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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Chauncy Hare Townshend, 6 May 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, May 6. 1821.
“My dear Chauncey,

“I received your little parcel this afternoon, and thank you for the book, for the dedication, and for the sonnet. As yet I have only had time to recognise several pieces which pleased me formerly, and to read a few others which please me now.

“The stages of your life have passed regularly and happily, so that you have had leisure to mark them with precision, and to feel them, and reflect upon them. With me these transitions were of a very different character; they came abruptly, and, when I left the University, it was to cast myself upon the world, with a heart full of romance, and a head full of enthusiasm. No young man could have gone more widely astray, according to all human judgment; and yet the soundest judgment could not have led me into any other way of life in which I should have had such full cause to be contented and thankful.

“The world is now before you; but you have neither difficulties to struggle with, nor dangers to
apprehend. All that the heart of a wise man can desire is within your reach. And you are blest with a disposition which will keep you out of public life, in which my advice to those whom I loved would be,—never to engage.

“Your Cambridge wit is excellent of its kind. I am not acquainted with Coleridge of King’s; but somewhat intimately so with one of his brothers*, now at the bar, and likely to rise very high in his profession. I know no man of whose judgment and principles I have a higher opinion. They are a remarkably gifted family, and may be expected to distinguish themselves in many ways.

“The Wordsworths spoke of you with great pleasure upon their return from Cambridge. He was with me lately. His thoughts and mine have for some time unconsciously been travelling in the same direction; for while I have been sketching a brief history of the English Church, and the systems which it has subdued or struggled with, he has been pursuing precisely the same subject in a series of sonnets, to which my volume will serve for a commentary, as completely as if it had been written with that intent. I have reason to hope that this work will be permanently useful. And I have the same hope of the series of Dialogues with which I am proceeding. Two of the scenes in which these are laid are noticed in your sonnets,—the Tarn of Blencathra and the Ruined Village. Wm. Westall has made a very fine drawing of the former, which

* Now Mr. Justice Coleridge.

will be engraved for the volume, together with five others, most of which you will recognise. One of them represents this house, with the river and the lake, and Newlands in the distance.

“Are you going abroad? Or do you wait till the political atmosphere seems to promise settled weather? God knows when that will be! For myself I know not what to wish for, when on the one side the old Governments will not attempt to amend anything, and on the other the Revolutionists are for destroying every thing. Spain is in a deplorable state, which must lead to utter anarchy. If other powers do not interfere (which I rather hope than think they will not), the natural course of such a revolution will serve as an example in terrorem to other nations. True statesmen are wanted there, and not there alone, but everywhere else; why it is that there has not been a single man in Europe worthy of the name for the last century, is a question which it might be of some use to consider. Burke would have been one, had he not been always led away by passion and party, and an Irish imagination. It is something in the very constitution of our politics which dwarfs the breed; for we have had statesmen in India. . . . .

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”