LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 5 January 1821

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. 5. 1821.
“My dear G.,

“As for altering the movement of the six stanzas*, you may as well ask me for both my ears, or advise me to boil the next haunch of venison I may have, which, next to poaching a Simorg’s† egg, would, I conceive, be the most inexpiable of offences. I cast them purposely in that movement, and with forethought.

“Why should the rest of the world think meanly of me for offering a deserved compliment to Haydon?‡ or for what possible reason consider it as a piece of flattery to a man who might fancy it his interest to

* Of the ode for St. George’s Day, published with the Vision of Judgment.

† See Thalaba, book xi., verse 10.

‡ This refers to an allusion to Haydon in the Vision of Judgment.

flatter me, but whom I can have no imaginable motive for flattering? That point, however, you will press no farther when I tell you that the very day after the passage was written Haydon himself unexpectedly appeared,—that I read him the poem as far as it had then proceeded,—and that he, who, from the nature of his profession, desires contemporary praise more than anything in the world except abiding fame, values it quite as much as it is worth. You have shown me that I was mistaken about
Handel, yet I think the lines may stand, because the King’s patronage of his music is an honourable fact.

“I have to insert Sir P. Sidney among the elder worthies, and Hogarth among the later; perhaps Johnson also, if I can so do it as to satisfy myself with the expression, and not seem to give him a higher praise than he deserves. Offence I know will be taken that the name of Pitt does not appear there. The King would find him among the eminent men of his reign, but not among those whose rank will be confirmed by posterity. The Whigs, too, will observe that none of their idols are brought forward: neither Hampden, nor their Sidney, nor Russell. I think of the first as ill as Lord Clarendon did; and concerning Algernon Sidney, it is certain that he suffered wrongfully, but that does not make him a great man. If I had brought forward any man of that breed, it should have been old Oliver himself; and I had half a mind to do it.

“I have finished the explanatory part of the preface, touching the metre—briefly, fully, clearly, and fairly. It has led me (which you will think odd till
you see the connection) to pay off a part of my obligations to
Lord Byron and ——, by some observations upon the tendency of their poems (especially Don Juan), which they will appropriate to themselves in what proportion they please. If —— knew how much his character has suffered by that transaction about Don Juan, I think he would hang himself. And if Gifford knew what is said and thought of the Q. R. for its silence concerning that infamous poem, I verily believe it would make him ill. Upon that subject I say nothing. God bless you!

R. S.”