LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 25 November 1809

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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“Nov. 25. 1809.
“My dear Tom,

“I write to you for two reasons. . . . . ; the other, a more interesting one, is to tell you that I have this day finished Kehama, having written two hundred lines since yesterday morning. Huzza, Aballiboozobanganorribo!* It is not often in his lifetime a man finishes a long poem, and as I have nobody to give me joy, I must give myself joy. 24 sections, 4844 lines; 200 or 300 more will probably be added in course of correction and transcription; all has been done before breakfast (since its resumption) except about 170 lines of the conclusion. Huzza! better than lying a-bed, Tom; and though I am not quite ready to begin another, I will rise as usual to-morrow, and work at the plans of Pelayo and Robin Hood. And now I am a little impatient that you should see the whole, and shall feel another job off

* See The Doctor, &c.

my hands when your copy is completed. By beginning earlier with the next poem, I shall be able to keep pace with it, and send it to you as fast as it proceeds. . . . .

“Very very few persons will like Kehama; everybody will wonder at it; it will increase my reputation without increasing my popularity: a general remark will be, what a pity that I have wasted so much power. I care little about this, having in the main pleased myself, and all along amused myself; every generation will afford me some half dozen admirers of it, and the everlasting column of Dante’s fame does not stand upon a wider base. There will be a good many minor ornaments to insert, the metre will in many places be enriched, and the story perhaps sometimes be rendered more perspicuous. Now that the whole is before me, I can see where to add and alter. If it receives half the improvements which Thalaba did, I shall be well content.

Pelayo is to be in blank verse: where the whole interest is to be derived from human character and the inherent dignity of the story, I will not run the hazard of enfeebling the finer parts for the sake of embellishing the weaker ones. I shall pitch Robin Hood in a different key,—such as the name would lead one to expect,—a wild pastoral movement, in the same sort of plastic metre as Garci Ferrandez.* I shall aim it at about 2000 lines, and endeavour not to exceed 3000.

“The state of home politics is perfectly hopeless. Bonaparte seems thoroughly to despise all we can do; all that we have done he is certainly entitled to

* Poems, p. 441.

Ætat. 35. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 269
despise; but if we had
Marlborough or Peterborough alive again, six months would close his career for ever even now. It remains to be seen whether he despises the Spaniards enough to let things go on in their present course, or if he will enter Spain again and overrun the open country. In that case there is a line of large towns between Barcelona and Cadiz, along the coast, some of which may be expected to hold out like Zaragoza and Gerona, which we could assist by sea, and which would afford opportunities for such men as Cochrane or Sir S. Smith grievously to annoy the besiegers,—indeed to cut them off if they had a good force. There ought to be four flying squadrons of 5000 men, each ready to land wherever they were wanted; under Cochrane they would keep five times their number of French in continual alarm. The only possible hope from the Marquis Wellesley is, that he may insist on a vigorous effort; what we are doing now is just worse than nothing. Our men drink themselves to death; our officers learn to despise the Spaniards and Portuguese, because they do not dress, eat, and drink like themselves; and their opinions pass current here in England; and the consequence is, that never were a people so cruelly and basely calumniated as this nation, which has done more against the powers of France, and under every possible disadvantage, than all the rest of Europe conjointly. What a different story Sir Robert Wilson would tell, who has kept the field with his legion of Portuguese, through all the perilous season! . . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”