; you are well employed, and evidently improving rapidly. Nor is there any home to which you possibly could remove! On my return you will have one, and I trust more comfortable than any you have yet had. We are rising in the world; it is our turn, and will be our own faults if we do not, all of us, attain that station in the world to which our intellectual rank entitles us.

“Attend to prose particularly; excellence in that
is acquirable: you know the value of literature, and may, perhaps, one day find it, as I have done, a resource as well as a delight. In your course of history,
Gibbon must be read: it is the link that connects ancient with modern history. For the history of Portugal you must wait; there is none but that in the Universal History. It is a fine subject, and you will see, on my return, a skeleton—I hope half-musiled.

Thalaba has taken up too much of my time, and I am eager to send it off, and wash my hands of all that could have been written in England: it is finished, and half ready for the press. I am polishing and polishing, and hewing it to pieces with surgeon severity. Yesterday I drew the pen across six hundred lines, and am now writing to you instead of supplying their place. It goes over for publication very shortly—I trust in three weeks. Rickman is my agent and supervisor of the press. I am sorry you do not know Rickman. I esteem him among the first men of my knowledge. . . . . For six weeks we have been at Cintra—a spot the most beautiful that I have ever seen, and which is probably unique. Eighteen miles distant, at Lisbon, the sun is insupportable. Here we are cool, with woods and water. The wealthier English are all here; still, however, I lack society, and, were it not for a self-sufficiency (like the bear, who sucks his paws when the snow shuts him up in his den), should be in a state of mental famine. My uncle is little here; people will die, and must be buried. He is a man of extensive information; his
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
library very well furnished, and he very well acquainted with its contents. One Englishman here only talks politics with me; his taste in French is everything, and in all else mine is right English and Antigallican. The English here know very little of the country they live in, and nothing of the literature. Of
Camoens they have heard, and only of Camoens. By the help of my uncle I have acquired an extensive knowledge, and am almost as well acquainted with Portuguese literature, as with that of my own country. It is not worth much; but it is not from the rose and the violet only that the bee sucks honey.

“You would be amused could you see Edith and myself on ass-back—I sitting sideways, gloriously lazy, with a boy to beat my Bayardo, as well adapted to me, as ever that wild courser was to Rinaldo. In this climate there is no walking; a little exercise heats so immoderately: but their cork woods or fir woods, and mountain glens, and rock pyramids, and ever-flowing fountains, and lemon-groves ever in flower and in fruit, want only society to become a Paradise. Could I but colonise Cintra, with half-a-dozen familiars, I should wish never to leave it. As it is, I am comfortable, my health establishing itself, my spirits everlastingly partaking the sunshine of the climate; yet I do hunger after the bread-and-butter, and the fire-side comforts, and the intellect of England. You will, I think, whenever my library is at hand, learn Portuguese, because I have got the history of Charlemagne and the Twelve Paladins in that language, and Palmerin of England. I have only laid hands on half an old Spanish romance, Don
Florisel, son of Amadis of Greece, who was a perfect Jack the Giant Killer, and has taught me to forgive Don Quixote for knocking knight-errantry on the head. Bad poetry I find in abundance. . . . . The Portuguese Academy published a book in honour of the victories of the Empress-Queen Maria Theresa. My literary history will have a chapter upon the follies of literature, in which this work will furnish my best example: every possible form of acrostic is there; poems to read up and down, and athwart and across; crosses, and circles, and wheels. Literature is almost dead here. More books are published annually at Bristol than in Portugal. There are no books to induce a love of reading—no Arabian Tales or Seven Champions. . . . . In case of peace,—and surely, surely, it must come,—we shall return through Spain and France. I am anxious to see Biscay. Our man Bento, who served in the Spanish army against France, has given me a curious account of that province, where the people are clean, industrious, and free, and speak Welsh or something very like it. On entering France, one of the Spanish generals ordered his company to kill man, woman, and child: in Roncesvalles (where Orlando and the Paladins were slain), a little boy of about six years was playing on a wall; he stopped to look at the troops; Bento saw one of his fellow-soldiers, in obedience to these orders, cut off the child’s head. ‘I have seen a thousand men killed,’ said he, when he told the story, ‘but I never felt any pain except when I saw that poor child murdered.’ What is to be the fate of Portugal? We know not. Much is
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 111
going on, but all in secrecy. I expect peace every where.
Bonaparte ought not to have risked that battle—to stake so much on one game! Moreau would not have done it—it was a prodigality of human blood merely to please the Parisians. . . .

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. S. ”