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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Wood Warter, 23 April 1830

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, April 23. 1830.
“My dear Warter,

“. . . . . I went abroad for the first time, at an earlier age, under circumstances not very dissimilar; for a shorter absence, but with much worse prospects. My disposition, however, was always hopeful; relying upon Providence, I could rely upon myself; and I can truly say that no anxiety concerning my worldly fortunes ever cost me a sleepless night, or an uncomfortable hour. When I had little I lived upon little, never spending when it was necessary to spare; and hitherto, by God’s blessing, my means have grown with my expenses.

“My voyage was to Portugal, and you know how much it has influenced the direction of my studies. My uncle advised me at that time to turn my thoughts towards the history of that country, when he saw how eagerly I was inquiring into its literature, and more especially its poetry. Then my mind was not ripe enough for historical pursuits; but the advice was not without effect; and when I went again to Portugal, after an absence of four years, I began to look for materials, and set to work.

“I am glad that Burton recommended the ecclesiastical history of Denmark and Sweden to your attention. It is an interesting subject, and if you only sketched it in a paper for the Quarterly or the
British Critic, it might be of use to you hereafter; still more, if you found pleasure enough in the pursuit, to follow it into its details, and make a volume. And this might lead you at length to meditate a history of the three Scandinavian kingdoms,—Norway, Sweden, and Denmark,—a singularly rich subject, having in its early periods an English interest; a romantic one in its middle, and even later ages; and a moral and political one, in a high degree, at last.

“As for composition, it has no difficulties for one who will ‘read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest’ the materials upon which he is to work. I do not mean to say that it is easy to write well; but of this I am sure, that most men would write much better if they did not take half the pains they do. For myself, I consider it no compliment when any one praises the simplicity of my prose writings; they are written, indeed, without any other immediate object than that of expressing what is to be said in the readiest and most perspicuous manner. But in the transcript (if I make one), and always in the proof sheet, every sentence is then weighed upon the ear, euphony becomes a second object, and ambiguities are removed. But of what is called style not a thought enters my head at any time. Look to the matter, and the manner takes care of itself. . . . .

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”