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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 January 1810

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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“Jan. 21. 1810.
“My dear Rickman.

“I am one of those lucky people who find their business their amusement, and contrive to do more by having half a dozen things in hand at once than if employed upon any single one of them. . . . . You will like what I have said concerning the Catholic question*, and not dislike the way in which I have discharged a little of my gall upon the Foxites, the place-mongers, and Mr. Whitbread. This is a very profitable engagement. They give me 400l. for it; and if it continues two or three years (which I believe rests wholly with myself), it will make me altogether at ease in my circumstances, for by that time my property in Longman’s hands will have cleared itself, the constable will come up with me, and we shall travel on, I trust, to the end of our journey cheek by jowl, even if I should not be able to send him forward like a running footman.

“The Quarterly pays me well—ten guineas per sheet: at the same measure, the Annual was only four. I have the bulky Life of Nelson in hand, and am to be paid double. This must be for the sake of saying they give twenty guineas per sheet, as I should have been well satisfied with ten, and have taken exactly the same pains. . . . .

“The next news of my grey goose quill is, that I have one quarto just coming out of the press for you.

* In the Edinburgh Annual Register.

I have another just going in for
Mrs. Rickman, though I suspect it will be less to her taste than any of my former poems. Kehama has been finished these two months, is more than half transcribed, and the first part ought to have reached Ballantyne’s a month ago, but those rascally carriers have delayed or lost it. The days are now sufficiently lengthened to give me some half hour before breakfast, and I have begun Pelayo, conquered the difficulty of the opening, and am fairly afloat. Add to all this, that from the overflowings of my notes and notanda I am putting together some volumes of Omniana (which will, I have no doubt, pay better than any of the works of which they are in the main, as it were, the crumbs and leavings), and then you will have the catalogue of my works in hand. . . . .

Mathetes is not De Quincey, but a Mr. Wilson,—De Quincey is a singular man, but better informed than any person almost that I ever met at his age. The vice of the Friend is its roundaboutness. Sometimes it is of the highest merit both in matter and manner: more frequently its turnings, and windings, and twistings, and doublings provoke my greyhound propensity of pointing straightforward to the mark.

“The Coalition* which you seem to look on, is

* “If Lord Grenville consent to leave the experiment (of establishing Romanism in Ireland) untried, I do not see what should hinder him from joining with Lord Wellesley, Perceval, and Canning in forming a stronger government than the present; and I should the less wonder at it, as one may suppose that all the Tantarararas . . . . are bodily frightened at the remarkable progress of Cobbetism, built on the late disasters of our armies, though I cannot consent to wish the battle of Talavera unfought, that having established that there is some truth in the old opinion of the bravery of the British, who that day, even by confession of the enemy, were not half their numbers.”—J. R. to R. S., Jan. 14. 1810.

Ætat. 36. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 275
likely enough to take place; if it should, and
Dutens were to die, I might be the better for it; the country would not. The journey to Falmouth seems the best prospect; and yet, at my time of life (the grey hairs are coming), and with my habits, it would be much more agreeable to me to stay at home. I have no hope from chopping and changing, while the materials must remain the same. It signifies little who plays the first fiddle. Tantararara will always be the tune, till there be an entirely new set of performers.

God bless you!
R. S.”