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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Walter Savage Landor, 20 February 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, Feb. 20. 1820.

“Your poem has not found its way to me. It is either delayed or mislaid at Longman’s. Oh that you would write in English! I can never think of your predilection for Latin verse but as a great loss to English literature.

“The times make less impression upon me than upon men who live more in the political world. The present, perhaps, appears to you, at a distance, worse than it is. The future will be what we may choose to make it. There is an infernal spirit abroad, and crushed it must be. Crushed it will be, beyond all doubt; but the question is, whether it will be cut short in its course, or suffered to spend itself like a fever. In the latter case, we shall go on through a bloodier revolution than that of France, to an iron military government,—the only possible termination of Jacobinism. It is a misery to see in what manner the press is employed to poison the minds of the people, and eradicate every thing that is virtuous, everything that is honourable, everything upon which the order, peace, and happiness of society are founded. The recent laws have stopped the twopenny supply
of blasphemy and treason, and a few of the lowest and vilest offenders are laid hold of. But the mischief goes on in all the stages above them.

“Do you remember Elmsley at Oxford,—the fattest under-graduate in your time and mine? He is at Naples, superintending the unrolling the Herculaneum manuscripts, by Davy’s process, at the expense of the Prince Regent,—I should say, of George IV. The intention is, that Elmsley shall ascertain, as soon as a beginning is made of one of the rolls, whether it shall be proceeded with, or laid aside, in hope of finding something better, till the whole have been inspected.

“A fashion of poetry has been imported which has had a great run, and is in a fair way of being worn out. It is of Italian growth,—an adaptation of the manner of Pulci, Berni, and Ariosto in his sportive mood. Frere began it. What he produced was too good in itself and too inoffensive to become popular; for it attacked nothing and nobody; and it had the fault of his Italian models, that the transition from what is serious to what is burlesque was capricious. Lord Byron immediately followed; first with his Beppo, which implied the profligacy of the writer, and, lastly, with his Don Juan, which is a foul blot on the literature of his country, an act of high treason on English poetry. The manner has had a host of imitators. The use of Hudibrastic rhymes (the only thing in which it differs from the Italian) makes it very easy.

“My poems hang on hand. I want no monitor to tell me it is time to leave off. I shall force myself
to finish what I have begun, and then—good night. Had circumstances favoured, I might have done more in this way, and better. But I have done enough to be remembered among poets, though my proper place will be among the historians, if I live to complete the works upon yonder shelves.

“God bless you!

Robert Southey.”