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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 1 January 1818

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, Jan. 1. 1818.
“My dear Wynn,

“Many happy returns of the new year to you and yours. It is now thirty years since you and I first met in Dean’s Yard, and in the course of these years half the human race who were then living have gone under ground. How long either of us may keep above it, God knows; but while we do, there is little likelihood that any circumstances can break or loosen an attachment which has continued so long. Your path has been just what might have been predicted,—straight, honourable, and in full view, only that one might have expected to have found you on the other side the house and in office; and one day or other (the sooner the better) I trust to see you there. What mine might have been without your helping hand, when I was among the bogs and briars, I know not. With that help it has been a very pleasant uphill road, with so many incidents by the way, that the history of them would make no bad Pilgrim’s Progress, especially as I am now at rest among the
Ætat. 44. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 293
Delectable Mountains, and have little more to do than to cross the river whenever my turn comes.

“We are enjoying a beautiful winter here. No snow has yet fallen in the valley, and it lies on the fells not raggedly, but in an even line, so that Skiddaw and Grisdale bear no distant resemblance to the Swiss mountains, and imbibe tints at morning and evening which may vie with any thing that ever was seen upon Mont Blanc or Jungfrau.

“I am writing for the Quarterly Review upon the Poor Laws, or, rather, upon the means of improving the lower classes,—a practical paper, containing, I think, some hints which any clergyman or other influential person In a parish may usefully improve. It is not unlikely that I may gradually withdraw from the Review; that Is to say, as soon as I can live without it. It takes up far too great a portion of my time; for although no man can take to task-work with less reluctance, still, from the very circumstance of its being task-work,—something which must be done, and not what I desire at the time to do,—it costs me twice or thrice the time of any other composition, as much in the course of the year as it took to write Thalaba or Kehama. This last poem is going to press for a fourth edition; they sell slowly and steadily.

“The life of Wesley is my favourite employment just now, and a very curious book it will be, looking at Methodism abroad as well as at home, and comprehending our religious history for the last hundred years. I am sure I shall treat this subject with moderation. I hope I come to it with a sober
judgment, a mature mind, and perfect freedom from all unjust prepossessions of any kind. There is no party which I am desirous of pleasing, none which I am fearful of offending; nor am I aware of any possible circumstance which might tend to bias me one way or other from the straight line of impartial truth. For the bigot I shall be far too philosophical; for the libertine far too pious. The Ultra-churchman will think me little better than a Methodist, and the Methodists will wonder what I am. Άγια άγίοις will be my motto.

“My books from Milan have reached London;—something more than 100 volumes. Ramusio is among them, and the Gesta Dei. I have not yet heard of my Acta Sanctorum, the arrival of which will form a grand day in my life. Little leisure as I find for poetry, and seldom indeed as I think of it, there is yet a sort of reluctance in me wholly to give up any scheme of a poem on which I have ever thought with, any degree of fondness; and because I had meditated a Jewish poem many years ago, I bought at Milan the great Bibliotheca Rabinica of Barlotacci, as a repository of materials. Could I have afforded to have written verses during those years when nobody bought them, I verily believe I should have written more than any of my predecessors. God bless you!

R. S.”