LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XIV. 1808

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
‣ Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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Ætat. 34. Ætat. 34. 129
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Jan. 11. 1808.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . I have seen both the Scotch and the more rascally British Reviews of our Specimens,—both a good deal worse than the book itself, which is a great consola-
tion. For they have really not discovered its defects, and have imputed faults to it which it does not possess. If the first edition can be got off, I will make it a curious and good book.

“How soon I may see you Heaven knows: the sooner the better. My uncle is in town, and applications are made to him from all quarters for that information which Lord Gr. rejected last year, as relating to the wrong side of S. America,—a strong fact, between you and I, against his statesmanship. I am in hopes he will draw up an account of the present state of Brazil (which no other person living can do so well), while I proceed with the history. This removal of the Braganza family is a great event, though it has been done not merely without that dignity which might have been given to it, but even meanly and pitifully. . . . . Still, the event itself is a great one: and if I could transfuse into you all the recollections, &c. which it brings with it to me, you would feel an interest in it which it is not very easy to describe.

“I am hard at work, and shall be able to send my first volume to press as soon as I return from London. Meanwhile, the thought of the journey plagues me,—the older I grow the more do I dislike going from home. Oh dear! oh dear! there is such a comfort in one’s old coat and old shoes, one’s own chair and own fireside, one’s own writing-desk and own library,—with a little girl climbing up to my neck, and saying, ‘Don’t go to London, papa,—you must stay with Edith,’—and a little boy, whom I have taught to speak the language of cats, dogs, cuckoos, and jack-
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 131
asses, &c. before he can articulate a word of his own;—there is such a comfort in all these things, that transportation to London for four or five weeks seems a heavier punishment than any sins of mine deserve. Nevertheless, I shall be heartily glad to see
Grosvenor Bedford, provided Grosvenor Bedford does not look as if his liver were out of order. . . . .

“God bless you!
R. S.”
To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 11. 1808.
“My dear Scott,

“I should long ago have thanked you for your offer of Sir Lancelot, but as I had written to Heber requesting from him all his Round-table books, I waited, or rather have been waiting, to see whether or not it would be among them. It is above two months since news came that Heber would look them out for me; but as they are not yet arrived, and my appearance in London has been expected for the last two or three weeks, it is probable that he is waiting to let me look them out for myself. I go for London next week, my family having just been increased by the birth of another girl,—an event for which I have been waiting.

Wordsworth has completed a most masterly poem upon the fate of the Nortons; two or three lines in the old Ballad of the Rising in the North gave him the hint. The story affected me more deeply than I
wish to be affected; younger readers, however, will not object to the depth of the distress,—and nothing was ever more ably treated. He is looking, too, for a narrative subject, to be pitched in a lower key. I nave recommended to him that part of
Amadis wherein he appears as Beltenebros,—which is what Bernardo Tasso had originally chosen, and which is in itself as complete as could be desired. This reminds me that to-day I met with the name of Amadis as a Christian name in Portugal, in the age between Lobeira and Montaloo. Having found Oriana, Briolania, Grimanesa, and Lisuarte there before, they may be looked upon as five good witnesses that the story is originally Portuguese.

“My Chronicle of the Cid is printed, and waits for the introduction and supererogatory notes, both which will be of considerable length, and must be completed at Holland House, where I shall find exactly those books which were out of reach of my means. The History of Brazil will be in the press as soon as this is out of it. What an epoch in history will this emigration of the Braganzas prove, if we are not frightened by cowardly politicians into making peace, and cajoling them back again to Portugal! Such men as these have long since extinguished all political morality and political honesty among us, and now they would extinguish national honour, which is all we have left to supply their place! My politics would be, to proclaim to France and to the world that England will never make peace with Napoleon Bonaparte, because he has proved himself to be one whom no treaties and no ties can bind, and still more
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 133
because he is notoriously a murderer, with whom it is infamous to treat. Send this language into France, and let nothing else go into it that our ships can keep out, and the French themselves would, in no very long time, rid the world of a tyrant. The light of Prince Arthur’s shield would bring Orgoglio to the ground. God bless you!

Yours very truly,
R. Southey.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“Feb. 12. 1808.
“My dear Coleridge,

De Origine et Progressu Officii S. Inquisitionis, ejusque dignitate et utilitate, Antone Ludovico a Panamo, Boroxense, Archidiaconio et Canonico Legionense. . . 1598, folio. The book is in the Red Cross Street Library. I read it six years ago, and sent up an account of it within the last six weeks for Dr. Aikin’s Biography, where it will be in villanously bad company. You will find there that God was the first Inquisitor, and that the first Auto da Fè was held upon Adam and Eve. You will read enough to show you that Catholic writers defend the punishment of heretics, and quite sufficient to make your blood run cold. I have the History of the Portuguese Inquisition to write, and look on to the task with absolute horror. I am decidedly hostile to what is called Catholic Emancipation, as I am to what is called peace.


“I have had a correspondence with Clarkson concerning the best mode of publishing my Brazilian history; and what he points out as the best plan is little better than the half-and-half way, and involves a great deal of trouble, and what is worse, a great deal of solicitation. I am a bad trading author, and doomed always to be so, but it is not the bookseller’s fault; the public do not buy poetry unless it be made fashionable; mine gets reviewed by enemies who are always more active than friends; one reviewer envies me, another hates me, and a third tries his hand upon me as fair game. Thousands meantime read the books; but they borrow them, even those persons who are what they call my friends, and who know that I live by these books, never buy them themselves, and then wonder that they do not sell. Espriella has sold rapidly, for which I have to thank Stuart; the edition is probably by this time exhausted, and, I verily believe, half the sale must be attributed to the puffs in the Courier. The sale of a second edition would right me in Longman’s books. Puff me, Coleridge! if you love me, puff me! Puff a couple of hundreds into my pocket!

“As for the booksellers, I am disposed to distinguish between Longman and Tradesman nature (setting human nature out of the question): now Tradesman nature is very bad, but Longman nature is a great deal better, and I am inclined to believe that it will get the better of the evil principle, and that liberal dealing may even prove catching. It is some proof of this that his opinion of me and conduct
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 135
towards me alter not, notwithstanding the spiders spin their webs so securely over whole piles of
Madoc and Thalaba. . . . .

“I am strongly moved by the spirit to make an attack upon Jeffrey along his whole line, beginning with his politics. Stuart would not be displeased to have half a dozen letters. Nothing but the weary work it would be to go through his reviews for the sake of collecting the blunders in them, prevents me. He, and other men who are equally besotted and blinded by party, will inevitably frighten the nation into peace, the only thing which can be more mischievous and more dishonourable than our Danish expedition. I wish to God you would lift up your voice against it. Alas! Coleridge, is it to be wondered at, that we pass for a degenerated race, when those who have the spirit of our old worthies in them, let that spirit fret itself away in silence!

Lamb’s book I have heard of, and know not what it is. If co-operative labour were as practicable as it is desirable, what a history of English literature might he and you and I set forth! . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Joseph Cottle, Esq.
“Greta Hall, April 20. 1808.
“My dear Cottle,

“On opening a box to-day, the contents of which I had not seen since the winter of 1799, your picture
made its appearance. Of all
Robert Hancock’s performances it is infinitely the best. I cannot conceive a happier likeness. I have been thinking of you and of old times ever since it came to light. I have been reading your Fall of Cambria, and in the little interval that remains before supper must talk to you in reply to your letter.

“What you say of my copyrights affected me very much. Dear Cottle, set your heart at rest on that subject. It ought to be at rest. They were yours, fairly bought, and fairly sold. You bought them on the chance of their success, which no London bookseller would have done; and had they not been bought, they could not have been published at all. Nay, if you had not purchased Joan of Arc, the poem never would have existed, nor should I, in all probability, ever have obtained that reputation which is the capital on which I subsist, nor that power which enables me to support it.

“But this is not all. Do you suppose, Cottle, that I have forgotten those true and most essential acts of friendship which you showed me when I stood most in need of them? Your house was my house when I had no other. The very money with which I bought my wedding-ring and paid my marriage fees, was supplied by you. It was with your sisters I left Edith during my six months’ absence, and for the six months’ after my return it was from you that I received, week by week, the little on which we lived, till I was enabled to live by other means. It is not the settling of a cash account that can cancel obligations like these. You are in the habit
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 137
of preserving your letters, and if you were not, I would entreat you to preserve this, that it might be seen hereafter. Sure I am, there never was a more generous or a kinder heart than yours; and you will believe me when I add, that there does not live that man upon earth whom I remember with more gratitude and more affection. My head throbs and my eyes burn with these recollections. Good night! my dear old friend and benefactor.

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, April 26. 1808.
“Dear Grosvenor.

“From one scene of confusion to another. You saw me in London everlastingly at work in packing my books; and here they are now lying in all parts about me, up to my knees in one place, up to my eyes in another, and above head and ears in a third. I can scarcely find stepping places through the labyrinth, from one end of the room to the other. Like Pharaoh’s frogs, they have found their way everywhere, even into the bedchambers. . . . . And now, Grosvenor, having been married above twelve years, I have for the first time collected all my books together. What a satisfaction this is you cannot imagine, for you cannot conceive the hundredth part of the inconvenience and vexation I have endured for want of them. But the joy which they give me brings with it a mingled feeling,—the
recollection that there are as many materials heaped up as I shall ever find life to make use of; and the humiliating reflection how little knowledge can be acquired in the most laborious life of man, that knowledge becoming every age less and less, in proportion to the accumulation of events. For some things I have been born too late. Under the last reign, for instance, as in the first half of this, my pension would have been an income adequate to my wants, and my profits as a writer would have been at least quadrupled. On the other hand, bad as these times are, they are better than those which are coming.

“At Bristol I met with the man of all others whom I was most desirous of meeting,—the only man living of whose praise I was ambitious, or whose censure would have humbled me. You will be curious to know who this could be. Savage Landor, the author of Gebir, a poem which, unless you have heard me speak of it, you have probably never heard of at all. I never saw any one more unlike myself in every prominent part of human character, nor any one who so cordially and instinctively agreed with me on so many of the most important subjects. I have often said before we met, that I would walk forty miles to see him, and having seen him, I would gladly walk fourscore to see him again. He talked of Thalaba, and I told him of the series of mythological poems which I had planned,—mentioned some of the leading incidents on which they were to have been formed, and also told him for what reason they were laid aside;—in plain English, that I could not afford to write them. Landor’s reply was, ‘Go on
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 139
with them, and I will pay for printing them, as many as you will write and as many copies as you please.’ I had reconciled myself to my abdication (if the phrase may be allowable), and am not sure that this princely offer has not done me mischief; for it has awakened in me old dreams and hopes which had been laid aside, and a stinging desire to go on, for the sake of showing him poem after poem, and saying, ‘I need not accept your offer, but I have done this because you made it.’ It is something to be praised by one’s peers; ordinary praise I regard as little as ordinary abuse. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, April 22. 1808.
“My dear Scott,

“Your letter followed me to London. The hope which it held out that we might meet here, and the endless round of occupations in which I was involved during the whole nine weeks of my absence, prevented me from thanking you for Marmion so soon as I ought, and should otherwise have done.

“Half the poem I had read at Heber’s before my own copy arrived. I went punctually to breakfast with him, and he was long enough dressing to let me devour so much of it. The story is made of better materials than the Lay, yet they are not so well fitted together. As a whole it has not pleased me so much; in parts it has pleased me more. There is
nothing so finely conceived in your former poem as the death of Marmion; there is nothing finer in its conception any where.

“The introductory epistles I did not wish away, because as poems they gave me great pleasure, but I wished them at the end of the volume or at the beginning,—any where except where they were. My taste is perhaps peculiar in disliking all interruptions in narrative poetry. When the poet lets his story sleep, and talks in his own person, it is to me the same sort of unpleasant effect that is produced at the end of an act; you are alive to know what follows, and lo—down comes the curtain, and the fiddlers begin with their abominations. The general opinion, however, is with me in this particular instance.

“I am highly gratified by the manner in which you speak of Kirke White’s Remains. That book has been received to my heart’s desire. The edition (750) sold in less than three months, and there is every probability that it will obtain a steady sale, so as to produce something considerable to his mother and sisters.

“I saw Frere in London, and he has promised to let me print his translations from the Poema del Cid. They are admirably done,—indeed, I never saw any thing so difficult to do, and done so excellently, except your supplement to Sir Tristrem. I do not believe that many men have a greater command of language and versification than myself, and yet this task of giving a specimen of that wonderful poem I shrunk from, fearing the difficulty. At present I
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 141
am putting together the materials of my introduction, which, with the supplementary notes, will take about three months in printing; at least, it will be as long before the book can be published. The price of paper stops all my other press-work for the present.

“So much of my life passes in this blessed retirement, that when I go to London the effect is a little like what Nourjahad used to find after one of his long naps. I find a woful difference of political opinion between myself and most of those persons who have hitherto held the same feelings with me; and yet it should seem that they have been sleeping over the great events of these latter years, not I. There is a base and cowardly feeling abroad, which would humble this country at the feet of France. This feeling I have everywhere been combating with vehemence; but at the same time I have execrated with equal vehemence the business of Copenhagen: Ishmael-like, my hand has been against everybody, and everybody’s hand against me. Wordsworth is the only man who agrees with me on both points. I require, however, no other sanction to convince me that I am right. Coleridge justifies the attack on Denmark, but he justifies it upon individual testimony of hostile intentions on the part of that court, and that testimony by no means amounts to proof in my judgment. But what is done is done; and the endless debates upon the subject, which have no other meaning and can have no other end than that of harassing the ministry, disgust me, as they do every one who has the honour of England at heart. Such a system makes the publicity of
debate a nuisance, and will terminate in putting a stop to it.

“Is there any hope of seeing you this year at the Lakes? I should much like to show you Kehama. During my circuit I fell in with Savage Landor, the author of Gebir, to whom I spoke of my projected series of mythological poems, and said also for what reason the project had been laid aside. He besought me to go on with them, and said he would print them at his expense. Without the least thought of accepting this princely offer, it has stung me to the very core; and as the bite of the tarantula has no cure but dancing, so will there be none but singing for this. Great poets have no envy; little ones are full of it. I doubt whether any man ever criticised a good poem maliciously, unless he had written a bad one himself.

Yours truly,
R. Southey.”
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“May 2. 1808.

“I have sent you all that is written of the Curse of Kehama: you offered to print it for me; if ever I finish the poem it will be because of that offer, though without the slightest intention of accepting it. Enough is written to open the story of the poem, and serve as a specimen of its manner, though much of what is to follow would be in a wilder strain.—Tell me if your ear is offended with the rhymes when
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 143
they occur, or if it misses them when they fail. I wish it had never been begun, because I like it too well to throw it behind the fire, and not well enough to complete it without the ‘go on’ of some one whose approbation is worth having.

“My history as an author is not very honourable to the age in which we live. By giving up my whole time to worthless work in reviews, magazines, and newspapers, I could thrive, as by giving up half my time to them, I contrive to live. In the time thus employed every year I could certainly produce such a poem as Thalaba, and if I did I should starve. You have awakened in me projects that had been laid asleep, and recalled hopes which I had dismissed contentedly, and, as I thought, for ever. If you think Kehama deserves to be finished, I will borrow hours from sleep, and finish it by rising two hours before my customary time; and when it is finished I will try whether subscribers can be procured for five hundred copies, by which means I should receive the whole profit to myself. The bookseller’s share is too much like the lion in the fable: 30 or 33 per cent, they first deduct as booksellers, and then half the residue as publishers. I have no reason to complain of mine: they treat me with great respect and great liberality, but I wish to be independent of them; and this, if it could be effected, would make me so.

“The will and the power to produce anything great are not often found together. I wish you would write in English, because it is a better language than Latin, and because the disuse of English as a living and literary language would be the greatest evil that
could befall mankind. It would cost you little labour to write perspicuously, and thus get rid of your only fault. . . . .

“Literary fame is the only fame of which a wise man ought to be ambitious, because it is the only lasting and living fame. Bonaparte will be forgotten before his time in Purgatory is half over, or but just remembered like Nimrod, or other cut-throats of antiquity, who serve us for the commonplaces of declamation. If you made yourself King of Crete, you would differ from a hundred other adventurers only in chronology, and in the course of a millennium or two, nothing more would be known of your conquest than what would be found in the stereotype Gebir prefixed as an account of the author. Pour out your mind in a great poem, and you will exercise authority over the feelings and opinions of mankind as long as the language lasts in which you write. . . . .

“Farewell! I wish you had purchased Loweswater instead of Llantony. I wish you were married, because the proverb about a rolling stone applies to a single heart, and I wish you were as much a Quaker as I am. Christian stoicism is wholesome for all minds; were I your confessor, I should enjoin you to throw aside Rousseau, and make Epictetus your manual. Probatum est.

Yours truly,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 145
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“May 20. 1808.

“You have bound me to the completion of Kehama, and, if I have health and eye-sight, completed it will be within twelve months. Want of practice has not weakened me: I have ascertained this, and am proceeding.

“I will use such materials as have stood the test; those materials are the same in all languages, and we know what they are. With respect to metre it is otherwise: there we must look to English only, and in English we have no other great poem than the Paradise Lost. Blank verse has long appeared to me the noblest measure of which our language is capable, but it would not suit Kehama. There must be quicker, wilder movements; there must be a gorgeousness of ornament also,—eastern gem-work, and sometimes rhyme must be rattled upon rhyme, till the reader is half dizzy with the thundering echo. My motto must be,—
Ποιχίλον είδος έχων, οτι ποιχίλον άϕάσσω.
This is not from any ambition of novelty, but from the nature and necessity of the subject. I am well aware that novelty in such things is an obstacle to success;
Thalaba has proved it to be so. The mass of mankind hate innovation: they hate to unlearn what they have learnt wrong, and they hate to confess their ignorance by submitting to learn anything right. I would tread in the beaten road rather than get
among thorns by turning out of it; but the beaten road will not take me where I want to go. What seems best to be done is this, to write mostly in rhyme, to slip into it rather than out of it, and then generally into some metre so strongly marked, as to leave the ear fully satisfied.

“One inference I think must be drawn from the obscurity of Pindar’s metre,—that, be it what it may, the pleasure which it gave did not result from rhythm. Indeed, the whole system of classical metres seems to have been that of creating difficulty for the sake of overcoming it. We mis-read Sapphics without making them worse; we mis-read Pentameters and make them better; and the Hexameter remains the most perceptible of all measures, though in our pronunciation we generally distort four feet out of the six.

“A great deal more may be done with rhyme than has yet been done with it; there is a crypto-rhyme which may often be introduced with excellent effect; the eye has nothing to do with it, but the ear feels it without, perhaps, perceiving anything more than the general harmony, and not knowing how that harmony is produced. Sometimes the sparing intermixture of rhymes in a paragraph may be so managed as to satisfy the ear, and give greater effect to their after profusion. These are not things which one thinks of in composition, but they are thought of in correcting; they are the touches in finishing off, when a little alteration produces a great difference.

“Your dislike to the ballad metre is, perhaps, because you are sick of a tune which has been sung
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 147
so often and so badly. It is not incapable of dignity, but there is a sort of language that usually goes with it, and has the effect of making it so.
Kehama is pitched in too high a key for it; I shall weed out all uncouth lines, and leave the public nothing to abuse except the strangeness of the fable, which you may be sure will be plentifully abused. The mythology explains itself as it is introduced; yet because the names are not familiar, people will fancy there is a difficulty in understanding it. Sir William Jones has done nothing in introducing it so coldly and formally as he has done. They who read his poems do not remember them, and none but those who have read them can be expected to have even heard of my Divinities. But for popularity I care only as regards profit, and for profit only as regards subsistence. The praise of ten would have contented you; often have I said that you did not underrate the number of men whose praise was truly desirable. Ten thousand persons will read my book; if five hundred will promise to buy it, I shall be secure of all I want. You shall have it in large portions as fast it is written.

Robert Southey.”
To S. T. Coleridge, Esq.
“June 13. 1808.
“Dear Coleridge,

“I have the last census of Spain here, and perhaps you may like to give the Courier a statement of the
population of the Northern Provinces, as taken in 1797, and published in 1801.

  Population. Males from the Age of 16 to 50.
Asturias 364,238 80,554
Galicia 1,142,630 225,454
These Provinces are what we call Biscay.    
Alava 67,523 15,367
Guipuzcoa 104,491 23,343
Vizcaya 111,436 25,801

These are the provinces which have asked assistance; but there is probably a French force at Ferrol, which may, for awhile, keep part of Galicia in awe. The people are a hardy race, and most of them good shots, because there are no game laws, plenty of game, and wolves in the country. Probably every man has his gun. One hardly dares indulge a hope; but if Europe is to be redeemed in our days, you know it has always been my opinion that the work of deliverance would begin in Spain. And now that its unhappy government has committed suicide, the Spaniards have got rid of their worst enemy.

“This account of Lisbon, which has just reached me, may also fitly appear in the Courier, for the edification of Roscoe and such politicians;—‘Every private family has a certain number of French officers and soldiers quartered upon them, who behave with their accustomed insolence and brutality. The ladies of one family very naturally, upon the intrusion of these unwelcome guests, retired to their own apartments, where they proposed remaining; but these civilised Frenchmen required their presence, and
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 149
would admit of no excuse. Il faut que les dames viennent was the only reply which they made; and of course the women were compelled to be subject to their ribaldry and impertinence. Whole families of the middling class are seen begging at the corners of the streets; and women, who had till now borne an unblemished reputation, prostitute themselves publicly to gain wherewithal to buy bread. The soldiers and the flower of the peasantry are sent to recruit the French armies in distant parts. Nothing can exceed the misery and the despondency of the people.

“Were I minister, I would send half the regular army without delay to Spain; the distance is nothing,—a week would be but an average passage; and these seas are not like the German Ocean, where so many brave men have been sacrificed in useless expeditions during stormy seasons.

“Of public affairs enough! We have had a bilious fever in the house, which was epidemic among the children of the place. Herbert has suffered severely from it; I thought we should lose him. The disease has reduced him very much, and left him in a state of great debility. Keswick is scarcely ever without some kind of infectious fever, generally among the children. When these things get into a dirty house, they hardly ever get out of it; and I attribute this more to the want of cleanliness than to the climate. But ague is beginning to re-appear, which had scarcely been heard of during the last generation;—this is the case over the whole kingdom, I believe. What put a stop to it then, or what brought it back now, is beyond the reach of our present knowledge.
You love the science of physic; and Nature, who seems to have meant you for half a dozen different things when she made you, meant you for a physician among the rest. I will tell you, therefore, two odd peculiarities of my constitution; the slightest dose of laudanum acts upon me as an aperient;—if I am at any time exposed to the sun bareheaded for two minutes, I infallibly take cold. This probably shows how soon I should be subject to a stroke of the sun, and indicates the same over-susceptibility which the nitrous oxide did, a smaller dose affecting me than any other person who ever breathed it.

“I have read that play of Calderon’s since my return: its story is precisely as you stated it, and in the story the wonder lies. Are we not apt to do with these things as naturalists do with insects?—put them in a microscope, and exclaim how beautiful!—how wonderful!—how grand!—when all the beauty and all the grandeur are owing to the magnifying medium? A shaping mind receives the story of the play and makes it terrific;—in Calderon it is extravagant. The machinery is certainly most extraordinary; and most extraordinary must the state of public opinion be, where such machinery could be received with the complacency of perfect faith,—as undoubtedly this was, and would be still in Spain.

“At last I have got all my books about me, and right rich I am in them—above 4000 volumes. With your Germans, &c., there is probably no other house in the country which contains such a collection of foreign literature. My Cid will be published in about six weeks. Brazil is not yet gone to press,—
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 151
the price of paper has deterred me; and yet there is little likelihood of any reduction, indeed no possibility, till the North is again open to us.

“This is the moment for uniting Spain and Portugal; and the greater facility of doing this in a commonwealth than in a monarchy would be reason enough for preferring that form of government were there no other. Portugal loses something in importance and in feeling by being incorporated in the Spanish monarchy; it would preserve its old dignity by uniting in a federal republic,—a form which the circumstances of Spain more especially require, and its provincial difference of laws and dialects. Each province should have its own cortes, and the general congress meet at Madrid,—otherwise, that city would soon waste away. No nation has ever had a fairer opportunity for reforming its government and modelling it anew. But I dare say this wretched cabinet will be meddling too much in this, and too little in the desperate struggle which must be made;—that we shall send tardy and inefficient aid—enough to draw on a heavier French force, and not enough to resist the additional force which it will occasion.

“The crown, like the Ahrimanes of the earth, will sacrifice any thing rather than see the downfal of royalty.

“That best of all good women, Mrs. Wilson, has borne the winter better than any former one since we have known her.

“I am thinking about a poem upon Pelajo, the restorer of Spain. Do you wish to serve me? Puff
Espriella, in the Courier, as the best guide to the lakes. All well. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, June 20. 1808.
“My dear Neville,

“The box arrived about an hour ago. Sir William Jones’s works are placed opposite my usual seat, and on the most conspicuous shelf in the room. . . . . I have retired to my library to thank you for the most splendid set of books it contains. I thank you for them, Neville, truly and heartily; but do not let it hurt you if I say, that so costly a present gives me some pain as well as pleasure. Were you a rich man, you could not give me more books than I would joyfully accept, for I delight in accumulating such treasures as much as a miser does in keeping together gold; but, as things are at present, no proof was needed of your generous spirit, and, from the little you have to spare, I cannot but feel you are giving me too much. You will not be offended at my expressing this feeling, nor will you impute it to any unjust pride, which, blessed be God, I am too poor a man, and too wise a one, to be guilty of in any, even the smallest degree. Be assured that I shall ever value the books far more than if they had come from a wealthier donor, and that I write the donor’s name in them with true respect and esteem. You will be pleased to hear they are
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 153
books of immediate use to me. Seven years ago 1 began a long poem which Sir William Jones, had he been living, would have liked to see, because it has the system of Hindoo mythology for its basis. I believe you heard me mention it at
Mr. Hill’s. I have been stimulated by the approbation of one of the few men living whose approbation could stimulate me, to go on with this poem, and am winning time for it by rising earlier than was my custom, because I will not allow any other part of the day to an employment less important than writing history, and far less profitable than that of writing any thing else, how humble or how worthless soever. In the hours thus fairly won for the purpose I get on steadily and well. Now, though I had long ago gone through those works of Sir William, and made from them such extracts as were necessary for my purpose, it was still very desirable that I should have them at hand. Lord Teignmouth’s Life also is new to me.

“I have not seen the Scotch review of Marmion, but I have heard that on its appearance, Walter Scott showed Jeffrey the letter in which I had refused to bear a part in his review . . . . I do not know whether Scott may have shown him another letter, in which I spoke of the ‘Remains.’ Scott may perhaps review them himself, unless this affair of Marmion, or, what is more likely, their utter and irreconcileable difference of political opinion, should make him withdraw from the journal altogether.

“Henceforward we shall have little business to write about. You may supply the place by telling
me of what you read, and I may sometimes be able to direct you to books which will supply farther, or perhaps better, information upon the subjects which interest you: and sometimes save you time in acquiring knowledge, by telling you the shortest and nearest road to it. God bless you!

R. Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“July, 1808.
“My dear Rickman,

“I very much wish you were here. You may have heard that there is an island which sometimes comes up in this lake, and, after awhile, goes down again. Five years have I been expecting this appearance, and now, sure enough, it is above water. It may stay there for some weeks,—sometimes six or eight,—it may already have sunk. But Davy ought to put himself in the first mail-coach; and perhaps curiosity may induce you to expedite your journey for the sake of seeing the oddest thing you are ever likely to see.

“How it is effected is for Davy to discover; but as much of the bottom of the lake as is equal to the area of your house has been forced up to the surface in several pieces, and in other parts you plainly see that there are rents in the bottom where parts have sunk in, for it is not a deep part of the lake. The gas which follows the immersion of a pole stinks, and over one part of the water a thin steam was plainly
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 155
discernible when I was there. As no person was there when it rose, we cannot tell whether it was accompanied by any great agitation of the water, or any noise; but the noise, if any, cannot have been very great, or it would have been heard here. It is possible that the cause may have some connection with the sulphureous springs in the neighbourhood, almost certain that it is the same which occasions our bottom winds.*

“A Portuguese sermon has just helped me to a discovery which will amuse you. Who was the first man that doubled the Cape of Good Hope? The prophet Jonah. Examine his track in the whale, and this proves to be the case; and you will observe that this magnifies the miracle prodigiously, for what a passage he had from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf!

“My friends the Spaniards and Portuguese are justifying the opinion which I have long given of them to the astonishment of those who heard me. Bonaparte will, I suppose, pour in upon them with his whole force; so let him. You know how little respect I have for what is called the spirit of history, or the philosophy of history, by those people who want to have everything given them in extracts and essences; but the truth of the present history is, that a great military despotism, in its youth and full vigour—like that of France—will and must beat down corrupt establishments and worn-out govern-

* The floating island still appears at intervals. There is said to be a bottom wind, when the lake is violently agitated without any disturbance in the atmosphere—a phenomenon which does not seem ye to have been satisfactorily accounted for.

ments, but that it cannot beat down a true love of liberty, and a true spirit of patriotism, unless there be an overwhelming superiority of physical force,—which is not the case here. . . . . In Spain the fire has burst out which will consume. Well done! my friend
William Bryan the Prophet: you certainly did prophesy to me in St. Stephen’s court concerning Spain as truly as Francis Moore did, in his almanack last year, concerning the Grand Turk. . . . .

“God bless you!

R S.”
To Richard Duppa, Esq.
“Keswick, July 11. 1808.
“Dear Duppa,

“The thought of writing to you,—or, rather, the thought that I had not written,—has very often risen in my conscience heavily. Joanna Southcote has been the cause. Her books, with Sharp’s dirty treasure, are now on their way to London. It is so much better to say I have done a thing than I will do it, that I really have deferred writing for the sake of saying these books were actually gone.

“For the last three weeks I have suffered from a blinding and excoriating catarrh; always with me a very obstinate disease, and more violent than I have ever seen it in any person except one of my own family. Diseases are the worst things a man can
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 157
inherit, and I am never likely to inherit anything else. That father’s brother of mine in Somersetshire—whom I would so gladly sell at half price—received me as cordially as was in his nature last April, and gave me 25l.,—an act of great generosity in a man of 1200l. a year, and remarkable as being all I ever have had, or ever shall have, from him, for he has now turned his sister out of doors, and desired never to see any of the family again.
Duppa, my breeches’ pockets will never be so full as to make me stick in Heaven’s gate. Three lines of that fellow’s pen will cut me off from more than all the pens I shall ever wear to the stump will gain for me, and yet I hope many is the goose egg yet unlaid which is to produce quills for my service.

“The Lakers are coming in shoals, and some of them find their way here. Among others, I have had the satisfaction of seeing Joanna Baillie: she drank tea with us, and very much pleased we were with her,—as good-natured, unaffected, and sensible a woman as I have ever seen.

“A month ago you might, perhaps, have been gratified by knowing what were my thoughts of the state of Spain; now, I suppose, everybody thinks alike. But I have always said that, if the deliverance of Europe were to take place in our days, there was no country in which it was so likely to begin as Spain; and this opinion, whenever I expressed it, was received with wonder, if not with incredulity. But there is a spirit of patriotism, a glowing and proud remembrance of the past, a generous shame for the present, and a living hope for the future, both in
the Spaniards and Portuguese, which convinced me that the heart of the country was sound, and that those nations are likely to rise in the scale, perhaps,
Duppa, when we are sunk. Not that England will sink yet, but there is more public virtue in Spain than in any other country under Heaven. I have no fears nor doubts concerning that country; the spirit of liberty is not to be extinguished: nothing but that spirit could possibly check the progress of Bonaparte; this will check, and, it is my firm conviction, eventually destroy him. William Bryan prophesied a happy termination in Spain when I saw him in London, and I dare say, if ever we meet again, he will not fail to remind me of it. I expect his corrected copy of Espriella with some curiosity.

“God bless you!

Robert Southey.”
To John Adamson, Esq.
“Keswick, Aug. 6. 1808.

“I have never seen the name of Nicola Luiz, except in Murphy; and the title of the Portuguese Plautus which he gives him, being generally applied to Gil Vicente, thought it not unlikely that he might have written Richard for Robert, as he is apt to do so. Barbosa’s great Bibliotheca is not in my possession, and I have referred in vain to Nicolas Antonio, to the Mappa de Portugal, which contains a
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 159
copious list of poets, and to the Catalogue of Authors which the Academy printed as the sources from which their dictionary was to be compiled. How it should be that this name is not to be found in either, is to me altogether unaccountable.

“It is possible that Antonio Ferreira’s play may have been originally published under this fictitious name. I have no other reason for supposing so than that it seems almost certain if the name of Nicola Luiz were a real one, it would have been included in one or all of the works which I have consulted; and Ferreira did in one instance practise an artifice of this kind, yet I think you must have seen his play. It begins:—
‘Colhey, colhey alegres,
Donzellas minhas, mil cheirosas flores.’
Should this be the tragedy in question, I will, with great pleasure, transmit you an account of the author, or send you my copy of his works (should that be more agreeable), which, when you have completely done with it, may be returned through my brother
Dr. Southey, of Durham.

“The tragedy of Domingos dos Reis Quita, upon the same story, has been Englished by Benjamin Thompson. There are two Spanish ones by Geronimo Bermudez (published originally under the name of Antonio de Silva), in the sixth volume of the Parnaso Español. Henry K. White had merely begun the first scene of his projected play, and that, as was evident from the handwriting, at a very early age.


“The Portuguese have two poems upon the same story, the Penasco de las Lagrimas, written in Spanish by Francisco de França da Costa, and the Saudades de D. Ignes de Castro, by Manoel de Azevedo. This latter I have myself planned a play upon, The Revenge of Pedro: whether it will ever be executed, is very doubtful, but this part of the story is far fitter for dramatic poetry than the foregoing.

I am, Sir,
Yours with respect,
Robert Southey.”
To John Adamson, Esq.
“Aug. 12. 1808.
“Dear Sir,

“I thank you for your translation, and will, by the first carrier, send off the plays of Ferreira and Quita, and the Saudades.

“You have mistaken the meaning of Xarifalte. Portuguese orthography is very loose in any but modern authors, and it is sometimes necessary to hunt a word through every possible mutation of labial or guttural letters. Under gérafalte it is to be found, which is the ger-falcon of our ancestors.

“The story of Iñez is, in any point of view, sufficiently atrocious, but the poets have not been true to history. It is expressly asserted by Fernan Lopez, that Pedro denied his marriage during his father’s life, and never affirmed it till some years afterwards: what is still worse, that Affonso repeatedly asked him
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 161
if she were his wife, and said that if she were he would acknowledge her as such. I am myself decidedly of opinion that she was not. The arguments against the fact of the marriage which Joam das Regas used at the election of
King Joam I., are to me as satisfactory as those which he brought against its legality, if the fact had been proved, would have been in these days. I am sorry, also, to disbelieve the coronation of the dead body: there is not a word of it in the Chronicler, though he fully describes its removal from Coimbra, and the Portuguese nobles were not men who would have submitted to such a ceremony.

“If your play be of modern date, Nicola Luiz is probably a modern author, and that removes all difficulty concerning him. There was a tragedy upon the same subject, published by Dr. Simmonds about ten years ago, which obtained considerable praise.

“Your translation, I dare say, does justice to the original; had it been still unprinted, I would have noticed a few instances in which the proper names are mis-accented. What pleases me best in the play, is to perceive that the author has avoided the fault of Camoens, and not made his heroine talk about Hyrcanian tigers, and such other commonplaces which pass current for passion and for poetry.”

“I have seen the Fonte das Lagrimas; Link omits to mention that two beautiful cedars brush its surface with their boughs. I have also seen the tombs of Iñez and Pedro; they are covered with bas-relief, which ought to be accurately copied and engraved.


“There is a shocking story of one of the children of Iñez,—the Infant D. Joam, who murdered his wife; it is a worse story than even the murder of his mother. If at any time chance should bring you this way, I shall have great pleasure in showing you all those facts of Portuguese history relating to your subject, which have occurred to me in the course of long and laborious employment upon the history and literature of Portugal.

I am, Sir,
Yours respectfully,
Robert Southey.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Dreadnought.
“Aug. 16. 1808.
“My dear Tom,

“—— is gone to Spain! to fight as a private in the Spanish army, and he has found two Englishmen to go with him. A noble fellow! This is something like the days of old, as we poets and romancers represent them;—something like the best part of chivalry: old honours, old generosity, old heroism, are reviving, and the cancer of that nation is stopped, I believe and fully trust, now and for ever. A man like —— cannot long remain without command; and, of all things in this world, I should most rejoice to hear that King Joseph had fallen into his hands;—he would infallibly hang him on the nearest tree, first, as a Bonaparte by blood; secondly, as a Frenchman by adoption; thirdly, as a king by trade.

Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 163

Miss Seward’s criticism has appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Her verses have not been inserted in the Courier, which is rather odd. She reads Madoc to all her acquaintance, and must be the means of selling several copies.

“Another island came up on Saturday last, which I shall visit the first fine day,—probably with Jackson and Jonathan Ottley, who is going to measure it and catch a bottle of the gas, Jonathan being, as you know, our Keswick philosopher. We are now having a spell of wind and rain.

“We have got the prettiest kitten you ever saw,—a dark tabby,—and we have christened her by the heathenish name of Dido. You would be very much diverted to see her hunt Herbert all round the kitchen, playing with his little bare feet, which she just pricks at every pat, and the faster he moves back the more she paws them, at which he cries ‘Naughty Dido!’ and points to his feet and says, ‘Hurt, hurt, naughty Dido.’ Presently he feeds her with comfits, which Dido plays with awhile, but soon returns to her old game. You have lost the amusing part of Herbert’s childhood,—just when he is trying to talk, and endeavouring to say every thing.

“. . . . . I have been in the water very seldom since you went; but the last time I accomplished the great job of fairly swimming on my back, which is a step equal to that of getting one’s first commission.

“I hope that the opening of Pelayo is pretty well arranged, but I will not begin upon it till I come to
a stop in
Kehama. You will not, perhaps, be surprised to hear that two of my old dreams are likely to be introduced, with powerful effect, in this poem,—good proof that it was worth while to keep even the imperfect register that I have. The fear is, that what happened to Nebuchadnezzar is perpetually happening to me. I forget my dreams, and have no Daniel to help out my recollection; and if by chance I do remember them, unless they are instantly written down, the impression passes away almost as lightly as the dream itself. Do you remember the story of Mickle the poet, who always regretted that he could not remember the poetry which he composed in his sleep? it was, he said, so infinitely superior to any thing which he produced in his waking hours. One morning he awoke and repeated the lamentation over his unhappy fortune, that he should compose such sublime poetry, and yet lose it for ever! ‘What!’ said his wife, who happened to be awake, ‘were you writing poetry?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘and such poetry that I would give the world to remember it.’ ‘Well then,’ said she, ‘I did luckily hear the last lines, and I am sure I remember them exactly: they were—
“By Heaven, I’ll wreak my woes
Upon the cowslip and the pale primrose.”
This is one of
Sharpe’s stories,—it is true, and an excellently good one it is. I am not such a dreamer as Mickle, for what I can remember is worth remembering,—and one of the wildest scenes in Kehama will prove this. God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 165
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Aug. 16. 1808.

“Are you not half ready to suspect, Grosvenor, that I have foresworn letter writing? I write as seldom to any of my friends as I do to you; and yet letters of business and of common courtesy accumulate upon me so fast, that they occasion a very considerable, and even inconvenient, expense of time; especially to a man who, in the summer, is troubled with an influenza called laziness, and all the year round with the much more troublesome disease of poverty.

“It is not to be told how I rejoice at seeing my friends the Spaniards and Portuguese proving themselves to the eyes of the world to be what I have so long said they were. Huzza! Santiago and St. George! Smite them, as my Cid said, for the love of charity.

Grosvenor! the most deserving of His Majesty’s pensioners thinketh of his pension,—it is low water with him.

“Have you seen a defence, or rather eulogium, of Madoc, in the last Gentleman’s Magazine, by Miss Seward? who preaches up its praise wherever she goes.

“You will have the Cid in about a fortnight. The translations in the appendix are by Frere, and they are, without any exception, the most masterly I have seen. The introduction, to be what it ought to be, and what I could have made it, would have required
a volume to itself, for my reading is far more extensive on these subjects than almost any person can suppose. It is a rapid sketch,—just sufficient to introduce the Chronicle, by giving the reader a summary view of the previous history and present state of Spain. The Chronicle is well done; and the translation improves so much on the original, by incorporating matter from other sources, as to be unique in its kind. There is a good deal of miscellaneous matter brought together in the notes. The intrinsic value of the work is of a very high order. Romance has nothing finer than all the proceedings at Zamora, and poetry nothing superior to the living pictures which you will find everywhere. The Cid’s speech at the Cortes is perfect eloquence of its kind. If it be remembered that all this was written in all probability before the year 1200 (certainly within half a century sooner or later), I think it must be considered as one of the most curious and valuable specimens of early literature,—certainly as the most beautiful, beyond all comparison.

Tom has been lucky in his admiralty appointment, being first in a flag-ship, the Dreadnought. He says, and very justly, that our troops to Spain might have been conveyed in half the time, at half the expense, and without any risk at all, by putting as many on board some of our large ships of war as they could take (800 or 1000 they could carry very well), and letting each ship make the best of her way to the port nearest the scene of action. A convoy may be wind-bound for months, and any single transport which parts company would fall to the first
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 167
privateer, whereas a ship of the line could beat down, take advantage of every start of wind, and defy all upon the ocean. There is very good sense in this. But transports imply jobs, and every thing must be a job in England.

“Farewell! I am getting on with S. America.

“My son is the oddest fellow in the world: I wish you could see his bright eyes. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“September 9. 1808.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Had I been a single man, I should long ere this have found my way into Spain.* I do not perceive any possibility of my going now,—for this plain reason, my pension would not support my family during my absence, and there is no reason to suppose that any salary which might be allotted me, would be more than sufficient for my own expenses abroad. So much the better, for if it were otherwise, and the offer were made me, I believe I ought to accept it, and this could not be done without a great sacrifice. Three children, and a fourth in prospect, are not easily left, and ought not to be left unless some important

* This letter was in reply to one from Mr. Bedford, conveying an offer from Gifford to endeavour to procure him an appointment in Spain, that he might write an account of the transactions then going forward there.

advantage were to be obtained by leaving them. I am obliged to
Gifford, very much obliged to him: it is likely that Frere, from his knowledge of my Uncle, would be disposed to listen to him; but that enough could be obtained to render my acceptance of it prudent, or even practicable, seems out of the question.

“So far was written last night, immediately on the receipt of your letter. In matters of any import this is my way,—to reply from the instantaneous feeling, and then let the reply lie quietly for cooler judgment. You see what my thoughts are upon the subject. I should accept an advantageous offer, but am so certain of being desperately homesick during the whole time of absence, that I am glad there is so little probable chance of any offer sufficiently advantageous. Yet had I 500l. to dispose of, I would go in the first packet for Lisbon, expressly to purchase books. The French have, without doubt, sold off the convent libraries, and perhaps the public ones, and such a collection may now be made, as could never at any other time be within reach.

“As for a history of the Spanish Revolution, Landor is in the country, and if he is disposed to do it, there never was that man upon earth who could do it better.

“God bless you

R. S.”
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 169
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, Sept. 13. 1808.
“My dear Rickman,

“Your estimate of Spain is right.* The difference- between our age and that of Elizabeth is, that the bulk of the people are better in no respect, and worse in some. The middle classes are veneered instead of being heart of oak, and the higher ones are better classics, and worse in every other possible point of view. Ours is a degrading and dwarfing system of society. I believe, as you do, that the Spaniards have displayed more spirit than we should have done, and that the peace-mongers were ready to have sacrificed the honour of England for their looms and brewhouses; yet in the end we should have beaten France. Religion has done much for Spain; in what light I regard it, you will see by the introduction to the Cid written six years ago, and only re-modelled now, and that before these late events took place. But much has also been done by those awakening recollections of the deeds of their forefathers, which every Spaniard felt and delighted to feel. The very ballads of the Cid must have had their effect. . . . . .

“I am very idle; boating and walking about, and laying in health and exercise for the next season of hybernation. Right glad shall I be when you come

* “I do not know whether you allow credit to my opinion that the Spanish resistance is all from religion. . . . . You know I reckon the state of Spain to be about like that of England under Elizabeth and James the First . . . .—J. R. to R. S., Sept. 10. 1808.

and help me in this laudable and needful part of my year’s work. The last odd thing that has turned up in my reading is, that the Merino sheep were originally English, and transported from hence into Spain; ergo, the quality of the wool depends upon the climate and pasture, and a few generations may be expected to bring it back to what it originally was. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Lieut. Southey, H.M.S. Dreadnought.
“Greta Hall, Oct. 13. 1808.
“Dear Tom,

“An Irishman who was abroad, came in one day and said that he had seen that morning what he had never seen before,—a fine crop of anchovies growing in the garden. ‘Anchovies?’ said an Englishman, with a half laugh and a tone of wonder. And from this the other, according to the legitimate rules of Irish logic, deduced a quarrel, a challenge, and a duel, in which the poor Englishman, who did not believe that anchovies grew in the garden, was killed on the spot. The moment he fell, the right word came into the challenger’s head. ‘Och! what a pity!’ he cried, ‘and I meant capers all the while!’ Mr. Spence knew the parties, and told this story the other day at Calvert’s, from whence it travelled to me.

“What, think you, was announced the other day
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 171
in the Keswick play-bill? A tale in verse, by
R. Southey, Esq., to be recited by Mr. Deans. There’s fame for you! What the tale was I have hot heard: most likely the Maid of the Inn, which is right worthy of such recitation.

“It occurred to me last night, I know not how, that I have never, to the best of my recollection, seen one of the large house-snails in this country, and very few indeed of the smaller kind, which are so numerous, and of such beautiful varieties in our part of the kingdom. You know what a collector of snail shells I was in my time, hoarding up all the empty ones I could find. The rocks used to be my hunting place. That amusement has made me familiar with every variety in that neighbourhood, and certain I am that the greater number are not to be found here. Slugs we have in plenty. By the by, I have lately seen it mentioned in an old French book, that frogs eat snails, shells and all.

“I wish you had the Cid to have shown the Spaniards; they would have been pleased to see that the Campeador was beginning to have his fame here in England, 700 years after his death. Unquestionably that Chronicle is one of the finest things inthe world; and so I think it will be admitted to be. Coleridge is perfectly delighted with it. Frere, passionately as he admired the poem, had never seen the Chronicle, which is remarkable enough. You will see, by comparing the Dumb-ee scene in both, that the Chronicle is sometimes the most poetical of the two.* I am so fond of this kind of contemporary his-

* Cid, Book ix. c. xiii.

tory, and so persuaded of the good which it is likely to do, by giving us a true knowledge of other times, and reviving those high and generous feelings which all modern habits of life tend to counteract, that I think seriously of translating the works of
Fernan Lopez as soon as my history is completed. There is the Chronicle of Pedro the Just, which is a very small volume, my great MS., and the Chronicle of Joam I. The whole would fill three such quartos as the Cid. I should like to do it for the pleasure of the thing,—as the man said when he was to shoot Shepherd’s goat. . . . .

“I am getting on with my Letters from Portugal. The evenings close in by tea-time, and fire and candle bring with them close work at the desk, and nothing to take me from it. The Long-man of the Row recommends the small size in preference to quarto, as producing greater profits, in consequence of its readier sale. To this I willingly assent. They will probably extend to three such volumes as Espriella. When they are done, the fresh letters of Espriella will come in their turn; and so I go on. Huzza! two and twenty volumes already; the Cid, when reprinted, will make two more; and, please God, five a year in addition as long as I live.

Edith has just been in with her kiss—as regular as the evening gun. She wants to know when Uncle will come home. Sooner perhaps than he himself thinks, for the glorious revolution in Spain will bring Bonaparte down. It is morally impossible that such a nation can be subdued. If King Joseph should fall into their hands, I pray that —— may
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 173
be on the spot; he will take care that no mischief shall happen by keeping him prisoner. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mr. Ebenezer Elliott.
“October 13. 1808.

“A recommendation to the booksellers to look at a manuscript is of no use whatever. In the way of business they glance at every thing which is offered them; and no persons know better what is likely to answer their purpose. Poetry is the worst article in the market;—out of fifty volumes which may be published in the course of a year, not five pay the expense of publication: and this is a piece of knowledge which authors in general purchase dearly, for in most cases these volumes are printed at their risk.

“From that specimen of your productions which is now in my writing desk, I have no doubt that you possess the feeling of a poet, and may distinguish yourself; but I am sure that premature publication would eventually discourage you. You have an example in Kirke White;—his Clifton Grove sold only to the extent of the subscription he obtained for it; and the treatment which it experienced drove him, by his own account, almost to madness. My advice to you is, to go on improving yourself, without hazarding any thing: you cannot practise without improvement. Feel your way before you with
the public, as
Montgomery did. He sent his verses to the newspapers; and when they were copied from one to another it was a sure sign they had succeeded. He then communicated them, as they were copied from the papers, to the Poetical Register; the Reviews selected them for praise; and thus, when he published them in a collected form, he did nothing more than claim, in his own character, the praise which had been bestowed upon him under a fictitious name. Try the newspapers. Send what you think one of your best short poems (that is, any thing short of 100 lines) to the Courier or the Globe. If it is inserted send others, with any imaginary signature. If they please nobody, and nobody notices them for praise, nobody will for censure, and you will escape all criticism. If, on the contrary, they attract attention, the editor will be glad to pay you for more,—and they still remain your property, to be collected and reprinted in whatever manner you may think best hereafter.

“If, however, you are bent upon trying your fortune with the Soldier’s Love, can you not try it by subscription? 250 names will indemnify you for the same number of copies. I will give you a fair opinion of your manuscript if you will direct Longman to forward it to me, and will willingly be of what little use I can. But be assured that the best and wisest plan you can pursue is, to try your strength in the London newspapers.

Believe me,
With the best wishes for your welfare and success,
Yours sincerely,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 175
To Humphrey Senhouse, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 15. 1808.
“My dear Sir,

“I have had a visit this morning from S—— and C—— upon the subject of this convention in Portugal. They, and some of their friends, are very desirous of bringing before the country, in some regular form, the main iniquity of the business,—which has been lost sight of in all the addresses,—and of rectifying public opinion by showing it in its true light.* A military inquiry may or may not convict Sir Hugh Dalrymple of military misconduct. This is the least part of his offence, and no legal proceedings can attach to the heinous crime he has committed; the high treason against all moral feeling, in recognising Junot by his usurped title, and deadening that noble spirit from which, and which only, the redemption of Europe can possible proceed,—by presuming to grant stipulations for the Portuguese which no government ever pretended to have power to make for an independent ally,—covenanting for the impunity of the traitors, and guaranteeing the safety of an

* The feeling of the country seems to have been more generally roused on this occasion than almost on any other:—“The London newspapers joined in one cry of wonder and abhorrence. On no former occasion had they been so unanimous, and scarcely ever was their language so energetic, so manly, so worthy of the English press. The provincial papers proved that from one end of the island to the other the resentment of this grievous wrong was the same. Some refused to disgrace their pages by inserting so infamous a treaty; others surrounded it with broad black lines, putting their journal into mourning for the dismal information it contained.”—Edinburgh Annual Register, 1808, p. 368.

army of ruffians, all of whom, without his intervention, must soon have received their righteous reward from the hands of those whom they had oppressed. He has stepped in to save these wretches from the vengeance of an injured people: he has been dealing with them as fair and honourable enemies, exchanging compliments and visits, dining with them in the palaces from which they had driven the rightful lords, and upon the plate which they had stolen. He, therefore, has abandoned our vantage ground, betrayed the cause of Spain and Portugal, and disclaimed, as far as his authority extends, the feelings which the Spaniards are inculcating, and in which lie their strength and their salvation, by degrading into a common and petty war between soldier and soldier, that which is the struggle of a nation against a foreign usurper, a business of natural life and death, a war of virtue against vice, light against darkness, the good principle against the evil one.

“It is important to make the country feel this; and these sentiments would appear with most effect if they were embodied in a county address, of which the ostensible purport might be to thank his Majesty for having instituted an inquiry, and to request that he would be pleased to appoint a day of national humiliation for this grievous national disgrace. This will not be liable to the reproof with which he thought proper to receive the city address, because it prejudges nothing,—military proceedings are out of the question: what is complained of is, a breach of the law of nations, and an abandonment of the moral principle which the words of the convention
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 177
prove, and which cannot be explained away by any inquiry whatsoever. . . . .
S— and C— know many persons who will come forward at such a meeting. Coleridge or Wordsworth will be ready to speak, and will draw up resolutions to be previously approved, and brought forward by some proper person. We will prepare the way by writing in the county papers. Here ends my part of the business, and not a little surprised am I to find myself even thus much concerned in any county affairs, when the sole freehold I am ever likely to possess is a tenement, six feet by three, in Crosthwaite churchyard. . . . .

Believe me,
Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 6. 1808.
“My dear Scott,

“I have sometimes thought of publishing translations from the Spanish and Portuguese, with the originals annexed, but there was no prospect of profit to tempt me; and as certainly, if I live, it is my intention to enter fully into the literary history of both countries. That made me lay aside the
thought of any thing on a lesser scale. Another reason, perhaps, may have been this, that it is not more difficult to compose poetry than to translate it, and that, in my own opinion, I can make as good as I can find. Very, very few of the Spanish ballads are good; they are made in general upon one receipt, and that a most inartificial one; they begin by describing the situation of somebody who makes a speech which is the end. Nothing like the wildness—or the character of our ballads is to be found among them. It is curious, and at present inexplicable to me, how their prose should be so exquisitely poetical—as it is in
the Cid, and their poetry so completely prosaical as it is in their narrative poems. Nevertheless, I might be tempted. Some translations I have by me, and many of my books are marked for others. There are some high-toned odes in the Spanish, and a good many beautiful sonnets. Many of their epics would afford good extracts; and I am competent to give critical sketches of biography, formed not at second-hand, but from full perusal of the authors themselves. My name, however, is worth nothing in the market, and the booksellers would not offer me any thing to make it worth my while to interrupt occupations of greater importance. I thank you heartily for your offer of aid, and should the thing be carried into effect, would gladly avail myself of it.

“I am planning something of great importance, a poem upon Pelayo, the first restorer of Spain: it has long been one of my chosen subjects; and those late
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 179
events which have warmed every heart that has right British blood circulating through it, have revived and strengthened old resolutions. It will be in regular blank verse, and the story will naturally take rather a higher tone than

“It gives me great pleasure to hear that you have done with the Edinburgh Review. Of their article respecting Spain, I heard from Coleridge. That subject is a fair touchstone whether a man has any generous sympathies in his nature. There is not in history such another instance of national regeneration and redemption. I have been a true prophet upon this subject, and am not a little proud of the prophecy. Of the eventual issue I have never felt a moment’s doubt. Such a nation, such a spirit, are invincible. But what a cruel business has this convention of Cintra been. Junot clearly expressed his own feelings of our commander-in-chief when he recommended him to take up his quarters at Quintella’s house as he had done: “the man,” he said, “kept a very good table, and he had seldom had reason to find fault with it.” My blood boils to think that there should be an English general to whom this rascal could venture to say this! In one of the Frenchmen’s knapsacks, among other articles of that property which they bargained to take away with them, was a delicate female hand with rings upon the fingers.

“Our ministers do not avail themselves as they might do of their strong cause. They should throw away the scabbard and publish a manifesto, stating why this country never will make peace with Bona-
parte, and on what plain terms it will at any moment make peace with France under any other ruler. I fully believe that it would be possible to overthrow his government by this means at this time.

“A reviewal of my Cid by you will be the best aid that it can possibly receive. Five hundred only were printed, and in spite of the temporary feeling and the wonderful beauty of the book, I dare say they will hang upon hand.

“It will rejoice me to see you here, and show you my treasures, and talk of the days of the shield and the lance. We have a bed at your service, and shall expect you to be our guest. Wordsworth, who left me to-day, desires his remembrances. He is about to write a pamphlet upon this precious convention, which he will place in a more philosophical point of view than any body has yet done. I go to press in a few weeks with my History of Brazil, and have Thalaba at present in Ballantyne’s hands—that poem having just reached the end of its seven years’ apprenticeship. And I have got half way through my Hindoo poem, which, it is to be hoped, will please myself, inasmuch as it is not likely to please anybody else. It is too strange, too much beyond all human sympathies; but I shall go on, and as, in such a case, I have usually little but my labour for my pains, the certainty that it never can be popular will not deter me from gratifying my own fancy.

Mrs. Southey joins me in remembrances to Mrs. Scott.

Believe me.
Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 181

The autumn of this year was marked by a circumstance which exercised considerable influence over my father’s future literary labours—the setting on foot of the Quarterly Review, in which, up to the last few years of his life, he bore so constant and prominent a part. At this time the Edinburgh Review had the field all to itself; and though it had commenced upon principles of “neutrality,” or something of the kind as to party politics*, its “Whiggery” had gradually Increased until it had become of the deepest dye. We have seen that in the preceding year Sir Walter Scott (at that time himself a contributor) had endeavoured also to enlist my father under its banners, with what success the reply has shown. Now he had not only himself withdrawn his aid, but also his name from the subscribers’ list†, so highly did he disapprove of the political tone It had assumed: and viewing the matter as one of great importance from its large circulation (9000 copies being then printed quarterly), from there being no periodical to compete with it in literary criticism, and from the impression which the “flashy and bold character of the work” was likely to make upon youthful minds, he was especially desirous that some counteracting influence should be established. In him therefore the idea originated. The first intimation of it my father received was from his friend Mr. Bedford, who was intimately acquainted with Gifford, the appointed future editor, and who, knowing how decidedly he was opposed to the principles advocated in the Edin-

* See Life of Sir Walter Scott, 2d Edit., vol ill p. 65.

† Ibid. 126—129.

burgh, especially as respected “the base and cowardly spirit with which they set forth the invincible power of France, and the necessity of sacrificing every thing that is dear and honourable to obtain her forbearance,” now wrote to him, giving him an account of the plan upon which it was proposed to conduct this Review, and wishing him to draw up an account of the affairs of Spain for the first number. His reply was as follows:—

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 9. 1808.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“I am ready, desirous, and able to bear a part in this said Review. You will, however, think it odd, that the very subject on which you think me most able, is one which I should rather avoid. I have not the sort of talent requisite for writing a political pamphlet upon the state of Spain; these things require a kind of wire-drawing which I have never learnt to perform, and a method of logical reasoning to which my mind has never been habituated, and for which it has no natural aptitude. What I feel about Spain you know; what I think about it is this,—the country has much to suffer, in all probability there will be many and dreadful defeats of the patriots, and such scenes as have never been witnessed in Europe since the destruction of Saguntum and Numantia may perhaps be renewed there. Joseph will very likely be crowned at Madrid, and many of
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 183
us may give up the cause of Spanish independence as lost. But so surely as God liveth, and as the spirit of God liveth and moveth in the hearts of men, so surely will that country eventually work out its own redemption.

“Now Grosvenor, understand me clearly. I could not fill half a score of pages by dilating and diluting this—that is, I should be a sorry pamphleteer; but I believe myself to be a good reviewer in my own way, which is that of giving a succinct account of the contents of the book before me, extracting its essence, bringing my own knowledge to bear upon the subject, and, where occasion serves, seasoning it with those opinions which in some degree leaven all my thoughts, words, and actions. If you had read the Annual Reviews, you would comprehend this better by example than I can make you in a letter. Voyages and travels I review better than anything else, being well read in that branch of literature; better, indeed, than most men. Biography and history are within my reach; upon any of these topics I will do my best. . . . . You know my way of thinking upon most subjects. I despise all parties too much to be attached to any. I believe that this country must continue the war while Bonaparte is at the head of France, and while the system which he has perfected remains in force; I therefore, from my heart and soul, execrate and abominate the peace-mongers. I am an enemy to any further concessions to the Catholics; I am a friend to the Church establishment. I wish for reform, because I cannot but see that all things are tending towards revolu-
tion, and nothing but reform can by any possibility prevent it.

“Thus much is said to you that it may be said through you. To yourself I add that the pay proposed will be exceedingly suitable to my poor finances, and that the more books of travels they send me the better. I had almost forgotten to say, that if a fit text be sent me, the subject of converting the Hindoos is one upon which I am well prepared.

“Farewell, and God bless you!

R. S.”

Very shortly after the date of this letter some further doubts crossed my father’s mind, as to the projected Review being sufficiently independent in its politics for him to contribute to it with perfect satisfaction. The circumstance of there being reason to expect “political information to be communicated from authentic sources,” seemed to him to imply that silence would be observed on such points as it might be unpleasing to the ministry to have strongly animadverted upon, and he consequently expresses these fears to Mr. Bedford in the strong language he naturally used to a familiar correspondent. This produced a further exposition of the principles upon which the Review was to be conducted; and his reply will show, that notwithstanding these passing doubts, he entered at the first heartily and zealously into the plan.

It is however right to state, that at no period could the Quarterly Review be said fairly to represent my father’s opinions, political or otherwise, and great
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 185
injustice was often done him both by imputing articles to him which he never wrote, and also by supposing that, in those known to be his, all his mind had appeared. The truth was, as his letters will show, that his views on most subjects, while from this time they gradually drew nearer to those of the Tory party, yet occasionally differed widely from them, and most certainly were never those of a blind, time-serving, and indiscriminating allegiance. In his contributions to the Quarterly Review these differences of opinion were broadly stated, and measures often recommended of a very different character to those which that party adopted. This might be, and probably was, sometimes done in a manner which admitted, and, perhaps, required, the editor’s correction; but it would seem that
Gifford had a heavy and unsparing hand in these matters, and my father frequently and bitterly complains of the mutilation of his papers, and of their being tamed down to the measure of the politics the Review was intended to represent, and gauged often by ministerial timidity. This, it appears, from the following letter, he apprehended would sometimes be the case, but not to the extent to which it was subsequently carried.

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Nov. 17. 1808.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“You have taken what I said a little too seriously; that is, you have given it more thought than it de-
served. The case stands thus: you wish to serve the public, ministers wish to serve themselves; and so it happens that, just at this time, the two objects are the same. I am very willing to travel with them as far as we are going the same way, and, when our roads separate, shall of course leave them. Meantime, that suppression which there certainly will be upon certain points is of little consequence to me, who shall have nothing to do with those points.
Murray has sent me materials for the missionary article, in which Gifford wishes me to enter upon the subject generally. My intent was to have confined myself to the Hindoo question; but I am master of the whole subject, and will therefore take the wider view. There are three reviewals of mine upon this very topic in the three first Annuals, and these were the first which ever appeared concerning them. I am strong here, and shall do well, God willing; yet how much better could I do if nobody but Robert Southey were responsible for the opinions expressed.

“I know from Walter Scott that he reviews the Cid; it is not a text for entering directly upon the present Spanish affairs, though a fine one for touching upon them. Two things are required for the review of that book which will not be found in one person—a knowledge of Spanish literature, and of the manners of chivalry, so as to estimate the comparative value of my Chronicle. The latter knowledge Scott possesses better than any body else.

“About Cevallos you best know your own stock of materials. Authors may be divided into silk-
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 187
worms and spiders,—those who spin because they are full, and those who spin because they are empty. It is not likely that there are any facts of importance which are not known to the public; and, indeed, if I undertook the task, I should have little to do with the past history of these transactions, but state as summarily and strongly as I could what the conduct of France had been; hold up the war as a crusade on the part of us and the Spaniards (I love and vindicate the Crusades); show why I expected this from their character, and also why I now expect in full faith a glorious termination at last, though prepared to hear of heavy reverses for a time, possibly the recoronation of
Joseph at Madrid. Finally, I would represent the thought of peace with Bonaparte as high treason against all honourable feelings, and all liberty. Of the Spanish frigates I would say nothing; would to God that they who issued orders for their capture were buried in the deep with them! There is a sort of methodical writing, carrying with it an air of official imposingness which does better in such cases than better things (though I would not be supposed to imply that it necessarily excludes them); and of this style I should guess that Herries is master.

Elmsley may be applied to, and, I think, with success. As for Davy, I know not whether the prize which he received from Bonaparte sticks to his fingers or no; I would sooner have cut mine off than accepted it. It is likely to co-operate with some of his Royal Institution associates in making him cry out for peace: yet Davy’s heart is sound at the core,
and his all-grasping, all-commanding genius must have redeemed him. The best channel to him is through
Sotheby, a man on whom you may calculate. I am particularly anxious that my hint about Poole should be adopted. One article from him about the poor will be worth its weight in gold. I hope Malthus will not be a contributor. By that first book moral restraint was pronounced impracticable; by his second it is relied upon as his remedy for the poors’ rates, which are to be abolished to prevent the poor from marrying; and moral restraint and the parson are to render them contented in celibacy. His main principle is that God makes men and women faster than He can feed them, and he calls upon government to stop the breed. As if we did not at this moment want men for our battles! Rickman’s name should stand in the place of his. Rickman has tenfold his knowledge and his ability. There is no man living equal to Rickman upon the subject of political economy. He, too, is a Crusader as to this war. Malthus will prove a peacemonger.

“It would attract much notice, and carry with it much recommendation, if an account of the Welsh Archæology could be procured. Turner may be asked for it; I am afraid he is too busy: William Owen, alas! is one of Joanna Southcote’s four-and-twenty elders; and Bard Williams is, God knows where, and nothing is to be got out of him except by word of mouth. There is, however, the chance of Turner; there is Davies of Olveston, the author of
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 189
Celtic Researches; there is Wynn’s Welshman—Peter Roberts.

“Farewell! I finish my Annualising in a few days, and shall then set about the Missions.

“God bless you!

R. S.

“Let not Gifford suppose me a troublesome man to deal with, pertinacious about trifles, or standing upon punctilios of authorship. No, Grosvenor, I am a quiet, patient, easy-going hack of the mule breed; regular as clockwork in my pace, sure-footed, bearing the burden which is laid on me, and only obstinate in choosing my own path. If Gifford could see me by this fireside where, like Nicodemus, one candle suffices me in a large room, he would see a man in a coat ‘still more threadbare than his own’ when he wrote his ‘Imitation,’ working hard and getting little,—a bare maintenance, and hardly that; writing poems and history for posterity with his whole heart and soul; one daily progressive in learning, not so learned as he is poor, not so poor as proud; not so proud as happy. Grosvenor, there is not a lighter-hearted nor a happier man upon the face of this wide world.

“Your godson thinks that I have nothing to do but to play with him, and anybody who saw what reason he has for his opinion would be disposed to agree with him. I wish you could see my beautiful boy!”

To John Rickman, Esq.
“Nov. 20. 1808.
“My dear Rickman,

“The earliest chronicle in French is that of Geoffrey Vilhardouin, so often quoted by Gibbon, which relates the capture of Constantinople by the Latins, and is, therefore, long subsequent to My Cid. I believe the earliest histories of the Normans are in Latin, and believe also that all Latin chronicles will be found either as you describe them, or florid and pedantic. Men never write with feeling in any language but their own; they never write well upon subjects with which they do not sympathise; and what sympathy could there ever be between monks and chivalry? My Cid is the finest specimen of chivalrous history: it is so true a book that it bespeaks belief for the story of his victory after death, and it requires arguments and dates to prove that this part is not authentic.

“I am brimful of this kind of knowledge, and much more of it will appear in the first vol. of Portuguese History than in the Cid. There are two other subjects on which I am as well informed as those for which you give me credit*,—savage manners and monastic history; and the latter, not the least curious of the whole, certainly the most out-of-

* “Two out-of-the-way things, you certainly know better than all other men—Eastern fable and European chivalry and romance; and this nobody will dispute who has read the annotations to Thalaba and My Cid.” J. R. to R. S.

Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 191
the-way. It is a little unlucky that the least interesting of all my histories must come out first.

“The Saxon language, you say, ousted the Welsh as completely as its possessors. But there is reason to believe that a part only of our prior population was Celtic, and that we had previously hived Teutonic and Cantabrian swarms. A Basque dictionary would be a treasure; none of our etymologists have had recourse to it. I was told by the only person I ever met with who had studied this language, that there was far more of it than had been supposed both in the Spanish and Portuguese,—about as much, probably, as we have of Welsh. Bilbao would be the place to get Basque books; but I will try to obtain a dictionary through Frere, who has offered his services to my uncle in this line,—a new species of diplomacy of more use than the old.

“In one point, and only in one, does China offer—an exception to the evil consequences of polygamy*, and that is, it has remained an undivided empire. This, I suppose, is owing to the unique circumstance of its having a literary aristocracy, all subordinate authority being in the hands of men whose education

* “In your introduction to My Cid, I was not surprised that you insist largely on the evils of polygamy, knowing that to be your particular aversion. I myself do not admire polygamy, nor much more that idea of Dr. Johnson’s, that happiness would not be less in quantity if all marriages were made by law without consulting the inclinations of the couples. However, in taking a general view, we must not forget that the largest and most populous empire in the world, China, goes on pretty well under both these inconveniences, for I think in fairness you will allow that the want of an alphabet accounts sufficiently for the frozen limits of Chinese science, without calling in the aid of polygamy or of aught else.”—J. R. to R. S. Oct. 12, 1808.

and whose habits of life make them averse to war. Robbers are the only rebels there; the demoralising effects of the system are the same there as everywhere.
Shuey-ping-sin* exemplifies that. I have not asserted that it is a barrier to intellectual improvement otherwise than as that must be checked by public disturbances and private voluptuousness. The want of an alphabet in China is certainly cause sufficient; but it is a supererogatory cause, for those Orientals who have one are not advanced a step farther. For an effect so general there must be some general cause, operating under so many varieties of climate and religion; and this is the only one which has universally existed.

“I recommend and exhort you to read Captain Beaver’s African Memoranda; you will find a book and a man after your own heart: I would walk to the Land’s End to have the satisfaction of shaking hands with him. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Lieutenant Southey, H.M.S. Dreadnought.
Keswick, Nov. 22. 1808.
“My dear Tom,

“I am not quite sure which deserves the severest cart’s tailing, you or your admiral; you for what you say of Frere’s translation, he for what he says of mine. A translation is good precisely in proportion as it faithfully represents the matter, manner, and

* The title of a Chinese novel.

Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 193
spirit of its original: this is equally well done in his verse and my prose, and I will venture to say never has been, and never will be, better done elsewhere. You do not like it at all! With what notion have you been reading it? Not, I am sure, with the recollection that it is part of the oldest poem extant in any modern language, being of the time of our
William the Conqueror, the manner and the metre of which have been represented as accurately as possible. In fact, his translation had long been the admiration of all who had seen it, and I had heard wonders of it from Walter Scott, Harry, Heber, and the Hollands, before I saw it. Your phrase of ‘eking out’ is cart’s-tailable without benefit of clergy. Instead of wanting materials, I suppressed half a drawer full of notes, besides my own King Ramiro and Garci Ferrandez.

“Now to the Admiral’s criticism. He seems to suppose that a book ought always to be rendered into English of the newest fashion; and, if not, that it then should be given in the English of its own age,—a book of the fifteenth century (sixteenth he means) in that of the fifteenth. He did not recollect that in the thirteenth century there was no such thing as English, which is, I think, answer enough. But the fact is, that both in this Chronicle and in Amadis, I have not formed a style, but followed one. The original, when represented as literally as possible, ran into that phraseology, and all I had to do was to avoid words, and forms of words, of modern creation, and also such as were unintelligibly obsolete. There is, as you must have heard Wordsworth point out, a lan-
guage of pure intelligible English, which was spoken in
Chaucer’s time, and is spoken in ours; equally understood then and now; and of which the Bible is the written and permanent standard, as it has undoubtedly been the great means of preserving it. To that beautiful manner of narration which characterises the best Chronicles this language is peculiarly adapted; and, in fact, it is appropriated to such narration by our books of chivalry, and, I might almost say, consecrated to it by the historical parts of Scripture. It so happens that, of all the things which I have ever done, the only one for which all the Reviews with one accord commended me, was for the manner In which I had rendered Amadis. I wish he may steer as clear of all mischief as I shall of them upon this occasion. The fault which he finds is, that I have translated the Chronicle of the Cid instead of writing his History.

“The new Review is to appear in April. Among the persons who are calculated upon to write in it there are Frere; G. Ellis; your admiral’s brother, a man of more than common talents, and well to be liked; Heber; Coplestone, the Oxford Poetry Professor (a great admirer of Madoc); Miss Baillie; Sharon Turner; and Captain Burney. A good many of these persons I know have the same thorough conviction of the destructive folly it would be to make peace that I and Walter Scott have; for, to do Scott justice, all his best and bravest feelings are alike upon that subject. I think we shall do good, and will do my part with a hearty good-will. What I said to Bedford was, that as long as this govern-
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 195
ment caravan was travelling my road I was content to travel with it; and that, though all my opinions hang together, all the hanging which they imply does not immediately appear. One good thing is, that I shall be pretty sure of civil treatment here, and the Review will carry great weight with it.

“—— has not written to me. There will be such a tremendous campaign that the chances are much against any individual, especially one who will seek the hottest service, as he will do. In the field he is but one, and as obnoxious to a ball as the merest machine of a soldier; but, should he be in a besieged town, such a man is worth a whole regiment there.

“God protect him, wherever he be!

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 26. 1808.

“In the height of our indignation here at the infamy in Portugal, one of our first thoughts was what yours would be. We in England had the consolation to see that the country redeemed itself by the general outcry which burst out. Never was any feeling within my recollection so general; I did not meet a man who was not boiling over with shame and rage.

“The Spaniards will be victorious. I am prepared
to hear of many reverses, but this has from the beginning been as much a faith as an opinion with me; and you, who know the Spaniards, will understand on what ground it has been formed. I am glad you know them, their country, and their language, which, in spite of your Romanised ears, becomes a man’s mouth better than any other in present use, except, perhaps, our own. Come and see me when you have nothing to call you elsewhere, and the wind of inclination may set in this way, and we will talk about Spain, and retravel your route, a part of which I remember as vividly as I do my father’s house.

“Find out a woman whom you can esteem, and love will grow more surely out of esteem than esteem will out of love. Your soul would then find anchorage. There are fountain springs of delight in the heart of man, which gush forth at the sight of his children, though it might seem before to be hard as the rock of Horeb, and dry as the desert sands. What I learnt from Rousseau, before I laid Epictetus to my heart, was, that Julia was happy with a husband whom she had not loved, and that Wolmer was more to be admired than St. Preux. I bid no man beware of being poor as he grows old, but I say to all men, beware of solitariness in age. Rest is the object to be sought. There is no other way of attaining it here, where we have no convents, but by putting an end to all those hopes and fears to which the best hearts are the most subject. Experto crede Roberto. This is the holy oil which has stilled in me a nature little less tempestuous than your own.

“I have 1800 lines of Kehama to send you as soon
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 197
as they can be transcribed, which will be with all convenient speed. Seven sections, cantos, or canticles more will finish the poem. The sight of the goal naturally quickens one’s speed, and I have good hope of completing it before the spring.
Pelayo, whereof I wrote in my letter to Coruña, is not yet begun, the materials not having quite settled into satisfactory order. It is a grand subject, and I feel myself equal to it in everything except topographical knowledge. I ought to have seen Gijon and Covadonga. Asturian scenery, however, must resemble that of the contiguous parts of Leon and Galicia, and I have the whole road from Lugo to Astorga in my eye and in my heart.

“We used our endeavours here to obtain a county meeting and send in a petition which should have taken up the Convention upon its true grounds of honour and moral feeling, keeping all pettier considerations out of sight. Wordsworth,—who left me when we found the business hopeless,—went home to ease his heart in a pamphlet, which I daily expect to hear he has completed. Courts of Inquiry will do nothing, and can do nothing. But we can yet acquit our own souls, and labour to foster and keep alive a spirit which is in the country, and which a cowardly race of hungry place-hunters are endeavouring to extinguish.

“The ill news is just come, and ministers are quaking for Sir John Moore, for whom I do not quake, as he and his army will beat twice their number of French. The fall of Madrid must be looked for, and, perhaps, Zaragoza may be the Sa-
guntum of modern history. That may God forbid! but Spain is still unconquerable, and will still be victorious, though there should be a French garrison in every one of its towns. We, as usual, are in fault; thirty thousand English at Bilboa would have secured that side, and England ought to have supplied thrice that number if she supplied any. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Dec. 20. 1808.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Here is my vindication of the Indian Mission packed up on the table; but, unluckily, too late for to-day’s coach, so it cannot reach London before Monday. It is written with hearty good-will, and requires no signature to show whence it comes. Now I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford—if he thinks it expedient to use the pruning-knife—to let the copy be returned to me when the printer has done with it, because it is ten to one that the passages which he would curtail—being the most Robert Southeyish of the whole—would be those that I should like best myself; and, therefore, I would have the satisfaction of putting them in again for my own satisfaction, if for nobody’s else. I must still confess to you, Grosvenor, that I have my fears and
Ætat. 34. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 199
suspicions as to the freedom of the
Review, and this article will, in some measure, put it to the proof: for it is my nature and my principle to speak and—write as earnestly, as plainly, and as straight to the mark as I think and feel. If the editor understands his own interest, he will not restrict me. A Review started against the Edinburgh will instantly be suspected of being a ministerial business, and a sprinkling of my free and fearless way of thinking, will win friends for it among those very persons most likely to be prejudiced against it, and to be misled by the Scotchmen. The high orthodox men, both of Church and State, will always think as they are told; there is no policy in writing to them; the Anti-Jacobin and British Critic are good enough for their faces of brass, brains of lead, and tongues of bell-metal. I shall not offend them, though my reasonings appeal to better hearts and clearer understandings. I would say this to him if I knew him; but I do not desire you to say it, because I do not know how far it might suit the person to whom it relates.

“Spain! Spain! . . . were the resources of the nation at my command, I would stake my head upon the deliverance of that country, and the utter overthrow of Bonaparte. But, good God! what blunders, what girlish panics, what absolute cowardice are there in our measures! Disembarking troops when we ought to be sending ship after ship as fast as they could be put on board. It is madness to wait for transports; send ships of the line, and let them run singly for Lisbon, and Cadiz, and Catalonia. Nothing can ruin the Spaniards unless they
feel the misconduct of England as I am grieved to say I feel it. It is the more heart-breaking because the heart of England is with those noble people. We are not only ready, willing, and able to make every effort for them, but even eager to do it; and yet all is palsied by plans so idiotic that the horsewhip were a fitter instrument of punishment for them than the halter, if it were not for their deadly consequences. God bless you!

R. S.”