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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 27 June 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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“June 27. 1804, Keswick.

“’Tis a heartless thing, dear Tom, to write from this distance, and at this uncertainty,—the more so when I recollect how many letters of mine were sent to the West Indies when you were last there, which never reached you. Two packets, say the papers, have been taken; and if so, two of my epistles are now deeper down than your sounding-lines have ever fathomed,—unless, indeed, some shark has swallowed and digested bags and bullets. We are uneasy at receiving no letter since that which announced your arrival at Barbadoes. I conceived you were at the Surinam expedition, and waited for the Gazette to-day with some unavoidable apprehensions. It has arrived, and I can find no trace of the Galatea, which, though so far satisfactory, as that it proves you have not been killed by. the Dutchman, leaves me, on the other hand, in doubt what has become of you and your ship. . . . .

“About the changes in the Admiralty, I must tell you a good thing of W. T. in the Isis; he said it was grubbing up English oak, and planting Scotch fir in
its place, for the use of the navy. An excellent good thing! If, however, I am not pleased that
Lord Melville should be in, I am heartily glad that his predecessor is out, for no man ever proved himself so utterly unfit for the post. Our home politics are become very interesting, and must ultimately lead to the strongest administration ever seen in England. Pitt has played a foolish game in coming in alone; it has exasperated the Prince, who is the rising sun to look to, and is playing for the regency.

“The Lakers and the fine weather have made their appearance together. As yet we have only seen Sharpe, whose name I know not if you will remember; he is an intimate of Tuffin, or Muffin, whose name you cannot forget; and, like him, an excellent talker; knowing every body, remembering every thing, and having strong talents besides. Davy is somewhere on the road; he is recovering from the ill effects of fashionable society, which had warped him. Rickman told me his mind was in a healthier tone than usual, and I was truly rejoiced to find it so. Wordsworth came over to see me on my return, and John Thelwall, the lecturer on elocution, dined with us on his travels. But the greatest event of Greta Hall is, that we have had a jack of two-and-twenty pounds, which we bought at threepence a pound. It was caught in the Lake with a hook and line. We drest it in pieces, like salmon, and it proved, without exception, one of the finest fish I had ever tasted; so if ever you catch such a one, be sure you boil it instead of roasting it in the usual way. I am in excellent good health, and have got rid of my sore eyes,—for how
Ætat. 29. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 297
long God knows. The disease, it seems, came from Egypt, and is in some mysterious manner contagious, so that we have naturalised another curse.

Madoc is in the printer’s hands—Ballantyne, of Edinburgh, who printed the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,—if you remember the book. Next week I expect the first proof. Do not be frightened to hear after this that I have not done a stroke further in correcting and filling up the MSS. since my return. Reviewing is coming round again; I have a parcel upon the road, and groan in spirit at the prospect; not but of all trades it is the least irksome, and the most like my own favourite pursuits, which it certainly must, in a certain degree, assist, as well as, in point of time, retard. There is much of mine in the second volume*, and of my best; some of which you will discover, and some perhaps not. A sixth of the whole is mine;—pretty hard work. I get on bravely with my History, and have above three quarto volumes done,—quartos as they ought to be, of about 500 honest pages each. It does me good to see what a noble pile my boards make.

“My dog Dapper is as fond of me as ever Cupid was; this is a well-bred hound of my landlord’s, who never fails to leap upon my back when I put my nose out of doors, and who, never having ventured beyond his own field till I lately tempted him, is the most prodigious coward you ever beheld; he almost knocked Edith down in running away from a pig: but I like him, for he is a worthy dog, and frightens

* Of the Annual Review,

the sauntering Lakers as much as the pig frightened him.

“The Scotch reviewers are grown remarkably civil to me; partly because Elmsley was, and partly because Walter Scott is, connected with them. My Amadis and the Chatterton have been noticed very respectfully there. I told you in my last that Amadis sold well—as much in one year as Thalaba in three! But I feel, and my booksellers feel, that I am getting on in the world, and the publication of Madoc will set me still higher.

“How goes on the Spanish? keep to it by all means; for it is not an impossible nor an improbable thing that you and I may one day meet in Portugal; and, if so, take a journey together. You will then find it useful; for it turns readily into Portuguese. My uncle and I keep up a pretty regular intercourse. I am trying to set his affairs here in order. A cargo of books value about eleven pounds, which were lost for twelve months, have been recovered, and I am feeding upon them. God bless you, Tom! lose no opportunity of writing. Edith’s love.

R. S.”