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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 19 February 1804

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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“Greta Hall, Feb. 19. 1804.

Parson-son,*, the Piscis Piscium sive Piscissimus, left us to-day. . . . . He is piping-hot from Bristol, and brimful of admiration for Beddoes, who, indeed, seems to have done so much for Mrs. C., that there are good hopes of her speedy recovery. He is in high spirits about the Slave Trade, for the West India merchants will not consent to its suspension for five years, to prevent the importation of hands into the newly conquered islands; and what from that jealousy, and from the blessed success of the St. Domingo negroes, I believe we may hope to see the traffic abolished. . . . .

“If I were a single man and a Frenchman, I would

* Mr. Clarkson.

go as a missionary to St. Domingo, where a world of good might be done in that way: the climate may be defied by any man in a high state of mental excitement I know not whether I sent you some curious facts respecting vivaciousness, but I have met with enough to lead to important physiological conclusions, and in particular to explain the sufficiently common fact of sick persons fixing the hour of their deaths and living exactly to that time; the simple solution is, that they would else have died sooner. In proceeding with my History, I continually find something that leads to interesting speculation: it would, perhaps, be better if there were always some one at hand, to whom I could communicate these discoveries, and who should help me to hunt down the game when started; not that I feel any wish for such society, but still it would at times be useful. It is a very odd, but a marked, characteristic of my mind,—the very nose in the face of my intellect,—that it is either utterly idle, or uselessly active, without its tools. I never enter into any regular train of thought unless the pen be in my hand; they then flow as fast as did the water from the rock in Horeb, but without that wand the source is dry. At these times conversation would be useful. However, I am going on well, never better. The old cerebrum was never in higher activity. I find daily more and more reason to wonder at the miserable ignorance of English historians, and to grieve with a sort of despondency, at seeing how much that has been laid up among the stores of knowledge, has been neglected and utterly forgotten.

Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 265

Madoc goes on well; the whole detail of the alteration is satisfactorily completed, and I shall have it ready for the press by Midsummer. I wish it could have been well examined first by you and William Taylor; however, it will be well purged and purified in the last transcription, and shall go into the world, not such as will obtain general approbation now, but such as may content most men to read. I am not quite sure whether the story will not tempt me to have a cross in the title-page, and take for my motto. In hoc signo. . . . .

“If Μακρος Αυθρωπος agrees with me about the Specimens, it will oblige me to go to London. Perhaps we may contrive to meet. . . . .

“I am sorry, sir, to perceive by your letter that there is a scarcity of writing-paper in London; perhaps, the next time you write, Mr. Rickman or Mr. Poole* will have the goodness to accommodate you with a larger sheet, that you may have the goodness to accommodate me with a longer letter; and if, sir, it be owing to the weakness of your sight that you write so large a hand, and in lines so far apart, there is a very excellent optician, who lives at Charing Cross, where you may be supplied with the best spectacles, exactly of the number which may suit your complaint.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient humble servant,
Robert Southey.”