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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 4 April 1793

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 4. 1793.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“My philosophy, which has so long been of a kind peculiar to myself—neither of the school of Plato, Aristotle, Westminster, or the Miller—is at length settled: I am become a peripatetic philosopher. Far, however, from adopting the tenets of any self-sufficient cynic or puzzling sophist, my sentiments will be found more enlivened by the brilliant
Ætat. 19. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 181
colours of fancy, nature, and
Rousseau than the positive dogmas of the Stagyrite, or the metaphysical refinements of his antagonist. I aspire not to the honorary titles of subtle disputant or divine doctor, I wish to found no school, to drive no scholars mad: ideas rise up with the scenes I view; some pass away with the momentary glance, some are engraved upon the tablet of memory, and some impressed upon the heart. You have told me what philosophy is not, and I can give you a little more information upon the subject. It is not reading Johannes Secundus because he may have some poetical lines; it is not wearing the hair undressed, in opposition to custom perhaps (this I feel the severity of, and blush for); it is not rejecting Lucan lest he should vitiate the taste, and reading without fear what may corrupt the heart; it is not clapt on with a wig, or communicated by the fashionable hand of the barber. It had nothing to do with Watson when he burnt his books; it does not sit upon a woolsack; honour cannot bestow it, persecution cannot take it away. It illumined the prison of Socrates, but fled the triumph of Octavius: it shrank from the savage murderer, Constantine; it dignified the tent of Julian. It has no particular love for colleges; in crowds it is alone, in solitude most engaged; it renders life agreeable, and death enviable. . . . I have lately read the ‘Man of Feeling:’ if you have never yet read it, do now from my recommendation; few works have ever pleased me so painfully or so much. It is very strange that man should be delighted with the highest pain that, can be produced. I even begin to think
that both pain and pleasure exist only in idea. But this must not be affirmed; the first twinge of the toothache, or retrospective glance, will undeceive me with a vengeance.

“Purity of mind is something like snow, best in the shade. Gibraltar is on a rock, but it would be imprudent to defy her enemies, and call them to the charge. My heart is equally easy of impression with that of Rousseau, and perhaps more tenacious of it. Refinement I adore, but to me the highest delicacy appears so intimately connected with it, that the union is like body and soul.”