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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 11 August 1806

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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“Keswick, Aug. 11. 1806.
“My dear Cottle,

Madoc has not made my fortune. By the state of my account in May last,—that is, twelve months after its publication,—there was a balance due to me (on the plan of dividing the profits) of 3l. 19s 1d. About 180 then remained to be sold, each of which will give me 5s.; but the sale will be rather slower than distillation through a filtering stone. We mean to print a small edition in two vols, without delay, and without alterations, that the quarto may not lose its value.

“Of the many reviewings of this poem I have only seen the Edinburgh, Monthly, and Annual. I sent a copy to Mr. Fox, and Lady Holland told me it was the rule at St. Ann’s Hill to read aloud till eleven, and then retire; but that when they were reading Madoc they often read till the clock struck twelve. In short, I have had as much praise as heart could desire, but not quite so much of the more solid kind of remuneration. . . . . I am preparing for the press the Chronicle of the
Cid,—a very curious monument of old Spanish manners and history, which will make two little volumes, to the great delight of about as many readers as will suffice to take off an edition of 750.

“You suggest to me three Epic subjects, all of them striking, but each liable to the same objection,—that no entire and worthy interest can be attached to the conquering party in either. 1st. William of Normandy is less a hero than Harold. The true light in which that part of our history should be regarded was shown me by William Taylor. The country was not thoroughly converted. Harold favoured the Pagans, and the Normans were helped by the priests. 2dly. Alaric is the chief personage of a French poem by Scudery, which is notoriously worthless. The capture of Rome is in itself an event so striking that it almost palsies one’s feelings; yet nothing resulted which could give a worthy purport to the poem. In this point Theodoric is a better hero: the indispensable requisite, however, in a subject for me is, that the end—the ultimate end—must be worthy of the means. 3dly. The expulsion of the Moriscoes. This is a dreadful history, which I will never torture myself by reading a second time. Besides I am convinced, in opposition to the common opinion, that the Spaniards did wisely in the act of expelling them; tho’ most wickedly in the way of expelling them. One word more about literature, and then to other matters. How goes on the Fall of Cambria, and what are you about?

“My little girl is now two years and a quarter old—a delightful playfellow, of whom I am somewhat
more fond than is fitting. . . . .
Edith is in excellent health: I myself the same barebones as ever, first cousin to an anatomy, but with my usual good health and steady good spirits; neither in habits nor in anything else different from what I was, except that if my upper story is not better furnished, a great deal of good furniture is thrown away.

“. . . . . In spite of the slow sale of Madoc, I cannot but think that it may answer as well for the year’s ways and means to finish the ‘Curse of Kehama,’ and sell the first edition, as to spend the time in criticising other people’s books. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. Southey.”