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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. VII. 1800-1801

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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Ætat. 26. Ætat. 26. 57

My father had at one tune intended to publish a second volume of “Letters from Spain and Portugal;” and, among some fragmentary preparations for these, I find a description of his embarkation and voyage, with which the following series of letters may be fitly prefaced. They are so complete in themselves as to render any remarks on my part needless.

“My dear T.,

“I parted from you at Liskeard with a heavy heart. The thought of seeing you upon the way was a plea-
sure to look on to when we took our departure from Bristol; but having left you, we had taken leave of the last friend before our voyage. Falmouth was not a place to exhilarate us: we were in the room where I met poor
Lovel on my former journey; he was the last person with whom I shook hands in England as I was stepping into the boat to embark, and the first news on my return, when, within three hours, I expected to have been welcomed by him, was, that he was in his grave. Few persons bear about with them a more continual feeling of the uncertainty of life, its changes and its chances, than I do. Well! well! I bear with me the faith also, that though we should never meet again in this world, we shall all meet in a better.

“Thanks to the zephyrs, Capt. Yescombe was yet in the harbour. I went on board, chose our berths, passed the custom-house, and then endeavoured to make poor Time as easy as he could be upon the rack of expectation. Six days we watched the weathercock, and sighed for north-easterns. I walked on the beach, caught soldier-crabs, and loitered to admire the sea-anemones in their ever-varying shapes of beauty; read Gebir, and wrote half a book of Thalaba. There was a sight on the Monday, but the rain kept me within doors: six boys eat pap for a hat, and six men jumped in sacks for a similar prize; in the evening there was an assembly, and the best dancer was a man with a wooden leg. A short account of six days;—if, however, I were to add the bill, you would find it a long one!

“We embarked at four on Thursday afternoon.
As we sailed out of the harbour, the ships there and the shore seemed to swim before my sight like a vision. Light winds and favourable, but we were before the wind, and my poor inside, being obliged to shift every moment with the centre of gravity, was soon in a state of insurrection. There is a pleasure in extracting matter of jest from discomfort and bodily pain; a wholesome habit if it extends no further, but a deadly one if it be encouraged when the heart is sore. I lay in my berth, which always reminded me of a coffin whenever I got into it, and, when any one came near me with inquiries, uttered some quaint phrase or crooked pun in answer, and grunted in unison with the intestinal grumbling which might have answered for me. . . . . We saw the Berlings* on Tuesday night: on Wednesday,
Edith and I went on deck at five o’clock; we were off the rock, and the sun seemed to rest upon it for a moment as he rose behind. Mafra was visible; presently we began to distinguish the heights of Cintra and the Penha Convent: the wind blew fresh, and we were near enough the shore to see the silver dust of the breakers, and the sea-birds sporting over them in flocks. A pilot boat came off to us; its great sail seemed to be as unmanageable as an umbrella in a storm; sometimes it was dipped half over in the water, and it flapped all ways, like a woman’s petticoat in a high wind. We passed the church and light-house of Nossa Senhora de Guia†, the Convent of St. An-

* Some rocks on the coast of Portugal.

† I find some verses upon this light-house, translated from Vieira, the painter, which were intended to go in a note to this letter:—

tonio with a few trees behind it, and the town of Cascaes* Houses were now scattered in clusters all along the shore; the want of trees in the landscape was scarcely perceived, so delightful was the sight of land, and so cheerful does every thing look under a southern sun.

“Our fellow-traveller was much amused by the numerous windmills which stood in regiments upon all the hills. A large building he supposed to be an inn, and could see the sign and the great gateway for

“Now was the time, when in the skies,
Night should have shown her starry eyes;
But those bright orbs above were shrouded,
And heaven was dark and over-clouded.
And now the beacon we espied,
Our blessed Lady of the Guide;
And there, propitious, rose her light,
The never-failing star of night.
The seaman, on his weary way,
Beholds with joy that saving ray,
And steers his vessel, from afar,
In safety o’er the dangerous bar.
A holy impulse of delight
Possessed us at that well-known sight;
And, in one feeling all allied,
We blest Our Lady of the Guide.
‘Star of the sea, all hail!’ we sung,
And praised her with one heart and tongue;
And, on the dark and silent sea,
Chaunted Our Lady’s litany.”
From a letter to Lieut Southey, July 11. 1808.

The reader may perhaps be reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s beautiful impromptu on a similar subject:—

Pharos loquitur.
Far in the bosom of the deep,
O’er these wild shelves my watch I keep,
A ruddy gem of changeful light.
Bound on the dusky brow of Night;
The seaman bids my lustre hail,
And scorns to strike his timorous sail.”
Lockhart’s Life of Scott, vol ii. p. 184.

the stage-coaches: the glass enabled him to find out that it was a convent door, with a cross before it. An absence of four years had freshened every object to my own sight, and perhaps there is even a greater delight in recollecting these things than in first beholding them. It is not possible to conceive a more magnificent scene than the entrance of the Tagus, and the gradual appearance of the beautiful city upon its banks.

“The Portuguese say of their capital,
Quem naõ ha visto Lisboa
Naõ ha visto cousa boa.
‘He who has not seen Lisbon, has not seen a fine thing.’

“It is indeed a sight, exceeding all it has ever been my fortune to behold, in beauty and richness and grandeur. Convents and Quintas, gray olive-yards, green orange-groves, and greener vineyards; the shore more populous every moment as we advanced, and finer buildings opening upon us; the river, bright as the blue sky which illuminated it, swarming with boats of every size and shape, with sails of every imaginable variety; innumerable ships riding at anchor far as eye could reach; and the city extending along the shore, and covering the hills to the farthest point of sight.”

To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Lisbon, May-day, 1800.

“Here, then, we are, thank God! alive, and recovering from dreadful sickness. I never suffered so
much at sea, and
Edith was worse than I was; we scarcely ate or slept at all: but the passage was very fine and short; five days and a half brought us to our port, with light winds the whole of the way. The way was not, however, without alarm. On Monday morning, between five and six, the captain was awakened with tidings that a cutter was bearing down upon us, with English colours, indeed, but apparently a French vessel; we made a signal, which was not answered; we fired a gun, she did the same, and preparations were made for action. We had another Lisbon packet in company, mounting six guns; our own force was ten; the cutter was a match, and more, for both, but we did not expect to be taken. You may imagine Edith’s terror, awakened on a sick bed—disturbed I should have said—with these tidings! The captain advised me to surround her with mattrasses in the cabin, but she would not believe herself in safety there, and I lodged her in the cockpit, and took my station on the quarter-deck with a musket. How I felt I can hardly tell; the hurry of the scene, the sight of grape-shot, bar-shot, and other ingenious implements of this sort, made an undistinguishable mixture of feelings. . . . . The cutter bore down between us; I saw the smoke from her matches, we were so near, and not a man on board had the least idea but that an immediate action was to take place. We hailed her; she answered in broken English, and passed on. ’Tis over! cried somebody. Not yet! said the captain; and we expected she was coming round as about to attack our comrade vessel. She was English, however, manned chiefly from Guernsey,
and this explained her Frenchified language. You will easily imagine that my sensations, at the ending of the business, were very definable,—one honest simple joy that I was in a whole skin! I laid the musket in the chest with considerably more pleasure than I took it out. I am glad this took place; it has shown me what it is to prepare for action.

“Four years’ absence from Lisbon have given everything the varnish of novelty, and this, with the revival of old associations, makes me pleased with everything. Poor Manuel, too, is as happy as man can be to see me once more; here he stands at breakfast, and talks of his meeting me at Villa Franca, and what we saw at this place and at that, and hopes that whenever I go into the country he may go with me. It even amused me to renew my acquaintance with the fleas, who opened the campaign immediately on the arrival of a foreigner. We landed yesterday about ten in the morning, and took possession of our house the same night. Our house is very small, and thoroughly Portuguese; little rooms all doors and windows,—odd, but well calculated for coolness: from one window we have a most magnificent view over the river,—Almada hill, and the opposite shore of Alentejo, bounded by hills about the half mountain height of Malvern. . . . .

“To-day is a busy day; we are arranging away our things, and seeing visitors: these visits must all be returned; there ends the ceremony, and then I may choose retirement. I hurry over my letters, for the sake of feeling at leisure to begin my employments.
The voyage depriving me of all rest, and leaving me too giddy to sleep well, will, with the help of the fleas, break me in well for early rising. The work before me is almost of terrifying labour; folio after folio to be gutted, for the immense mass of collateral knowledge which is indispensable: but I have leisure and inclination.

Edith, who has been looking half her time out of the window, has just seen ‘really a decent-looking woman;’ this will show you what cattle the passers-by must be. She has found out that there are no middle-aged women here, and it is true; like their climate, it is only summer and winter. Their heavy cloaks of thick woollen, like horsemen’s coats in England, amuse her in this weather, as much as her clear muslin would amuse them in an English winter. . . . .

Thalaba will soon be finished. Rickman is my plenipotentiary with the booksellers for this. Pray send me your Plays. . . . . Thalaba finished, all my poetry, instead of being wasted in rivulets and ditches, shall flow into the great Madoc Mississippi river. I have with me your volume, Lyrical Ballads, Burns, and Gebir. Read Gebir again: he grows upon me.

“My uncle’s library is admirably stocked with foreign books. . . . . My plan is this: immediately to go through the chronicles in order, and then make a skeleton of the narrative; the timbers put together, the house may be furnished at leisure. It will be a great work, and worthy of all labour.

“I am interrupted momentarily by visitors, like fleas, infesting a new-comer! Edith’s spirits are
mending: a handful of roses has made her forgive the stink of Lisbon; and the green peas, the oranges, &c., are reconciling her to a country for which nature has done so much. We are transported into your mid-summer, your most luxuriant midsummer!—Plague upon that heart-stop, that has reminded me that this is a voyage of prescription as well as of pleasure. But I will get well; and you must join us, and return with us over the Pyrenees, and some of my dreams must be fulfilled!

“God bless you! Write to me, and some long letters; and send me your Christabell and your Three Graces, and finish them on purpose to send them. Edith’s love. I reach a long arm, and shake hands with you across the seas.

Robert Southey.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Bellana.
“Lisbon, May 8. 1800.

“. . . . . The English, when strangers here, are so suspicious of the natives as to be very rash in misinterpreting them. A young man, whom I knew, fired at the watch one night when they accosted him: the ball passed through the watchman’s hat; he was seized and confined, and it required interest and money to excuse him for what was inexcusable. My uncle, walking one night with a midshipman, was stopt by persons bearing a young man who had been run through the body by a lieutenant; they
had stopt him, seeing his companion’s uniform, but, knowing my uncle, suffered him to pass after telling the circumstances. The lieutenant was drunk; the young man was a gentleman, who, seeing him staggering about the streets, took him by the arm to lead him home; the Englishman did not understand what he said, and ran him through.

“As yet we have not done receiving all our visits of ceremony. We are going, the first night we are at liberty, to the Portuguese play. The court have shown a strange caprice about the Opera: they permitted them to have a few female singers, and the proprietors of the Opera sent to Italy for more and better ones. They came. No! they would not license any more; the present women might act, but not the new comers. You must not expect me to give you any reason for this inconsistency; ’tis the sheer whim of authority; but an odd reason was assigned for permitting two, who still act—one because she is very religious, the other because she is Portuguese and of a certain age.

“On Sunday a princess was christened. In the evening the guns fired a signal for all persons to illuminate. It was a pleasing sight from our window: the town all starred, and the moving lights of the shipping. . . . . But the river, seen by moonlight from hence, is a far finer spectacle than art can make. It lies like a plain of light under the heaven, the trees and houses now forming a dark and distinct foreground, and now undistinguishable in shade as the moon moves on her way;—Almada stretching its black isthmus into the waters, that shine like mid-
night snow. . . . . A magnificent equipage passed our window an Monday: it was a nobleman either going to be married, or to court. The carriage was drawn by four horses, each covered with a white netting, and crested with white plumes; they were very restive, indeed but half broke in. I had seen them breaking in before, and on these occasions they always fill the carriage with servants to make it heavy, so that their necks also run a chance of being broken in. It was like the pomp of romance. They bury in covered buildings that adjoin the church; the graves are built in divisions, like tanners’ pits: you may, perhaps, remember such at Bristol, at St. Paul’s, which I saw building. Quicklime is thrown in with every body, which, of course, is soon consumed: still the bones accumulate, and occasionally these places are cleared out. . . . .

“They have a singular mode of fishing at Costa, a sort of wigwam village on the sands south of the bar. The gang of fishermen to each net is about fifty, all paid and fed by the captain regularly,—not according to their success. Half hold one end of a rope, the other is carried off in the boat; the rope is about half a mile in length, the net in the middle. A high surf breaks on the shore; the men then thrust off the boat, themselves breast-deep, and stooping under every wave that meets them; the others row round to shore, and then they all haul in. This place is about nine miles only from Lisbon, and yet criminals run away there and are safe. Sometimes a magistrate goes down, but they always know that he is coming, and away to the woods for
the day. It is common to go there from town, and dine upon the sands. The people are civil and inoffensive; indeed, generally so over Portugal, except among the boatmen, who have enough intercourse with foreigners to catch all their vices.

Lord Somerville went by the last packet. I did not see him; he would have called one evening, but my uncle, knowing him pressed for time, begged him to waive the ceremony. I have been very industrious, and continue so—rise early, and never waste a minute. If I am at home without visitors, I go from book to book; and change is more relief than idleness. The American minister called on me after supper on Tuesday; this was somewhat familiar, and, I apprehend, was meant as civility. God bless you.

R. S.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“Lisbon, May 23. 1800.

“Lisbon has twice been clean since the creation. Noah’s flood washed it once, and the fire after the earthquake purified it. When it will be clean again, will be difficult to say; probably not till the general conflagration. A house, at which I called yesterday, actually has a drain running round one of the sides, which empties all the filth before the entrance. . . . . Government will neither cleanse the city themselves, nor suffer any one else to do it. An English merchant applied lately for permission to clean the street in which he lived, and it was refused. This is one of the curious absurdities of the P. go-
vernment. An English invalid, who was terribly shaken in his carriage by the ragged pavement in his street, applied to the proper officers to allow him to have it mended: they would not do it. He was a man of fortune.

“The filthiest offices in the place are performed by negroes. . . . . These poor people were brought as slaves into Portugal, till Pombal prohibited all future importation, still leaving those already in the country slaves, that property might not be invaded. Once since, a petition was presented that the country wanted negroes, and a few were imported in consequence. When they have grown old in service and slavery, the trick of Portuguese generosity is to give them their liberty; that is as if, in England, a man, when his horse was grown old, should turn him adrift, instead of giving the old animal the run of his park. Of course black beggars are numerous. Grey-headed, and with grey beards, they look strangely; and some, that have the leprosy, are the most hideous objects imaginable. The old women wear nothing on their heads, and, what with their woolly hair and their broad features, look sometimes so fearfully ugly that I do not wonder at the frequency of negresses in romance. A priest in this country sold his own daughter by a negress. The Portuguese despise the negroes, and by way of insult sneeze at them as they pass: this is their strongest mark of contempt. Our phrase, ‘a fig for him,’ is explained by an amulet in use here against witchcraft, called a figa; the mules and asses wear it. It is the figure of a hand closed, the thumb cocked out between the fore and
middle fingers. I first saw it mentioned in a curious poem by
Vieira, the famous, and indeed only good, Portuguese painter. He had one given him when a child to save him from an evil eye, for he was in more danger on account of his being handsome and quick; as we say, a child is too clever to live. The ‘gift of the gab,’ must also be of Portuguese extraction: gaban is to praise, to coax.

“No doubt this is a regular government; it is an old monarchy, and has an established church. . . . . A lawyer in England wrote a book to prove that our monarchy was absolute also; and Hughes, the clergyman at Clifton, whom you may have seen at my aunt’s, lamented in a pamphlet that that awful tribunal, the Inquisition, had relaxed its vigilance: but you may not forge and murder with impunity. An acquaintance of mine (Tennant, well known for some famous chemical experiments on the diamond) met an Irishman in Switzerland, who had been at Borne. He said it was the most laineant government in the world: you might kill a man in the streets, and nobody would take the laist notice of it. This also is a laineant government: a man stabs his antagonist, wipes the knife in his cloak, and walks quietly away. It is a point of honour in the spectators to give no information. If one servant robs his master, it is a point of honour in his fellow-servants never to inform of him. Both these points of honour are inviolable from prudence, for a stab would be the consequence. One method of revenge used in the provinces is ingeniously wicked: they beat a man with sand-bags. These do not inflict so much immediate pain as a cane would do, but they so
bruise all the fine vessels, that, unless the poor wretch be immediately scarified, a lingering death is the consequence. My uncle has known instances at Porto. For all useful purposes of society, this is a complete anarchy; in the police every individual is interested; security is the object of political institutions, and here every man is at the mercy of every ruffian he meets. These things make no noise here. A man was murdered this week within thirty yards of our house, and we only heard it ten days afterwards by mere accident; yet all goes on smoothly as the Tagus flows over the dead bodies that are thrown into it. . . . . In England you will imagine that this insecurity must occasion perpetual disquiet. Not so. As I do not quarrel, and nobody has any interest in sending me to the next world, there is no danger. We are indeed, safer than in England, because there is not so much ingenuity exerted in villany. Instruments for picking pockets and breaking open houses have not yet been introduced. The country is not civilised enough to produce coiners. A man may as easily escape being assassinated here, as he can fighting a duel in England.

“On Sunday, some boys, dressed like blue-coat boys, went under our window, with baskets, begging provisions or money. A man has set up this charity school on speculation, and without funds, trusting to chance alms. The ‘Emperor of the Holy Ghost’ also passed us in person: his flags are new, and his retinue magnificent in their new dresses of white and scarlet; his musicians were all negroes: before him went a grave and comely personage, carrying a gilt
wand of about ten feet high. The Emperor is about six years old, exceedingly thin, dressed like a man in full dress, silk stockings, large buckles, a sword, and an enormous cocked hat, bigger than yours, edged with white fringe. On either side marched a gentleman usher, from time to time adjusting his hat, as, its heavy corners preponderated. The attendants carried silver salvers, on which they had collected much copper money: few poor people passed who did not give something.

“Lately a negro went along our street with a Christ in a glass case, which he showed to every one whom he met. They usually kissed the glass and gave him money. Pombal, in his time, prohibited such follies. These images have all been blessed by the Pope, and are therefore thus respected. I was in a shop the other day waiting for change, when a beggar-woman came in. As I did not give her anything, she turned to an image of Our Lady, prayed to it and kissed it, and then turned round to beg again.

“Religion is kept alive by these images, &c., like a fire perpetually supplied with fuel. They have a saint for every thing. . . . . One saint preserves from lightning, another from fire, a third clears the clouds, and so on—a salve for every sore. It is a fine religion for an enthusiast—for one who can let his feelings remain awake, and opiate his reason. Never was goddess so calculated to win upon the human heart as the Virgin Mary; and devotees, Moravians as well as Catholics, not unfrequently mingle the feelings of earthly and spiritual love, as
strangely as our Bible has mixed the language in Solomon’s Song. We have an instance in
Crashaw the poet’s hymn to St. Theresa.

“One of the new convent towers is miserably disfigured by a projecting screen of wood. The man who rings the bell stands close by it, and the ugly thing is put there, lest he should see the nuns walking in the garden, or lest they should see him, for a nun has nothing but love to think of, and a powder magazine must be guarded warily. A million sterling has been expended upon this convent; it is magnificent within, wholly of marble, and the colour well disposed. A million sterling! and the great square is unfinished, and the city without flagstones, without lamps, without drains!

“I meet the galley-slaves sometimes, and have looked at them with a physiognomic eye to see if they differed from the rest of the people. It appeared to me that they had been found out, the others had not. The Portuguese face, when fine, is very fine, and it rarely wants the expression of intellect.

“The gardens have usually vine-covered walks, stone pillars supporting the trellis poles. Some you see in the old-fashioned style—box cut into patterns like the zig-zag twirling of a Turkey carpet pattern. The Convent of the Necessidades has a very large and fine garden, open to men but not to women. This is laid out in shady walks, like the spokes of wheels, that centre into fountains; the space between the walks occupied with oranges, lemons, and other fruit trees. Everywhere innumerable lizards are to be seen sporting in the sun, grey or green, from two
inches to twenty in length, nimble, harmless, beautiful animals. . . . . God bless you.

To Mrs. Southey, Senr.
“Lisbon, May 23. 1800.
“My dear Mother,

“Our trunk arrived by the last packet: a joyful arrival, for I was beginning to be as bare as a plucked ostrich. . . . . We go on comfortably; as clean as an English house upstairs, as dirty as a Portuguese one below. Edith, like Mr. Pitt, is convinced of the impossibility of reform. Manuel will clean the kitchen, indeed, but immediately he will scrape the fish-scales all over it. These people have no foresight. We, however, are very well off; and, for a Portuguese, our Maria Rosa is extraordinarily tidy.

“ —— is here, the Wine Street man, and he goes to market himself; and I am going to cultivate his acquaintance, in order to find out what good things may have escaped my appetite here. Nothing like a Bristol pointer at an eatable thing. . . . . My uncle has enough to do with burying and christening among the soldiers, though the priests poach among his flock sadly. We profit somewhat by the war, getting most excellent pieces of the sirloin from the rations. The summer we pass at Cintra, whither, however, we shall not go till July, for in June we have to see the procession of the ‘Body of God,’ of
St. Anthony, and the royal family with the knight of the new convent; and we must also wait to see a bull-fight, which, being a cool summer amusement, only takes place in the hottest weather. . . . .

“I read nothing but Spanish and Portuguese. Edith knows enough of the common words to get all needful things done about the house. We have had an infinite number of visitors, and our debt is not yet paid off. . . . .

Edith has seen the aqueduct. Even after having seen it, I was astonished at its magnitude. Shakespeare’s ‘lessen’d to a crow’ seemed hardly hyperbolical, when I looked down from the middle arch upon the brook of Alcantara: the women washing there would have escaped my sight if I had not seen them moving as they walked. It is a work worthy of Rome in the days of her power and magnificence. The Portuguese delight in water; the most luscious and cloying sweetmeats first—for instance, preserved yolk of egg—and then a glass of water, and this is excellent which comes by the aqueduct. The view from the top is wonderfully fine: a stony shallow brook below, a few women washing in it, bare-kneed, the sides sprinkled with linen drying in the sun; orange, and vine, and olive-yards along the line of fertility that runs below the hills, and houses scattered in the little valley, and bare dark hills and windmills, and houses far beyond and distant mountains. She has also seen the new convent. The inside of the church is of marble, and the colour very well disposed. You will remember that a marble room, chilling as it would be in England, is
here only cool and comfortable. It is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus, which is the subject of more than one picture in the church. In one, the queen (for she built it) is represented adoring the heart. You would not like the Roman Catholic religion quite so well if you saw it here in all its naked nonsense—could you but see the mummery, and smell the friars! There is no dying in peace for these fellows; they kill more than even the country apothecaries. When a man is given over, in they come, set up singing, which they never cease till the poor wretch is dead; build an altar in the room, light their candles, and administer extreme unction, which has much the same effect as if in England you measured a sick man for his coffin and dressed him in his shroud. They watch after the dying like Bristol undertakers. My
uncle is always obliged to mount guard, and yet last week they smuggled off an officer; got at him when his senses were gone, stuck a candle in his hand, and sung ‘O be joyful’ for a convert.

“We have had three illuminations for the new Pope. . . . . We had another illumination for the christening of a princess. These things are not, as in England, at the will of the mob. An illumination is proclaimed; at a proper hour the guns fire to say ‘now light your candles;’ at ten they fire again to give notice you may put them out: and if you do not illuminate, you are fined about thirty shillings,—but no riots, no mobbing, no breaking windows. . . . .

“The literature of this place takes up much of my
time, I am never idle, and, I believe, must set at
Thalaba in good earnest to get it out of my way,

“God bless you.

Your affectionate son,
Robert Southey.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“Lisbon, May 30. 1800.

“The country immediately adjoining Buenos Ayres, the hill on which we live, is very unpleasant; bare, burnt hills, bearing nothing but windmills. The Valley of Alcantara, over which the great aqueduct passes, is indeed very striking; it winds among these hills, and perhaps owes much of its beauty to the contrast, like the villages in the South Downs, and that beautiful valley on the left of the road from Salisbury to Deptford. In rich countries they would not be noticed, but here they are like water in the deserts. The whole road to Cintra is thus ugly and uninteresting. The road paved all the way—a very Devil’s bowling-alley—you can imagine no scenery more wearying; but eastward of Lisbon it is totally different; there all is rich and beautiful—exquisitely beautiful, now that the green corn and the vineyards give it all the fresh verdure of an English landscape. Yesterday evening I took a long ride there with my uncle about the Valley of Chellas, the gardens of which delightful spot chiefly supply Lisbon. The place is intersected by a thousand bye-lanes, unenterable by carriage, and as intricate as one of the last propositions in Euclid, all angles and
curves. In this scenery there is scarcely an English feature. Orange trees in the gardens, and vine-covered trellis-walks; olive trees growing in the corn-fields, and now in full blossom: the blossom is somewhat like the old-man’s-beard of our hedges, not so striking at a distance as when looked into, but it gives a greyness to the tree, a sober blossom, in character with the dusty foliage: fig trees, their broad leaves so green and rich, and a few broad-headed pine trees here and there, and cherries, apricots, &c., in the gardens, varying the verdure. In the gardens is usually a water-wheel, and the garden is veined with little aqueducts; these wheels creak eternally, and such is the force of association that the Portuguese reckon this creaking among the delights of the country: they think of water, and the garden revived by it.

“The country looks covered with wood; not, indeed, of forest size, but large enough for beauty, and all useful. The fences are either walls,—and the walls are soon covered with luxuriant vegetation in this country,—or aloe-guarded banks; and the aloe is magnificent: the stem of the blossom looks almost like a piece of timber: and the fennel grows finely as a weed; you know its handsome leaf, fine as vegetable threads, or like hair fine and curled, its blossom growing tall, a fine yellow flower, distinguishable at a considerable distance from its size: and the acanthus, the plant that gave a man of genius the idea of the Corinthian capital, which he in consequence invented:—blend these with wild roses and woodbines, more profusely beautiful than I ever saw them elsewhere, and you have the idea of these bank-
fences. Our way was up and down steep hills, whence we looked over the valleys, its scattered houses, and here and there a convent, always a beautiful object, and sometimes the river, and its far shore like a low cloud. It was dusk before we returned, and the fire-flies were awake, flashing about the banks, and then putting out their candles, and again in light, like fairy fireworks. My
uncle, when first in this country, had lost himself in a lane at Cintra; it was evening; he had heard nothing of these fireflies, and some hundreds rose at once before him: he says he thought there was a volcano beginning under his feet.

“The warm weather is come; we shut our windows to exclude the heated air, and our shutters to darken the room: if half the money expended upon the souls in purgatory were employed in watering the street, we should be relieved from the torment of burning. Yet is the heat more endurable than the intense light; this is insufferably painful: the houses are white, the stones in the street white, the very dust bleached, and all reflect back upon us the scorching sun: the light is like the quivering of a furnace fire; it dazzles and makes the eyes ache, and blindness is very common. At evening the sea breeze rises, a sudden change! tremendous for an invalid, but it purifies the town, and then, owl-like, we come out of our nests. At Cintra we shall be cool; we wait only for the processions of the Body of God, and St. Anthony, the 12th and 13th of June, and the Heart of Jesus on the 28th, and the first bull-fight, which will be about that time.

“The butchers annually pay a certain sum to
government, like tax or turnpike-men in England. Veal is prohibited; there are, however, smugglers who carry on a contraband trade in veal, and better mutton than is to be procured in the legal way: one of these was taken up near our door a few days since; a public calamity, I assure you. The Portuguese servants do not like mutton, and they mutinied in an English family the other day on this account. A tax of one real per pound on all meat sold in Lisbon raises the fund for the aqueduct; a light tax (about the fifth of a halfpenny) for so great a benefit. The water is indeed purchased from the Gallegos, who are water-carriers by trade, but you may send to the fountains if you please; and the Great Aqueduct is known by a name expressive of this,—they call it the free waters. The number of Gallegos employed here is disgraceful both to Spain and Portugal: to their own country, that these industrious people cannot find employment at home; to this, that the Portuguese are lazy enough to let foreigners do their work, who annually drain Lisbon of its specie.

“The mules and goats have a most ugly cup-shaped bell, from six to twelve inches long, hanging from their neck, with a clapper as rude as the rude cup in which it clinks. Manuel is at war with my uncle’s mule, and, like worse people than himself, adopts the system of coercion, when conciliation has been advised, and the effects of force experienced. ‘You should coax the mule,’ said my uncle, ‘and never go near her without carrying her something in your hand.’ ‘No, senhor,’ said Mambrino, ‘that is the way with horned cattle, I know, but not with beasts like mules and
horses; nothing but beating will do.’ One day there was a hallaballoo (I never saw that word in a dictionary, so pardon the spelling if it be wrong) in the stables, which alarmed my uncle; out he went and there was Manuel, discomfited by the mule, and crawled up under the manger in bodily fear.

Friday, June 6th.

“Your letter has just reached me; a welcome visitant. Here a letter is of ten-fold more value than in England: our friends are, perhaps, like our daily comforts,—their value hardly understood till we are deprived of them. I go on comfortably. The weather makes me lazy, and yet I have read enormously, and digested much. Laziness is the influenza of the country. The stone-cutter will lay his head upon the stone at which he has worked, and deep, though it be hot enough to broil a beaf-steak. The very dogs are lazy: it was but yesterday I saw a great son of a bitch (literally) let a mule step upon him, from sheer laziness; and then he rose, howling, and walked away. The fellows lie sleeping every where in the streets; they seem to possess the power of sleeping when they will. Everlasting noise is another characteristic of Lisbon. Their noonday fireworks, their cannonading on every fool’s pretext, their bells to every goat in a flock and every mule in a drove, prove this; above all, their everlasting bell-ding-donging,—for bell-ringing would convey the English idea of music, and here it is only noise. A merchant, not far from my uncle’s, has a private chapel, from whence his bells annoy the whole neighbourhood. The English Hotel, till lately, was near
him, and the invalids were disturbed, and of course injured, by the noise: they sent to state this, and request that he would have the goodness to dispense with the bell-ringing; he returned for answer, that the Prince had given him leave to have a private chapel, and his bells should ring in spite of any body! I would have this fellow hung up by the heels, as a clapper to Great Tom of Lincoln, and punish him in kind.

“We often heard a noise below which puzzled us; it was like damping linen, but so often, that all the linen in Lisbon could not have supplied the sound. At last, when Maria was cleaning the adjoining room, we heard it; she was laying the dust, and in the same way as she damps the clothes in ironing,—by taking a great mouthful of water and then spirting it out: this is the Portuguese way, and the mouth makes a very good watering-pot.

“I have heard a good anecdote to illustrate the personal insecurity in this kingdom. Did you ever see old H——? He was a Porto merchant, and had a quarrel with a Portuguese, in consequence of which he and his antagonist always went out with guns, each watching for the first shot; but the Portuguese used to attack his house at night, and fire through the windows at him, till Mrs. H——, who did not like this chance-shooting, prevailed on her husband to quit the kingdom. The gallows here has a stationary ladder; and God knows, if the hangman did all that was necessary, he would have a hard place.

“My uncle has purchased charts of all the coasts and ports of Spain and its islands, with the intention of giving them to you. Should you ever get on this
station, they will be eminently useful.
Lord St. Vincent has a copy, but the copies are so rare and so expensive that there can be very few in the navy.

“God bless you! Edith’s love.

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“Sunday, June 15. 1800, Lisbon.
“My dear Tom,

“On Tuesday Rundell goes. To-morrow I have an engagement for the day, and lack of paper has till now prevented me from preparation; so now for a galloping letter!

“Thursday last we saw the long-looked-for Procession of the Body of God. The Pix is carried in all other processions empty; in this only it has the wafer,—this is the only Real Presence. The Pix is a silver vessel; and our vulgarism, ‘please the pigs,’ which has sometimes puzzled me, is only a corruption, and that an easy one, of ‘please the Pix,’—the holiest church utensil. So much for the object of this raree-show. On the night preceding, the streets through which it is to pass are cleaned: the only miracle I ever knew the wafer perform is that of cleaning the streets of Lisbon: they are strewn with sand, and the houses hung with crimson damask, from top to bottom. When the morning arrived, the streets were lined with soldiers; they marched on, filing to the right and left: their new uniforms are put on this day, and their appearance was very respectable: this alone was
a fine sight. We were in a house in one of the new streets, where the houses are high and handsome, and perfectly regular, and the street longer than Redcliffe Street, every window and balcony crowded, and the Portuguese all in full-dress; and of the finery of Portuguese full-dress you can have but very inadequate ideas: not a jewel in Lisbon but was displayed,—the rainbow would have been ashamed to be seen. The banners of the city and its various corporate trades led the way. I never saw banners so clumsily carried; they were stuck out with bars,—not suffered to play freely and wave with the wind, and roll out their beauties in light and shade: sticks were stuck at right angles in the poles to carry them by; nothing could be more awkward or more laborious for the bearers, some of whom were walking backward like lobsters, and others crab-sidling along; then came a champion in armour, carrying a flag; God knows, his armour was heavy enough; and as both his arms were employed upon the flag, his horse was led. Here, also, I saw St George, but not St. George of England! This was a Portuguese wooden St. George, his legs stiff and striding like a boot-jack, a man walking on each side to hold him on by the feet; his house, when he is at home, is the Castle, from whence he goes to the Duke of Cadaval’s, where they dress his hat up with all their magnificent jewels for the procession, which he calls and returns on his way back. When the late king was dying, he had all the saints in Lisbon sent for, and this St. George was put to bed to him. The consultation produced no good effect.


“Scarcely any part of the procession was more beautiful than a number of very fine led horses, their saddles covered with rich escutcheons. All the brotherhoods then walked,—an immense train of men in red or grey cloaks; and all the friars. Zounds, what a regiment! many of them fine young men, some few ‘more fat than friars became,’ and others again as venerable figures as a painter could wish: among the bearded monks were many, so old, so meagre, so hermit-like in look, of such a bread-and-water diet appearance, that there needed no other evidence to prove they were indeed penitents, as austere as conscientious folly could devise. The knights of the different orders walked in their superb dresses—the whole patriarchal church in such robes! and after the Pix came the Prince himself, a group of nobles round him closing the whole. I never saw aught finer than this: the crowd closing behind, the whole street, as far as the eye could reach, above and below, thronged, flooded, with people—and the blaze of their dresses! and the music! I pitied the friars—it was hot, though temperate for the season, yet the sun was painful, and on their shaven heads; they were holding up their singing-books, or their hands, or their handkerchiefs, or their cowls, to shade them. I have heard that it has been death to some of them in a hot season. Two years ago, at this very procession, a stranger received a stroke of the sun, and fell down apparently dead. The Irish friars got hold of him and carried him off to be buried. The coffins here are like a trunk, and the lid is left open during the funeral service; before it was over, the man moved—
what then did the Paddies? Oh to be sure, and they could not bury him then! but they locked him in the church instead of calling assistance, and the next day the man was dead enough, and they finished the job!

“Had this been well managed, it would have been one of the finest conceivable sights; but it was along procession broken into a number of little pieces, so irregularly they moved. On the Prince, and the group about the Body of God—I like to translate it, that you may see the nakedness of the nonsensical blasphemy—they showered rose-leaves from the windows. The following day St. Anthony had a procession, and the trappings of the houses were ordered to remain for him: this was like the Lent processions, a perfect puppet-show—the huge idols of the people carried upon men’s shoulders; there were two negro saints, carried by negroes—I smiled to think what black angels they must make. We have got another raree-show to see in honour of the Heart of Jesus; this will be on Friday next; and then we think of Cintra.

“This has been a busy time for the Catholics. Saturday, the 7th of this month, as the Eve of Trinity Sunday, was a festival at the Emperor’s* head quarters; his mountebank stage was illuminated, and pitch barrels blazing along the street, their flames flashing finely upon the broad flags that floated across the way. It was somewhat terrible; they were bonfires of superstition, and I could not help thinking how much better the spectators would have been pleased with the sight had there been a Jew, or a

* The Emperor of the Holy Ghost, as he is called; see antè, p. 71.

heretic like me, in every barrel. The scene was thronged with spectators, and to my great surprise I saw women walking in safety; nothing like personal insult was attempted: the boys had their bonfires and fireworks, but they seemed to have no idea that mischief was amusement. The succeeding day. Trinity Sunday, was the termination of the Emperor’s reign. His train was increased by a band of soldiers; he was crowned, and dined in public The Emperor for the ensuing year was elected; and thus ends the mummery, till Lent, and feasting, and folly come round again. At Cascaes the Emperor is a man, and the farce more formal. There was a brother of
John V., who delighted in blackguard mischief; he went to the Emperor, then on the throne, with the intention of kicking him down, or some such practical jest. The Emperor knew him, sate like an old senator when the Gauls approached, and held out his hand for the Prince to kiss; it effectually disconcerted him, and he growled out as he retired, ‘the rascal plays his part better than I expected.’

“In the course of a conversation, introduced by these processions, I said to a lady, who remembers the auto-da-fes, ‘What a dreadful day it must have been for the English when one of these infernal executions took place!’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘not at all; it was like the processions, expected as a fine sight, and the English, whose houses overlooked the streets through which they passed, kept open house as now, and made entertainments!!’ They did not, indeed, see the execution,—that was at midnight; but they should have shut up their houses, and, for the honour
of their own country, have expressed all silent abhorrence. Did such an event take place now, I should shake the dust from my feet, and curse the city, and leave it for ever! What is it that has prevented these Catholic bonfires? I do not understand. The constitution and the people never were more bigoted; and the dislike of
Pombal would, after his disgrace, have only been a motive for reviving them. Is it that the priests themselves and the nobles have grown irreligious? Perhaps the books of Voltaire may have saved many a poor Jew from the flames.

“Portugal is certainly improving, but very, very, very slowly. The factories have been long declining in opulence; and the Portuguese, who had some years since no merchants of note, have now the most eminent and wealthy in the place. They are beginning to take the profits themselves, which they had suffered us to reap: this is well, and as it should be; but they have found out that Cintra is a fine place, and are buying up the houses there as they are vacant, so that they will one day dispossess the English, and this I do not like. Cintra is too good a place for the Portuguese. It is only fit for us Goths—for Germans or English.

“Your Thalaba is on the stocks. You will have it some six months before it can possibly be printed, and this is worth while. I this morning finished the Tenth Book—only two more; and at the end of a journey Hope always quickens my speed. Farewell. I am hurried, and you must and may excuse (as Rundell is postman extraordinary) a sheet not quite filled. God bless you! Edith’s love.

R. S.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“June 22. 1800.
“My dear Tom,

“We are just returned from a bull-feast, and I write to you while the feelings occasioned by this spectacle are fresh. I had never before seen one. The buffoonery of teazing bullocks at Madrid was rather foolish than cruel, and its extreme folly excited laughter, as much at the spectators as the thing itself. This is widely different. The handbill was pompous:—‘Antonio de Cordeiro, who had so distinguished himself last year, was again to perform. The entertainment would deserve the approbation of a generous public. Ten bulls were to be killed, four to be tormented; they were picked bulls, of the Marquis de ——’s breed (I forget his name), and chosen out for their courage and ferocity.’ Yesterday the bull-fighters paraded the streets, as you may have seen rope-dancers and the ‘equestrian troop’ at Bristol fair; they were strangely disfigured with masques; one fellow had a paunch and a Punch-hump-back, and all were dressed in true tawdry style. Hot weather is always the season, and Sunday always the day, the amusement being cool and devout I At half after four it began: the hero was on horseback, and half a dozen men on foot to assist him; about ten more sat with pitchforks to defend themselves, ready when wanted: the bulls were all in the area till the amusement opened; they were not large, and not the same breed as in England; they
had more the face of the cow than the short sulky look of gentlemen,—quiet, harmless animals, whom a child might safely have played with, and a woman would have been ashamed to fear. So much for their ferocity! Courage, indeed, they possessed; they attacked only in self-defence, and you would, like me, have been angry to see a fellow with a spear, provoking a bull whose horns were tipt with large balls, the brave beast, all bleeding with wounds, still facing him with reluctant resistance: once I saw crackers stuck into his neck to irritate him, and heard them burst in his wounds; you will not wonder that I gave the Portuguese a hearty and honest English curse. It is not an affair of courage; the horse is trained, the bull’s horns muffled, and half a dozen fellows, each ready to assist the other, and each with a cloak, on which the poor animal wastes his anger: they have the rails to leap over, also, and they know that when they drop the cloak he aims always at that; there is, therefore, little danger of a bruise, and none of anything else. The amusement is, therefore, as cowardly as cruel. I saw nine killed; the first wound sickened
Edith, and my own eyes were not always fixed upon the area. My curiosity was not, perhaps, strictly excusable, but the pain which I endured was assuredly penalty enough. The fiercest of the whole was one of the four who were only tormented; two fellows on asses attacked him with goads, and he knocked them over and over with much spirit; two more came on, standing each in the middle of a painted horse, ridiculously enough—and I fancy those fellows will remember him for the next fortnight whenever they
turn in bed—and their sham horses were broken to pieces. Three dogs were loosed at another bull, and effectually sickened. I hate bull-dogs; they are a surly, vicious breed, ever ready to attack, mischievous and malicious enough to deserve parliamentary praise from
Mr. Wyndham and Mr. Canning. A large theatre was completely full; men, women, and children were clapping their hands at every wound, and watching with delight the struggles of the dying beasts. It is a damnable sport! and much to the honour of the English here they all dislike it—very rarely does an Englishman or Englishwoman witness it a second time.

“You will find in Thalaba one accurate image which I observed this evening: a death-sweat darkening the dun hide of the animal. This amusement must have mischievous effects; it makes cruelty familiar: and as for the assertion, that bull-baiting, or bull-butchering, keeps up the courage of the nation, only Wyndham and Canning could have been absurd enough and unfeeling enough to believe it;—if it were true, the Spaniards ought to be the bravest nation in the world, because their amusement is the most cruel; and a butcher ought to make the best soldier.

“On Thursday we go to Cintra; this, therefore, will be my last letter of Lisbon anecdote. In Africa a Portuguese saw an ouran-outang, the most human beast that has yet been discovered, walking quietly with a stick in his hand; he had the wickedness to shoot him, and was not, as he ought to have been, hung for wilful murder. The head and hands were sent here; I have seen them in the Museum, in spirits.
I have seen many an uglier fellow pass for a man, in spite of the definition that makes him a reasoning animal: he has eyebrows, and a woolly head, almost like a negro’s, but the face not black.

Fielding died and was buried here. By a singular fatality, four attempts have been made to erect a monument, and all have miscarried. A Frenchman set on foot a subscription for this purpose, and many of the factory engaged for one, two, or three moidores; circumstances took him from Lisbon, and this dropped. Another Frenchman had a monument made at his own expense, and paid for it; there was a fine French inscription, that, as his own countrymen had never given the great Fielding a monument, it was reserved for a Frenchman to honour his country by paying that respect to genius: he also went away, and is now following the French Pretender; and his monument lies among masonry and rubbish, where I have sought for it in vain. Then De Visme undertook the affair; and the bust of Fielding, designed for this purpose, is still in the house which belonged to him here. I know not what made this scheme abortive. Last, the Prince of Brazil went to work, and the monument was made. The Lady Abbess of the New Convent wished to see it; it was sent to her; she took a fancy to it, and there it has remained ever since: and Fielding is still without a monument.

De Visme introduced the present fashion of painting rooms in stucco, with landscapes on the walls, and borders of flowers or arabesque; the fashion is, I believe, Italian. The workmen whom he employed had taste enough to be pleased with it and it
is general in all new houses. The ceilings are now painted; thus, instead of the huge layer of boards which was usual, nothing can look more cool, or be more convenient, for a cloth and soap cleans it.

“In the larger old houses, here and in Spain, in the country, there is usually a room with no windows, but, instead, arches quite open to the air; the appearance is strange and picturesque, and I should esteem it one of the inconveniences of Lisbon, that the intolerable dust prevents the enjoyment of these open rooms there—the dust is a huge evil. . . . . We had the hot wind for three days this week; a detestable burning blast, a bastard sort of siroc, tamed by crossing the sea and the land, but which parches the lips, and torments you with the Tantalus plague of fanning your cheek and heating it at the same time. The sea breeze is, on the other hand, as delightful: we feel it immediately; it cools the air, and freshens up all our languid feelings. In the West Indies they call this wind the doctor—a good seamanly phrase for its healing and comfortable effect.

“At the time the aqueduct was built, a large reservoir was made for its waste water. In winter, much water runs to waste; in summer, more is wanted, and the watermen wait a long time round the fountain before they can in turn fill their barrels: but these people, in building the reservoir, never calculated the weight of the water till the building was finished,—so it stands still uncovered, a useless pile, and a rare monument of the national science. I saw a funeral from the country pass the window at night, the attendants
holding torches, and the body in the trunk coffin carried upon a litter (that is, like a sedan chair carried by mules instead of men).

“The servants here, in marketing, think it a part of their fair profits to cheat you as much as they can, and have no idea that this is dishonesty; it is a sort of commission they think they are entitled to. This is so much the case, that one of these fellows, when he was stipulating about wages, thought them too little, and inquired if he was to go to market; he was told yes, and then he said he would come. . . . .

“The Queen’s stables serve as an asylum. Rogues and murderers go there and do the work for nothing; they are safe by this means, and the people, whose business it is to hire and pay the servants, pocket the money, so that they infest the neighbourhood: they quarrelled with our dragoons, who broke into the stables and thrashed them heartily, to the great satisfaction of the people near.

“God bless you! Edith’s love.

R. S.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“Cintra, July 23. 1800.
“My dear Wynn,

“You must, long ere this, have received my second letter. I continue in comfortable health, and spirits that cast a sunshine upon every thing. I pray you make peace, that I may return in the spring over
the Pyrenees. The cause would certainly be good, and so would the effects.

Thalaba is finished, and I am correcting it; the concluding books you shall shortly receive. Griantly is not a coinage, it is sterling English of the old mint; I used it to avoid the sameness of sound in the Giant Tyrant as it stood at first. You object to ‘fowls of the air,’ and do not remember the elision. You object likewise to a licence which I claim as lawful, that of making two short syllables stand for one long one. The eighth book explains enough what Azrael had been doing. The previous uncertainty is well. You will, I trust, find the Paradise a rich poetical picture, a proof that I can employ magnificence and luxury of language when I think them in place. The other faults you point out are removed. Thank you for —— letters. I shall enclose one to him when next I write, the only mode of conveyance with which I am acquainted. —— and I, both of us, were sent into the world with feelings little likely to push us forward in it. One overwhelming propensity has formed my destiny, and marred all prospects of rank or wealth; but it has made me happy, and it will make me immortal. ——, when I was his shadow, was almost my counterpart; but his talents and feelings found no centre, and perforce thus have been scattered: he will probably succeed in worldly prospects far better than I shall do, but he will not be so happy a man, and his genius will bring forth no fruits. I love him dearly, and I

* “I had written at first ‘fowls of heaven,’ but heaven occurs a few fines above. But the line is wholly altered this way.”

know he never can lose the instinctive attachment which led to our boyish intimacy. Yet —— shrunk from me in London. I met him at your rooms; he was the same immutable character: I walked home with him at night; our conversation was unreserved, and, in silence and solitude, I rejoiced even with tears that I had found again the friend that was lost. From that time, a hasty visit is all I saw of him: it was his indolence,—I know he esteems me. Our former coolness I remember among my follies; you were with me when I atoned for it by a voluntary letter, and you saw an answer such as I had reason to expect. I wrote again to him, a common young man’s letter; he never answered it: the fact was, I had the disease of epistolising, and he had not. Our future intercourse cannot be much; by the time he returns to London, I trust I shall have retired from it, and pitched my tent near the churchyard in which I shall be buried. Of the East Indies I know not enough to estimate the reason and reasonableness of his dislike. Were I single, it is a country which would tempt me, as offering the shortest and most certain way to wealth, and many curious subjects of literary pursuit. About the language, —— is right; it is a baboon jargon not worth learning; but were I there, I would get the Vedams and get them translated. It is rather disgraceful that the most important acquisition of Oriental learning should have been given us by a Frenchman; but
Anquetil du Perron was certainly a far more useful and meritorious orientalist than Sir Wm. Jones, who disgraced himself by enviously abusing him. Latterly, Sir
William’s works are the dreams of dotage. I have some distant view of manufacturing a
Hindoo romance, wild as Thalaba; and a nearer one of a Persian story, of which see the germ of vitality. I take the system of the Zendavesta for my mythology, and introduce the powers of darkness persecuting a Persian, one of the hundred and fifty sons of the great king; every evil they inflict, becomes the cause of developing. in him some virtue which his prosperity had smothered: an Athenian captive is a prominent character, and the whole warfare of the evil power ends in exalting a Persian prince into a citizen of Athens. I pray you be Greek enough to like that catastrophe, and forget France when you think of Attic republicanism.

“I have written no line of poetry here, except the four books of Thalaba, nor shall I till they are corrected and sent off, and my mind completely delivered of that subject. Some credit may be expected from the poem; and if the booksellers will not give me 100l. for a 4to. edition of 500 copies, or 140l. for a pocket one of 1000, why they shall not have the poem.

“I long to see the face of a friend, and hunger after the bread-and-butter comforts and green fields of England. Yet do I feel so strongly the good effects of climate,—and I am now perspiring in my shirt while I write, in the coolness of Cintra, a darkened room and a wet floor,—that I certainly wish my lot could be cast somewhere in the south of Europe. The spot I am in is the most beautiful I have ever seen or imagined. I ride a jackass, a fine lazy way of travelling; you have even a boy to beat old Dapple
when he is slow. I eat oranges, figs, and delicious pears,—drink Colares wine, a sort of half-way excellence between port and claret,—read all I can lay my hands on,—dream of poem after poem, and play after play,—take a siesta of two hours, and am as happy as if life were but one everlasting to-day, and that to-morrow was not to be provided for.

“Here is a long letter about myself, and not a word about Portugal. My next shall be a brimming sheet of anecdotes.

“I am sorry —— is so disgusted with India, though I cannot wish he were otherwise. From all accounts, an English East-Indian is a very bad animal; they have adopted by force the luxury of the country, and its tyranny and pride by choice. A man who feels and thinks must be in solitude there. Yet the comfort is, that your wages are certain; so many years of toil for such a fortune at last. Is a young man wise who devotes the best years of his life to such a speculation? Alas! if he is, then am I a pitiable blockhead. But to me, the fable of the ant and grasshopper has long appeared a bad one: the ant hoards and hoards for a season in which he is torpid; the grasshopper—there is one singing merrily among the canes—God bless him! I wish you could see one, with his wings and his vermilion legs.

“God bless you! Write often, and let me have a very long letter upon short paper, as postage is by weight. Remember me to Elmsley; and pray pull Bedford’s ears, till I hear him bray: I wish my burro boy could get at him!”

To Mrs. Southey, Sen.
“Cintra August 21. 1800.
“My dear Mother,

“You will have known, before ibis can arrive, that your Bristol despatches reached me. That I have not written sooner, is the fault of the wind. We have been three weeks without a packet; and, now we have one, my letters may probably be detained for want of a conveyance to Lisbon. Poor Peggy?* I am impatient for letters: your last was a troubling one, and undid half that Portugal had done for me. However, I am materially amended. Tom writes that she is better; but I know the nature of the disease too well to hope so easily, perhaps, as you and he may have done: however, other diseases there are, undistinguishably similar in their symptoms, which are sometimes mistaken for this, and the patient is said to have recovered from a consumption, when his lungs have been sound all the while.

“We have been here about two months, living alone, and riding jackasses. My uncle is sadly confined in Lisbon: the soldiers’ children die as fast as they are born, from inattention or bad management, one of the million war-evils!—and he must bury them. We have acquaintance out of number, but no friends: of course I go among these people no oftener than absolute decorum requires. Patty Collins’s niece has more brains than three parts of

* His cousin, Margaret Hill, at this time in very ill health.

the factory: her I like hugely; but she is never at Cintra. I want
Danvers here, and Davy, and Rickman, and Cottle, and you, and some fresh butter, and the newspaper: howbeit, I am very comfortable, and very busy. I want you to eat melons; we get them for about three farthings a pound: and grapes—oh! what grapes! Our desserts are magnificent.

“We have three servants here, a man, and maid, and a boy; all good servants for the country. . . . .

“The Roman Catholics have contrived to rank nastiness among Christian virtues, and they practise no other so universally. The poor Moriscoes in Spain were forbidden to use their baths, because it was a Turkish custom. Certain of the austerer monks would think it wicked to kill any of their vermin; others wear no linen, and sleep in their woollen dress from one year to another,—fine, fat, frying friars, looking as oily as Aaron’s beard in the sun. I should like to catch a Quaker and bring him here among filth and finery.

“Since we left Lisbon I have written scarcely any letters, and have a week’s work to settle my accounts with Tom: tell him that Thalaba has monopolised me; that by the King George, in her next voyage (about three weeks hence), I send over his copy, together with that for the press. Except to Bristol and to Tom, I have neglected all my other correspondents. Actually I have not time: I must ride; I am visited; and the correcting Thalaba and transcribing it is a very serious job.

“The French! You are probably alarmed for
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 101
us, and, perhaps, not without cause; but we are in the dark, and only know that the situation is very critical. We are quite easy about the matter. The house is on fire! ‘Och! and is that all?’ said the Paddy; ‘now, why did you disturb me? I am but a lodger!’ In my own opinion, no attempt will be made on Portugal; it is not worth the trouble. Why make a dust by pulling down a house that must fall? We shall have peace!

“By the next packet I shall write, and send to Biddlecombe his year’s rent. When we return, I shall immediately take a house in London, or near it: for a summer or two. Burton may do; but, if Rickman leaves Christchurch, I must look for a situation where there is better society. I wish I could settle here; the climate suits me so well, that I could give up society, and live like a bear by sucking my own paws. You like the Catholics: shall I give you an account of one of their Lent plays upon transubstantiation, which is lying on the table? It begins by the Father turning Adam out of doors. ‘Get out of my house, you rascal!’ Adam goes a-begging, and bitterly does he complain that he can find no house, no village, no body to beg of. At last he meets the Four Seasons, and they give him a spade, and a plough, &c., but nothing to eat. Then comes Reason, and tells him to go to law with his Father, who is obliged to find him in victuals. Adam goes to law; an Angel is his counsel, and the Devil pleads against him. He wins his cause: and the Father settles upon him oil—for extreme unction; lamb; and bread and wine. Up comes the Sacra-
ment, and there is an end of the play. This is written by a priest, one of the best Spanish writers, who has written seventy-two of these plays, all upon the body and blood, and all in the same strain of quaint and pious blasphemy. In another, Christ comes in as a soldier to ask his reward of my Lord World for serving him, and he produces the testimonials of his service:—that, on the eighth day of his enlisting, he was wounded with a knife; that he had a narrow escape when the infantry were all cut off; that he went as a spy among the enemies, and even got into their Temple; that he stood a siege of forty days, and would not capitulate, though without provisions, and, after three assaults, put the enemy to flight; that he succoured Castle-Magdalen when the enemy had got possession; that he supplied a camp consisting of more than 5000 persons with food, who would all have been starved; that he did good service at sea in a storm: therefore, for him and his twelve followers, he asked his reward. I could fill sheet after sheet with these
Bunyanisms, and send you miracles as strange as any in Thalaba.

“But you are crying out already, and are satisfied with the specimen. Farewell! We are going on well; only Edith’s burro fell with her, and threw her overhead down hill, and she is now lame with a bruised knee: she excels in ass-womanship; and I am hugely pleased with riding sideways, and having a boy to beat the John and guide him.

Harry must forgive me: I do not forget him, and will write very soon; but the interruption it
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 103
occasions, and the time it takes up, make letter-writing a serious evil. God bless you.

Your affectionate son,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickmon, Esq.
Cintra, August 22. 1800.
“My dear Rickman,

“In the long space of three months since I wrote to you (or rather four!), you will expect I have done much. In truth, I have not been idle. For the great history, I have only collected the knowledge of what documents to reach, and where to seek them. The public-library books are not removable; and I, like all the English, am driven to the cool retirement of Cintra. I have the general facts already in my memory, and I think a fair and accurate opinion of the chief personages, differing very considerably from their received characters; and a map of the method to be pursued. The ground is well manured, and the seed is in. I speak the language, not, indeed, grammatically, but fluently; and Portuguese, from a familiar voice, is almost as intelligible to me as English. I know the progress of their language, step by step, and have written materials towards the literary history, of collateral and incidental information—such anecdotes as paint the manners and character of a people. My collection would fill half an octavo volume.

“But Thalaba: it has taken up a greater portion
of my time than I expected or wished. I have been polishing and polishing, adding and adding, and my unlearned readers ought to thank me very heartily for the toil, unpleasant and unproductive, of translating so many notes. By the King George packet I shall send it over, which will probably sail from Lisbon in about three weeks. . . . . The MS. (if the French waylay it not) may reach you the beginning of October at the latest; and, if the booksellers fall into my terms, a London printer will despatch one quarto in a month, or two pocket volumes in a fortnight: 100l. I will have for 400 4to. copies, 130l. for 1000 of the smaller size. The whole property I will not sell, because I expect the poem will become popular, and of course productive. . . . .

“Our house stands here in a lemon-garden of somewhat less than half an acre. Its fruit usually sells for twenty moidores; this year, owing to its failure, it produced only ten. These orchards, you see, are wonderfully productive, but they require more attention than any English crops. They are watered regularly. Here there is a large tank in every garden, whence the water is conveyed by little channels, which the man conducts round the roots of every tree, loosening the soil with a hoe: by this the leaves, as they fall, are sooner mingled with the soil, and afford a constant manure. Wages are as high as eighteen-pence a day, with wine. The price of bread, of course, can differ little from its price. in England; all other provisions are rather dearer, in some respects owing to actual scarcity, still more to the paper
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 105
money, as every tradesman will have his profit upon the discount. The wine owes its advance to the enormous taxes in England. As the English tax it so highly, said the government here, we will tax it too; and they laid on the very moderate duty of a six-and-thirty per pipe. If people will give 75l. a pipe, said the Porto merchants, no doubt they will give 80l., and we will have our profit. They therefore laid on the five, and are making fortunes. More wine is imported than before the new duties, because the excise, to which it is subject, so materially checks the home-brewed; still much is manufactured. By an accident I happened to know that one merchant made his own Lisbon. . . . .

‘No debtor is imprisoned here; shame, shame to our own laws! There is a Board of Bankruptcy—an institution, perhaps, of unequalled absurdity, so is it managed. Any debtor who will surrender all his effects to the board, receives 10 per cent. It has been established about thirty years, and they have never made one dividend. Where goes the money? There is a fund for cleaning and lighting the city. There are no lamps and no scavengers. Where goes the fund? . . . .

“The number of monastics decreases; not from any dearth of laziness or fanaticism, but because the revenues are not now equal to the support of the original number. Sometimes the monks desert; in that case they pursue them. They took one poor fellow at work in a garden, where, for three months, he had been usefully employed, and enjoying freedom. . . . .


“Here is a fine soil of folly, and a plentiful crop do the friars reap! Some little good they do in return. They are good landlords, and the church lands are the only lands that are tolerably cultivated. The ruin of Spain and Portugal is, the fashion that all the wealthy have, of residing wholly in the metropolis, where they spend to the uttermost, vex their tenants, and never pay their debts. Portugal, you say, must have bad roads. It will be very difficult to make them good. In winter the very heavy rains wash away all the smaller parts, and leave only the larger stones; in summer the sun dries them up, and the wind sweeps the stones bare. Brentford stones would be thought a fine road here. Hence slow and little travelling, and bad inns; in country towns no booksellers! scarcely any reading anywhere. Like beasts and savages, the people can bear total indolence. Their delight is to look into the street, put somebody to hunt their heads at the same time, and it is happiness! Even in the garden walls they have grates to look into the road. . . . .

“I lack society sadly. The people here know much of their own business, very little of the country they live in, and nothing of anything else except cards. My uncle, indeed, is a man of extensive knowledge; and here is one family, of which the master is a man of some science, and where I can open my flood-gates. I want you and Davy, and a newspaper, and bread-and-butter, and a green field for me and the horse: it would do his old English heart as much good as it would mine. But I have ample and pleasant employment: curiosity for ever
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
on the hunt—a situation the most beautiful that I have ever seen, and a climate for which Nature seems to have destined me, only, blessed be God, she dropt me the other side of the bay. . . . .
Edith’s remembrance. Farewell!

R. Southey.”
To Henry Southey.
“Cintra, August 25. 1800.
“My dear Harry,

. . . . . “On my return to England in the next spring, I shall take a house in or near London, where you shall live with me and study anatomy at the Westminster Hospital, under Carlisle, whom you know to be a man of genius and my friend. By the time you have acquired enough previous knowledge, I trust some of my eggs will have hatched, so that you may graduate either at Edinburgh or in Germany, as shall appear best. Till my return you will remain where you are; you are well employed, and evidently improving rapidly. Nor is there any home to which you possibly could remove! On my return you will have one, and I trust more comfortable than any you have yet had. We are rising in the world; it is our turn, and will be our own faults if we do not, all of us, attain that station in the world to which our intellectual rank entitles us.

“Attend to prose particularly; excellence in that
is acquirable: you know the value of literature, and may, perhaps, one day find it, as I have done, a resource as well as a delight. In your course of history,
Gibbon must be read: it is the link that connects ancient with modern history. For the history of Portugal you must wait; there is none but that in the Universal History. It is a fine subject, and you will see, on my return, a skeleton—I hope half-musiled.

Thalaba has taken up too much of my time, and I am eager to send it off, and wash my hands of all that could have been written in England: it is finished, and half ready for the press. I am polishing and polishing, and hewing it to pieces with surgeon severity. Yesterday I drew the pen across six hundred lines, and am now writing to you instead of supplying their place. It goes over for publication very shortly—I trust in three weeks. Rickman is my agent and supervisor of the press. I am sorry you do not know Rickman. I esteem him among the first men of my knowledge. . . . . For six weeks we have been at Cintra—a spot the most beautiful that I have ever seen, and which is probably unique. Eighteen miles distant, at Lisbon, the sun is insupportable. Here we are cool, with woods and water. The wealthier English are all here; still, however, I lack society, and, were it not for a self-sufficiency (like the bear, who sucks his paws when the snow shuts him up in his den), should be in a state of mental famine. My uncle is little here; people will die, and must be buried. He is a man of extensive information; his
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
library very well furnished, and he very well acquainted with its contents. One Englishman here only talks politics with me; his taste in French is everything, and in all else mine is right English and Antigallican. The English here know very little of the country they live in, and nothing of the literature. Of
Camoens they have heard, and only of Camoens. By the help of my uncle I have acquired an extensive knowledge, and am almost as well acquainted with Portuguese literature, as with that of my own country. It is not worth much; but it is not from the rose and the violet only that the bee sucks honey.

“You would be amused could you see Edith and myself on ass-back—I sitting sideways, gloriously lazy, with a boy to beat my Bayardo, as well adapted to me, as ever that wild courser was to Rinaldo. In this climate there is no walking; a little exercise heats so immoderately: but their cork woods or fir woods, and mountain glens, and rock pyramids, and ever-flowing fountains, and lemon-groves ever in flower and in fruit, want only society to become a Paradise. Could I but colonise Cintra, with half-a-dozen familiars, I should wish never to leave it. As it is, I am comfortable, my health establishing itself, my spirits everlastingly partaking the sunshine of the climate; yet I do hunger after the bread-and-butter, and the fire-side comforts, and the intellect of England. You will, I think, whenever my library is at hand, learn Portuguese, because I have got the history of Charlemagne and the Twelve Paladins in that language, and Palmerin of England. I have only laid hands on half an old Spanish romance, Don
Florisel, son of Amadis of Greece, who was a perfect Jack the Giant Killer, and has taught me to forgive Don Quixote for knocking knight-errantry on the head. Bad poetry I find in abundance. . . . . The Portuguese Academy published a book in honour of the victories of the Empress-Queen Maria Theresa. My literary history will have a chapter upon the follies of literature, in which this work will furnish my best example: every possible form of acrostic is there; poems to read up and down, and athwart and across; crosses, and circles, and wheels. Literature is almost dead here. More books are published annually at Bristol than in Portugal. There are no books to induce a love of reading—no Arabian Tales or Seven Champions. . . . . In case of peace,—and surely, surely, it must come,—we shall return through Spain and France. I am anxious to see Biscay. Our man Bento, who served in the Spanish army against France, has given me a curious account of that province, where the people are clean, industrious, and free, and speak Welsh or something very like it. On entering France, one of the Spanish generals ordered his company to kill man, woman, and child: in Roncesvalles (where Orlando and the Paladins were slain), a little boy of about six years was playing on a wall; he stopped to look at the troops; Bento saw one of his fellow-soldiers, in obedience to these orders, cut off the child’s head. ‘I have seen a thousand men killed,’ said he, when he told the story, ‘but I never felt any pain except when I saw that poor child murdered.’ What is to be the fate of Portugal? We know not. Much is
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 111
going on, but all in secrecy. I expect peace every where.
Bonaparte ought not to have risked that battle—to stake so much on one game! Moreau would not have done it—it was a prodigality of human blood merely to please the Parisians. . . .

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. S. ”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“October 6. 1800.

“You saw Mafra from the sea, a magnificent object, but, like every thing in Portugal, it looks best at a distance; its history you know from the last letter in my first edition.* . . . . We yesterday went there from Cintra, a distance of three leagues (twelve miles). A quinta of the Marquis Pombal, on the way, forms a pleasing object from the olives which are planted to screen the vines; the grey foliage and the lively sunshine, as it were, of the vines contrasting very well. The quarries are near where the first stone is dug for the Lisbon buildings; two columns are now lying by the road, which in the great Pombal’s time were hewn for the Square of Lisbon, each of a single stone—a foolish waste of labour, only becoming barbarian pride; for

* Letters from Spain and Portugal.

columns whose parts are put together upon the spot look as well, and are in reality as firm: there they lie, like the square itself, and the half-finished streets, monuments to the memory of Pombal.

“Two leagues on the way lies a place called Cheleinas; it may contain fifty scattered houses, I assuredly speak on the outside of its number, but the place is a town, and its inhabitants strangely jealous of its title. Some lads, lately passing through, inquired the name of the village; the man replied, angrily, it was a town; and as they, not believing it, laughed at him, he raised an uproar, and they were actually in danger of being stoned by the offended townsmen. A bridge has been lately built here over a valley, and a great work it is; it happens to be in the Prince’s road from Queluz to Mafra, and on that account this improvement has been made. The valley, in which Cheleinas stands, would not be noticed for beauty in a cultivated country, but here it appears beautiful from the contrast of vine and olive yards with naked and sun-burnt hills: the people are in fault, not the climate; trees will grow wherever they will plant them, but planting indicates foresight, and Portuguese never think of the future. A stream runs through it, which in the rainy season must be wide and rapid; this sweeps down the soil from the mountains, and fertilizes the bottom. A circuitous road round the hill-top, to avoid a steep descent, leads to Mafra; there is a bye-path, nearer by two miles, which I advise none but a pedestrian to take. Mafra itself is a small place, the estalagem rather better than usual, and not worse than a dirty English alehouse.
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
Saturday had been the day of
St. Francisco, a holyday in all Franciscan communities, more especially there because the Prince conceives himself under great obligations to St. Francisco, and regularly attends his festival at Mafra. Of course the country was assembled there, food and fruit exposed for sale in the Plaza, and all the women equipped in all their finery. We went to mass; the Prince followed the Host as it was carried round the church: in the evening there was a procession, and the Prince paraded with it; and thus the Regent of Portugal passes his time, dangling after saints, and assisting at puppet-shows, and no doubt he lay down last night thoroughly satisfied that he had done his duty.

“The church and convent and palace are one vast building, whose front exhibits a strange and truly Portuguese mixture of magnificence and meanness; in fact it has never been faced with stone, a mud plaster is in its place; the windows are not half glazed, red boards filling up the workhouse-looking casements. The church is beautiful; the library the finest book-room I ever saw, and well stored. The friar who accompanied us said ‘it would be an excellent room to eat and drink in, and go to play afterwards;’ and ‘if we liked better to play in the dark, we might shut the windows!’ He heard the servant remark to me that there were books enough for me to read there, and asked if I loved reading. ‘And I,’ said he, ‘love eating and drinking.’ Honest Franciscan! He told us, also, that the dress of their order was a barbarous dress, and that dress did not change the feelings. I suspect this man wishes he had professed in France.
A Portuguese of some family was a nun in France: after the dissolution of the monasteries, her brother immediately engaged with a Portuguese abbess to receive her, and wrote in all haste for the distressed nun; she wrote, in answer, that she was much obliged to him, but she was married.

“‘You have a superb convent here,’ said I. ‘Yes,’ said the monk, ‘but it is a wretched place in winter, we suffer so from the cold; the rheumatism kills many; we have no fire in our cells, only in the kitchen.’ Such is Mafra: a library, whose books are never used; a palace, with a mud-wall front; and a royal convent, inhabited by monks who loathe their situation. The monks often desert; in that case they are hunted like deserters, and punished, if caught, with confinement and flogging. They take the vows young—at fourteen: those who are most stupidly devout may be satisfied with their life; those who are most abandoned in all vice may do well also; but a man with any feeling, any conscience, any brains, must be miserable. The old men, whose necks are broken to their yoke, whose feelings are all blunted, and who are, by their rank or age, exempt from some services, and indulged with some privileges,—these men are happy enough. A literary man would be well off, only that literature would open his eyes.

“The library was not originally a part of the foundation: the Franciscan order excluded all art, all science; no pictures might profane their churches; but when Pombal turned them out of this palace, he removed to it the regular canons of St. Vincent, an order well born and well educated, wealthy
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 115
enough to support themselves, and learned enough to instruct others. His design was to make Mafra a sort of college for the education of the young Portuguese; the library was formed with this intention: in what manner this plan was subverted by the present Prince, you may see in the old ‘
Letters;’ incredibly absurd as the story may appear, it is nevertheless strictly true.

“The Franciscan is by far the most numerous monastic family. A convent that subsists upon its revenues must necessarily be limited in its numbers, but every consecrated beggar gets more than enough for his own support; so the more the merrier. . . . . God bless you! I conclude in haste.

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“Cintra, Oct 7. 1800.
“My dear Tom,

“. . . . . You have probably heard enough of the infection at Cadiz to be anxious for information. Our accounts agree in nothing but in the extent of the calamity: one day we are assured it is the black vomit, another day the yellow fever, and now it is ripened into the plague. This only is certain, that for the last ten or twelve days of our accounts, from 240 to 260 persons have died daily in Cadiz. Whether it has extended beyond that city is also uncertain; some reports say that it has spread to the
south—to Malaga and Alicant; others bring it to the frontier town, within 200 miles of us. We all think and talk seriously of our danger, and forget it the moment the conversation is changed. Whenever it actually enters Portugal we shall probably fly to England. I hope the rains, which we may soon expect, will stop the contagion.

“So much have I to tell you, that it actually puzzles me where to begin. My Cintra memorandums must be made; and more than once have I delayed the task of describing this place from a feeling of its difficulty. There is no scenery in England which can help me to give you an idea of this. The town is small, like all country towns of Portugal, containing the Plaza or square, and a number of narrow crooked streets that wind down the hill: the palace is old—remarkably irregular—a large, rambling, shapeless pile, not unlike the prints I have seen in old romances of a castle,—a place whose infinite corners overlook the sea; two white towers, like glass houses exactly, form a prominent feature in the distance, and with a square tower mark it for an old and public edifice. From the Valley the town appears to stand very high, and the ways up are long, and winding, and weary; but the town itself is far below the summit of the mountain. You have seen the Rock of Lisbon from the sea,—that rock is the Sierra or mountain of Cintra: above, it is broken into a number of pyramidal summits of rock piled upon rook; two of them are wooded completely, the rest bare. Upon one stands the Penha convent,—a place where, if the Chapel of Loretto had stood,
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 117
one might have half credited the lying legend, that the angels or the devil had dropped it there—so unascendable the height appears on which it stands, yet is the way up easy. On another point the ruins of a Moorish castle crest the hills. To look down from hence upon the palace and town my head grew giddy, yet is it farther from the town to the valley than from the summit to the town. The road is like a terrace, now with the open heath on the left, all purple with heath flowers, and here and there the stony summits and coombs winding to the vale, luxuriantly wooded, chiefly with cork trees; descending as you advance towards Colares, the summits are covered with firs, and the valley appears in all the richness of a fertile soil under this blessed climate.

“The cork is perhaps the most beautiful of trees: its leaves are small, and have the dusky colour of evergreens, but its boughs branch out in the fantastic twistings of the oak, and its bark is of all others the most picturesque;—you have seen deal curl under the carpenter’s plane—it grows in such curls,—the wrinkles are of course deep, one might fancy the cavities the cells of hermit fairies. There is one tree in particular here which a painter might well come from England to see, large and old; its trunk and branches are covered with fern—the yellow sunburnt fern—forming so sunny a contrast to the dark foliage!—a wild vine winds up and hangs in festoons from the boughs, its leaves of a bright green, like youth,—and now the purple clusters are ripe. These vines form a delightful feature in the scenery; the vineyard is cheerful to the eyes, but it is the wild
vine that I love,—matting over the hedges, or climbing the cork or the tall poplar, or twisting over the grey olive in all its unpruned wantonness. The chestnut also is beautiful; its blossoms shoot out in rays like stars, and now its hedge-hog fruit stars the dark leaves. We have yet another tree of exquisite effect in the landscape—the fir;—not such as you have seen, but one that shoots out no branches, grows very high, and then spreads broad in a mushroom shape exactly—the bottom of its head of the brown and withered colour that the yew and the fir always have, and the surface of the brightest green. If a mushroom serves as the Pantheon Dome for a faery hall—you might conceive a giant picking one of these pines for a parasol—they have somewhat the appearance in distance that the palm and cocoa has in a print.

“The English are numerous here, enough to render it a tolerable market, for sellers will not be wanting where purchasers are to be found; yet, last year, the magistrate of the place was idiot enough to order that no Englishman should be served, till all the Portuguese were satisfied,—one of those laws which carries its antidote in its own absurdity. Among this people the English are in high favour; they are liberal, or if you will, extravagant, and submit to imposition; now a Portuguese fights hard for a farthing,—servants love to be in an English family. If a Portuguese mistress goes out she locks up her maids for fear of the men; the relations of the servants often insist that this shall be done. Oftentimes the men and women of a family do not know each other.
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 119
All kitchen work is done by men, who sleep and live below; the females are kept above, a precious symptom of national morals! calculated to extend the evil it is designed to prevent;—but I wander from Cintra. The fire flies were abundant when we first came here; it was like faery land to see them sparkling under the trees at night; the glow-worms were also numerous,—their light went out at the end of July; but we have an insect which almost supplies their places,—a winged grasshopper, in shape like our own; in colour a grey ground hue, undistinguishable from the soil on which they live, till they leap up, and their expanded wings then appear like a purple: we hear at evening the grillo—it is called the cricket, because its song is like that animal, but louder; it is, however, wholly different,—shaped like a beetle, with wings like a bee, and black:—they sell them in cages at Lisbon by way of singing birds.

“We ride asses about the country: you would laugh to see a party thus mounted; and yet soon learn to like the easy pace and sure step of the John burros. At the south-western extremity of the rock is a singular building which we have twice visited,—a chapel to the Virgin (who is omnipresent in Portugal), on one of the stony summits, far from any house: it is the strangest mixture you can imagine of art and nature; you scarcely, on approaching, know what is rock and what is building, and from the shape and position of the chapel itself, it looks like the ark left by the waters upon Mount Ararat. Long flights of steps lead up, and among the rocks
are many rooms, designed to house the pilgrims who frequent the place. A poor family live below with the keys. From this spot the coast lies like a map below you to Cape Espichel with the Tagus. ’Tis a strange place, that catches every cloud, and I have felt a tempest there when there has been no wind below. In case of plague it would be an excellent asylum. At the north-western extremity is a rock which we have not yet visited, where people go to see fishermen run the risk of breaking their necks, by walking down a precipice. I have said nothing to you of the wild flowers, so many and so beautiful; purple crocusses now cover the ground; nor of the flocks of goats that morning and evening pass our door; nor of the lemon venders,—of these hereafter.

“Our Lady of the Incarnation will about fill the sheet. Every church has a fraternity attached to its patron saint; for the anniversary festival they beg money, what is deficient the chief of the brotherhood supplies; for there are four days preceding the holiday; thus people parade the country with the church banner, taking a longer or a shorter circuit according to the celebrity of the saint, attacking the sun with sky-rockets, and merry making all the way. Those of whom I now speak travelled for five days. I saw them return;—they had among them four angels on horseback, who, as they took leave of the Virgin at her church-door, each alternately addressed her, and reminded her of all they had been doing to her honour and glory, and requested her to continue the same devout spirit in her Portuguese, which must
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 121
infallibly render them still invincible; this done, the angels went into the Plaza to see the fireworks! . . . .

Yours truly,
R. S. ”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“October, 1800.
“My dear Rickman,

“At last the opportunity is arrived of sending my important parcel.* My private instructions must be vague,—to make the best bargain you can, and on no terms to sell the copyright. . . . . Longman will probably offer to advance the expense of publishing, and share the profits: this is not fair, as brains ought to bear a higher interest than money. If you are not satisfied with his terms, offer it to Arch, in Gracechurch Street, or to Philips of the Monthly Magazine, a man who can afford to pay a good price, because he can advertize and puff his own property every month. The sale of the book is not doubtful; my name would carry it through an edition though it were worthless. . . . .

“In literature, as in the playthings of schoolboys and the frippery of women, there are the ins and outs of fashion. Sonnets and satires and essays have their day,—and my Joan of Arc has revived the epomania that Boileau cured the French of 120 years ago; but it is not every one who can shoot with the bow

* The MSS. of Thalaba.

of Ulysses, and the gentlemen who think they can bend the bow because I made the string twang, will find themselves somewhat disappointed. Whenever that poem requires a new edition, I think not of correcting it; the ore deserves not to be new cast; but of prefixing a fair estimate of its merits and defects. . . . .

“Foreign Jews are tolerated in Lisbon,—that is, they are in no danger from the Inquisition, though forbidden to exercise the ceremonials of their faith; the intercourse with Barbary brings a few Moors here, so that the devout Portuguese are accustomed to the sight of Jews, Turks, and heretics. You remember Davy’s story of the Cornishman’s remark when his master said, ‘Now, John, we are in Devonshire,’ ‘I don’t see but the pigs have got tails the same as along o’ we;’ if the natives here have sense enough to make a similar inference, they will be one degree wiser than their forefathers. Lisbon grows; many a cornfield in which I have walked five years ago, is now covered with houses: this is a short-lived increase of population—a fine February day—for the English tenant these habitations—and when the army shall be recalled, the houses will be desolate: but the city exhibits an unequivocal sign of recovering industry and opulence; the gaps in the new streets that have stood vacant since the disgrace of Portal, are now filled up, or filling; these are not nests for passage-birds, but large and magnificent houses for the merchants.

“But commerce will for a long, long while be, as in America, a sordid, selfish, money-getting drudgery,
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encouraging no art, and ignorant of every science. It is not genius that is wanted in Portugal, genius exists everywhere; but encouragement, or the hope of encouragement, must waken it to action; and here no ambition can exist, except the desire of place and court pageantry: a man of letters, a philosopher, would starve here,—a fine singer and a female dancer are followed as in London. . . . . The Italian Opera is, in my mind, only high treason against common sense: nothing is attended to but the music, the drama is simply a substratum for the tune, and the mind lies fallow while the sensual ear is gratified. The encouragement of a national theatre may call up talents, that shall confer honour upon the nation.

“My first publication will probably be the literary part of the History, which is too important to be treated of in an appendix, or in separate and interrupting chapters. Lisbon is rich in the books which suit my purpose; but I, alas I am not rich, and endure somewhat of the tortures of Tantalus. The public library is, indeed, more accessible than our Museum, &c. in England; but the books are under wire cases, and the freedom of research is miserably shackled by the necessity of asking the librarian for every volume you wish to consult: to hunt a subject through a series of authors, is thus rendered almost impossible. The Academy, however, have much facilitated my labour by publishing many of their old chronicles in a buyable shape; and also the old laws of Portugal. There is a Frenchman here busy upon the history of Brazil;—his materials are excellent, and he is in-
defatigable: but I am apprehensive for his papers, even if his person should escape: the ministry know what he is about, and you need not be told with what an absurd secrecy they hide from the world all information respecting that country: the population of Brazil is said to double that of the mother, and now dependent, country. So heavy a branch cannot long remain upon so rotten a trunk. God bless you.

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
To Mrs. Southey, Sen.
“Lisbon [no date].
“My dear Mother,

“. . . . . About Harry, it is necessary to remove him,—his room is wanted for a more profitable pupil, and he has outgrown his situation. I have an excellent letter from him, and one from William Taylor, advising me to place him with some provincial surgeon of eminence, who will for a hundred guineas board and instruct him for four or five years;—a hundred guineas! well, but thank God, there is Thalaba ready, for which I ask this sum. I have therefore thus eat my calf, and desired William Taylor to inquire for a situation,—and so once more goes the furniture of my long expected house in London*. . . . .

* The sum ultimately received for the first edition of Thalaba (115l.) was not required for this purpose; the fee for his brother’s surgical education being paid by Mr. Hill.

Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 125
The plague, or the yellow fever, or the black vomit, has not yet reached us, nor do we yet know what the disease is, though it is not three hundred miles from us, and kills five hundred a day at Seville! Contagious by clothes or paper it cannot be, or certainly it would have been here. A man was at Cintra who had recovered from the disease, and escaped from Cadiz only seventeen days before he told the story in a pot-house here. In Cadiz it might have been confined, because that city is connected by a bridge with the main land; but once beyond that limit, and it must take its course,—precautions are impossible; the only one in their power they do not take,—that of suffering no boat to come from the opposite shore.
Edith is for packing off to England, but I will not move till it comes, and then away for the mountains.

“Our weather is most delightful,—not a cloud, cool enough to walk, and warm enough to sit still; purple evenings, and moonlight more distinct than a November noon in London. We think of mounting jackasses and rambling some two hundred miles in the country. I shall laugh to see Edith among the dirt and fleas, who I suspect will be more amused with her than she will with them. She is going in a few days to visit the nuns: they wanted to borrow some books of an English woman,—‘What book would you like?’ said Miss Petre, somewhat puzzled by the question, and anxious to know. ‘Why, we should like novels;—have you got Ethelinde, or the Recluse of the Lake? we have had the first volume, and it was so interesting! and it leaves off
in such an interesting part! We used to hate to hear the bell for prayers while we were reading it.’ And after a little pause she went on: ‘and then it is such a good book; we liked it, because the characters are so moral and virtuous.’ By the by, they have sent Edith some cakes.

“We are afraid the expedition under Sir Ralph Abercrombie is coming here; his men are dying of the scurvy, and have been for some time upon a short allowance of salt provisions; they will starve us if they come. What folly, to keep five-and-twenty thousand men floating about so many months! horses and soldiers both dying for want of fresh food. . . . .

God bless you.
Your affectionate son,
Robert Southey.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Bellona.
“Thursday, Feb. 12. 1801. Lisbon.

“On Tuesday we crossed the river to Casilhas Point, procured jackasses and proceeded to a place called Costa to dinner. You know the castle in the mouth of the Tagus, the state prison, where the man is confined that beat the king. The Costa is a collection of fishermen’s huts on the sand, in a line with it, on the south side of the river: the ride is about seven miles, over a hilly country, that everywhere displayed novel and striking views; for the foreground, huge aloes and the prickly pear, the broom
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 127
and furze in blossom,—broad-headed firs every where where the sandy soil was not cultivated for vines or olives; the sweep of the bay southward skirted by the pine-covered plains and the mountain boundary; behind us Lisbon on its heights, and the river blue and boundless as a sea. Through a cleft in a sand bank, a winter ravine way for the rains, we first saw the Costa at about half a mile below us,—the most singular view I ever beheld,—huts all of thatch scattered upon the sand: we descended by a very steep way cut through the sand hill, the sand on either side fretted by the weather, like old sculpture long weather worn,—all below belongs to the sea; but on the bare sands, a numerous tribe have fixed their habitations, which exactly resemble the wigwams of the Nootka savages,—a wooden frame all thatched is all; most commonly the floor descends for warmth, and the window often on a level with the ground without; two only symptoms showed us that we were in a civilised country,—a church, the only stone building, and a party stretched upon the sand at cards. The men live by fishing, and a stronger race I never saw, or more prolific, for children seemed to swarm. As parties from Lisbon are frequent here, there are two or three hovels of entertainment. Ours had ragged rhymes upon its walls, recommending us to drink by the barrel and not by the quart.

“In riding to Odwellas, I saw something curious: it was a Padrona by the road side,—we have no other word in English, and it occurs often in romance, for a place raised by the way side,—where a station or inscription is placed: there was an image of Christ there,
and some unaccountable inscriptions about robbery, and hiding heaven in the earth, which a series of pictures in tiles behind explained. A hundred years ago, the church of Odwellas was robbed of the church plate, and of the sacrament. Then I saw the thief playing at skittles when the sacristan of the church past by, whom he followed in and hid himself; then I saw him robbing the altar; next, he hides the church dresses in the house of a woman; and here he is burying the sacrament plate in a vineyard upon this very spot; here he is examined upon suspicion and denies all, and says who ever did the sacrilege ought to have his hands cut off; here he is taken in the act of stealing the fowls of the convent, and he confesses all; here they dig up the hidden treasure, and carry it back in a solemn procession; here he is going to execution; here you see his hands cut off according to his own sentence, and here he is strangled and burnt. It is remarkable that in almost all these tiles, the face of the criminal is broken to pieces, probably in abhorrence of his guilt. The loss of the wafer has been ever regarded as a national calamity, to be lamented with public prayer and fasts and processions. It happened at Mexico in the Conqueror’s days, and
Cortes himself paraded with the monks and the mob.

“Sat March 28.

“In the long interval that has elapsed since this letter was begun, we have travelled about three hundred and fifty miles. Waterhouse and I took
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charge of
Edith and three ladies; a doctor at Alvea da Cruz, of whom we besought house room one night in distress, told us, with more truth than politeness, that four women were a mighty inconvenience. We did not find them so; they made our chocolate in the morning, laughed with us by day, enjoyed the scenery, packed our provisions basket, and at night endured flea-biting with a patience that entitles them to an honourable place in the next martyrology. All Lisbon, I believe, thought us mad when we set out; and they now regard our return with equal envy, as only our complexions have suffered. To detail the journey would be too long. We asked at Santarem if they had rooms for us,—they said plenty: we begged to see them; they had two rooms,—four men in bed in one, one fellow in bed in the other. At Pombal, Waterhouse and I slept in public, in a room that served as a passage for the family. Men and women indiscriminately made the ladies’ beds; one night we passed through a room wherein eight men were sleeping, who rose up to look at us, something like a picture of the resurrection. These facts will enable you to judge of the comforts and decencies of the Portuguese. They once wanted us, four women and two men, to sleep in two beds in one room. Yet, bad as these places are, the mail coach has made them still worse; that is, it has rendered the people less civil, and made the expenses heavier.

“We crossed the Zezere, a river of importance in the history of Portugal, as its banks form the great protection of Lisbon; it is the place where a stand
might most effectually be made against an invading army; the river is fine, about the width of our Avon at Bownham, and flowing between hills of our Clifton and Leigh height that are covered with heath and gum-cistus; the water is beautifully clear, and the bottom sand: like all mountain streams, the Zezere is of irregular and untameable force. In summer, horsemen ford it; in winter, the ferry price varies according to the resistance of the current, from one vintem to nine,—that is, from a penny to a shilling. It then enters the Tagus with equal waters, sometimes with a larger body; for, as the rains may have fallen heavier east or north, the one river with its rush almost stagnates the other.

“At Pombal we saw Our Lady’s oven, where annually a fire is kindled, a wafer baked, and a man, the Shadrach of the town, walks round the glowing oven and comes out unhurt and unsinged by special miracle of Our Lady of Cardal. At Thomar is a statue of St. Christofer on the bridge: three grains of his leg, taken in a glass of water, are a sovereign cure for the ague; and poor St. Christofer’s legs are almost worn out by the extent of the practice. Torres Vedras is the place where Father Anthony of the wounds died—a man suspected of sanctity. The pious mob attacked his body, stripped it naked, cut off all his hair, and tore up his nails to keep for relics. I have seen relics of all the saints,—yea, a thorn from the crown of crucifixion, and a drop of the Redemption blood. All this you shall hereafter see at length in the regular journal.

“A more interesting subject is our return. My
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uncle will, I think, return with us; or, at least, speedily follow. We look forward to the expulsion of the English as only avoidable by a general peace, and this so little probable, that all preparations are making for removal. My uncle is sending away all his books; and I am now in the dirt of packing. In May, I hope to be in Bristol; eager enough, God knows, to see old friends and old familiar scenes; but with no pleasant anticipation of English taxes, and English climate, and small beer, after this blessed sun, and the wines of Portugal. My health has received all the benefit I could and did expect: a longer residence would, I think, render the amendment permanent; and, with this idea, the prospect of a return hereafter, to complete the latter part of my History, is by no means unpleasant.

“God bless you and keep you from the north seas. I have written in haste, being obliged to write many letters on my return. Edith’s love. I know not when or where we shall meet; but, when I am on English ground, the distance between us will not be so impassable. Farewell!

Yours truly,
Robert Southey.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“Lisbon, Feb. 21. 1801.
“My dear Wynn,

“Your letter gave me the first detail of the great news. A passage of four days made it as fresh as possible, and we are here cursing winds and water
that we must wait a fortnight before another mail can reach us. What will happen? the breach is made; and this lath and plaster cannot long keep out the weather. Will the old administration be strong enough to force their plans upon the crown? Possibly. Equally so, that the art of alarming, in which they were so proficient, may now be turned successfully against them. Yet, on this point, the whole body of Opposition is with them, and the whole intellect of the country. I rather expect, after more inefficient changes, the establishment of Opposition—and peace. The helm requires a strong hand.

“Decidedly as my own principles lead to toleration, I yet think in the sufferance of converts and proselytism it has been carried too far. You might as well let a fire burn or a pestilence spread, as suffer the propagation of popery. I hate and abhor it from the bottom of my soul, and the only antidote is poison. Voltaire and such writers cut up the wheat with the tares. The monastic establishments in England ought to be dissolved; as for the priests, they will, for the most part, find their way into France; they who remain should not be suffered to recruit, and would soon die away in peace. I half fear a breach of the Union, perhaps another rebellion, in that wretched country.

“I do not purpose returning till the year of my house-rent be complete, and shall then leave Lisbon with regret, in spite of English-house comforts, and the all-in-all happiness of living among old friends and familiar faces. This climate so completely changes my whole animal being, that I would ex-
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 133
change every thing for it. It is not Lisbon;—Italy, or the south of Spain or of France, would, perhaps, offer greater inducements, if the possibility of a foreign settlement existed.

“On my History no labour shall be spared. Now, I only heap marble: the edifice must be erected in England; but I must return again to the quarry. You will find my style plain and short, and of condensed meaning,—plain as a Doric building, and, I trust, of eternal durability. The notes will drain off all quaintness. I have no doubt of making a work by which I shall be honourably remembered. You shall see it, and Elmsly if he will take the trouble, before publication. Of profit I must not be sanguine; yet, if it attain the reputation of Robertson, than whom it will not be worse, or of Roscoe and Gibbon, it will procure me something more substantial than fame. My price for Thalaba was, for 1000 copies, 115l., twelve copies being allowed me; the booksellers would have bargained for a quarto edition also, but it would have been ill-judged to have glutted the public.

“I expect, in the ensuing winter, to be ready with my first volume: to hurry it would be injudicious, and. historic labour will be relieved by employing myself in correcting Madoc. My intention is therefore to journey through North Wales next summer to the Lakes, where Coleridge is settled, and to pass the autumn (their summer) there. For a Welsh map of the roads, and what is to be seen, you must be my director; perhaps, too, you might in another way assist Madoc, by pointing out what manners or
superstition of the Welsh would look well in blank verse. Much may have escaped me, and some necessarily must. Long as this poem (from the age of fourteen) has been in my head, and long as its sketch has now lain by me, I now look on at no very distant date to its publication, after an ample revision and recasting. You will see it and scrutinise it when corrected.

Thalaba is now a whole and unembarrassed story; the introduction of Laila is not an episode, it is so connected with the murder of Hodeirah and the after actions of Thalaba, as to be essentially part of the tale. Thalaba has certainly and inevitably the fault of Samson Agonistes,—its parts might change place; but, in a romance, epic laws may be dispensed with; its faults now are verbal: such as it is, I know no poem which can claim a place between it and the Orlando. Let it be weighed with the Oberon; perhaps, were I to speak out, I should not dread a trial with Ariosto. My proportion of ore to dross is greater: perhaps the Anti-Jacobin criticasters may spare Thalaba; it is so utterly innocent of all good drift; it may pass through the world like Richard Cromwell, notwithstanding the sweet savour of his father’s name. Do you know that they have caricatured me between Fox and Norfolk—worshipping Bonaparte? Poor me—at Lisbon—who have certainly molested nothing but Portuguese spiders! Amen! I am only afraid my company will be ashamed of me; one at least,—he is too good for me; and, upon my soul, I think myself too good for the other.

Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 135

“The Spanish ambassador trundled off for Madrid this morning—he is a bad imitation of a hogshead in make: all is alarm here; and I sweat in dreadfully cold weather for my books, creditors, alas for many a six-and-thirty! We have two allies, more faithful than Austria the honest or Paul the magnanimous,—famine and the yellow fever; but the American gentleman is asleep till summer, and, as for famine, she is as busy in England as here. I rejoice in the eventual effects of scarcity—the cultivation of the wastes; the population bills you probably know to be Rickman’s, for which he has long been soliciting Rose, and the management is his of course and compliment. It is of important utility.

“Of the red wines I spoke in my last. Will you have Bucellas as it can be got? It should be kept rather in a garret than a cellar, a place dry and warm; but ample directions shall be sent with it. You may, perhaps, get old now, when so just an alarm prevails; new is better than none, because it will improve even in ideal value, should Portugal be closed to England; its price will little, if at all, differ from Port or Lisbon; it is your vile taxes that make the expense; and, by the by, I must vent a monstrous oath against the duty upon foreign books. Sixpence per pound weight if bound; it is abominable!

Farewell, and God bless you.
Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Lisbon, March 28. 1801.

“The sight of your hand-writing did not give me much pleasure; ’twas the leg of a lark to a hungry man—yet it was your hand-writing. . . . .

“I have been more than once tottering on the brink of a letter to you, and more than once the glimpse at some old Spaniard, or the whim of a walk, or an orange, or a bunch of grapes, has tempted me either to industry or idleness. I return rich in materials: a twelvemonth’s work in England will produce a first volume of my History, and also of the Literary History. Of success I am not sanguine, though sufficiently so of desert; yet I shall leave a monument to my own memory, and perhaps, which is of more consequence, procure a few life-enjoyments.

“My poetising has been exclusively confined to the completion of Thalaba. I have planned a Hindoo romance of original extravagance, and have christened it ‘The Curse of Keradon;’ but it were unwise to do anything here which were as well done in England; and indeed the easy business of hunting out everything to be seen has taken up no small portion of my time. I have ample materials for a volume of miscellaneous information; my work in England will be chiefly to arrange and tack together; here, I have been glutting, and go home to digest. In May we return; and, on my part, with much reluctance. I have formed local attachments and not personal ones:
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this glorious river, with its mountain boundaries, this blessed winter sun, and the summer paradise of Cintra. I would gladly live and die here. My health is amended materially, but I have seizures enough to assure me that our own unkindly climate will blight me, as it does the myrtle and oranges of this better land; howbeit, business must lead me here once more for the after-volumes of the History. If your ill-health should also proceed from English skies, we may perhaps emigrate together at last. One head fall of brains, and I should ask England nothing else.

“Meantime my nearer dreams lay their scenes about the Lakes.* Madoc compels me to visit Wales; perhaps we can meet you in the autumn: but for the unreasonable distance from Bristol and London, we might take up our abiding near you. I wish you were at Allfoxen†,—there was a house big enough: you would talk me into a healthy indolence, and I should spur you to profitable industry.

“. . . . . We are threatened with speedy invasion, and the critical hour of Portugal is probably arrived. No alarm has been so general; they have sent for transports to secure us a speedy retreat; nor is it impossible that all idlers may be requested to remove before the hurry and crowd of a general departure. Yet I doubt the reality of the danger. Portugal buys respite; will they kill the goose that lays golden eggs?

* Mr. Coleridge was at this time residing at Keswick.

† A house in Somersetshire, where Mr. Wordsworth resided at one time.

Will Spain consent to admit an army through that will shake her rotten throne? Will
Bonaparte venture an army where there is danger of the yellow fever? to a part whence all plunder will be removed, where that army will find nothing to eat after a march of 1000 miles, through a starved country? On the other hand, this country may turn round, may join the coalition, seize on English property, and bid us all decamp; this was apprehended; and what dependence can be placed upon utter imbecility? Were it not for Edith, I would fairly see it out, and witness the whole boderation. There is a worse than the Bastile here, over whose dungeons I often walk . . . . But this is not what is to be wished for Portugal,—this conquest which would excite good feelings against innovation; if there was peace, the business would probably be done at home. England is now the bedarkening power; she is in politics, what Spain was to religion at the Reformation. Change here involves the loss of their colonies; and an English fleet would cut off the supplies of Lisbon. . . . . The monastic orders will accelerate revolution, because the begging friars, mostly young, are mostly discontented, and the rich friars everywhere objects of envy. I have heard the people complain of monastic oppression, and distinguish between the friars and the religion they profess. I even fear, so generally is that distinction made, that popery may exist when monkery is abolished.

“In May I hope to be in Bristol; and if it can be so arranged, in September at the Lakes. I should
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like to winter there; then I might labour at my History; and we might perhaps amuse ourselves with some joint journeyman work, which might keep up winter fires and Christmas tables. Of all this we will write on my return. I now long to be in England; as it is impossible to remain and root here at present. We shall soon and inevitably be expelled, unless a general peace redeem the merchants here from ruin. England has brought Portugal into the scrape, and with rather more than usual prudence, left her in it; it is understood that this country may make her own terms, and submit to France without incurring the resentment of England. When the Portuguese first entered this happy war, the phrase of their ministers was, that they were going to be pall-bearers at the funeral of France. Fools! they were digging a grave, and have fallen into it.

“Of all English doings I am quite ignorant. Thomas Dermody, I see, has risen again; and the Farmer’s Boy is most miraculously overrated. The Monthly Magazine speaks with shallow-pated pertness of your Wallenstein; it interests me much; and what is better praise, invited me to a frequent reperusal of its parts: will you think me wrong in preferring it to Schiller’s other plays? it appears to me more dramatically true. Max may, perhaps, be overstrained, and the woman is like all German heroines; but in Wallenstein is that greatness and littleness united, which stamp the portrait. William Taylor, you see, is making quaint theories of the Old Testament writers; how are you employed? Must Lessing wait for the Resurrection before he receives a new life?


“So you dipped your young Pagan* in the Derwent, and baptized him in the name of the river! Should he be drowned there, he will get into the next edition of Wanley’s Wonders, under the head of God’s Judgments. And how comes on Moses, and will he remember me? God bless you!

Robert Southey.”
To Mrs. Southey.
“Faro, April 17. 1801.

“By the luckiest opportunity, my dear Edith, I am enabled to write and ease myself of a load of uneasiness. An express is about to leave Faro, otherwise till Tuesday next there would have been no conveyance. We are at Mr. Lempriere’s, hospitably and kindly received, and for the first time resting after ten days’ very hard labour. At Cassillas our letter to Kirwan was of no use, as he was absent. For mules they asked too much, and we mounted burros to Azectâo; there no supply was to be found, and the same beasts carried us to Setubal, which we did not reach till night. The house to which we had an introduction was deserted, and we lost nothing by going to an excellent estalagem. Next day it rained till noon, when we embarked, and sailed through dull and objectless shores to Alcacere: mules to Evora, the distance nine leagues; at the end

* The Rev. Derwent Coleridge, Principal of St. Mark’s College, Chelsea.

Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 141
of the first it set in a severe rain, and the coldest north wind we ever experienced: the road was one infinite charreca, a wilderness of gum-cistus. We would have stopped anywhere; about six in the evening we begged charity at a peasant’s house, at the Monte dos Moneros, three leagues short of Evora, dripping wet and deadly cold, dreading darkness, and the effects of so severe a wetting, and the cold wind; we got admittance, and all possible kindness; dried ourselves and baggage, which was wet also; supped upon the little round curd cheeses of the country, olives, and milk; and slept in comfort. The morning was fine, but the same wind continued till yesterday, and has plagued us cruelly by day and by night.

“At Evora we remained half a day; there our night sufferings began; from thence till we reached Faro we have never slept in one ceiled room; all tiled so loosely, that an astrologer would find them no bad observatories; and by no possible means could we keep ourselves warm. Waterhouse I taught, indeed, by Niebuhr’s example in Arabia, to lie with his face under the sheets, but it suffocated me. From Evora we took burros to Beja,—a day and a half; we slept at Villa Ruina: from Viana to that little town is a lovely track of country, and, except that little island of cultivation, we have seen nothing but charrecas till we reached Tavira. The bishop gave us cheese and incomparable wine, and a letter to Father John of the Palm at Castro: to Castro a day’s journey: on the road there was a monumental cross, where a man had been eat by the wolves. John
of the Palm is a very blackguard priest, but he was useful. We had a curious party there of his friends, drinking wine with us in the room, or rather between th6 four walls where we were pounded, not housed, for the night; a deputy judge, with a great sword, old as the Portuguese monarchy, smoking, and handing round his cigar out of his own mouth to the rest of the company; our muleteer, that was to be, hand and glove with the priest and the magistrate; and another pot companion. Next day across the, field of Ourique, and seven long leagues of wilderness; there was no estalagem; in fact, we were in the wilds of Alentejo, where hardly any traveller has penetrated; we were again thrown on charity, and kindly received: this was Tuesday. On Wednesday we crossed the mountains to Tavira, seven leagues,—in the bishop’s language,—long leagues, terrible leagues,—infinite leagues: the road would be utterly impassable were it not that the Host is carried on horseback in these wilds, and therefore the way must be kept open. As we passed one ugly spot, the guide told us a man broke his neck there lately. This day’s journey, however, was quite new; wherever we looked was mountain,—waving, swelling, breasting, exactly like the sea-like prints of the Holy Land which you see in old Travels. At last the sea appeared, and the Guadiana, and the frontier towns Azamonte and Castro Marini; we descended, and entered the garden, the Paradise of Algarve here our troubles and labour were to end; we were out of the wilderness. Milk and honey, indeed, we did not expect in this land of promise, but we ex-
Ætat. 26. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 143
pected every thing else. The sound of a drum alarmed us, and we found Tavira full of soldiers; the governor examined our pass, and I could not but smile at the way in which he eyed
Roberto Southey, the negociente, of ordinary stature, thin and long face, a dark complexion, &c., and squinted at Waterhouse’s lame legs. For a man in power he was civil, and sent us to the Corrigidor, to get our beasts secured; this second inspection over, we were in the streets of Tavira, to beg a night’s lodging,—and beg hard we did for some hours; at last, induced by the muleteer, whom she knew, and by the petition of some dozen honest people, whom our situation had drawn about us, a woman, who had one room unoccupied by the soldiers, turned the key with doubt and delay, for her husband was absent, and we wanted nothing but a ceiling. Yesterday we reached Faro; and to-day remain here to rest. . . . .

“Our faces are skinned by the cutting wind and sun: my nose has been roasted by a slow fire—burnt alive by sunbeams; ’tis a great comfort that Waterhouse has no reason to laugh at it; and even Bento’s* is of a fine carbuncle colour. Thank God you were not with us; one room is the utmost these hovels contain; the walls of stone, immortared, and the roofs what I have described them.

“Yet we are well repaid, and have never faltered either in health or spirits. At Evora, at Beja, at the Ourique field, was much to interest; and here we are in a lovely country, to us a little heaven. . .

* His servant.

. . I have hurried over our way that you may know simply where we have been, and where we are; the full account would be a week’s work. You will be amused with the adventures of two Irish, and one Scotch, officers, who came from Gibraltar to Lagos, with a fortnight’s leave of absence, to amuse themselves; they brought a Genoese interpreter, and understood from him that it was eleven leagues to Faro, and a good turnpike road. I write their own unexaggerated account:—they determined to ride there to dinner, and they were three days on the way, begging, threatening, drawing their swords to get lodged at night,—all in vain; the first night they slept in the fields; afterwards they learnt a humbler tone, and got, between four of them, a shelter, but no beds; here they waited six weeks for an opportunity of getting back; and one of them was paymaster at Gibraltar; they were utterly miserable for want of something to do—billiards eternally—they even bought birds, a cat, a dog, a fox, for playthings; yesterday embarked, after spending a hundred pieces here in six weeks, neither they nor any one else knowing how, except that they gave six testoons apiece for all the Port wine in the place. . . . .

“God bless you! I have a thousand things to tell you on my return, my dear Edith.

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”