LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XIII. 1807

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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Amidst all my father’s various and multiplied occupations, he was yet one of those of whom it might be truly said, that
“they can make who fail to find
Brief leisure even in busiest days,”
for any kindly office; and needful as was all his time and all his labour to provide for the many calls upon him, he was never grudging of a portion of it to assist another. “Silver and gold” he had little to bestow, but “such as he had” he “gave freely.”

We have already seen how materially he had assisted, in conjunction with his friend Mr. Cottle, in establishing the reputation of Chatterton, and in procuring for his needy relatives some profit from his writings; he now engaged himself in a task not dissimilar, except in the perfect and unalloyed satisfaction with which the whole character of the subject of it could be drawn out and contemplated.

In the spring of the year 1804 he had observed, in the Monthly Review, what he considered a most harsh and unjust reviewal of a small volume of poems by Henry Kirke White; and having also accidentally seen a letter which the author had written to the reviewers, explaining the peculiar circumstances under which these poems were written and published, he understood the whole cruelty of their injustice. In consequence of this, he wrote to Henry to encourage him: told him that, though he was well aware how imprudent it was in young poets to publish their productions, his circumstances seemed to render that expedient from which it would otherwise be right to dissuade him; advised him therefore, if he had no better prospects, to print a larger volume by subscription, and offered to do what little was in his power to serve him in the business.

This letter, which I regret has not been preserved, produced a reply full of expressions of gratitude,
both for the advice and offers of assistance it contained; but in consequence of
Kirke White’s going very soon afterwards to Cambridge, but little further communication took place; and his untimely and lamented death, in October 1806, caused by the severe and unrelenting course of study he pursued, acting upon a frame already debilitated by too great mental exertion, put an end to the hopes my father had cherished, both of enjoying his friendship, and of witnessing his fame.

On his decease, one of his friends wrote to my father, informing him of the event, as one who had professed an interest in his fortunes. This led to an inquiry what papers he had left behind him, to a correspondence with his brother Neville, and, ultimately, to the publication, under my father’s editorship, of two volumes of his “Remains,” accompanied with a brief Memoir of his Life.

To the preparation of these the three following letters refer;—others, relating to the same subject, as well as to more general matters, addressed to Kirke White’s two brothers, with whom, especially the elder, the acquaintance thus begun ripened into an intimate and life-long friendship, will appear in their proper places.

To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, Dec. 20. 1806.
“Dear Sir,

“Your letter and parcel arrived yesterday, just as I had completed the examination of the former papers. I have now examined the whole.


“What account of your brother shall be given it rests with you, sir, and his other nearest friends, to determine. I advise and entreat that it may be as full and as minute as possible. The example of a young man winning his way against great difficulties, of such honourable ambition, such unexampled industry, such a righteous and holy confidence of genius, ought not to be withheld. A full and faithful narrative of his difficulties, his hopes, and his eventual success, till it pleased God to promote him to a higher state of existence, will be a lasting encouragement to others who have the same uphill path to tread;—he will be to them what Chatterton was to him, and he will be a purer and better example. If it would wound the feelings of his family to let all and every particular of his honourable and admirable life be known, those feelings are, of course, paramount to every other consideration. But I sincerely hope this may not be the case. It will, I know, be a painful task to furnish me with materials for this, which is the most useful kind of biography, yet, when the effort of beginning such a task shall have been accomplished, the consciousness that you are doing for him what he would have wished to be done, will bring with it a consolation and a comfort.

“Let me beg of you and of your family, when you can command heart for the task, to give me all your recollections of his childhood and of every stage of his life. Do not fear you can be too minute; I will arrange them, insert such poems as will best appear in that place, and add such remarks as grow out of the circumstances. The narrative itself cannot be
told too plainly; all ornament of style would be misplaced in it,—that which is meant to tickle the ear, will never find its way either to the understanding or the heart.

“Respecting the mode of publication, you had better consult Mr. ——. The booksellers will, beyond a doubt, undertake to publish them on condition of halving the eventual profits,—which are the terms on which I publish. The profit, I fear, will not be much, unless the public should be taken with some unusual fit of good feeling; and, indeed, this is not unlikely, for they are more frequently just to the dead than to the living.

“I shall be glad to see all his magazine publications; possibly some of the pieces marked by me for transcription may be found among them. There is one poem, printed in the Globe for Feb. 11. 1803, which I remember noticing when it appeared, and which may be more easily copied from the newspaper than from the manuscript. Whether any of his prose writings should be inserted, I shall better be able to judge after having seen the magazines. But the most valuable materials which could be entrusted to me would be his letters,—the more that could be said of him in his own words the better.

“I have been affected at seeing my own name among your brother’s papers;—there is a defence of Thalaba, a part of which I regard as the most discriminating and appropriate praise which I have received.* It seems to have been published in some

* It may not be uninteresting to the reader to see here that portion of Kirke White’s remarks on Thalaba which is thus refered to. After

magazine. These are the highest gratifications which a writer can receive;—for that class of readers who call themselves the public I have as little respect as need be; but to interest and influence such a mind as
Henry White’s is the best and worthiest object which any poet could propose to himself—the fulfilment of his dearest hopes.

Yours truly,
Robert Southey.”

saying that “an innovation so bold as that of Mr. Southey is sure to meet with disapprobation and ridicule,” he continues—“Whoever is conversant with the writings of this author, will have observed and admired that greatness of mind and comprehension of intellect, by which he is enabled, on all occasions, to throw off the shackles of habit and prepossession. Southey never treads in the beaten track: his thoughts, while they are those of nature, carry that cast of originality which is the stamp and testimony of genius. He views things through a peculiar phasis; and while he has the feelings of a man, they are those of a man almost abstracted from mortality, and reflecting on and painting the scenes of life, as if he were a mere spectator, uninfluenced by his own connection with the objects he surveys. To this faculty of bold discrimination I attribute many of Mr. Southey’s excellencies as a poet. He never seems to inquire how other men would treat a subject, or what may happen to be the usage of the times; but, filled with that strong sense of fitness, which is the result of bold and unshackled thought, he fearlessly pursues that course which his own sense of propriety points out.

“. . . . . At first, indeed, the verse may appear uncouth, because it is new to the ear; but I defy any man, who has any feeling of melody, to peruse the whole poem without paying tribute to the sweetness of its flow, and the gracefulness of its modulation.

“In judging of this extraordinary poem, we should consider it as a genuine lyric production—we should conceive it as recited to the harp, in times when such relations carried nothing incredible with them. Carrying this idea along with us, the admirable art of the poet will strike us with tenfold conviction; the abrupt sublimity of his transitions, the sublime simplicity of his manner, and the delicate touches by which he connects the various parts of his narrative, will then be more strongly observable; and we shall, in particular, remark the uncommon felicity with which he has adapted his versification, and, in the midst of the wildest irregularity, left nothing to shock the ear or offend the judgment.”—Remains, vol. ii. pp. 285, 286.

To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, Feb. 3. 1807.
“Dear Sir,

“. . . . It will be well to print the Melancholy Hours, and some other of the prose compositions. They mark the character, as well as the powers, of your brother’s mind, and should, therefore, be preserved. The No. 10. which you mention is, I believe, that criticism upon Thalaba the Destroyer, of which I spoke in a former letter. I may be permitted to expunge from it, or to soften, a few epithets, of which it gratifies me that your brother should have thought me worthy, but which it is not decent that I should edit myself. . . . Believe me, sir, if I were not now proving the high respect which I feel for your brother, it would give me pain to think what value he assigned to the mere expression of it. How deeply I regret that the little intercourse we ever had should have ended where it did, it is needless now to say. I should have begged him to have visited me here, but for this reason: when he told me he was going to Cambridge, there were some circumstances which made me believe he was under the patronage of Mr. Henry Thornton, or of some other persons of similar views; that his opinions had taken what is called an evangelical turn, and that he was designed for that particular ministry. My own religious opinions are not less zealous and not less sincere, but they are totally opposite. I would not run the risk of disturbing his
sentiments, and therefore delayed forming that personal friendship with him, to which I looked on with pleasure, till his mind should have outgrown opinions through which it was well that it should pass.

“In reading and re-reading the poem, I have filled up a few of the gaps with conjectural words of correction, which shall be printed in italics, and to which, therefore, there can be no objection. The more I read them, the more is my admiration; they are as it should be—of very various merit, and show the whole progress of his mind. Many of them are excellently good—so good that it is impossible they could be better, and all together certainly exceed the productions of any other young poet whatsoever. I do not except Chatterton from the number; and I have a full confidence that, sooner or later, the public opinion will confirm mine. Perhaps this may be immediately acknowledged.

“I am greatly in hopes that many of his letters may be fit for publication. Till these arrive, it is not possible to judge to what extent the proposed introductory account (in which they would probably be inserted, or after it) will run; but as soon as this is ascertained, the volumes may be divided and the second go to press. Will you have the goodness to copy for me that abominable criticism in the Monthly Review upon Clifton Grove, and also the notice they took of your brother’s letter. That criticism must be inserted; and if you remember any other reviewal in which he was treated with illiberality, I shall be glad to hold up such criticism to the infamy which it deserves.


“It will give me great pleasure if a likeness can be recovered—very great pleasure. Your brother Henry, sir, is not to be lamented. He has gained that earthly immortality for which he laboured, and that heavenly immortality of which he was worthy. I say this with tears, but they are tears of admiration as well as of human regret. If you knew me, sir, and how little prone I am to let such feelings as these appear upon the surface, you would understand these words in their literal sense, and in their full meaning.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“March 3. 1807.
“My dear Sir,

“Your parcel reached me on Sunday evening, and I have perused every line of its contents with deep and painful interest. The letters, and your account (of which I should say much were I writing to any other person), have made me thoroughly acquainted with one of the most amiable and most admirable human beings that ever was ripened upon earth for heaven. Be assured that I will not insert a sentence which can give pain or offence to any one. There will come a time (and God only knows how soon it may come) when some one will perform that office for me, which I am now performing for your incomparable brother; and I shall endeavour to show how that office ought to be performed. I will be scrupulously careful; and if, when the papers pass through
your hands, you should think I have not been sufficiently so, I beg you will, without hesitation, expunge whatever may appear exceptionable. . . . .

“When I obeyed the impulse which led me to undertake this task, it was from a knowledge that Henry White had left behind him an example, which ought not to be lost, of well-directed talents, and that, in performing an act of respect to his memory, I should at the same time hold up the example to others who have the up-hill paths of life to tread. No person can be more thoroughly convinced that goodness is a better thing than genius, and that genius is no excuse for those follies and offences which are called its eccentricities.

“The mention made in my last of any difference in religious opinions from your brother was merely incidental; nor is it by any means my intention to say any more upon the subject than simply to state that those opinions are not mine, lest it should be supposed they were, from the manner in which I speak of him.

“I shall now proceed as speedily as I can with the work.

Yours truly, and with much esteem,
Robert Southey.”
To Richard Duppa, Esq.
“March 27. 1807.
“Dear Duppa,

“The Ministry—by this time, perhaps, no longer a Ministry—have made a very pretty kettle of fish of it; which phrase, by the by, would look well in literal translation into any other language. Perhaps you will be surprised to hear that on the Catholic Question I am as stiffly against them as his Majesty himself. Of all my friends Coleridge is perhaps the only one who thinks with me upon this subject; but I am clear in ray own mind. I am, however, sorry for the business,—more to think what a rabble must come in, than for any respect for those who are going out—though the Limited Service and the Abolishment of the Slave Trade are great things. As for any effect upon my own possible fortunes, you need not be told how little any such possibilities ever enter into my feelings: they have entered into my calculations just enough to keep me unsettled, and nothing more. And here I am now planting garden-enclosures, rose-bushes, currants, gooseberries, and resolute to become a mountaineer—perhaps for ever—unless I should remove for final settlement at Lisbon. My study is to be finished—my books gathered together; and if you do not come down again, the very first summer you are not otherwise engaged, why—you may stay and be smoke-dried in London for your good-for-nothingness. I have a man called Willy, who is my Juniper in this business.
We are going to have laburnums and lilacs, seringas, barberry bushes, and a pear-tree to grow up by your window against the wall, and white curtains in my library, and to dye the old ones in the parlour blue, and to put fringe to them,
Mr. Duppa, and to paper the room, Mr. Duppa, and I am to have a carpet in my study, Mr. Duppa, and the chairs are to be new bottomed, and we are to buy some fenders at the sale of the General’s things, and we have bought a new hearth-rug. And then the outside of the house is to be rough-cast, as soon as the season will permit, and there is a border made under the windows, and there is to be a gravel walk there, and turf under the trees beyond that, and beyond that such peas and beans! Oh! Mr. Duppa, how you will like them when you come down, and how fine we shall be, if all this does not ruin me!

“The reason of all this is, that some arrangements of Coleridge’s made it necessary that I should either resolve upon removing speedily, or remaining in the house. The one I could not do, and was, not unwillingly, forced to the other. Indeed, the sense of being unsettled was the only uneasiness I had; and these little arrangements for future comfort give me, I am sure, more solid satisfaction and true enjoyment than his great Howickship can possibly have felt upon getting into that Downing Street, from whence he will so reluctantly get out,—like a dog on a wet day out of the kitchen, growling as he goes, with his tail between his legs, and showing the teeth with which he dares not bite. Jackson—God
bless him—is as well pleased about it as I am; and that excellent good woman, Mrs. Wilson, is rejoiced at heart to think that we are likely to remain here for the remainder of her days.

“Sir, it would surprise you to see how I dig in the garden. I am going to buy the ‘Complete Gardener;’ and we do hope to attain one day to the luxuries of currant wine, and such like things, which I hope will meet your approbation, after you and I have been up Causey Pike again, and over the Fells to Blea Tarn,—expeditions to the repetition of which I know you look on with great pleasure.

“I shall miss Harry this summer,—an excellent boatman, and a companion whose good spirits and good humour never failed. If T. Grenville would make Tom a Captain, and send him down to grass for the summer, he would do a better thing than he has done yet since he went to the Admiralty. Wynn did mention my brother to him; but we had no borough interest to back us, and fourteen years’ hard service go for nothing, with wounds, blowing up, honourable mention, and excellent good conduct. Still I have a sort of faith (God willing) that he will be an Admiral yet.

“I am hurrying my printer with Espriella, for fear another translation should appear before mine, which, you know, would be very unlucky. Ten sheets of the second volume are done. I much wish it were out, having better hopes of its sale than the fate of better books will perhaps warrant. But this
is a good book in its way, and its way ought to be, in book- selling phrase, a taking one.

“God bless you!

R. S.”

At the commencement of the preceding letter, my father alludes to the tottering condition of the Grenville Ministry, of which his friend Mr. Wynn was a member, who had been for some time looking out for an opportunity of serving him; and under the impression that their resignation had taken place, without any having occurred, he now writes:—“When you have it in your power again, let the one thing you seek for me be the office of Historiographer, with a decent pension. If 300l., it would satisfy my wishes—if 400l., I should be rich. I have no worldly ambition: a man who lives so much in the past and the future can have none . . . . . When you are in, do not form higher wishes for me than I have for myself. I am in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call me, for which I am formed, in which I am contented; nor is it likely that I could be in any other so usefully, so worthily, or so happily employed. If what I now receive shall in the future come from the Treasury, I shall not then have any serious wish for any change of fortune; nor would this be one, if you were wealthier. What more is necessary I get—hardly enough, it is true, but still in my own way; and it is not impossible but that some day or other one of my books should, by some accident, hit the fashion of the day, and, by a rapid sale, place me in comparative affluence. I
must be a second time cut off if I do not still inherit an independence; and if, after all, I should go out of the world as poor a man as I am at this present—the moment it comes to be ‘poor Southey,’ my name becomes a provision for my wife and children, even though I had not that reliance upon individual friendship which experience makes me feel.”*

The next letter shows that his friend had succeeded in obtaining for him a small pension, which, though it really diminished his income instead of increasing it, was very acceptable, for the reasons he here states.

To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, March 30. 1807.
“My dear Friend,

“I am just now enabled to give you some intelligence concerning myself. In this topsey-turveying of ministers, Wynn was very anxious, as he says, ‘to pick something out of the fire for me.’ The registership of the Vice-Admiralty Court in St. Lucia was offered, worth about 600l. a-year. He wrote to me, offering this, or, as an alternative, the only one in his power, a pension of 200l.; but, before my answer could arrive, it was necessary that he should choose for me, and he judged rightly in taking the latter. Fees and taxes will reduce this to 160l.†, the precise sum for which I have hitherto been indebted to him; so that I remain with just the same income as before. The different source

* March 27. 1807.

† The deduction proved to be 56l. reducing it to 144l.

from which it is derived is, as you may suppose, sufficiently grateful; for though Wynn could till now well afford this, and I had no reluctance in accepting it from one who is the oldest friend I have in the world (we have been intimate for nineteen years), he has now nearly doubled his expenditure by marrying. . . . . This, I suppose, is asked for and granted to me as a man of letters, in which character I feel myself fully and fairly entitled to receive it; and you know me too well to suppose that it can make me lose one jot of that freedom, both of opinion and speech, without which I should think myself unworthy, not of this poor earthly pittance alone, but of God’s air and sunshine, and my inheritance in heaven.

“I sent you the Specimens, and shall have to send you, owing to some omissions of Bedford’s, a supplementary volume hereafter, which will complete its bibliographical value. Of its other merits and defects, hereafter. It will not be long before, I trust, you will receive Espriella: the printer promises to quicken his pace, and I hurry him, anticipating that this book will give you and my other friends some amusement, and deserve approbation on higher grounds. Thank you for all your kindness to Harry. . . . . This change of ministry—I am as hostile to the measure which was the pretext for it as the King himself; but, having conceded that measure, the King’s conduct is equally exceptionable. Neither the country nor the Commons called for the change, and they were getting credit, and deserving it, by the ‘Arms Bill,’ the blessed ‘Aboli
tion of the Slave Trade,’ the projected reforms, and the projected plan for educating the poor. And now their places are to be filled by a set of men of tried and convicted incapacity, with an old woman at their head! But I must refer you to my friend, Don Manuel Alvarez, for the reason why there is always a lack of talents in the English Government.

“God bless you!

Yours in haste,
R. S.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“April, 1807.
“My dear Wynn,

“And so I am a Court Pensioner! It is well that I have not to kiss hands upon the occasion—or, upon my soul, I do not think I could help laughing at the changes and chances of this world! O dear, dear Wynn, when you and I used to hold debates with poor Bunbury over a pot of porter, how easily could your way of life have been predicted! And how would his and mine have mocked all foresight! And yet mine has been a straight-onward path! Nothing more has taken place in me than the ordinary process of beer or wine—of fermenting—and settling—and ripening!

“If Snowdon will come to Skiddaw in the summer, Skiddaw will go to Snowdon at the fall of the leaf. I shall work hard to get the Cid ready for publication, and must go with it to London. In that case my intention is to go first to Bristol,
and perhaps to Taunton, and Wales will not be out of my way. But I wish to show you those parts of the country which you have not seen, and which I have since you were here; and to introduce you to the top of Skiddaw, which is an easy morning’s walk.

“The mystery of this wonderful history of the change in administration is certainly explained; but who are the King’s advisers? Are they his sons—or old Lord Liverpool? Mr. Simeon’s wise remark, that ‘the new Ministry was better than no Ministry at all,’ put me in mind of a story which might well have been quoted in reply. One of the German Electors, when an Englishman was introduced to him, thought the best thing he could say to him, was to remark that ‘it was bad weather;’ upon which the Englishman shrugged up his shoulders and replied, ‘yes—but it was better than none!’ Would not this have told in the House? You do not shake my opinion concerning the Catholics. Their religion regards no national distinctions—it teaches them to look at Christendom and at the Pope as the head thereof—and the interests of that religion will always be preferred to anything else. Bonaparte is aware of this, and is aiming to be the head of the Catholic party in Germany.

“These people have been increasing in England of late years, owing to the number of seminaries established during the French Revolution. It is worth your while to get their Almanac,—the ‘Lay Directory’ it is called, and published by Brown and Keating, Duke Street, Grosvenor Square. They
are at their old tricks of miracles here and every where else. St. Winifred has lately worked a great one, and is in as high odour as ever she was.

“I am for abolishing the test with regard to every other sect—Jews and all—but not to the Catholics. They will not tolerate: the proof is in their whole history—in their whole system—and in their present practice all over Catholic Europe: and it is the nature of their principles now to spread in this country; Methodism, and the still wilder sects preparing the way for it. You have no conception of the zeal with which they seek for proselytes, nor the power they have over weak minds; for their system is as well the greatest work of human wisdom as it is of human wickedness. It is curious that the Jesuits exist in England as a body, and have possessions here; a Catholic told me this, and pointed out one in the streets of Norwich, but he could tell me nothing more, and expressed his surprise at it, and his curiosity to learn more. Having been abolished by the Pope, they keep up their order secretly, and expect their restoration, which, if he be wise, Bonaparte will effect. Were I a Catholic, that should be the object to which my life should be devoted—I would be the second Loyola.

“Concessions and conciliations will not satisfy the Catholics; vengeance and the throne are what they want. If Ireland were far enough from our shores to be lost without danger to our own security, I would say establish the Catholic religion there, as the easiest way of civilising it; but Catholic Ireland would always be at the command of the Pope, and
the Pope is now at the command of France. It is dismal to think of the state of Ireland. Nothing can redeem that country but such measures as none of our statesmen, except perhaps
Marquis Wellesley, would be hardy enough to adopt,—nothing but a system of Roman conquest and colonization, and shipping off the refractory to the colonies.

“England condescends too much to the Catholic religion, and does not hold up her own to sufficient respect in her foreign possessions; and the Catholics, instead of feeling this as an act of indulgence to their opinions, interpret it as an acknowledgment of their superior claims, and insult us in consequence. This is the case at Malta. In India the want of an established church is a crying evil. Nothing but missionaries can secure in that country what we have won. The converts would immediately become English in their feelings, for, like Mahomet, we ought to make our language go with our religion,—a better policy this than that of introducing pig-tails, after our own home-plan of princely reform, for which ——, with all due respect to him, or whoever else was the agent in this inconceivable act of folly, ought to be gibbeted upon the top of the highest pagoda in Hindostan. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“April 7. 1807.
“My dear Sir,

“. . . . . The preliminary account is nearly finished, I have inserted in it such poems as seem best suited to that place, because they refer to Henry’s then state of mind, and thus derive an interest from the narrative, and in their turn give it also. After the introduction I purpose to insert a selection of his letters, or rather of extracts from them, in chronological order. Upon mature consideration, and upon trial as well, I believe this to be better than inserting them in the account of his life. If the reader feel for Henry that love and admiration which I have endeavoured to make him feel, he will be prepared to receive these epistolary fragments as the most authentic and most valuable species of biography; and if he does not feel that love, it is no matter how he receives them, for his heart will be in fault, and his understanding necessarily darkened.

“I have, to the best of my judgment, omitted every thing of which the publication could occasion even the slightest unpleasant feeling to any person whatever; and if any thing of this kind has escaped me, you will, of course, consider your own opinion as decisive, and omit it accordingly, without any regard to mine. Assuredly we will not offend the feelings of any one; but there are many passages which, though they can give no pain to an individual, you
perhaps may think will not interest the public. If this fear come across you, take up
Chatterton’s letters to his mother and sister, and see if the very passages which will excite in you the greatest interest are not of the individual and individualising character, and then remember that Henry’s is to be a name equally dear to the generation which will come after us. . . . .

“My heart has often ached during this employment.

Yours very truly and respectfully,
Robert Southey.”

One extract from a letter written to Mr. Neville White at the close of the year I will place here, as it speaks of the completion of my father’s grateful office.

“The sight of the books now completed gave me a melancholy feeling, and I could not help repeating some lines of Wordsworth’s,—
“‘Thou soul of God’s best earthly mould,
Thou happy soul, and can it be
That this . . . .
Is all that must remain of thee?’
But this is not all: so many days and nights of unrelenting study, so many hopes and fears, so many aspirations after fame, so much genius, and so many virtues, have left behind them more than this,—they have left comfort and consolation to his friends, an honourable remembrance for himself, and for others, a bright and encouraging example.


“Our intercourse will not be at an end. When I visit London, which will certainly be during the winter, and probably very soon, I shall see you. We shall have, it is to be hoped and expected, to communicate respecting after editions; and at all times it will give me great pleasure to hear from you.”

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“April 21. 1807.

“Whether, Grosvenor, you will ascribe it to the cut of my nose, I cannot tell; nor whether it be a proof of the natural wickedness of the heart, but so it is, that I am less disposed to be very much obliged to the Treasury for giving me 200l. a year, than I am to swear at the Taxes for having the impudence to take 56l. of it back again. And if it were a pull Devil pull Baker between that loyalty which, as you know, has always been so predominant in my heart, and that jacobinism of which, you know how vilely, I have been suspected, I am afraid the 56 would give a stronger pull on the Baker’s side than the 144 on the Devil’s. Look you, Mr. Bedford of the Exchequer, it is out of all conscience. Ten in the hundred has always in all Christian states been thought damnable usury; and to say that a man took ten in the hundred was the same as saying that he would go to the Devil.* But this is eight-and-twenty in the

* So says the epigram attributed to Shakspeare, upon his friend Mr. Combe, an old gentleman noted for his wealth and usury:—

hundred, for which may eight-and-twenty hundred Devils . . . . . I am a little surprised to hear you speak so contemptuously of modern poetry, because it shows how very little you must have read, or how little you can have considered the subject. The improvement during the present reign has been to the full as great in poetry as it has been in the experimental sciences, or in the art of raising money by taxation. What can you have been thinking of? Had you forgotten
Burns a second time? had you forgotten Cowper, Bowles, Montgomery, Joanna Baillie, Walter Scott? to omit a host of names which, though inferior to them, are above those of any former period except the age of Shakspeare, and not to mention Wordsworth and another poet, who has written two very pretty poems in my opinion, called Thalaba and Madoc. . . . . I am as busy in my household arrangements as you can be. My tent is pitched at last, and I am thankful that my lot has fallen in so goodly a land.

“Politics are very amusing, and go to the tune of Tantara-rara. The king has been fighting for a veto upon the initiation of laws, and he has won it. I had got into good humour with the late ministry because of the Limited Service Bill, the Abolishment

“Ten in the hundred lies here ingraved;
’Tis a hundred to ten his soul is not saved.
If any man ask, ‘Who lies in this tomb?’
‘Oh! oh!’ quoth the Devil,’ ’tis my John-a-Combe.’”

It must be added that Mr. Knight strenuously opposes the tradition that Shakspeare wrote these lines.—Knight’s Shakspeare, a Biography, p. 488.

of the Slave Trade, and their wise conduct with regard to the Continent. As for their successors, they have given a pretty sample of their contempt for all decency by their reinstatement of
Lord Melville, the attempt at giving Percival the place for life, and the threat held out by Canning of a dissolution. The Grenvilles now find the error of their neglecting Scotland at the last election, an error which I heard noticed with regret at the time. What is it has made them so unpopular in the city? It is to me incomprehensible why the memory of Pitt should be held in such idolatrous reverence,—a man who was as obstinate in every thing wrong as he was ready to give up any thing good, and who, except in the Union and in the Scarcity, was never by any accident right during his long administration.

“I finish poor Henry White’s papers to-morrow. One volume of Palmerin still remains to do, and then there will be nothing to impede my progress in S. America. Our Fathers wrote to me about the same time that you did; they were then in pursuit of the culprits Hinchcliffe and Gildon. I’ll tell you what I would have done had I been in town and could not have found them. I would have made them a present of verses of my own, just enough in number to fill the gap, and dull enough to suit them. Nobody would have suspected it, and it would have been a very pious fraud to save trouble.

“It consoles me a little when I think of the reviewing* that is to take place: how much more you

* Of the Specimens of English Poets.

will feel it than I shall. I am case-hardened—but you—oh,
Mr. Bedford, how your back and shoulders will tingle! how you will perspire! how you will bite your nails and gnash your teeth! how you will curse the reviewers, and the printers, and the poor poets, with now and then a remembrance of me and yourself. Why, man, there never was so bad a book before! If I were to take any twenty pages and enumerate all the faults in them,—do you remember Duppa, when he came from the Installation at Oxford, all piping hot? even to that degree of heat would the bare enumeration excite you, and your shirt would be as wet as if you had tumbled into a bath. I tell you my opinion as a friend just to prepare you for what is to come, and am actually laughing at the conceit of how you will look when you take up the first review! Farewell!

R. S.”
To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, April 24. 1807.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“Circumstances have prevented me going to Portugal so soon as I intended. I am, however, likely (God willing, I may say certain, as far as human intentions can be so) to procure a whole holiday for your boys in the month of November next. Business will then lead me to London, and when I am so far south I have calls into the west, having an uncle and aunt near Taunton. The Barnstaple coach will carry me
to Tiverton; and for the rest of the way I have shoulders to carry a very commodious knapsack, and feet to carry myself,—being a better walker than when we were at Oxford.

“Your last letter is fourteen months old, and they may have brought forth so many changes, that I almost fear to ask for my god-child Fanny. During that time I have had a son born into the world, and baptized into the Church by the name of Herbert, who is now six months old, and bids fair to be as noisy a fellow as his father,—which is saying something; for be it known, that I am quite as noisy as ever I was, and should take as much delight as ever in showering stones through the hole of the staircase against your room door, and hearing with what hearty good earnest ‘you fool!’ was vociferated in indignation against me in return. O, dear Lightfoot, what a blessing it is to have a boy’s heart! it is as great a blessing in carrying one through this world, as to have a child’s spirit will be in fitting us for the next.

“If you are in the way of seeing reviews and magazines, they will have told you some of my occupations; the main one they cannot tell you, for they do not know it, nor is it my intention that they shall yet awhile. I am preparing that branch of the History of Portugal for publication first, which would have been last in order, had not temporary circumstances given it a peculiar interest and utility,—that which relates to Brazil and Paraguay. The manuscript documents in my possession are very numerous, and of the utmost importance, having been
collected with unwearied care by my
uncle, during a residence of above thirty years in Portugal.

Burnett is about to make his appearance in the world of authors with, I trust, some credit to himself. When we meet I will tell you the whole course of his eventful history,—for more eventful it has been than any one could have prognosticated on his entrance at old Balliol.

Elmsley, I am sorry to say, is fatter than ever he was: he is one of my most intimate and most valuable friends. I hear from Duppa, or of him, frequently. His visit to Oxford at the Installation has been the occasion of throwing him quite into the circle of my friends in London. I sometimes think with wonder how few acquaintances I made at Oxford; except yourself and Burnett, not one whom I should feel any real pleasure in meeting. Of all the months in my life (happily they did not amount to years) those which were passed at Oxford were the most unprofitable. What Greek I took there I literally left there, and could not help losing; and all I learnt was a little swimming (very little the worse luck) and a little boating, which is greatly improved, now that I have a boat of my own upon this delightful lake. I never remember to have dreamt of Oxford,—a sure proof how little it entered into my moral being;—of school, on the contrary, I dream perpetually.

C—— is become a great disciplinarian. Some friend of Dr. Aikin’s dined one day at Balliol, and I was made the subject of conversation in the common room; poor C—— was my only friend: I be-
lieve he allowed that I must be damned for all my heresies, that was certain, but that it was a pity;—he remembered me with a degree of affection which neither a dozen years, nor that heart-deadening and uncharitable atmosphere had effaced. I should be glad to shake hands with him again . . . . . Let me hear from you, and believe me,

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, May 5. 1807.
“My dear Grosvenor.

“When I wished you never to read the Classics again it was because, like many other persons, you read nothing else, and were not likely ever to get more knowledge out of them than you had got already, especially as you chiefly (I may say exclusively) read those from whom least is to be got, which is also another sin of the age. Your letter contains the usual blunders which the ignorance of the age is continually making, and upon which, and nothing else, rests the whole point at issue between such critics as Jeffrey and myself: you couple Homer and Virgil under the general term of classics, and suppose that both are to be admired upon the same grounds. A century ago this was better understood; the critics of that age did read what they wrote about, and understood what they read, and they knew that whoever thought the one of these
writers a good poet must upon that very principle hold the other to be a bad one. Greek and Latin poets, Grosvenor, are as opposite as French and English (excepting always
Lucretius and Catullus), and you may as well suppose it possible for a man equally to admire Shakspeare and Racine as Homer and Virgil; that is, provided he knows why and wherefore he admires either. Elmsley will tell you this, and I suppose you will admit him to be authority upon this subject.

“You ask me about the Catholic question. I am against admitting them to power of any kind, because the immediate use that would be made of it would be to make proselytes, for which Catholicism is of all religions best adapted. Every ship which had a Catholic captain would have a Catholic chaplain, and in no very long time a Catholic crew: so on in the army; just as every rich Catholic in England at this time has his mansion surrounded with converts fairly purchased,—the Jerningham family in Norfolk for instance. I object to any concessions, because no concession can possibly satisfy them; and I think it palpable folly to talk or think of tolerating any sect (beyond what they already enjoy) whose first principle is that their church is infallible, and, therefore, bound to persecute all others. This is the principle of Catholicism everywhere, and when they can they avow it and act upon it.

“If our statesmen (God forgive me for degrading the word),—if our traders in politics,—had better information of how things are going on abroad, they would not talk of the distinction between Catholic
and Protestant as political parties being extinct. But for that distinction Prussia could not have retained its conquests from Austria; and that distinction
Bonaparte is at this time endeavouring to profit by. There is a regular conspiracy,—a system carrying on to propagate popery in the North of Germany, of which Coleridge could communicate much if he would, he knowing the main directors of the new propaganda at Rome. The mode of doing it is curious,—they bring the people first to believe in Jacob Behmen, and then they may believe in anything else. All fanaticism tends to this point. You will hear something that bears upon this subject from Espriella when he makes his appearance; and you will also see more of the present history of enthusiasm in this country than any body could possibly suspect who has not, as I have done, cast a searching eye into the holes and comers of society, and watched its under currents, which carry more water than the upper stream.

“I have a favour to ask of Horace,—which is, that he will do me the kindness to send me the titles of such Portuguese manuscripts as are in the Museum. There cannot be so many as to make this a thing of much trouble; and there are some of great value, which were, I believe, part of the plunder of Osorio’s library carried off from Sylvas by Sir F. Drake. I wish to know what they are, for the purpose of ascertaining how many among them are not to be found in their own country, and either taking myself, or causing to be taken, if a fit transcriber can be found, copies to present to some fit library at Lisbon:
in so doing I shall render the literature of that country a most acceptable service, which it would most highly gratify me to do, and for which I should receive very essential services in return. There are, I believe, in particular, some papers of
Geronimo Lobos concerning Abyssinia, and a MS. of which Vincent has made some use. I am particularly desirous of effecting this, not merely because I could do nothing which would be more essentially useful to my own views there, but also because of the true and zealous love which I feel for Portuguese literature, in which I am now as well versed as in that of my own country, and into which (whenever the reign of priestcraft is at an end) I hope to be one day adopted.

“I pray you remember that what I think upon the Catholic question by no means disposes me in favour of the new ministry. I, Mr. Bedford, am, as you know, a court pensioner, and have, as you well know, deserved to be so for my great and devoted attachment to the person of His Majesty and the measures of his government. Nevertheless, Mr. Bedford, his ministers are men of tried and convicted incapacity; they have always been the contempt of Europe; whether they can be more despised than their predecessors have uniformly and deservedly been, I know not. I cannot tell how far below nothing the political barometer can sink till it has been tried.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Richard Duppa, Esq.
“May 23. 1807.
“My dear Duppa,

“Your book and your letter reached me at the same time. I have cut the leaves, collated the prints, and observe many valuable additions and some great typographical improvements. It was accompanied by a note from Mr. Murray of a very complimentary kind. I like to be complimented in my authorial character, and best of all by booksellers, because their good opinion gets purchasers, and so praise leads to pudding, which I consider to be the solid end of praise.

“I have Walter Scott’s promise to do what he can for M. Angelo in the Edinburgh, with this sort of salvo,—that Jeffrey is not a very practicable man, but he would do his best with him. My acquaintance with Scott is merely an acquaintance; but I had occasion once to write to him respecting the sale of a MS. entrusted to me, and bought by him for the Advocate’s Library, and in that letter I introduced the subject. I was greatly in hopes, and indeed expected, that Wordsworth would have done as much in the Critical, by means of his brother, who writes there. Had it not been for this, I might perhaps have done something by applying to Fellowes, the Anti-Calvinist, a very interesting man,—such a one, indeed, that, though I never met him but once, I could without scruple have written to him. Wonderful to tell, he bears a part in that Review, though his opinions are as opposite to Hunt’s, and all his
other steeple-hunting whippers-in, as light is to darkness. The hostile article I have not seen;—one of the advantages of living here is, that I never see these things till their season is over, and then, like wasps in winter, their power of stinging is at an end. I should have been angry at seeing your book abused when the abuse could do any hurt, and should have felt that sort of heat in my cheek which denotes the moral temperature of the minute to be above temperate. Now, whenever it falls in my way, which, very likely, never may be the case, it will come as a matter of literary history,—as what was said by some malevolent and ignorant person when a good book first appeared, and so it will furnish me an anecdote to relate when I speak of the book; or if I should ever live to old age, and have leisure to leave behind me that sort of transcript from recollections which would make such excellent materials for the literary history of my own times.

“You are mistaken about Henry White; the fact is briefly this:—at the age of seventeen he published a little volume of poems of very great merit, and sent with them to the different Reviews, a letter stating that his hope was to raise money by them to pursue his studies and get to college. Hamilton, then of the Critical, showed me this letter. I asked him to let me review the book, which he promised; but he sent me no books after the promise. Well, the M. Review noticed this little volume in the most cruel and insulting manner. I was provoked, and wrote to encourage the boy, offering to aid him in a subscription for a costlier publication. I spoke of him
in London, and had assurances of assistance from
Sotheby, and, by way of Wynn, from Lord Carysfort. His second letter to me, however, said he was going to Cambridge, under Simeon’s protection. I plainly saw that the Evangelicals had caught him; and as he did not want what little help I could have procured, and I had no leisure for new correspondences, ceased to write to him, but did him what good I could in the way of reviewing, and getting him friends at Cambridge. He died last autumn; and I received a letter informing me of it. It gave me a sort of shock, because, in spite of his evangelicism, I always expected great things, from the proof he had given of very superior powers; and, in replying to this letter, I asked if there were any intention of publishing any thing which he might have left, and offered to give an opinion upon his papers, and look them over. Down came a box-full, the sight of which literally made my heart ache, and my eyes overflow, for never did I behold such proofs of human industry. To make short, I took the matter up with interest, collected his letters, and have, at the expense of more time than such a poor fellow as myself can very well afford, done what his family are very grateful for, and what I think the world will thank me for too. Of course I have done it gratuitously. His life will affect you, for he fairly died of intense application. Cambridge finished him. When his nerves were already so over-strained that his nights were utter misery, they gave him medicines to enable him to hold out during examination for a prize! The horse won,—but he died after the race! Among his letters there is a great deal of
Methodism: if this procures for the book, as it very likely may, a sale among the righteous over-much, I shall rejoice for the sake of his family, for whom I am very much interested. I have, however, in justice to myself, stated, in the shortest and most decorous manner, that my own views of religion differ widely from his. Still, that I should become, and that, too, voluntarily, an editor of methodistical and Calvinistic letters, is a thing which, when I think of it, excites the same sort of smile that the thoughts of my pension does, and I wonder, like the sailor, what is to be done next.

“Want of room has obliged me to reserve most of your letters, which I meant for the latter end of Espriella’s remarks*; but when I came to the latter end, the printing had got beyond my calculation of pages so much, that I was fain to stop. I have good hopes of such a sale as may induce my friend to travel again; my own stock of matter not being half exhausted, nor, indeed, my design half completed. The book ought to be published in a month. Palmerin will appear nearly at the same time, and, perhaps, tend to remove suspicion, if any should subsist. The reception of this book will determine whether it is to be followed up or not, but if it be, be assured that you shall have ample revenge upon Fuseli.

“I know nothing of botany, and every day regret that I do not. It is a settled purpose of my heart, if my children live, to make them good naturalists. If you come either into Yorkshire or Northumberland,

* Mr. Duppa had been furnishing him with some information for this book.

you must not return to the south without touching at Greta Hall, and seeing me in my glory. We have papered the parlour this very day. It is not so fine a room as yours,
Mr. Duppa, but it is very beautiful, I assure you,—and the masons are at this time making a ceiling to my study,—and I have got curtains for it, the colour of nankeen,—and there is to be a carpet, and a new fender, and all sorts of things that are proper. Miss Barker tells me she has seen you. I am in good hope of persuading her to come down this summer; and if she comes, she shall not go till I have a set of drawings for the parlour.

“I want to hear, in spite of great trouble and little profit, that you have fixed upon a new subject, and are again at work. There is no being happy without having some worthy occupation in hand.

R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“May 27. 1807.
“My dear Rickman,

“The pleasantest season in the country for one who lives in it, is undoubtedly the month of blossoms and beauty, when we have not only immediate enjoyment but summer before us. The best season for seeing a country, and especially this country, is during the turn of the leaf. September and October are our best months. We have usually long and delightful autumns, extending further into the winter than they do in the south of England. Our harvests, such as
they are, are sometimes not in till the end of October,—every thing with us being proportionably late.

Mrs. Rickman has seen all that water colours can do for our lakes, in seeing them as delineated by Glover, who is of all our artists the truest to nature. But I will show her sights beyond all reach of human colouring,—such work as nature herself makes with travelling clouds, and columns of misty sunshine, falling as if from an eye of light in Heaven, like that upon Guy Fawkes in the prayer-book. Every point of sight is beautiful, and Derwentwater can only be judged by a panorama, such as you will have from our boat. Do not wait for another year for the sake of including your Scotch journey. God knows what another year may produce, either of good or evil, to both of us. There is always so much chance of being summoned off on the grand tour of the universe, that a man ought not, without good reason, to delay any little trip he may wish to take first upon our microcosm. . . . .

What you say about breeding up a boy to understand the Keltic language, has often been in my mind. Have you seen a good book in reply to Malthus by Dr. Jarrold? This disjointed question comes in, because he shows how animals that are the most highly finished are most apt, like looking-glasses, to break in the making; and I have always the fear of too much sensorial power in my children so before my eyes, as never willingly to shape any plan about them which might occasion more cause for disappointment. How easy would it be for the London
Institution, or any society, to look out promising lads, and breed them up for specific literary purposes. Should
Herbert live, I should more incline (as more connected with my own pursuits) to let him pass two or three years in Biscay, and so procure all that is to be found of Cantabrian antiquity—a distinct stock I learn from the Keltic; but I believe that one part of our population came from those shores, of which the prevalence of dark hair and dark complexions is to me physical proof. Nothing can be so little calculated to advance our stock of knowledge, as our inveterate mode of education, whereby we all spend so many years in learning so little. I was from the age of six to that of twenty learning Greek and Latin, or, to speak more truly, learning nothing else. The little Greek I had sleepeth, if it be not dead, and can hardly wake without a miracle, and my Latin, though abundant enough for all useful purposes, would be held in great contempt by those people who regard the classics as the scriptures of taste. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”

Some differences having arisen between the Messrs. Longman and Co. and the editor of the Edinburgh Review, it was at this time in contemplation to carry on the work under a different management; and on this supposition they wrote to my father, requesting him to furnish them with certain articles “in his best manner,” and offering payment at a higher rate than he had received for the Annual Review. His reply shows that his principle was,
“whatsoever his hand found to do, to do it with his might.”* The contemplated separation of the editor from the Review did not, however, take place, and the articles were consequently transferred to the Annual, my father stating, that nothing but the circumstance of the Review having changed hands, and their needing a ready writer, would induce him to have any thing to do with it, disapproving as he did the principles upon which it was conducted.

To the Messrs. Longman and Co.
“June 5. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“I will review the books as soon as they arrive, and as well as I can, but I cannot do them better for an Edinburgh Review than for an Annual one. There are many articles which are valued precisely in proportion to the time and labour bestowed upon them, and which therefore can be accurately fixed accordingly; these articles are not of that description. The worst reviewals you have ever had from me have cost me more time and labour than the best. When the subject is good, and I am acquainted with it, the pen flows freely; otherwise it is tilling an ungrateful soil. I can promise you a better review of Clavigero than any other person could furnish; upon the other books, I will do my best. All reviewals, however, which are not seasoned either with

* Ecclesiastes, ix, 10.

severity or impertinence, will seem flat to those whose palates have been accustomed to ——’s sauce-damnable.

“Some time ago, the Bishop of Llandaff observed to me, that few things were more wanted than a regular collection of translations of the ancient historians, comprising the whole of them in their chronological order. It is worth thinking of; and if you should think of it, modern copyright need not stand in your way. Littlebury’s Herodotus is better than Beloe’s, and Gordon’s Tacitus far superior to Murphy’s. Such a collection, well annotated, &c., could not fail to sell, and might best be published volume by volume; if it were carried to the end of the Byzantine history, so much the better both for the public and the publishers. This is not a plan in which I could bear any part myself, but it is worth your consideration.

“. . . . .The Spanish Joinville, I fear, perished at Hafod. If, however, by good fortune, it should have been returned to you before the fire, have the goodness to enclose it in the next parcel. I wait the arrival of one, expected by every carrier, to make up a bundle for Dr. Aikin: the reason is this; one of the books which I sent for, implies by the title that I have been deceived in one of the Omniana articles, and I ordered the book for the sake of ascertaining the truth and correcting the error.

“Is there not a new edition of Whitehead’s Life of Wesley? If you will send me it, and with it the
life published by
Dr. Coke for the conference, I will either review it for you, or make a life myself for the Athenæum, having Thompson’s here, and also a complete set of Wesley’s journals, which I have carefully read and marked for the purpose.

Yours truly,
R. Southey.

“I hope you will accommodate matters with Jeffrey; for if there should be two Edinburgh Reviews, or if he should set up another under a new title, you would probably be the sufferer, even though yours should manifestly be the best,—such is the force of prejudice.”

The following playful effusion was addressed to Hartley Coleridge, who is often referred to in the earlier letters by the name of Moses, it being my father’s humour to bestow on his little playfellows many and various such names. When those allusions and this letter were selected for publication, my cousin was yet amongst us, and I had pleasantly anticipated his half-serious, half-playful remonstrances for thus bringing his childhood before the public. Now he is among the departed; and those only who knew him intimately can tell how well-stored and large a mind has gone with him, much less how kind a heart, and how affectionate a disposition. He has found his last peaceful resting-place (where Dr. Arnold so beautifully expresses a wish that he might lie), “beneath the yews of Grasmere churchyard, with the Rotha, with its deep and silent pools,
passing by;” but his name will long be a “living one” among the hill-sides and glens of our rugged country,—
“Stern and wild.
Meet nurse for a poetic child.”

To Hartley Coleridge.
“Keswick, June 13. 1807.
“Nephew Job,

“First, I have to thank you for your letter and your poem; and, secondly, to explain why I have not done this sooner. We were a long time without knowing where you were, and, when news came from Miss Barker that you were in London, by the time a letter could have reached you you were gone; and, lastly, Mr. Jackson wrote to you to Bristol. I will now compose an epistle which will follow you farther west.

“Bona Marietta hath had kittens; they were remarkably ugly, all taking after their father Thomas, who there is reason to believe was either uncle or grandsire to Bona herself, the prohibited degrees of consanguinity which you will find at the end of the Bible not being regarded by cats. As I have never been able to persuade this family that catlings, fed for the purpose and smothered with onions, would be rabbits to all eatable purposes. Bona Marietta’s ugly progeny no sooner came into the world than they were sent out of it; the river nymph Greta conveyed them to the river god Derwent, and if neither the
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 101
eels nor the ladles of the lake have taken a fancy to them on their way,
Derwent hath consigned them to the Nereids. You may imagine them converted into sea-cats by favour of Neptune, and write an episode to be inserted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Bona bore the loss patiently, and is in good health and spirits. I fear that if you meet with any of the race of Mrs. Rowe’s cat at Ottery, you will forget poor Marietta. Don’t bite your arm, Job.

“We have been out one evening in the boat,—Mr. Jackson, Mrs. Wilson, and the children,—and kindled our fire upon the same place where you drank tea with us last autumn. The boat has been painted, and there is to be a boat-house built for it. Alterations are going on here upon a great scale. The parlour has been transmogrified. That, Hartley, was one of my mother’s words; your mother will explain it to you. The masons are at work in my study; the garden is enclosed with a hedge; some trees planted behind it, a few shrubs, and abundance of currant trees. We must, however, wait till the autumn before all can be done that is intended in the garden. Mr. White, the Belligerent, is settled in the General’s house. Find out why I give him that appellation.

“There has been a misfortune in the family. We had a hen with five chickens, and a gleed has carried off four. I have declared war against the gleed, and borrowed a gun; but since the gun has been in the house, he has never made his appearance. Who can have told him of it? Another hen is sitting, and I
hope the next brood will be luckier.
Mr. Jackson has bought a cow, but he has had no calf since you left him. Edith has taken your place in his house, and talks to Mrs. Wilson by the hour about her Hartley. She grows like a young giantess, and has a disposition to bite her arm, which, you know, is a very foolish trick, Herbert is a fine fellow; I call him the Boy of Basan, because he roars like a young bull when he is pleased; indeed, he promises to inherit his father’s vocal powers.

“The weather has been very bad; nothing but easterly winds, which have kept every thing back. We had one day hotter than had been remembered for fourteen years: the glass was at 85° in the shade, in the sun in Mr. Calvert’s garden at 118°. The horses of the mail died at Carlisle. I never remember to have felt such heat in England, except one day fourteen years ago, when I chanced to be in the mail-coach, and it was necessary to bleed the horses, or they would have died then. In the course of three days the glass fell forty degrees, and the wind was so cold and so violent that persons who attempted to cross the Fells beyond Penrith were forced to turn back.

“Your friend Dapper, who is, I believe, your god-dog, is in good health, though he grows every summer graver than the last. This is the natural effect of time, which, as you know, has made me the serious man I am. I hope it will have the same effect upon you and your mother, and that, when she returns, she will have left off that evil habit of
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 103
quizzing me and calling me names: it is not decorous in a woman of her years.

“Remember me to Mr. Poole, and tell him I shall be glad when he turns laker. He will find tolerable lodgings at the Hill; a boat for fine weather, good stores of books for a rainy day, and as hearty a shake by the hand on his arrival as he is likely to meet with between Stowey and Keswick. Some books of mine will soon be ready for your father. Will he have them sent anywhere? or will he pick them up himself when he passes through London on his way northward? Tell him that I am advancing well in South America, and shall have finished a volume by the end of the year. The Chronicle of the Cid is to go to press as soon as I receive some books from Lisbon, which must first be examined. This intelligence is for him also.

“I am desired to send you as much love as can be enclosed in a letter: I hope it will not be charged double on that account at the post-office: but there is Mrs. Wilson’s love, Mr. Jackson’s, your Aunt Southey’s, your Aunt Lovell’s, and Edith’s; with a purr from Bona Marietta, an open-mouthed kiss from Herbert, and three wags of the tail from Dapper. I trust they will all arrive safe, and remain.

Dear Nephew Job,
Your dutiful Uncle,
Robert Southey.”
To the Messrs. Longman and Co.
“June 29. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“I have been told by persons most capable of judging, that the old translation of Don Quixote is very beautiful. The book has never fallen in my way. If it be well translated, the language of Elizabeth’s reign must needs accord better with the style of Cervantes than more modern English would do; and I should think it very probable that it would be better to correct this, than to translate the work anew. As for my undertaking any translation, or indeed any revision, which might lead to the labour, or half the labour, which Palmerin cost me, it is out of the question; but if Mr. Heber can lend you this translation, I will give you my opinion upon it: and I will do for you, if you want it, what you would find much difficulty in getting done by any other person,—add to a Life of Cervantes an account of all his other writings, and likewise of the books in Don Quixote’s library, as far as my own stores will reach, and those which we may find access to; and make such notes upon the whole book as my knowledge of the history and literature of Spain can supply. I believe a new translation has been announced by Mr. ——, whose translation of Yriarte proved that either he did not understand the original, or that of all translators he is the most impudent. Such preliminaries as these which I propose might fill half a volume, or extend to a whole one, just as might
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 105
be judged most expedient. It gives me very greats pleasure to hear that you have engaged for a genuine version of the
Arabian Nights,—which I consider as one of the greatest desideratums in modern Oriental literature. We have a number of imitations in our language, which I am still boy enough to delight in; and were you, as the French have done, to publish a complete collection of them, I, for one, should be glad of the opportunity of buying them. If you published them volume by volume, with good prints, like your Theatre, school-boys would take off half an edition.

“As the new Joinville is, beyond all comparison, the most unreasonably dear book I ever saw, so is your Holinshed the cheapest; and I shall keep the copy you have sent accordingly. Dear books may not deter the rich from purchasing, but here is proof for you that cheap ones tempt the poor.

“To-morrow I will make up my parcel for the Athenæum. At Dr. Aikin’s request I have undertaken (long since) the Spanish and Portuguese literary part of his Biography. Some articles appeared in the last volume, and, few as they are, I suppose they entitle me to it. Will you ask Dr. A. if this be the case?

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
To the Messrs. Longman and Co.
“August 25. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“The motives which induced me to propose selling an edition of the Cid may be very soon explained. I have been settling myself here in a permanent place of abode, and in consequence many unavoidable expenses have been incurred. Among others, that of removing from Bristol a much larger library than perhaps any other man living, whose means are so scanty, is possessed of. I thank you for the manner in which you have objected to purchasing it, and am more gratified by it than I should have been by your acceptance. The sale of this book cannot be so doubtful as that of a poem. A part of it shall be sent up in a few days, and the sooner it is put to press the better. If it suit you, I should much like to let Pople print it. He has not made all the haste he could with Palmerin, but he has taken great pains with it; for never had printer a more perplexed copy to follow, and he has been surprisingly correct.

“I do not know what the state of my account with you is. Mr. Aikin has sent me no returns either for this year’s reviewing or the last. I suppose, however, that the edition of Espriella will about balance it; and if I may look to you for about 150l. between this and the end of the year, my exigencies will be supplied. Meantime I am desirous that my exertions should be proportionate to my wants. The old edition of Don Quixote, if carefully collated and corrected, will, I believe, be very superior to any
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
other. As soon as the original arrives, with the remainder of my books, from London, I shall be able to speak decisively; but I have little or no doubt but it will prove as I expect. If this be the case, I am ready to undertake it, to supply such preliminaries as I formerly stated, and to add notes.

“The ‘Catalogue Raisonné’ cannot be executed by a single person. I could do great part of it,—probably all except the legal and scientific departments. Upon this matter I will think, and write to you in a few days.

“What is this History of South America which I am told is announced? I am getting on with my own Brazil and the River Plata, and it is not possible that any man in England can have one-tenth part of the materials which I possess for such a work. Were you to see the manuscripts which I possess, you would be fully convinced of this; and without seeing them you can hardly form an estimate of their value and importance. . . . .

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
To the Messrs. Longman and Co.
“Sept. 20. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“I have been considering and re-considering the plan of a Critical Catalogue. On the scale which you propose, it approaches so nearly to what we had formerly projected as a complete Bibliotheca Britannica, that I should be loth to go so near it, and yet stop short. On the present scale (and were you
disposed to extend it to the original extent, it would be quite impossible for me till my historical labours are closed) the opinions given must necessarily be so short, that in most instances the main business would be to copy title-pages. Now it would take an amanuensis more time tenfold to hunt out the book than to do this; and yet, as you say, my time may be employed more satisfactorily for myself, and probably more to your advantage as well as my own, than in mere transcription.

“Of the possible size of such a work I cannot form even a decent conjecture. Scarce books are more numerous than good ones, have longer titles, and require sometimes a long description. Perhaps the best way would be to begin with a chronological list of all that have been printed before the accession of Henry VIII., when printing may be said to have become common. All these books have a great value from their scarcity,—indeed, their main value,—and better be classed together than under any separate heads. A complete list might be furnished by Mr. Dibdin, who must already have collected all the necessary knowledge for his edition of Ames. Mr. Park could supply the poets, and, indeed, manage the whole better than any other person. I could give a better opinion of works than he could, and believe that I know more of them: but there is a sort of title-page and colophon knowledge—in one word, bibliology,—which is exactly what is wanted for this purpose, and in which he is very much my superior. The way in which I could be best employed would be in looking over the MS., adding to it anything in my knowledge, if anything there might be, which had escaped
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
him, and supplying a brief criticism, where it was wanted, and I could give It.

“Any such assistance I should willingly give; but upon slow and frequent consideration, I certainly think the whole may be better executed in London than here, and by many others than by me; for of all sorts of work it is that in which there must be most transcription, and in which it will be most inconvenient to employ an amanuensis.

“The extent of such a book will probably be wholly immaterial to its sale. None but those who have libraries will buy it; and all those may almost be calculated upon. There will also be some sale for it abroad, more than is usual for English books. The one thing In which it seems possible to improve upon the best catalogue is, by arranging the books In every subdivision chronologically, according to the time when they were written. . . . .

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, Sept. 27. 1807.
“My dear Sir,

“I have desired Longman to send you a copy of Palmerin of England, knowing that you, who love to read as well as to sing of knights’ and gentle ladies’ deeds, will not be dismayed at the sight of four volumes more corpulent than volumes are wont to be in these degenerate days. The romance, though not so
good as
Amadis, is a good romance, and far superior to any other of the Spanish school that I have yet seen. I know not whether you will think that part of the preface satisfactory, in which it is argued that Moraes is the author. It is so to myself.*

“I rejoice to hear that we are to have another Lay, and hope we may have as many Last Lays of the Minstrel, as our ancestors had Last Words of Mr. Baxter. My own lays are probably at an end. That portion of my time which I can afford to employ in labouring for fame is given to historical pursuits; and poetry will not procure for me anything more substantial. This motive alone would not, perhaps, wean me from an old calling, if I were not grown more attached to the business of historical research, and more disposed to instruct and admonish mankind than to amuse them.

“The Chronicle of the Cid is just gone to press,—the most ancient and most curious piece of chivalrous history in existence,—a book after your own heart. It will serve as the prologue to a long series of labours, of which, whenever you will take Keswick in your way to or from London, I shall be very glad to show you some samples. I am now settled here, and am getting my books about me; you will find a boat for fine weather, and a good many out-of-the-way books for a rainy day.

“I beg to be remembered to Mrs. Scott. Yours very truly,

Robert Southey.”

* It has since been proved that the real author of Palmerin was Luis Hurtado, a Spaniard. See Quarterly Review, vol. lxxii. p. 10.

Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 111
To Messrs. Longman and Co.
“Nov. 13. 1807.
“Dear Sirs,

“We have certainly some reason to complain of Cadell and Davies; poor Cervantes, however, has more. . . . . Their splendid edition will be sure to sell for its splendour. I would have made such a work as should have been reprinted after the plates were worn out. I thank you for offering to engage in it, but my nature is as little disposed to this kind of warfare as yours; and I have as many plans to execute as I shall ever find life to perform. Let it pass. Morte d’ Arthur is a book which I shall edit with peculiar pleasure, because it has been my delight since I was a school-boy. There is nothing to be done in it but to introduce it with a preface, and accompany it with notes. No time need be lost. As soon as you can meet with a copy, it may be put into Pople’s hands; and by the time he has got through it, the introduction and annotations will be ready. I will send back Heber’s books (which I have detained, expecting to use them for the D. Quixote). For the Athenæum, it will be sufficient to say that I am preparing an edition of Morte d’ Arthur, with an introduction and notes.

“I have materials for a volume of Travels in Portugal, which the expulsion of the English from that country, and the consequent impossibility of my returning there to visit the northern provinces, as was my intention, induces me to think of preparing
for the press. In what form are such works most profitable? If in quarto with engravings, I can procure some sketches and some finished drawings. If you judge it expedient to reprint my
former volume, it must undergo some corrections; for though it has pleased the public to receive my first publications far more favourably than my later ones, I am fully sensible of their faults, and look upon them with sufficient humiliation.

“. . . . . The D. Quixote shall be returned in my first parcel. The only reason I have for regretting that Mr. Balfour has elbowed me out of an office to which he certainly has no pretensions whatever is, that I wished to do something, the emolument of which should be certain, for I cannot be anticipating uncertain profits without feeling some anxiety. I have translations enough almost to make a little volume like Lord Strangford’s, but then I am not a lord. I have ballads enough for half a volume, but people are more ready to ask copies of them now, than they would be to buy them; and were I to write as many more, according to all likelihood I should not get more by publishing them than any London newspaper would give me for any number of verses, good, bad, or indifferent, sold by the yard, and without the maker’s name to warrant them. What I feel most desirous to do is to send Espriella again on his travels, and so complete my design; but this must not be unless ho hits the fancy of the public.

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Nov. 15. 1807.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“I do not know that I should have taken up my pen with the intention of inflicting a letter upon you, if it had not been for a suspicion, produced by your last letter, that you expect me in London sooner than it is anyways possible for me to be there, and that peradventure, therefore, you may think it is not worth while to look after my pension till I arrive in proper person to receive it. Now, Mr. Bedford, touching this matter there are two things to be said. My going to London seems to me no very certain thing. It depends something on my uncle’s movements, of whose arrival from Lisbon I daily expect to hear; and, of course, if I go, my journey must be so timed as to meet him. It depends, also, something on my finances; and I begin to think that I cannot afford the expense of the journey, for I have had extraordinary goings-out this year in settling myself, and no extraordinary comings-in to counterbalance them. The Constable is a leaden-heeled rascal, and if I do not take care, will be left confoundedly behind. I must work like a negro the whole winter to set things right, and the nearer the time for my projected journey approaches, the less likely is it that I can spare it. My object in going would be to consult certain books for the preliminaries and notes for the Cid; and these books I should assuredly feel myself bound to consult if it required no other sacrifices than those of time
and trouble. But if the necessary expense cannot prudently and justifiably be afforded, I must be content to do the best I can,—which will be quite good enough to satisfy every body except myself. In the second place, if you can, by any interest, get my pension paid, I pray you exert it. I foresee that I shall be kept in hot water by it till I am lucky enough to get some little prize in the lottery of life, which will enable me to wait without inconvenience for arrears. At present the only chance for this is in the sale of
Espriella. Should that go through two or three editions, it will set me fairly afloat.

“I thought to have brought up my lee-way by doing a specific piece of job-work, of which I have been rather unhandsomely disappointed. The story is simply this:—Smirke has projected a splendid edition of Don Quixote with Cadell and Davies. They proposed to Longman to take a share in it, and he was authorised by them to ask me to translate it. While I was corresponding with them upon the fitness of revising the first translation in preference, and forming such a plan for preliminaries and annotations as would have made a great body of Spanish learning, Cadell and Davies, unknown to them, struck a bargain with a Mr. Balfour, who is no more able to translate Don Quixote than he would have been to write it. This is some disappointment to me, as I should have been paid a specific sum for my work, and could have calculated upon it. The Longmans behave as they ought to do in the business. They refuse to take any share in the work, in consequence of this unhandsome dealing towards me, and offer to
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 115
publish my edition upon our ordinary terms of halving the profits. This, however, would not serve my purpose.

“My affairs are not in a bad train, except for the present. The profits of the current edition of Espriella, and of the unborn one of the Cid, are anticipated and gone. Those of the Specimens, of the small edition of Madoc, and of Palmerin, are untouched. But if the three send me in 100l., at the end of the year’s sale, it will be more than I expect. The first volume of Brazil will be ready for the press next summer. I think also of publishing my travels in Portugal, for which good materials have long lain by me, and we are now talking of editing Morte d’ Arthur. Reviewing comes among the ordinaries of the year; in my conscience I do not think anybody else does so much and gets so little for it. Have I told you that my whole profits upon Madoc up to Midsummer last amount to 25l.? and the whole it is likely to be, unless the remaining 134 copies be sold as waste paper.

“I shall do yet; and if there be anything like a dispirited tone in this letter, it is more because my eyes are weak, than for any other cause. It is likely that Espriella will bear me out,—I must be more than commonly unlucky if it does not,—and if it does not, I will seek more review employment, write in more magazines, and scribble verses for the newspapers. As long as I can keep half my time for labours worthy of myself and of posterity, I shall not feel debased by sacrificing the other, however unworthily it may be employed. You will say, why do
you not write for the stage? the temptations to it are so strong, and I have made the resolution so often, that not to have done it yet is good proof of a self-conviction that it would not be done well; besides, I have not leisure from present urgencies.

“Now do not fancy me bent double like the Pilgrim, under this load upon my back; I am as bolt upright as ever, and in as wholesome good spirits, and, as soon as this letter is folded and sent off, shall go on with reviewing Buchanan’s Travels, and forget everything except what I know concerning Malabar.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Richard Heber, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 16. 1807.
“My dear Sir,

“I am now about to edit Morte d’ Arthur. My Round-table knowledge is as extensive as that of any, perhaps, but my Round-table library is scanty: of old books it contains none except the English Geoffrey of Monmouth and the two long Poems of Luigi Alemanni. My plan is, to give the history of Arthur, and collect, by the aid of Turner, Owen, and Edward Williams, all that the Welsh themselves can supply, and then the critical bibliography of the Round Table. The notes will refer to the originals from which this delightful book has been compiled, and give all the illustrations that I can supply. Once more, therefore, I must beg your assistance, and
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 117
ask you to send me as many books as you have which bear upon this subject. A
Mr. Goldsmid sent me a list of his romances some time ago, and his collection will probably contain what yours may want. Will you add to them your copy of Oviedo’s History of the New World?

“The printer’s copy of Palmerin was, I hope, returned to you, according to your desire and my directions. It will show you that I am not an idle editor, whatever those unhappy Specimens may have induced you to think. Should this Palmerin sell, I would gladly follow it with the third part, if the original could be procured; but the only chance of meeting with one would be in the King’s library, and there, of course, it would be useless.

“I have many things in hand. The Chronicle of the Cid will be likely to please you. It will soon be followed by the History of Brazil, and that by the other part of the History of Portugal and its Conquests. With poetry I must have done, unless I could afford another Madoc for five and twenty pounds, which is all that it has pleased the public to let me get by it. I feel some pride in having done well, but it is more than counterbalanced by the consciousness that I could do better, and yet am never likely to have an opportunity. St. Cecilia herself could not have played the organ if there had been nobody to blow the bellows for her. Drafts upon posterity will not pass for current expenses. My poems have sold exactly in an inverse ratio to their merit; and I cannot go back to boyhood, and put myself again upon a level with the taste of the book-
buying readers. My numerous plans and collections for them will figure away when I am dead, and afford excellent occasion for exclamations of edifying regret from those very persons who would have traduced what they will think it decorous to lament.

“You will see, in the preface to Palmerin, that I have tracked Shakspeare, Sydney, and Spenser to Amadis of Greece. I have an imperfect copy of Florisel of Nequea, the next in the series,—and there I find the mock execution of Pamela and Philoclea, and Amoret with her open wound.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 24. 1807.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Mine is a strong spirit, and I am very desirous that you should not suppose it to be more severely tried than it is. The temporary inconvenience which I feel is solely produced by unavoidable expenses in settling myself, which will not occur again; and if Espriella slides into a good sale, or if one edition of our deplorable Specimens should go off, I shall be floated into smooth water. Bear this in mind, also, that I can command an income, fully equivalent to all my wants, whenever I choose to write for money, and for nothing else. Our Fathers in the Row would find me task-work, to any amount which I might wish to undertake, and I could assuredly make 300l.
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 119
a-year as easily as I now make half that sum, simply by writing anonymously, and doing what five hundred trading authors could do just as well. This is the worst which can befall me.

“Old John Southey dealt unjustly by me,—but it was what I expected, and his brother will, without doubt, do just the same. In case of Lord Somerville’s death without a son, a considerable property devolves to me or my representatives—encumbered, however, with a lawsuit to recover it; and, as I should be compelled to enter into this, I have only to hope his Lordship will have the goodness to live as long as I do, and save me from the disquietude which this would occasion. I used to think that the reputation which I should establish would ultimately turn to marketable account, and that my books would sell as well as if they were seasoned with slander or obscenity. In time they will; it will not be in my time. I have, however, an easy means of securing some part of the advantage to my family, by forbearing to publish any more corrected editions during my lifetime, and leaving such corrections as will avail to give a second lease of copyright, and make any bookseller’s editions of no value. As for my family, I have no fears for them; they would find friends enough when I am gone; and having this confidence, you may be sure that there is not a lighter-hearted man in the world than myself.

“Basta,—or, as we say in Latin, Ohe jam satis est. My eyes are better, which I attribute to an old velvet bonnet of Edith’s, converted without alteration into a most venerable studying cap for my worship; it keeps
my ears warm, and I am disposed to believe that having the sides of my head cold, as this Kamschatka weather needs must make it, affected the eyes.
Mr. Bedford, you may imagine what a venerable and, as the French say, penetrating air this gives me. Hair, forehead, eyebrows, and eyes are hidden,—nothing appears but nose; but that is so cold that I expect every morning when I get out of bed, to see the snow lie on the summit of it. This complaint was not my old Egyptian* plague, but pure weakness, which makes what I have said probable. . . . .

“We had an interesting guest here a few evenings ago, who came to visit Tom,—Captain Guillem, Nelson’s first lieutenant at Trafalgar, a sailor of the old Blake and Dampier breed, who has risen from before the mast, was in Duncan’s action, and at Copenhagen, &c. He told us more of Nelson than I can find time to write. . . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Dec. 5. 1807.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . Our Fathers inform me that about 300 copies of Espriella remain unsold, and that probably it would be expedient to begin reprinting it in about a month.

* A species of ophthalmia, from which he formerly suffered.

Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 121
You may have heard or seen that D. Manuel has a friend in the
Courier and in the Morning Post. This is Stuart’s doing, who will befriend him still more by giving me some facts for what farther is to be added to complete the object of the book. As for the Specimens, I am perfectly satisfied that it will be very easy to metamorphose them into a good book, if ever there should be a second edition.

“I have seen only one reviewal of it, which was in the Monthly Magazine some months ago, and then the author contrived to invalidate all the censure which he had cast upon it, by abusing me in toto as a blockhead, coxcomb, &c. &c.

“I am a good deal surprised at your saying that the dunces of 1700 were like the dunces of 1800: surely you have said this without thinking what you were saying; they are as different as the fops of the two periods. You are wrong also in your praise of Ellis’s book: his is a very praiseworthy book, as far as—matter of fact, history, and arrangement go; but the moment that ends, and the series of specimens begins, all views of manner, and all light of history, disappear, and you have little else than a collection of amatory pieces selected with little knowledge and less taste. . . . .

Captain Guillem is at home in the Isle of Man, having realised from ten to fifteen thousand pounds. He has no chance of being employed, having no interest to get a ship, and, what is better, no wish to have one. Yet he is precisely such a man as ought to be employed,—a true-bred English sailor. Let him be at sea forty years, and there would be no mutiny
on board his ship; boy-captains are the persons who make mutinies. Oh,
Grosvenor Bedford, what a pamphlet would I write about the navy if my brother were not in it!

“I do not send you Henry White’s Remains, because, though as many copies were offered me as I should choose to take, I declined taking any more than one for myself. I hope they will sell, and believe so; his piety will recommend the book to the Evangelicals, and his genius to men of letters.

“God bless you!

R. S.”

My father’s acquaintance with Sir Walter Scott, commenced by the short visit he had made to Ashestiel in the autumn of 1805, and, continued, as we have seen, by letter, now began to assume a closer character, and through his friendly mediation some overtures were now made to him to take service in the corps of his opponent Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review. “As you occasionally review,” Sir Walter wrote to him at this time (November 1807), “will you forgive my suggesting a circumstance for your consideration, to which you will give exactly the degree of weight you please? I am perfectly certain that Jeffrey would think himself both happy and honoured in receiving any communications which you might send him, choosing your books and expressing your own opinions. The terms of the Edinburgh Review are ten guineas per sheet, and will shortly be advanced considerably. I question if the same unpleasant sort of work is anywhere else so well compensated. The
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 123
only reason which occurs to me as likely to prevent your rendering the Edinburgh some critical assistance, is the severity of the criticisms upon
Madoc and Thalaba. I do not know if this will be at all removed by my assuring you, as I do upon my honour, that Jeffrey has, notwithstanding the flippancy of these attacks, the most sincere respect both for your person and talents. The other day I designedly led the conversation on that subject, and had the same reason I always have had to consider his attack as arising from a radical difference in point of taste, or, rather, feeling of poetry, but by no means from anything approaching either to enmity or a false conception of your talents. I do not think that a difference of this sort should prevent you, if you are otherwise disposed to do so, from carrying a portion, at least, of your critical labours to a better market than the Annual. Pray think of this; and, if you are disposed to give your assistance, I am positively certain that I can transact the matter with the utmost delicacy towards both my friends. I am certain you may add 100l. a year, or double that sum, to your income in this way, with almost no trouble; and, as times go, that is no trifle.”

In this letter (which is published in Sir Walter Scott’s Life) he speaks also of his intention of publishing a small edition of the Morte d’ Arthur, which, as the reader has seen, was ground already preoccupied by my father, who, in his reply, explains this, as well as answers at length his friend’s proposal

To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 8. 1807.
“My dear Scott,

“I am very much obliged to you for the offer which you make concerning the Edinburgh Review, and fully sensible of your friendliness, and the advantages which it holds out. I bear as little ill-will to Jeffrey as he does to me, and attribute whatever civil things he has said of me to especial civility, whatever pert ones (a truer epithet than severe would be) to the habit which he has acquired of taking it for granted that the critic is, by virtue of his office, superior to every writer whom he chooses to summon before him. The reviewals of Thalaba and Madoc do in no degree influence me. Setting all personal feelings aside, the objections which weigh with me against bearing any part in this journal are these:—I have scarcely one opinion in common with it upon any subject. Jeffrey is for peace, and is endeavouring to frighten the people into it: I am for war as long as Bonaparte lives. He is for Catholic emancipation: I believe that its immediate consequence would be to introduce an Irish priest into every ship in the navy. My feelings are still less in unison with him than my opinions. On subjects of moral or political importance no man is more apt to speak in the very gall of bitterness than I am, and this habit is likely to go with me to the grave; but that sort of bitterness in which he indulges, which tends
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 125
directly to wound a man in his feelings, and injure him in his fame and fortune (
Montgomery is a case in point), appears to me utterly inexcusable. Now, though there would be no necessity that I should follow this example, yet every separate article in the Review derives authority from the merit of all the others; and, in this way, whatever of any merit I might insert there would aid and abet opinions hostile to my own, and thus identify me with a system which I thoroughly disapprove. This is not said hastily. The emolument to be derived from writing at ten guineas a sheet, Scotch measure, instead of seven pounds, Annual, would be considerable; the pecuniary advantage resulting from the different manner in which my future works would be handled, probably still more so. But my moral feelings must not be compromised. To Jeffrey as an individual I shall ever be ready to show every kind of individual courtesy; but of Judge Jeffrey of the Edinburgh Review I must ever think and speak as of a bad politician, a worse moralist, and a critic, in matters of taste, equally incompetent and unjust.

“Your letter was delayed a week upon the road by the snow. I wish it had been written sooner, and had travelled faster, or that I had communicated to you my own long-projected edition of Morte d’ Arthur. I am sorry to have forestalled you, and you are the only person whom I should be sorry to forestal in this case, because you are the only person who could do it certainly as well, and perhaps better, with less labour than myself. My plan is to give the whole bibliology of the Round Table in the pre-
liminaries, and indicate the source of every chapter in the notes.

“The reviewal of Wordsworth I am not likely to see, the Edinburgh very rarely lying in my way. My own notions respecting the book agree in the main with yours, though I may probably go a step farther than you in admiration. There are certainly some pieces there which are good for nothing (none, however, which a bad poet could have written), and very many which it was highly injudicious to publish. That song to Lord Clifford, which you particularise, is truly a noble poem. The Ode upon Pre-existence is a dark subject darkly handled. Coleridge is the only man who could make such a subject luminous. The Leech-gatherer is one of my favourites; there he has caught Spenser’s manner, and, in many of the better poemets, has equally caught the best manner of old Wither, who, with all his long fits of dulness and prosing, had the heart and soul of a poet in him. The sonnets are in a grand style. I only wish Dundee had not been mentioned. James Grahame and I always call that man Claverhouse, the name by which the devils know him below.

Marmion is expected as impatiently by me as he is by ten thousand others. Believe me, Scott, no man of real genius was ever yet a puritanical stickler for correctness, or fastidious about any faults except his own. The best artists, both in poetry and painting, have produced the most. Give me more lays, and correct them at leisure for after editions—not laboriously, but when the amendment comes
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 127
naturally and unsought for. It never does to sit down doggedly to correct.

The Cid is about half through the press, and will not disappoint you. It is much in the language of Amadis, both books having been written before men began to think of a fine style. This is one cause why Amadis is so far superior to Palmerin. There are passages of a poet’s feeling in the Cid, and some of the finest circumstances of chivalry. I expect much credit from this work.

“To recur to the Edinburgh Review, let me once more assure you that, if I do not grievously deceive myself, the criticisms upon my own poems have not influenced me; for, however unjust they were, they were less so, and far less uncourteous, than what I meet with in other journals; and, though these things injure me materially in a pecuniary point of view, they make no more impression upon me than the bite of a sucking flea would do upon Garagantua. The business of reviewing, much as I have done in it myself, I disapprove of, but, most of all, when it is carried on upon such a system as Jeffrey’s. The judge is criminal who acquits the guilty, but he is far more so who condemns the innocent. In the Annual I have only one coadjutor, all the other writers being below contempt. In the Edinburgh I should have had many with whom I should have felt it creditable to myself to have been associated, if the irreconcileable difference which there is between Jeffrey and myself upon every great principle of taste, morality, and policy, did not occasion an irremovable difficulty. Meantime, I am as sincerely
obliged to you as if this difference did not exist, and I could have availed myself of all its advantages, to the importance of which I am fully sensible.

“I am very curious for your Life of Dryden, that I may see how far your estimate of his merits agrees with my own. In the way of editing we want the yet unpublished metrical romances from the Auchinleck MS., of which you have just given such an account as to whet the public curiosity, and a collection of the Scotch poets. K. James, who is the best, has not been well edited; Blind Harry but badly; Dunbar, and many others, are not to be procured. Your name would make such a speculation answer, however extensive the collection might be. I beg my respects to Mrs. Scott, and am,

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey,”