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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 16 August 1808

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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“Aug. 16. 1808.
“My dear Tom,

“—— is gone to Spain! to fight as a private in the Spanish army, and he has found two Englishmen to go with him. A noble fellow! This is something like the days of old, as we poets and romancers represent them;—something like the best part of chivalry: old honours, old generosity, old heroism, are reviving, and the cancer of that nation is stopped, I believe and fully trust, now and for ever. A man like —— cannot long remain without command; and, of all things in this world, I should most rejoice to hear that King Joseph had fallen into his hands;—he would infallibly hang him on the nearest tree, first, as a Bonaparte by blood; secondly, as a Frenchman by adoption; thirdly, as a king by trade.

Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 163

Miss Seward’s criticism has appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Her verses have not been inserted in the Courier, which is rather odd. She reads Madoc to all her acquaintance, and must be the means of selling several copies.

“Another island came up on Saturday last, which I shall visit the first fine day,—probably with Jackson and Jonathan Ottley, who is going to measure it and catch a bottle of the gas, Jonathan being, as you know, our Keswick philosopher. We are now having a spell of wind and rain.

“We have got the prettiest kitten you ever saw,—a dark tabby,—and we have christened her by the heathenish name of Dido. You would be very much diverted to see her hunt Herbert all round the kitchen, playing with his little bare feet, which she just pricks at every pat, and the faster he moves back the more she paws them, at which he cries ‘Naughty Dido!’ and points to his feet and says, ‘Hurt, hurt, naughty Dido.’ Presently he feeds her with comfits, which Dido plays with awhile, but soon returns to her old game. You have lost the amusing part of Herbert’s childhood,—just when he is trying to talk, and endeavouring to say every thing.

“. . . . . I have been in the water very seldom since you went; but the last time I accomplished the great job of fairly swimming on my back, which is a step equal to that of getting one’s first commission.

“I hope that the opening of Pelayo is pretty well arranged, but I will not begin upon it till I come to
a stop in
Kehama. You will not, perhaps, be surprised to hear that two of my old dreams are likely to be introduced, with powerful effect, in this poem,—good proof that it was worth while to keep even the imperfect register that I have. The fear is, that what happened to Nebuchadnezzar is perpetually happening to me. I forget my dreams, and have no Daniel to help out my recollection; and if by chance I do remember them, unless they are instantly written down, the impression passes away almost as lightly as the dream itself. Do you remember the story of Mickle the poet, who always regretted that he could not remember the poetry which he composed in his sleep? it was, he said, so infinitely superior to any thing which he produced in his waking hours. One morning he awoke and repeated the lamentation over his unhappy fortune, that he should compose such sublime poetry, and yet lose it for ever! ‘What!’ said his wife, who happened to be awake, ‘were you writing poetry?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘and such poetry that I would give the world to remember it.’ ‘Well then,’ said she, ‘I did luckily hear the last lines, and I am sure I remember them exactly: they were—
“By Heaven, I’ll wreak my woes
Upon the cowslip and the pale primrose.”
This is one of
Sharpe’s stories,—it is true, and an excellently good one it is. I am not such a dreamer as Mickle, for what I can remember is worth remembering,—and one of the wildest scenes in Kehama will prove this. God bless you!

R. S.”