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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Robert Shelton Mackenzie, 27 October 1837

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, Nov. 3. 1837.
“My dear Sir,

“I am greatly obliged to you for the efficient and timely assistance* which you have given to a publication that needs all the aid it can muster. Longman proposed it, not because there was any call for such an edition, but because he did not like that Galignani should have the market to himself. My own intention was to prepare for a posthumous collection, which I was confident would prove a good post-obit for my children. The Conscript Fathers of the Row thought that the present ought not to be neglected for prospective views, and I gave up my own opinion, thinking that they were better qualified

* Dr. S. Mackenzie had reviewed the new edition of my father’s poems in the Liverpool paper which he conducted, and had strongly urged him, by letter, not to be too brief in his autobiographical prefaces.

to form a judgment upon such points. They then proposed giving only a vignette title-page. Upon that point I represented that any such parsimony would be fatal to the project; for if they made the book inferior in its appearance to the other works which had been published in the same manner and at the same price, it was neither more nor less than a confession that they had no reliance upon their own speculation, and did not think the work in sufficient repute for them to venture the same outlay upon it, which was readily advanced upon the credit of more fashionable names. They yielded to this argument, and have performed their part well.

“What I aimed at in my Prefaces was to say neither too little nor too much, and to introduce no more of my own history than was naturally connected with the rise and progress of the respective poems. But of this there will be a great deal. Many years ago I began to write my own Life and Recollections in letters to an old and dear friend. About half a volume was produced in this way, till it became inconvenient to afford time for proceeding,—and, to confess the truth, my heart began to fail. This, no doubt, is the reason why so many autobiographies proceed little beyond the stage of boyhood. So far all our recollections are delightful as well as vivid, and we remember everything; but when the cares and the griefs of life are to be raised up, it becomes too painful to live over the past again.

“Doubtful, or more than doubtful, as it is, whether I shall ever have heart to proceed with these letters,
Ætat. 63. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 345
your advice shall have the effect of making me say more than I had thought of saying in these prefaces.

Wat Tyler is printed in the second volume, and in the third there will be the Devil’s Walk at much greater length than it has ever appeared.

“You will have your reward for refusing to conduct a journal that aims at a mischievous end. The time is fast coming when it will be seen that measures of true reform are to be expected from those only one of whose chief endeavours it is to preserve what is good.

“Farewell, my dear Sir, and believe me always,

Very truly and thankfully yours,
Robert Southey.”