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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 April 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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“April 28. 1797.
“My dear Thomas,

“I have been regretting that you were not at Portsmouth in the great insurrection†, that I might have had a full, true, and particular account of that extraordinary business—a business at which every body is astonished. . . . . As I have no business in London (except, indeed, to dine at Gray’s Inn once at the latter end of June,) till November, we intend

* His cousin, Margaret Hill.

† The mutiny of the fleet at Spithead.

spending the summer and autumn somewhere by the sea: where is not yet determined, but most probably somewhere in Hampshire. . . . . London is a place for which I entertain a most hearty hatred; and
Edith likes it as little as myself; and as for the sea, I like it very much when on shore.

“I had a letter from Lisbon yesterday. My uncle’s family has been very unfortunate: his poor old woman is dead, and so is his dog Linda. His mare, who was lame, he had given away to be turned into the woods; she has not been seen lately, and he thinks the wolves have eat her; it was an account that made me melancholy. I had been long enough an inhabitant of his house to become attached to every thing connected with it; and poor old Ursula was an excellent woman: he will never find her equal, and I shall never think of Lisbon again without some feelings of regret

“My acquaintance here are more than are convenient, and I meet with invitations unpleasant to refuse, and still more unpleasant to accept. This is another motive to me to wish for a country residence as long as possible. I find the distance in this foul city very inconvenient; ’tis a morning’s walk to call upon a distant friend, and I return from it thoroughly fatigued. We are going to dine on Wednesday next with Mary Wollstonecroft—of all the literary characters the one I most admire. My curiosity is fully satisfied, and the greater part of these people, after that is satisfied, leave no other remaining. This is not the case with her; she is a first-rate woman,
Ætat. 23. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 311
sensible of her own worth, but without arrogance or affectation.

“I have two reasons for preferring a residence near the sea. I love to pickle myself in that grand brine tub; and I wish to catch its morning, evening, and mid-day appearance for poetry, with the effect of every change of weather. Fancy will do much; but the poet ought to be an accurate observer of nature; and I shall watch the clouds, and the rising and setting sun, and the sea birds with no inattentive eye. I have remedied one of my deficiencies, too, since a boy, and learnt to swim enough to like the exercise. This I began at Oxford, and practised a good deal in the summer of 1795. My last dip was in the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Arrabida Mountain—a glorious spot. I have no idea of sublimity exceeding it. . . . . Have you ever met with Mary Wollstonecroft’s letters from Sweden and Norway? She has made me in love with a cold climate, and frost and snow, with a northern moonlight. Now I am turned lawyer, I shall have no more books to send you, except, indeed, second editions, when they are called for, and then my alterations will be enough, perhaps, to give one interested in the author some pleasure in the comparison. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”