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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to George Ticknor, 17 March 1829

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, March 17. 1829.
“My dear Sir,

“Mere shame has for some time withheld me from writing, till I could tell you that my Colloquies, which have so long been in the press, were on the
way to you. They will be so by the time this letter is half seas over. I am expecting by every post the concluding proofs; and you will receive with them a little
volume consisting of two poems*, from the subjects of which (both are Romish legends), and perhaps a little from the manner also, you might suppose the writer was rejuvenescent. Both were, indeed, intended for some of our Annuals, which are now the mushrooms of literature; but the first in its progress far outgrew all reasonable limits for such a collection; and the latter was objected to because it might prevent the annual from selling in Roman Catholic circles,—an anecdote this which is but too characteristic of the times.

“Rejuvenescent, however, in a more important sense of the word, thank God, I am. When your consignment arrived at Keswick last summer, I was in London under Copeland the surgeon’s hands. By an operation which some years ago was one of the most serious in surgery, but which he (more than any other person) has rendered as safe as any operation can be, I have been effectually relieved from an infirmity which had afflicted me about twelve years, and which often rendered me incapable of walking half a mile. Now I am able to climb the mountains; and as then I was never without a sense of infirmity when I moved, I never walk now without a consciousness of the blessing that it is to have been thus rendered sound. This sort of second spring

* The titles of these were—“All for Love, or a Sinner well saved;” and “The Pilgrim to Compostella.”

prevents me from feeling the approach of age as I otherwise might do. Indeed Time lays his hand on me gently: I require a glass only for distant objects; for work, my eyes serve me as well as ever they did; and this is no slight blessing when most of my contemporaries have taken to spectacles.

“Nevertheless I have mementos enough in myself and in those around me. The infant whom you saw in his basket, has now entered upon his eleventh year, and is making progress in Dutch and German as well as in Greek and Latin. The youngest of my remaining daughters has ceased to be a girl. She who was the flower of them (and never was there a fairer flower)—you will remember her—is in heaven; and were it not for the sure hope we have in looking forward, I could not bear to look back.

“This year, I trust, will see good progress made in Oliver Newman, the poem being so far advanced that it becomes an object to take it earnestly in hand and complete it. With us no poetry now obtains circulation except what is in the Annuals; these are the only books which are purchased for presents, and the chief sale which poetry used to have was of this kind. Here, however, we are overrun with imitative talent in all the fine arts, especially in fine literature; and if it is not already the case with you, it will very soon be so. I can see some good in this: in one or two generations imitative talent will become so common, that it will not be mistaken, when it first manifests itself, for genius; and it will then be cultivated rather as an embellishment for private life, than with aspiring views of
ambition. Much of that levelling is going on with us which no one can more heartily desire to promote than I do,—that which is produced by raising the lower classes. Booksellers and printsellers find it worth while now to publish for a grade of customers which they deemed ten years ago beneath their consideration. Good must result from this in many ways; and could we but hope or dream of any thing like long peace, we might dream of seeing England in a state of intellectual culture and internal prosperity such as no country has ever before attained. But all the elements of discord are at work; and though I am one of the last men to despair, yet I have no hope of living to see the end of the troubles which must ere long break out,—the fruits of this accursed Catholic question, let it now take what course it may.

Wordsworth has had a most dangerous fall, headlong, from his own mount, but providentially received no serious injury. He is looking old, but vigorous as ever both in mind and body. Remember me to all my Boston friends, and present my thanks to Mr. Norton for his edition of Mrs. Hemans’s poems, which reached me safely. I was very sorry that he found me here in a crowd, in consequence of which I saw much less of him and his very agreeable companions than we all wished to have done.

“God bless you, my dear Sir!

Yours, with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”