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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 9 March 1815

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 9, 1815.
“My dear Wynn,

“It would be needless to say that I am much gratified by your general opinion of Roderick. To most of your objections I can reply satisfactorily to my own judgment. The eleven syllable lines (by which we must here understand those which have the redundant syllabic anywhere except at the end,) I justify upon principle and precedent, referring to the practice of Shakspeare and Milton, as authorities from which there can be no appeal. The blending two short syllables into the time of one is as well known in versification as what are called binding-notes are in music.

“The descriptive passages are the relief of the poem, the time in which the action took place not affording me any costume available for this purpose; and relief was especially required in a work wherein the passion was pitched so high.

“I cannot abbreviate the first scene between Julian and Roderick without destroying the connection; and for the blinding of Theodofred, where else could it have been introduced with so much effect as in its present place, where it is so related as at once to mark the character of Rusilla?

“The words to which you object are, one and all, legitimate English words; and I believe, in those places where they are used, the same meaning could not be expressed without a periphrasis. The account
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
of the Spanish towns, &c. was for the double purpose of relief, and of distinctly marking the geography. The auriphrygiate is the only piece of pedantry that I acknowledge, and I was tempted to it by the grandiloquence of the word. You need not be told how desirable it often is to connect blank verse with sonorous words.

“The image of the clouds and the moon*, I saw from my chamber window at Cintra when going to bed, and noted it down with its application the next morning. I have it at this moment distinctly before my eyes, with all the accompanying earth-scenery. Thus much for Roderick. Shall I ever accomplish another work of equal magnitude? I am an older man in feelings than in years, and the natural bent of my inclinations would be never again to attempt one.

“The last Register was not mine, nor do I know by whom it was written. I have not seen it. For the former volume I have never been wholly paid, and have lost from 300l. to 400l. altogether—to me a very serious loss.† At present my time is divided

Methinks if ye would know
How visitations of calamity
Affect the pious soul, ’tis shown ye there!
Look yonder at that cloud, which through the sky
Sailing alone doth cross in her career
The rolling moon! I watched it as it came,
And deemed the bright opake would blot her beams;
But, melting like a wreath of snow, it hangs
In folds of wavy silver round, and clothes
The orb with richer beauties than her own,
Then passing, leaves her in her light serene.
Roderick, sect. xxi.

† Part of this was ultimately paid, but not for several years.

at fits between the
History of the Spanish War, and that of Brazil: the latter is in the press, and will be published about the close of the year. I shall follow it immediately with the History of Portugal, which will be by far the most interesting of my historical works.

“Your godson bids fair to walk in the ways of his father. He is now in his ninth year, and knows about as much Greek as a boy in the under-fifth. His Latin consists in a decent knowledge of the grammar, and a tolerable copia verborum. His sister teaches him French, and he and I have lately begun to learn German together. Do not fear that we are over-doing him, for he has plenty of play, and, indeed, plays at his lessons. He takes it for granted that he must be a poet in his turn; and in this respect, as far as it is possible to judge, nature seems to agree with him. Be that as it may, there is not a happier creature upon this earth, nor could any father desire a child of fairer promise, as to moral and intellectual qualities.

“When shall I see you? Alas, how little have we seen of each other for many many years! I might also say, since we used to sit till midnight over your claret at Ch. Ch. The first term of my lease expires in two years, and some reasons would induce me to come near London, if I could encounter the expense; but though my History of the War might possibly enable me to make the arduous removal, the increased costs of housekeeping would probably be more than I could meet. I know not whether I shall be in London this year; if I go, it will be shortly;
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
but I can ill afford the time, and for weighty reasons ought not to afford it. On the other hand, my
uncle is advancing in years and declining in health; and if my visits are to be at such long intervals as they have hitherto been, there can be very few more, even upon the most favourable chances of life.

“God bless you!

R. S.”