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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 26 April 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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“Keswick, April 26. 1808.
“Dear Grosvenor.

“From one scene of confusion to another. You saw me in London everlastingly at work in packing my books; and here they are now lying in all parts about me, up to my knees in one place, up to my eyes in another, and above head and ears in a third. I can scarcely find stepping places through the labyrinth, from one end of the room to the other. Like Pharaoh’s frogs, they have found their way everywhere, even into the bedchambers. . . . . And now, Grosvenor, having been married above twelve years, I have for the first time collected all my books together. What a satisfaction this is you cannot imagine, for you cannot conceive the hundredth part of the inconvenience and vexation I have endured for want of them. But the joy which they give me brings with it a mingled feeling,—the
recollection that there are as many materials heaped up as I shall ever find life to make use of; and the humiliating reflection how little knowledge can be acquired in the most laborious life of man, that knowledge becoming every age less and less, in proportion to the accumulation of events. For some things I have been born too late. Under the last reign, for instance, as in the first half of this, my pension would have been an income adequate to my wants, and my profits as a writer would have been at least quadrupled. On the other hand, bad as these times are, they are better than those which are coming.

“At Bristol I met with the man of all others whom I was most desirous of meeting,—the only man living of whose praise I was ambitious, or whose censure would have humbled me. You will be curious to know who this could be. Savage Landor, the author of Gebir, a poem which, unless you have heard me speak of it, you have probably never heard of at all. I never saw any one more unlike myself in every prominent part of human character, nor any one who so cordially and instinctively agreed with me on so many of the most important subjects. I have often said before we met, that I would walk forty miles to see him, and having seen him, I would gladly walk fourscore to see him again. He talked of Thalaba, and I told him of the series of mythological poems which I had planned,—mentioned some of the leading incidents on which they were to have been formed, and also told him for what reason they were laid aside;—in plain English, that I could not afford to write them. Landor’s reply was, ‘Go on
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 139
with them, and I will pay for printing them, as many as you will write and as many copies as you please.’ I had reconciled myself to my abdication (if the phrase may be allowable), and am not sure that this princely offer has not done me mischief; for it has awakened in me old dreams and hopes which had been laid aside, and a stinging desire to go on, for the sake of showing him poem after poem, and saying, ‘I need not accept your offer, but I have done this because you made it.’ It is something to be praised by one’s peers; ordinary praise I regard as little as ordinary abuse. God bless you!

R. S.”