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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynne, 3 April 1805

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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“April 3. 1805.
“Dear Wynn,

“I have been grievously shocked this evening by the loss of the Abergavenny*, of which Wordsworth’s brother was captain. Of course the news came flying up to us from all quarters, and it has disordered me from head to foot. At such circumstances I believe we feel as much for others as for ourselves; just as a violent blow occasions the same pain as a wound, and he who breaks his shin feels as acutely at the moment as the man whose leg is shot off. In fact, I am writing to you merely because this dreadful shipwreck has left me utterly unable to do anything else. It is the heaviest calamity Wordsworth has ever experienced, and in all probability I shall have to communicate it to him, as he will very likely be here before the tidings can reach him. What renders any near loss of the kind so peculiarly distressing is, that the recollection is perpetually freshened when any like event occurs, by the mere mention of shipwreck, or the sound of the wind. Of all deaths it is the most dreadful, from the circumstances of terror which accompany it.

* An allusion to this shipwreck is made in a published letter of an earlier date: which of the two dates is correct, I cannot at this time ascertain.


“I have to write the history of two shipwrecks,—that of Sepulveda and his wife, which is mentioned by Camoens, and that of D. Paulo de Lina, one of the last Portuguese who distinguished himself favourably in India. Both these, but especially the first, are so dreadfully distressful, that I look on to the task of dwelling upon all the circumstances, and calling them up before my own sight, and fixing them in my own memory, as I needs must do, with very great reluctance. Fifteen years ago, the more melancholy a tale was the better it pleased me, just as we all like tragedy better than comedy when we are young. But now I as unwillingly encounter this sort of mental pain as I would any bodily suffering. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”