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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 31 March 1797

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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“March 31. 1797.

“I have stolen time to write to you, though uncertain whether you may still be at Plymouth; but, if the letter should have to follow you, well and good; if lost, it matters little. I have a bookseller’s job on my hands; it is to translate a volume from the French—about a month’s work*; and the pay will be not less than five-and-twenty guineas, an employment more profitable than pleasant; but I should like plenty such. Three or four such jobs would furnish me a house. . . . . Your description of the Spanish coast about St. Sebastian has very highly delighted me. I intend to versify it, put the lines in Madoc, and give your account below in the note. To me, who had never seen any other but the tame shores of this island, the giant rocks of Galicia ap-

* The work was tolerably hard. “I am running a race with the printers again,” he writes to Mr. Cottle, April 5., “translating a work from the French (Necker on the Revolution, vol. ii.,—Dr. Aiken and his son translate the first vol.). My time is now wholly engrossed by the race, for I run at the rate of sixteen pages a day, as hard going as sixteen miles for a hack horse.”

peared stupendously sublime. They even derived a grandeur from their barrenness: it gives them a majestic simplicity that fills the undistracted mind. I have in contemplation another work upon my journey,—a series of poems, the subjects occasioned by the scenes I passed, and the meditations which those scenes excited. Do you perceive the range this plan includes? History, imagination, philosophy, all would be pressed into my service. . . . . A noble design! and it has met with some encouragement. But time is scarce, and I must be a lawyer—a sort of animal that might be made of worse materials than those with which nature tempered my clay. . . . . Should I publish the series of poems I mentioned, it is my intention to annex prints from the sketches my
uncle took upon our road. I sometimes regret that, after leaving the College Green, I have never had encouragement to go on with drawing. The evening when Shad and I were so employed, was then the pleasantest part of the day, and I began at last to know something about it. I would gladly get those drawings, but my aunt never lets any thing go; and the greater part of my books, and all those drawings, and my coins; with a number of things, of little intrinsic value, but which I should highly prize, are all locked up in the Green.

“The poor old theatre* is going to ruin, for which I have worked so many hours, and which so deeply interested me once. Such are the revolutions of private life, and such strange alterations do a few years produce!

* See p. 131.

Ætat. 23. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 309

“My aunt told Peggy* it was pretty well in me to write a book about Portugal who had not been there six months: for her part, she had been there twelve months, and yet she could not write a book about it—so apt are we to measure knowledge by time. I employed my time there in constant attention, seeing everything and asking questions,—and never went to bed without writing down the information I had acquired during the day. I am now tolerably versed in Spanish and Portuguese poetry, and am writing a series of essays upon the subject, in the ‘Monthly Magazine’—a work which, probably, you do not see.

“Farewell! I hope you may soon come to Portsmouth, that we may see you.

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”