LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Neville White, 11 March 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, March 11. 1810.
“My dear Sir,

“Your account of the Monthly Review interested me very much. If they rest the truth of their criticism upon that school poem in plain, direct, tangible language, I will most assuredly favour them with a few lines, first through the medium of as many magazines as we can get access to, and ultimately in a note to the Life. With regard to my own works, I am a perfect Quaker, and fools and rogues may misrepresent and libel them in perfect security; but upon the subject of Henry, the M. Review shall find me a very Tartar.

“Till you informed me of it, I did not know that Lord Byron had amused himself with lampooning me. It is safe game, and he may go on till he is tired. Every apprentice in satire and scandal for the last dozen years has tried his hand upon me. I got hold of the Simpliciad the other day, and wrote as a motto in it these lines, from one of Davenant’s plays which I happened to have just been reading:—
Libels of such weak fancy and composure,
That we do all esteem it greater wrong
To have our names extant in such paltry rhyme
Than in the slanderous sense.’

“The manner in which these rhymesters and prosesters misunderstand what they criticise, would be altogether ludicrous, if it did not proceed as often from want of feeling as from want of intellect.

Ætat. 36. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 279

“I want your assistance in a business in which I am sure it will interest you to give it. A youth of Bristol, by name William Roberts, died of consumption about two years ago, at the age of nineteen. He was employed in a bank, and his salary, 70l. a year (I believe), was materially useful in assisting towards the support of his father and mother, and a grandmother, and one only sister. The family had known better days . . . . . and one calamity following another, has reduced them very greatly. Yet still there remains that feeling which, if I call it pride, it is only for want of a better word to express something noble in its nature. William was a youth of great genius, and a few days before his death he bequeathed his poems in trust to his two intimate friends to be published for the benefit of his sister, that being all he had to bequeath, and his passionate desire (like that of Chatterton) was to provide for her. You must remember that at that time he did not foresee the subsequent distresses of his father and mother. These friends were a young physician of the name of Hogg, settled somewhere near London, and James, a banker of Birmingham, an acquaintance of mine, the author of that sweet poem upon the Otaheitean Girl, of which some stanzas were quoted in the third Quarterly Review. James has arranged the poems and letters of the poor fellow for the press, and will draw up a biographical memoir. He has consulted me upon the subject, and the plain statement which I have here made of the circumstances has interested me very deeply . . . . . My
opinion is that great things might have been done by William Roberts; that every one will acknowledge this; but that his Remains will not obtain a general sale. Of
Henry’s I foresaw the success as much as such a thing could be foreseen. But Roberts has left nothing so good as Henry’s best pieces; in fact he died younger, and was precluded from the possibility of advancing himself as Henry did, in choosing a learned profession because his salary was wanted at home. There is another reason too against their general sale; though he was most exemplary in all his duties, and, as far as I can discover, absolutely without a spot or blemish upon his character, and a regular and sincere churchman, there is nothing of that kind of piety in his writings to which the Remains are mostly indebted for their popularity. . . . .

“My hope is that such a sum may be raised as will be sufficient to place Eliza Roberts in a situation respectably to support herself and her parents. I do not yet know what extent the publication will run to, but as soon as this is settled, I will beg you to beg subscriptions. . . . . This whole account is written with such a cautious fear of saying too much, that I fear I have said too little, and may unwittingly have led you to think slightingly of what poor William Roberts has left behind him. If I have done this I have done wrong, for certainly he was a youth of great genius and most uncommon promise, which it is my firm belief, founded upon the purity of his life and principles and the rectitude of his feelings, that he would amply have fulfilled, if it had not
Ætat. 36. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 281
pleased God to remove him so early from this sphere of existence.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”