LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 14 July 1798

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Martin Hall, July 14. 1798.
“My dear Harry,

“I thank you for your ode of Anacreon; the Greek metre in which you have translated it, is certainly the best that could be chosen, but, perhaps, the most difficult, as the accent should flow so easily that a bad reader may not be able to spoil them. This is the case with your fourth and fifth lines: an old woman can’t read them out of the proper cadence. . . . . I think this metre much improved to an English ear, by sometimes ending a line with a long syllable instead of a trochee. This you will see regularly done in the following translation from the Spanish of Villegas. The original metre is that of Θεγω λεγειν Ατρειδας, and the verses flow as harmoniously as those of Anacreon.

‘The maidens thus address me:—
How is it, Don Esteban,
That you of love sing always,
And never sing of war?
I answer thus the question,
Ye bachelor* young damsels:
It is that men are ugly,
It is that you are fair.
‘For what would it avail me
To sing to drums and trumpets,
Whilst marching sorely onward,
Encumber’d by my shield?

* This is literal. The original is muchachas bachilleras—bachelor girls.

“‘Think you the tree of glory
Delights the common soldier;
That tree so full of blossoms
That never bears a fruit?
“‘Let him who gains in battles
His glorious wounds, enjoy them;
Let him praise war who knows not
The happiness of peace.
“‘I will not sing of soldiers,
I will not sing of combats,
But only of the damsels,—
My combats are with them.’

“. . . . . We are now tolerably settled at Martin Hall. I have laboured much in making it comfortable, and comfortable it now is. Our sitting-room is large, with three windows and two recesses—once windows, but now converted into book-cases, with green baize hanging half-way down the books, as in the College Green. The room is papered with cartridge paper, bordered with yellow Vandykes edged with black. I have a good many books, but not all I want, as many of my most valuable ones are lying in London. I shall be very glad to get settled in a house at London, where I may collect all my chattels together, and move on contentedly for some dozen years in my profession. You will find little difficulty either in Anacreon or in Homer; the language will soon become familiar to you, and you will, I hope, apply yourself to it with assiduity. I remember William Taylor promising to give you some instruction in German when you were well enough acquainted with the ancient languages to begin the modern ones. I need not tell you how valuable such instruction would be, or how
Ætat. 23. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 343
gladly I should avail myself of such an opportunity were it in my power. It is of very great advantage to a young man to be a good linguist; he is more respected, and may be more useful; his sources of pleasure are increased; and, what in the present state of the world is to be considered, in case of necessity he has additional means of supporting himself. The languages,
Harry—which I learnt almost as an amusement—have considerably contributed and do contribute to my support.

“You will send me your other translations from Anacreon, and in return I will always send you some piece which you had not before seen. I wish you would sometimes, on a fine evening, walk out, and write as exact a description of the sunset, and the appearance of everything around, as you can. You would find it a pleasant employment, and I can assure you it would be a very useful one. I should like you to send me some of these sketches; not of sunset only, but of any natural scene. If you have Ossian at hand, you may see what I mean in the description of night by five Scotch bards. Your neighbourhood to the sea gives you opportunities of seeing the finest effects of sunrise—fine weather, or storms; or you may contrast it with inland views and forest scenery, of which I believe you will see much in Nottinghamshire.

“Let me hear from you soon, and often, and regularly.

God bless you!
Your affectionate brother,
Robert Southey.”