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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Neville White, 14 December 1820

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, Dec 14. 1820.
“My dear Neville,

“. . . . . I shall have a poem to send you in the course of a few weeks, planned upon occasion of the King’s death (which you may think no very promising subject), laid aside eight months ago, when half written, as not suited for publication while the event was recent, and now taken up again, and almost brought to a conclusion. The title is, ‘A Vision of Judgment.’ It is likely to attract some notice, because I have made—and, in my own opinion, with success—the bold experiment of constructing a metre upon the principle of the ancient hexameter. It will provoke some abuse for what is said of the factious spirit by which the country has been disturbed during the last fifty years; and it will have some interest for you, not merely because it comes from me, but because you will find Henry’s name not improperly introduced in it. My Laureateship has not been a sinecure: without reckoning the annual odes, which
have regularly been supplied, though I have hitherto succeeded in withholding them from publication, I have written, as Laureate, more upon public occasions (on none of which I should otherwise have ever composed a line) than has been written by any person who ever held the office before, with the single exception of
Ben Jonson, if his Masques are taken into the account.

“The prevailing madness has reached Keswick*, as well as all other places; and the people here, who believe, half of them, that the King concealed his father’s death ten years for the sake of receiving his allowance, and that he poisoned the Princess Charlotte (of which, they say, there can be no doubt; for did not the doctor kill himself? and why should he have done that if it had not been for remorse of conscience?), believe, with the same monstrous credulity, that the Queen is a second Susannah. The Queenomania will probably die away ere long; but it will be succeeded by some new excitement; and so we shall go on as long as our Government suffers itself to be insulted and menaced with impunity, and as long as

* Some riots had been expected on the occasion of the Queen’s trial. My father writes at the time, “King Mob, contrary to his majesty’s custom, has borne his faculties meekly in this place, and my windows were not assailed on the night of the illumination. I was prepared to suffer like a Quaker; and my wife was much more ‘game’ than I expected. Perhaps we owed our security to the half dozen persons in town who also chose to light no candles. They had declared their intention of making a fight for it if they were attacked, and they happened to be persons of consideration and influence. So all went off peaceably. The tallow chandler told our servant that it was expected there would be great disturbances; this was a hint to me, but I was too much a Trojan to be taken in by the man of grease.”—To G. C. B., Nov. 17. 1820.

our Ministers are either unwilling or afraid to exert the laws in defence of the institutions of the country.

“I have a book in progress upon the state of the country, its existing evils, and its prospects. It is in a series of dialogues, and I hope it will not be read without leading some persons both to think and to feel as they ought. In more than one instance I have had the satisfaction of being told that my papers in the Quarterly Review have confirmed some who were wavering in their opinions, and reclaimed others who were wrong. . . . .

“God bless you, my dear Neville!

R. S.”