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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Scott, 17 September 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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“Keswick, Sept. 17. 1810.
“My dear Scott,

“In the Courier of the 15th (which has this evening reached us) is an article pretending to exhibit imitations from your poems, and signed S. T. C. At the first sight of this I was certain that S. T. Coleridge had nothing to do with it; and upon putting the paper into his hands, his astonishment was equal to mine. What may be the motive of this dirty trick Heaven knows. I can only conjecture that the fellow who has practised it, designs in some other paper or magazine to build up a charge of jealousy and envy in Coleridge, founded upon his own forgery. Coleridge declares he will write to the Courier disavowing the signature. I know he means to do it; but his actions so little correspond to his intentions, that I fear he will delay doing it, very probably, till it is too late. Therefore I lose no time in assuring you that he knows nothing of this petty and paltry attack, which I have no doubt, from whatever quarter it may have come, originates more in malice towards him than towards you.

“I was not without hopes of seeing you in this land of lakes, on your way from the Yorkshire Greta; but happening to see Jeffrey about a fortnight ago, he told me that you were settled at Ashiestiel for the autumn. I say happening to see him, because his visit was to Coleridge, not to me; and he told C. that he had not called immediately on me, as he did not know what my feelings might be towards him, &c.


“You have probably seen my labours in the Register. Upon almost all points of present politics I believe there is little difference of opinion between us; and every where, I think, you will give me credit for fair dealing as well as plain speaking. At present I am working very hard upon the second volume; it is an employment which interests me very much, and I complain of nothing but the want sometimes of sufficient documents respecting the Spanish war. Particularly I regret the want of detailed accounts of the second siege of Zaragoza and the siege of Gerona, that I might be enabled to present a full record of those glorious events. I suppose you know the whole secret history of the Register, otherwise I would tell you how liberally the Ballantynes have behaved to me. They will probably find their account in having engaged a man who writes with such perfect freedom; for though parts of the work may, and indeed will, offend all parties in turn, still there is a decided character of impartiality about it, which will prove the surest recommendation.

Kehama has travelled so slowly through the press, that, instead of appearing at the end of one season, it will be ready about the beginning of the next. I expect every body to admire my new fashion of printing (though unfortunately the printers did not fall into it for the first three or four sheets); if any thing else is admired—ponamus lucro. My unknown critic in the Register will think that I am going against wind and tide with a vengeance, instead of sailing, according to his advice, with the stream. But if he or any body else should imagine
Ætat. 36. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 293
that I purposely set myself in opposition to public opinion, they are very much mistaken. I do not think enough about public opinion for this to be possible. In planning and executing a poem no other thought ever occurs to me than that of making it as good as I can. When it is finished the ostrich does not commit her eggs with more confidence to the sand and the sun, and to mother nature, than I ‘cast it upon the waters,’—sure if it be good that it will be found after many days.

“It gratified me much to hear that you had been interested with my first volume of Brazil. The second will contain more stimulating matter; but it is from the history of Portugal that I think you will derive most amusement, so full will it be of high chivalrous matter and beautiful costume. Pelayo comes on slow and sure, thoroughly to my own mind as far as it has advanced.

Yours very truly,
R. Southey.”