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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 8 January 1800

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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“Jan. 8. 1800.
“My dear Coleridge,

“I have thought much, and talked much, and advised much about Thalaba, and will endeavour to travel without publishing it: because I am in no mood for running races, and because I like what is done to be done so well, that I am not willing to let it go raggedly into the world. Six books are written, and the two first have undergone their first correction.

“I have the whim of making a Darwinish note at the close of the poem, upon the effects produced in our globe by the destruction of the Dom Daniel. Imprimis, the sudden falling in of the sea’s roots necessarily made the maelstrom; then the cold of the north is accounted for by the water that rushed into the caverns, putting out a great part of the central fire; the sudden generation of steam shattered the southern and south-east continents into archipelagos of islands; also the boiling spring of Geyser has its scarce here,—who knows what it did not occasion!

Thomas Wedgewood has obtained a passport to go to France. I shall attempt to do the same, but am not very anxious for success, as Italy seems cer-
tainly accessible, or at least Trieste is. Is it quite impossible that you can go? Surely a life of
Lessing may be as well written in Germany as in England, and little time lost I shall be ready to go as soon as you please: we should just make a carriage-full, and you and I would often make plenty of room by walking. You cannot begin Lessing before May, and you allow yourself ten months for the work. Well, we will be in Germany before June; at the towns where we make a halt of any time, something may be done, and the actual travelling will not consume more than two months; thus three months only will be lost, and it is worth this price: we can return through France, and, in the interim, Italy offers a society almost as interesting. Duppa will fortify me with all necessary directions for travelling, &c.: and Moses* will be a very mock-bird as to languages; he shall talk German with you and me, Italian. with the servants, and English with his mother and aunt; so the young Israelite will become learned without knowing how.

“. . . . . Beddoes advertised, at least six weeks ago, certain cases of consumption, treated in a cow-house; and the press has been standing till now, in expectation of—what think you? only waiting till the patients be cured! This is beginning to print a book sooner than even I should venture. Davy is in the high career of experience, and will soon new-christen (if the word be a chemical one), the calumniated azote.

* This appellation was given to Hartley Coleridge in his infancy and childhood.

They have a new palsied patient, a complete case, certainly recovering by the use of the beatifying gas.

“Perhaps when you are at a pinch for a paragraph*, you may manufacture an anti-ministerial one oat of this passage in Bacon’s Essays:—

“‘You shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet’s miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again, and when the hill stood still, he was never a bit abashed, but said, If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill. So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness), they will but slight it over, make a turne, and no more adoe.’

“I am glad I copied the passage, for, in so doing, I have found how to make this a fine incident in the poem.†

Maracci’s Refutation of the Koran, or rather his preliminaries to it, have afforded me much amusement, and much matter. I am qualified in doctrinals to be a Mufti. The old father groups together all the Mohammedan miracles: some, he says, are nonsense; some he calls lies; some are true, but then the Devil did them; but there is one that tickled his fancy, and he says it must be true of some Christian saint, and so stolen by the Turks. After this he

* For the Morning Post, to which Mr. C. was then a contributor.

† See p. 48.

gives, by way of contrast, a specimen of Christian miracles, and chooses out St. Januarius’s blood and the Chapel of Loretto! God bless you.

Robert Southey,”