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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 4 February 1816

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, Feb. 4. 1816.
“My dear G.,

“I have an official from the Treasury this evening, telling me, as you anticipated, that the prayer of my petition* is inadmissible. To be sure, it is much better they should repeal the duty than grant an exemption from it speciali gratiâ; but if they will do neither the one nor the other, it is too bad.

“Is it true that the Princess Charlotte is likely to be married? You will guess why I wish to know; though, if I had not written half a marriage poem, I certainly would not begin one, for, between ourselves, I have not been well used about the Laureateship. They require task verses from me,—not to keep up the custom of having them befiddled, but to keep up the task,—instead of putting an end to this foolery in a fair and open manner, which would do the court credit, and save me a silly expense of time and trouble. I shall complete what I have begun, because it is begun, and to please myself, not to obtain favour with anybody else; but when these things are done, if they continue to look for New Years’ Odes from the Laureate, they shall have nothing else.

* A petition that some foreign books might come in duty free.

Ætat. 42. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 149

Tom has been here for the last fortnight, looking about for a house. I cannot write verses in the presence of any person, except my wife and children. Tom, therefore, without knowing it, has impeded my Pilgrimage; but I can prosify, let who will be present, and Brazil is profiting by this interruption.

“Were you not here when poor Lloyd introduced M. Simond? and have you seen the said M. Simond’s Travels in England, by a native of France? You will like the liveliness and the pervading good sense; and you will smile at the complacency with which he abuses Handel, Raphael, and Milton. He honours me with a couple of pages—an amusing mixture of journalising, personal civility, and critical presumption. My poems and Milton’s, he says, have few readers, although they have many admirers. He applies to me the famous speech of the Cardinal to Ariosto, Dove Diavolo, &c., and thinks I write nonsense. However, it is better than Milton’s, both Milton’s love and theology being coarse and material, whereas I have tenderness and spirituality!!! He sets down two or three things which I told him, states my opinions as he is pleased to suppose, and concludes that the reason why I disapprove of Mr. Malthus’s writings is, that I do not understand them. Bravo, M. Simond! Yet, in the main, it is a fair and able book, and I wonder how so sensible a man can write with such consummate self-assurance upon things above his reach.

“I long to have my Brazilian History finished, that that of the war may go to press in its stead; and could I abstain from reviewing, three months
would accomplish this desirable object; but ‘I must live,’ as the French libeller said to
Richelieu, and, unlike the Cardinal, I know you will see the necessity for my so doing. However, I am in a fair train, and verily believe that after the present year I and the constable shall travel side by side in good fellowship. You will be glad to hear that I have got the correspondence of the Portuguese committee, with the official details of the conduct of Massena’s army, and the consequent state of the people and the country. If I live to complete this work, I verily believe it will tend to mitigate the evils of war hereafter, by teaching men in command what ineffaceable infamy will pursue them if they act as barbarians.

“God bless you!

R. S.”