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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Scott, 27 April 1814

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, April 27. 1814.
“My dear Scott,

“Thank God we have seen the end of this long tragedy of five-and-twenty years! The curtain is fallen; and though there is the after-piece of the Devil to Pay to be performed, we have nothing to do
with that: It concerns the performers alone. I wish we had been within reach of a meeting upon the occasion; and yet the first feeling was not a joyous one. Too many recollections crowded upon the mind; and the sudden termination putting an end at once to those hopes and fears and speculations which, for many years past, have made up so large a part of every man’s intellectual existence, seemed like a change in life itself. Much as I had desired this event, and fully as I had expected it, still, when it came, it brought with it an awful sense of the instability of all earthly things; and when I remembered that that same newspaper might as probably have brought with it intelligence that peace had been made with
Bonaparte, I could not but acknowledge that something more uniform in its operations than human councils had brought about the event. I thought he would set his life upon the last throw, and die game; or that he would kill himself, or that some of his own men would kill him; and though it had long been my conviction that he was a mean-minded villain, still it surprised me that he should live after such a degradation,—after the loss, not merely of empire, but even of his military character. But let him live; if he will write his own history, he will give us all some information, and if he will read mine, it will be some set-off against his crimes.

“I desired Longman to send you the Carmen Triumphale. In the course of this year I shall volunteer verses enough of this kind to entitle me to a fair dispensation for all task work in future. I have made good way through a poem upon the Princess’s
marriage in the olden style, consisting of three parts—the Proem, the Dream, and L’Envoy; and I am getting on with the series of Military Inscriptions. The conclusion of peace will, perhaps, require another ode, and I shall then trouble
Jeffrey with a few more notes. As yet I know nothing more of his reply than what some sturdy friend in the Times has communicated to me; but I shall not fail to pay all proper attention to it in due season. He may rest assured that I shall pay all my obligations to him with compound interest. The uses of newspapers will for a while seem flat and unprofitable, yet there will be no lack of important matter from abroad; and for acrimonious disputes at home, we shall always be sure of them. I fear we shall be too liberal in making peace. There is no reason why we should make any cessions for pure generosity. It is very true that Louis XVIII. has not been our enemy; but the French nation has, and a most inveterate and formidable one. They should have their sugar islands, but not without paying for them,—and that a good round sum,—to be equally divided between Greenwich and Chelsea, or to form the foundation of a fund for increasing the pay of army and navy.

“I am finishing Roderick, and deliberating what subject to take up next; for as it has pleased you and the Prince to make me Laureate, I am bound to keep up my poetical character. If I do not fix upon a tale of Robin Hood, or a New England story connected with Philip’s war, and Goffe the regicide, I shall either go far North or far East for scenery and superstitions, and pursue my old scheme of my my-
thological delineations. Is it not almost time to hear of something from you? I remember to have been greatly delighted when a boy with
Amyntor and Theodora, and with Dr. Ogilvie’s Rona. The main delight must have been from the scenes into which they carried me. There was a rumour that you were among the Hebrides. I heartily wish it may be true.

“Remember us to Mrs. Scott and your daughter. These children of ours are now growing tall enough, and intelligent enough to remind us forcibly of the lapse of time. Another generation is coming on. You and I, however, are not yet off the stage; and whenever we quit it, it will not be to men who will make a better figure there.

Yours, very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”