LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815

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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My father had now received that title which, insignificant as it has usually been in literary history,
and, even in the case of its worthiest holders, little thought of, seemed, if I do not err, with him to acquire a new importance, and—whether for good or evil, whether in honour or in opprobrium,—to live in the mouths of men.

The new Laureat, notwithstanding his wishes and intentions of emancipating the office from its thraldom, was bound precisely by the same rules and etiquette as his predecessors. He had, indeed, as he has stated, expressed a wish to Mr. Croker that it might be placed upon a footing which would exact from the holder nothing like a schoolboy’s task, but leave him to write when and in what manner he thought best, and thus render the office as honourable as it was originally designed to be; and it had been replied that some proper opportunity might be found for representing the matter to the Prince in its proper light. This, however, probably from various causes, was never done; and, in the very first instance of official composition, he was doomed to feel the inconvenience of writing to meet the taste of those in power. The time, indeed, was most favourable to him: he could combine a work intended as a specimen of his fulfilment of the Laureat’s duties with the expression of his warmest feelings of patriotic exultation. But there was a drawback: his feelings, on one point at least, far outran the calmness of the temperament authorised in high places. It appeared that he might rejoice for England, and Spain, and Wellington, but he must not pour out the vials of his wrath upon France and Bonaparte.

This he had done liberally in the first draft of his
first ode, the
Carmen Triumphale for the commencement of the new year; but, having sent it, in MS., to Mr. Rickman, his cooler judgment suggested that there might be an impropriety in some parts of it appearing as the Poet Laureat’s production. “I am not sure,” he says, “that you do not forget that office imposes upon a man many restraints besides the one day’s bag and sword at Carlton House. Put the case that, through the mediation of Austria, we make peace with Bonaparte, and he becomes, of course, a friendly power;—can you stay in office this Carmen remaining on record?”

To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 17. 1813.
“My dear Rickman,

“I thank you for your letter, and, in consequence of it, immediately transcribed the Carmen, and sent it to Mr. Croker. It had never occurred to me that anything of an official character could be attached to it, or that any other reserve was necessary than that of not saying anything which might be offensive to the Government; e.g., in 1808 the Poet Laureat would be expected not to write in praise of Mrs. Clarke and the resignation of the Duke of York. I dare say you are right, and I am prepared to expect a letter from Mr. Croker, advising the suppression of anything discourteous towards Bonaparte. In that case, I shall, probably, add something to that part of the poem respecting Hanover and Hol-
land, and send the
maledictory stanzas to the Courier without a name. By the by, if the Government did not feel as I do, the Courier would not hoist Bourbon colours, as it has lately done. . . . .

“As for the Morning Chronicle, I defy the devil and all his works. My malice has —— and —— for its objects, and the stanza was intended as a peg upon which to hang certain extracts from the Edinburgh Review, and a remark upon the happy vein of prophecy which these worthies have displayed. With respect to attacks from that quarter, I shall be abused of course, and if there is a certain portion of abuse to be bestowed upon anybody, it may better fall upon me than almost any other person; for, in the first place, I shall see very little of it, and, in the next, care no farther for what I may happen to see than just mentally to acknowledge myself as so much in debt. . . . .

R. S.”
To the Rev. Herbert Hill.
“Keswick, Dec. 28. 1813.
“My dear Uncle,

“. . . . . I am sorely out of humour with public affairs. One of our politicians (Mr. Canning, I believe) called Bonaparte once the child of Jacobinism; but, whether Jacobinism or anything worse bred him, it is this country that has nursed him up to his present
fortunes. After the murders of the
Duc d’Enghien and Palm—avowed, open, notorious as they were,—we ought to have made the war personal against a wretch who was under the ban of humanity. Had this been our constant language, he would long since have been destroyed by the French themselves; nor do I think that Austria would ever have connected itself by marriage with a man so branded. But it is impossible to make the statesmen of this country feel where their strength lies. It will be no merit of theirs if peace is not made, morally certain as every man, who sees an inch before his nose, must be, that it would last no longer than it serves this villain’s purpose. He will get back his officers and men, who are now prisoners upon the Continent; he will build fleets: he will train sailors; he will bring sailors from America, and send ships there, and we shall have to renew the contest at his time, and with every advantage on his side.

“I spoilt my poem, in deference to Rickman’s judgment and Croker’s advice, by cutting out all that related to Bonaparte, and which gave strength, purport, and coherence to the whole. Perhaps I may discharge my conscience by putting these rejected parts together*, and letting them off in the Courier before it becomes a libellous offence to call murder and tyranny by their proper names.

“You will see that I have announced a series of inscriptions recording the achievements of our army

* These, with some additions, are published in the collected edition of his poems, under the title of an “Ode written during the Negotiations with Bonaparte in Jan. 1814.”

in the Peninsula. Though this is not exactly ex officio, yet I should not have thought of it if it had not seemed a fit official undertaking. This style of composition is that to which I am more inclined than to any other. My local knowledge will turn to good account on many of these epigrammata.

“I had a letter a day or two ago from Kinder who is at this time forming a commercial establishment at St. Andero. The Spanish troops, he says, had behaved so ill that Lord W. had ordered them all within their own frontier. From the specimens which he had seen, he thought they combined a blacker assemblage of diabolical qualities than any set of men whom he ever before had an opportunity of observing. Now Kinder is a cool, clear-headed man, disposed to see things in their best colours, and, moreover, has been in Brazil and Buenos Ayres. The truth seems to be that, though there never was much law in Spain, there has been none during the last six years, and the ruffian-like propensities of the brute multitude have had their full swing. Kinder had been to the scene of action, and dined frequently at head-quarters. He finds Biscay more beautiful than he expected, but has seen nothing to equal the Vale of Keswick. I shall make use of him to get books from Madrid. My friend Abella is one of the deputies for Aragon to the New Cortes.

“The South Sea missionaries have done something; at last besides making better books than their Jesuit forerunners. They have converted the King of Otahëité. His letters are in my last Evangelical Magazine, and very curious they are. If he should
prove conqueror in the civil war which is desolating the island, this conversion may, very probably, lead to its complete civilisation. Human sacrifices would, of course, be abolished, and schools established. His Majesty himself writes a remarkably good hand. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“Jan. 15. 1814.
“My dear Wynn,

“One of our poets says, ‘A dram of sweet is worth a pound of sour,’ which, if it be not good poetry, is sound practical wisdom. I assure you you have gone far towards reconciling me to the Carmen, by praising the Dutch stanza, of which I had conceived the only qualification to be, that it was as flat as the country of which it treated, as dead as the water of the ditches, and as heavy astern as the inhabitants. How often have I had occasion to remember the old apologue of the painter, who hung up his picture for public criticism! The conclusion also, laus Deo! has found favour in your eyes.

“I have added three stanzas to the five which were struck out, and made them into a whole, which is gone, sine nomine, to the Courier, where you will be likely to see it sooner than if I were to transcribe the excerpts.

“There was another stanza, which I expunged myself, because it spoke with bitterness of those
“Who deemed that Spain
Would bow her neck before the intruder’s throne;
and I should have been sorry to have had it applied in a manner to have wounded you, its direction being against the
Edinburgh Review. Upon this point your remarks have in no degree affected my opinion, either as to the propriety of the attack itself, or of the place for it. However rash I may be, you will, I think, allow that my disposition is sufficiently placable. I continued upon courteous terms with Jeffrey, till that rascally attack upon the Register, in which he recommended it for prosecution. As for the retaliation of which you are apprehensive, do not suppose, my dear Wynn, that one who has never feared to speak his opinions sincerely, can have any fear of being confronted with his former self? I was a republican; I should be so still, if I thought we were advanced enough in civilisation for such a form of society; and the more my feelings, my judgment, my old prejudices might incline me that way, the deeper would necessarily be my hatred of Bonaparte. Do you know that the Anti-Jacobin treats my Life of Nelson as infected with the leaven of Jacobinism?

“If I were conscious of having been at any time swayed in the profession of my opinions by private or interested motives, then indeed might I fear what malice could do against me. True it is that I am a pensioner and Poet Laureat. I owe the pension to you, the laurel to the Spaniards. Whether the former has prevented me from speaking as I felt upon the measures of Government, where I thought myself called upon to speak at all, let my volumes of
Register bear witness. The Whigs who attack me for celebrating our victories in Spain, ought to expunge from the list of their toasts that which gives ‘The cause of Liberty all the world over.’ The Inscriptions are for the battles we have won, the towns we have retaken, and epitaphs for those who have fallen,—that is, for as many of them as I can find anything about whose rank or ability distinguished them.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Jan. 29. 1814.
“My dear, Grosvenor,

“I hope you have secured the manuscript of my article on the Dissenters, in which I suspect Gifford has done more mischief than usual. Merely in cutting open the leaves, I perceived some omissions which one would think the very demon of stupidity had prompted. You may remember the manner in which I had illustrated Messrs. Bogue and Bennet’s mention of Paul and Timothy. He has retained the quotation, and cut out the comment upon it. I believe the article has lost about two pages in this way. The only other instances which caught my eye will show you the spirit in which he has gone to work. Bogue and Bennet claim Milton, Defoe, &c. as Dissenters. I called them blockheads for not perceiving that it was ‘to their catholic and cosmopolite intellect’ that these men owed their immortality, not to
their sectarian opinions, and the exterminating pen has gone through the words catholic and cosmopolite. There is also a foolish insertion stuck in, to introduce the last paragraph, which at once alters it, and says, ‘Now I am going to say something fine,’ instead of letting the feeling rise at once from the subject. It is well, perhaps, that the convenience of this quarterly incoming makes me placable, or I should some day tell Gifford, that though I have nothing to say against any omission which may be made for political or prudential motives, yet when the question comes to be a mere matter of opinion in regard to the wording of a sentence, my judgment is quite as likely to be right as his. You will really render me a great service by preserving my manuscript reviewals: for some of these articles may most probably be reprinted whenever my operas come to be printed in a collected form after I am gone, and these rejected passages will then be thought of most value.

“I wish you would, as soon as you can, call on Gifford, and tell him,—not what I have been saying, for I have got rid of my gall in thus letting you know what I feel upon the subject,—but that I will review Duppa’s pamphlet about Junius, and the Memoirs, for his next number. Perhaps I may succeed in this, as, in approaching Junius, I shall take rather a wider view of political morality than he and his admirers have done.

“Some unknown author has sent me a poem called the Missionary, not well arranged, but written with great feeling and beauty. I shall very likely do him
a good turn in the
Quarterly. It is Ercilla’s groundwork, with a new story made to fit the leading facts.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Walter Savage Lander, Esq.
“Keswick, March 9. 1814.

“Did you see my ode in the Courier, beginning,
‘Who calls for peace at this momentous hour?’ &c.:
it grew out of the omitted portion of the
Carmen Triumphale, wherein I could not say all I wished and wanted to say, because a sort of official character attached to it. For five years I have been preaching the policy, the duty, the necessity of declaring Bonaparte under the ban of human nature; and if this had been done in 1808, when the Bayonne iniquity was fresh in the feelings of the public, I believe that the Emperor of Austria could never have given him his daughter in marriage; be that as it may, Spain and Portugal would have joined us in the declaration; the terms of our alliance would have been never to make peace with him; and France, knowing this, would, ere this, have delivered herself from him. My present hope is that he will require terms of peace to which the allies will not consent: a little success is likely enough to inflate him; for he is equally incapable of bearing prosperous or adverse fortunes. As for the Bourbons, I do not wish to see them restored, unless there were no other
means of effecting his overthrow. Restorations are bad things, when the expulsion has taken place from internal causes and not by foreign forces. They have been a detestable race, and the adversity which they have undergone is not of that kind which renovates the intellect, or calls into life the virtues which royalty has stifled. I used to think that the Revolution would not have done its work, till the Houses of Austria and Bourbon were both destroyed,—a consummation which the history of both Houses has taught me devoutly to wish for. Did I ever tell you that
Hofer got himself arrested under a false name and thrown into prison at Vienna, and that he was actually turned out of this asylum by the Austrian government? If any member of that government escapes the sword or the halter, there will be a lack of justice in this world. The fact is one of the most shocking in human history, but a fact it is, though it has not got abroad. Adair told it me.

“I shall rejoice to see your Idyllia. The printer is treading close on my heels, and keeping me close to work with this poem. I shall probably send you two sections more in a few days.

R. S.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, March 18. 1814.
“My dear Neville,

“I am afraid I have been silent for a longer time than has ever before passed without a letter since
our communication began. How truly has it been said that the first twenty years of life are the longest part of it, let it be ever so long extended. Days, weeks, and months now pass away so rapidly and yet so imperceptibly, that I am scarcely sensible of the sum of time which has gone by, till some business stares me in the face which has been left undone.

“It is not, however, from uniformity of happiness that time of late has passed so speedily with me. We have had ailments enough among the children to keep me perpetually anxious for the last eight or ten weeks. These are things which a man hardly understands till they have happened to himself, and even then some are affected more by them and some less; but it is one of the weak parts of my nature to feel them more perhaps than the occasion always justifies. I myself have had my share, though not a very heavy one, of the complaints which the unusual length and obstinacy of the winter scattered so plentifully in these parts. And though I have not been idle, and what I have done might be deemed a sufficient quantity for one who had less to do, the last four months have perhaps produced less than any former ones. I readily acknowledge that it may be fortunate for me to be under the necessity of continually bestirring my faculties in composition, otherwise the pleasure of acquiring knowledge, and continually supplying those deficiencies in my own acquirements, of which they who know most are most sensible in themselves, is so much more delightful than the act of communicating what I already know, that very probably I might fall into this kind of self-indulgence.


“My great poem will not be out before June. I am working hard at it. For the Quarterly I have done little, only Montgomery’s poem, and a little Moravian book about the Nicobar Islands. I shall be vexed if the former be either delayed or mutilated.

“This evening’s newspaper brings great news. The old desire of my heart,—that of seeing peace dictated before the walls of Paris—seems about to be fulfilled. But what a dreadful business has this been at Bergen-op-Zoom!* This is the consequence of Government deferring to popular opinion when founded upon false grounds. Graham was extolled and rewarded for the battle of Barrosa,—a battle which he ought not to have fought, and which was worse than useless. Government knew this, and felt concerning it as I am now expressing myself. Yet they of course were glad to raise a cry of success, and the Opposition joined it in extolling Graham for the sake of abusing the Spaniards; whereas, in truth, he was infinitely more in fault than La Peña. After the battle he never ought to have been trusted with command.

Believe me, my dear Neville,
Ever yours with the truest regard,
Robert Southey.”

* “The attempt by the English force under Graham to carry Bergen-op-Zoom (a place of extraordinary strength but inadequately garrisoned) by a coup-de-main, was repulsed, March 8. 1814, with a loss of 900 killed and wounded, and 1800 prisoners; a bloody check, which paralysed the operations of the English.”—Alison.

To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, March 23. 1814.
“My dear Rickman,

“Your letter* operated well. Like a good boy I began my task immediately after its arrival, and have now completed one part and begun the second, of a poem which is to consist of three. Can you give me a better title than Carmen Maritale? I distrust my own Latinity, which has long been disused and never was very good. The poem is in six-lined stanzas; first a proem, so called rather than introduction, that the antiquated word may put the reader in tune for what follows. It is a poet’s egotism making the best of the laurel, and passing to the present subject by professing at first an unfitness for it; the second part will be a vision, wherein allegorical personages give good advice; and the concluding part a justification of the serious strain which has been chosen; something about the king; and a fair winding up with a wish that it may be long before the Princess be called upon to exercise the duties of which she has been here reminded. The whole poem 300 to 400 lines,—on which, when they are completed, I will request you to bestow an hour’s reading, with a pencil in your hand.

“In George Gascoigne’s poem there are many things about the Dutch, showing that the English

* My father had been in doubt as to the likelihood of the Princess Charlotte’s marriage with the Prince of Orange, and hesitated whether to commence a poem on that subject.

despised them and despaired of their cause, just as in our days happened to the Spaniards:—
“‘And thus, my lord, your honour may discerne
Our perils past; and how, in our annoy,
God saved me (your lordship’s bound for ever),
Who else should not be able now to tell
The state wherein this country doth persever,
Ne how they seem in careless minds to dwell
(So did they erst, and so they will do ever).
And so, my lord, for to bewray my mind,
Methinks they be a race of bull-beef borne,
Whose hearts their butter mollyfieth by kind,
And so the force of beef is clear outworne.
And eke their brains with double beer are lined,
Like sops of browasse puffed up with froth;
When inwardly they be but hollow geer,
As weak as wind which with one puff up goeth.
And yet they brag, and think they have no peer,
Because Harlem hath hitherto held out;
Although in deed (as they have suffered Spain)
The end thereof even now doth rest in doubt.’

“I dearly love a piece of historical poetry like this, which shows how men thought and felt, when history only tells me how they acted.

R. S.”
To John May, Esq.
“Keswick, April 25. 1814.
“My dear Friend,

“If the King of France has any stray cordon bleu to dispose of here, Herbert has a fair claim to one, having been the first person in Great Britain who mounted the white cockade. He appeared with one immediately upon the news from Bordeaux, and wore it till the news from Paris.* My young ones

* Of the occupation of Paris by the Allied Armies, and the restoration of the Bourbons.

were then all as happy as paper cockades could make them; and, to our great amusement, all the white ribband in Keswick was bought up to follow their example. My own feelings, on the first intelligence, were unlike anything that I ever experienced before, or can experience again. The curtain had fallen after a tragedy of five-and-twenty years. Those persons who had rejoiced most enthusiastically at the beginning of the revolution, were now deeply thankful for a termination which restored things, as nearly as can be, to the state from which they set out. What I said, with a voice of warning, to my own country, is here historically true,—that ‘all the intermediate sum of misery is but the bitter price which folly pays for repentance.’ The mass of destruction, of wretchedness, and of ruin which that revolution has occasioned, is beyond all calculation. Our conception of it is almost as vague and inadequate as of infinity. This, however, occurred to me at the time less than my own individual history; for I could not but remember how materially the course of my own life had been influenced by that tremendous earthquake, which seemed to break up the great deeps of society, like a moral and political deluge. I have derived nothing but good from it in every thing, except the mere consideration of immediate worldly fortune, which is to me as dust in the balance. Sure I am that under any other course of discipline I should not have possessed half the intellectual powers which I now enjoy, and perhaps not the moral strength. The hopes and the ardour, and the errors and the struggles and the difficulties of my early life
crowded upon my mind; and, above all, there was a deep and grateful sense of that superintending goodness which had made all things work together for good in my fortunes, and will, I firmly believe, in like manner uniformly educe good from evil upon the great scale of human events.

“I fear we shall make a bad peace. Hitherto the people have borne on their governors (I except Prussia, where prince and people have been worthy of each other). The rulers are now left to themselves, and I apprehend consequences which will flill heavy upon posterity, though not, perhaps, upon ourselves. I had rather the French philosophy had left any other of its blessings behind it than its candour and its liberality. It was very natural that the Emperor of Austria should not choose to have his son-in-law hanged. But here is Alexander breakfasting with Marshal Ney, who, if he had more necks than the Hydra or my Juggernaut*, owes them all to the gallows for his conduct in Galicia and in Portugal. Caulincourt is to have an asylum in Russia, and no doubt will be permitted to choose his latitude there. Candour is to make us impute all the enormities which the French have committed to Bonaparte. All the horrors, absolutely unutterable as they are, which you know were perpetrated in Portugal, and which I know were perpetrated in Spain, but which I literally cannot detail in history, because I dare not outrage human nature and common decency by such details,—all these must in candour be put out of re-

* See Curse of Kehama, Sect. xiv.

membrance. All was Bonaparte’s doing, and the most amiable of nations were his victims rather than his agents,—so this most veracious of nations tells us, and so we are to believe. But if the Devil could not have brought about all the crimes without the Emperor Napoleon, neither could the Emperor Napoleon have discharged the Devil’s commission without the most amiable of nations to act up to the full scope of his diabolical desires. At present, I admit, our business is to conciliate and consolidate the counterrevolution. But no visitings to Marshal Ney, no compliments to his worthy colleagues, no asylums for the murderers of the
Duc d’Enghien. In treating for peace, liberality will not fail to be urged by the French negotiators as a reason for granting them terms which are inconsistent with the welfare of Europe. Alexander is a weak man, though a good one; and our ministers will be better pleased to hear themselves called liberal by the Opposition, than to be called wise by posterity. . . . .

R. Southey.”
To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, April 27. 1814.
“My dear Scott,

“Thank God we have seen the end of this long tragedy of five-and-twenty years! The curtain is fallen; and though there is the after-piece of the Devil to Pay to be performed, we have nothing to do
with that: It concerns the performers alone. I wish we had been within reach of a meeting upon the occasion; and yet the first feeling was not a joyous one. Too many recollections crowded upon the mind; and the sudden termination putting an end at once to those hopes and fears and speculations which, for many years past, have made up so large a part of every man’s intellectual existence, seemed like a change in life itself. Much as I had desired this event, and fully as I had expected it, still, when it came, it brought with it an awful sense of the instability of all earthly things; and when I remembered that that same newspaper might as probably have brought with it intelligence that peace had been made with
Bonaparte, I could not but acknowledge that something more uniform in its operations than human councils had brought about the event. I thought he would set his life upon the last throw, and die game; or that he would kill himself, or that some of his own men would kill him; and though it had long been my conviction that he was a mean-minded villain, still it surprised me that he should live after such a degradation,—after the loss, not merely of empire, but even of his military character. But let him live; if he will write his own history, he will give us all some information, and if he will read mine, it will be some set-off against his crimes.

“I desired Longman to send you the Carmen Triumphale. In the course of this year I shall volunteer verses enough of this kind to entitle me to a fair dispensation for all task work in future. I have made good way through a poem upon the Princess’s
marriage in the olden style, consisting of three parts—the Proem, the Dream, and L’Envoy; and I am getting on with the series of Military Inscriptions. The conclusion of peace will, perhaps, require another ode, and I shall then trouble
Jeffrey with a few more notes. As yet I know nothing more of his reply than what some sturdy friend in the Times has communicated to me; but I shall not fail to pay all proper attention to it in due season. He may rest assured that I shall pay all my obligations to him with compound interest. The uses of newspapers will for a while seem flat and unprofitable, yet there will be no lack of important matter from abroad; and for acrimonious disputes at home, we shall always be sure of them. I fear we shall be too liberal in making peace. There is no reason why we should make any cessions for pure generosity. It is very true that Louis XVIII. has not been our enemy; but the French nation has, and a most inveterate and formidable one. They should have their sugar islands, but not without paying for them,—and that a good round sum,—to be equally divided between Greenwich and Chelsea, or to form the foundation of a fund for increasing the pay of army and navy.

“I am finishing Roderick, and deliberating what subject to take up next; for as it has pleased you and the Prince to make me Laureate, I am bound to keep up my poetical character. If I do not fix upon a tale of Robin Hood, or a New England story connected with Philip’s war, and Goffe the regicide, I shall either go far North or far East for scenery and superstitions, and pursue my old scheme of my my-
thological delineations. Is it not almost time to hear of something from you? I remember to have been greatly delighted when a boy with
Amyntor and Theodora, and with Dr. Ogilvie’s Rona. The main delight must have been from the scenes into which they carried me. There was a rumour that you were among the Hebrides. I heartily wish it may be true.

“Remember us to Mrs. Scott and your daughter. These children of ours are now growing tall enough, and intelligent enough to remind us forcibly of the lapse of time. Another generation is coming on. You and I, however, are not yet off the stage; and whenever we quit it, it will not be to men who will make a better figure there.

Yours, very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, April 29. 1814.
“My dear Neville,

“My main employment at present is upon Roderick. The poem is drawing towards its completion; in fact, the difficulty may be considered as over, and yet a good deal of labour remains, for I write slowly and blot much. However, land is in sight, and I feel myself near enough the end of this voyage to find myself often considering upon what course I shall set sail for the next. Something of magnitude I must always have before me to occupy me in the intervals
of other pursuits, and to think of when nothing else requires attention. But I am less determined respecting the subject of my next poem than I ever was before when a vacancy was so near. The New England Quaker story is in most forwardness, but I should prefer something which in its tone of feeling would differ more widely from that on which I am at present busied. As to looking for a popular subject, this I shall never do; for, in the first place, I believe it to be quite impossible to say what would be popular, and, secondly, I should not willingly acknowledge to myself, that I was influenced by any other motive than the fitness of my story to my powers of execution.

“The Laureateship will certainly have this effect upon me, that it will make me produce more poetry than I otherwise should have done. For many years I had written little, and was permitting other studies to wean me from it more and more. But it would be unbecoming to accept the only public mark of honour which is attached to the pursuit, and at the same time withdraw from the profession. I am therefore reviving half-forgotten plans, forming new ones, and studying my old masters with almost as much ardour and assiduity as if I were young again. Some of Henry’s papers yonder strikingly resemble what I used to do twenty years ago, and what I am beginning to do again.

“Thank you for Lord Byron’s Ode*: there is in it, as in all his poems, great life, spirit, and ori-

* Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte.

ginality, though the meaning is not always brought out with sufficient perspicuity. The last time I saw him he asked me if I did not think
Bonaparte a great man in his villany. I told him, no,—that he was a mean-minded villain. And Lord Byron has now been brought to the same opinion. But of politics in my next. I shall speedily thank Josiah Conder for his review, and comment a little upon its contents. Some of his own articles please me exceedingly. I wish my coadjutors in the Quarterly had thought half as much upon poetry, and understood it half as well.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To Mr. James White.
“Keswick, May 2. 1814.
“My dear James,

“I am glad to hear from Neville that you are improved in health and spirits. What you say of the inconvenience of mathematical studies to a man who has no inclination for them, no necessity for them, no time to spare for acquiring them, and no use for them when they are acquired, is perfectly true; and I think it was one of the advantages (Heaven knows they were very few) which Oxford used to possess over Cambridge, that a man might take his degree, if he pleased, without knowing anything of the science. A tenth or a fiftieth part of the time employed upon Euclid, would serve to make the under-graduate a
good logician, and logic will stand him in good stead, to whatever profession he may betake himself.

“Your repugnance to the expense of time which this fatiguing study requires, is very natural and very reasonable; and the best comfort I can offer is to remind you that the time will soon come when you will have the pleasure of forgetting all you have learned. Your apprehensions of deficiency in more important things are not so well founded. The Church stands in need of men of various characters and acquirements. She ought to have some sturdy polemics, equally able to attack and to defend. One or two of these are as many as she wants, and as many as she produces in a generation; she cannot do without them, and yet sometimes they do evil as well as good. Horsley was the militant of the last generation; Herbert Marsh of the present. Next to these stiff canonists and sound theologians, she requires some who excel in the literæ humaniores, and who may keep up that literary character which J. Taylor, South, Sherlock, Barrow, &c. have raised, and which of late days has certainly declined. Of these a few also are sufficient. There are hardly more than half-a-dozen pulpits in the kingdom in which an eloquent preacher would not be out of his place. Everywhere else, what is required of the preacher is to be plain, perspicuous, and in earnest. If he feels himself, he will make his congregation feel. But it is not in the pulpit that the minister may do most good. He will do infinitely more by living with his parishioners like a pastor; by becoming their confidential adviser, their friend, their comforter;
directing the education of the poor, and, as far as he can, inspecting that of all, which it is not difficult for a man of good sense and gentle disposition to do as an official duty, without giving it, in the slightest degree, the appearance of officious interference. Teach the young what Christianity is; distinguish by noticing and rewarding those who distinguish themselves by their good conduct; see to the wants of the poor, and call upon the charity of the rich, making yourself the channel through which it flows; look that the schools be in good order, that the workhouse is what it ought to be, that the overseers do their duty; be, in short, the active friend of your parishioners. Sunday will then be the least of your labours, and the least important of your duties; and you will very soon find that the time employed in making a sermon, would be better employed in adapting to your congregation a dozen, which your predecessors did not deliver to the press for no other purpose than that they should stand idle upon the shelves of a divinity library. The pulpit is a clergyman’s parade, the parish is his field of active service.

Believe me, my dear James,
Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“May 9. 1814.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Here is a choice poem for you,—the production of a man who keeps a billiard-table at Carlisle, and
who, having a genius for poetry, and not daring to show his productions to his wife and daughters, has pitched upon
Calvert for his confidant. I give it to you literatim, and shall content myself with desiring you not to imagine, from the lyrical abruptness of the beginnings, that the poem is imperfect. It is a whole, and perfect in its kind.

“‘Not forgetting Lord Wellington,
When he to Beaudeux came,
The most noble lord was received
With great honour to his name.
The Bourbon cry caled aloud so high,
That it made Paris shake and trimble.
May we all se that shock to be
And make Bonaparte to trimble.
Rise Paris and let us se
Shake off that yoke for liberty.
There is a shake now begun,
Tear it up and pull it down!
May we all united be
In this most noble cause,
To protect our king,
Our country, and our laws.
Lewis haste, heare is a call,
Paris crie is one and all.
Blucher, by his great power,
Will protect the every hour.
May France rejoice and sing,
Long life to Lewis our king.
We Britons will rejoice
To see Lewis made their choice.’
. . . .
“God bless you!
R. Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“June 5. 1814.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Another homo, cui nomen Colburn, lord of the New Monthly Magazine, has written for my portrait. Now according to all rules of arithmetic (of which I know little) and algebra (of which I know nothing), if a portrait in one magazine be to do me yeoman’s service, portraits in two will do the service of two yeomen. So do you answer for me to the European, either by note or letter, offering your drawing, and I will send the alter homo to the Doctor to make use of the bust. Quoad the biographical sketch, nothing more need be mentioned than that I was born at Bristol, Aug. 12. 1774,—prince and poet having the same birthday,—was of Westminster and afterwards of Balliol College, Oxford, and that my maternal uncle being chaplain of the British Factory at Lisbon, my studies were by that circumstance led towards the literature and history of Portugal and Spain. This is what I shall tell Colburn, and his merry men may dress it up as he pleases.

“But O Grosvenor! I have this day thought of a third ‘Portrait of the author,’ to be prefixed to the delectable history of Dr. D. D——, to which history I yesterday wrote the preface with a peacock’s pen. It is to be the back of the writer, sitting at his desk with his peacock’s pen in his hand. As soon as Roderick is finished, which it will very soon be, I think the spirit will move me to spur myself on with
his delicious book by sending it piecemeal to you. Will you enter into a commercial treaty with me, and send Butler in return?

R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, June 16. 1814.
“My dear Rickman,

“It came into my head that it might peradventure be a fit thing for the Poet-Laureate to write certain verses upon the peace to the personages who are now dragging all London after their horses’ heels. I was very well inclined to put the thought out of my head, if some of the very few persons whom I see here had not shown me by their inquiries that it would come into other heads as well as mine. The subjects for their kind were the best possible; so I fell to in good earnest, and have written three odes* in Thalaba’s verse. The Carmen was an oration in rhyme. These are odes without rhyme, but in manner and matter altogether lyric. I shall have no time even to correct the press. I have written to Croker, saying that it may be proper to present copies to the persons be-oded, or that such presentations might be improper, and that in my ignorance of such things I requested him to act for me. . . . .

“I am in some trouble about my old correspondent, Don Manual Abella, a man of letters and a staunch

* To the Prince Regent, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia.

friend of the old Cortes, though no admirer of the head-over-heels activity of the new ones. I think he is in some danger of coming under a proscription, which seems to make little distinction of persons. That
Ferdinand and the constitution could long coexist was not possible. The king was a mere log, and must soon have been treated as such. But he has gone vilely to work; and I will not condemn him in toto till it be seen what sort of constitution he means to give the people (encore une constitution!). I very much fear that the old system of favouritism will return, and that abominations of every kind will be restored as well as the inquisition, which blessed office, you see, has been re-established, in compliance with the popular cry, as a boon!

“An officer of Suchet’s army, who served at the siege of Tarragona, and was afterwards taken by Eroles, was brought here last week by Wordsworth, to whom he had letters of recommendation from France;—a young man, and apparently one of the best of these Frenchmen. He had grace enough to acknowledge that the Spanish business was an unjust one, which he said all the officers knew; and he amused me by complaining that the Spaniards were very hard-hearted. To which I replied that they had not invited him and his countrymen. He said ‘they did make beautiful defence;’ and I gathered from him some information upon points of consequence. . . . .

“I have sent to the Courier a doggrel March to Moscow, written months ago to amuse the children, and chiefly upon the provocation of an irresistible
rhyme, which is not to be printed. I give you the suppressed stanza; for I am sure if you happen to see the song you will wonder how such a hit could have been missed.*

“The Emperor Nap, he talked so loud,
That he frightened Mr. Roscoe;
John Bull, he cries, if you’ll be wise,
Ask the Emperor Nap if he will please
To grant you peace upon your knees,
Because he’s going to Moscow!
He’ll make all the Poles come out of their holes,
And eat the Prussians, and beat the Russians;
The fields are green, and the sky is blue,
Morbleu! Parbleu!
He’ll certainly get to Moscow!

“There is some good doggrel in the rest, and Morbleu, &c. is the burden of the song. . . . .

Yours most truly,
R. S.”
To Messrs. Longman and Co.
“Keswick, Sept. 3. 1814.
“Dear Sirs,

“. . . . . I have had a visit from Mr. Canning to-day, who has offered me his good offices in Portugal, and to be the means of any communication with Henry Wellesley at Madrid. This new opening is so much the more acceptable, as my main source of information has been cut off, Abella, I fear, being at this time in prison.

* This stanza is now printed with the rest of the poem.


“The restoration of the Jesuits is a most important measure, and not the least extraordinary of the great events which have lately taken place. This concluding volume of Brazil will be the only single work which contains the whole history of their empire in S. America, and of their persevering struggle against the Indian slave-trade, which was the remote but main cause of their overthrow. I am working at this from manuscript documents, some of which fatigue the sight.

Murray sent me the other day the two first and two last volumes of your translation of Humboldt, which I shall review. This traveller has so encumbered his volumes with science, that I think you would do well to extract his travels, insert in them the readable part of his other works in their proper place, and thus put the generally interesting part within reach of the reading public. This is what Pinkerton ought to have done. Can you lend me Humboldt’s Essay on the Geography of Plants? It must, doubtless, contain some Brazilian information.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Joseph Cottle, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 17. 1814.
“My dear Cottle,

“It is not long since I heard of you from De Quincey, but I wish you would let me sometimes hear from you. There was a time when scarcely a
day passed without my seeing you, and in all that time I do not remember that there ever was a passing coldness between us. The feeling, I am sure, continues; do not, then, let us be so entirely separated by distance, which in cases of correspondence may almost be considered as a mere abstraction. . . . .

Longman will send you my poem. It has been printed about two months, but he delays its publication till November, for reasons of which he must needs be the best judge. I am neither sanguine about its early, nor doubtful about its ultimate, acceptation in the world. The passion is in a deeper tone than in any of my former works; I call it a tragic poem for this reason; and also that the reader may not expect the same busy and complicated action which the term heroic might seem to promise. The subject has the disadvantage of belonging to an age of which little or no costume has been preserved. I was, therefore, cut off from all adornments of this kind, and had little left me to relieve the stronger parts but description, the best of which is from the life. . . . .

“Can you tell me anything of Coleridge? A few lines of introduction for a son of Mr. ——, of St. James’s (in your city), are all that we have received since I saw him last September twelvemonth in town. The children being thus entirely left to chance, I have applied to his brothers at Otley concerning them, and am in hopes through their means, and the aid of other friends, of sending Hartley to
Lady Beaumont has promised 30l. a year for this purpose, Poole 10l. I wrote to Coleridge three or four months ago, telling him that unless he took some steps in providing for this object I must make the application, and required his answer within a given term of three weeks. He received the letter, and in his note by Mr. —— promised to answer it, but he has never taken any further notice of it. I have acted with the advice of Wordsworth. The brothers, as I expected, promise their concurrence, and I daily expect a letter, stating to what amount they will contribute

Believe me, my dear Cottle,
Ever your affectionate old friend,
Robert Southey.”
To Mr. Neville White.
“Keswick, Nov. 8. 1814.
“My dear Neville,

“. . . . I was not sorry that we did not meet at Ambleside merely to take leave. It is one of those things which, since my schoolboy days, I always avoid when I can; there are but too many of these long good-byes in life; and to one who has experienced in the losses you have sustained that fearful uncertainty of life which only experience makes us fully feel and understand, they are very painful. Our repast upon Kirkston* wore a good face of cheerfulness; but I could not help feeling

* A mountain pass leading from Ambleside to Patterdale.

how soon we were to separate, and how doubtful it was that the whole of the party would ever be assembled together again . . . . . After our return
Isabel was seized with a severe attack, and was brought to the very brink of the grave. I so verily expected to lose her, that I thought at one moment I had seen her for the last time. There are heavier afflictions than this, but none keener; and the joy and thankfulness which attend on recovery are proportionately intense. She has not yet regained her strength; but every day is restoring her, God be thanked.

“I am glad you have seen these children. If, by God’s blessing, my life should be prolonged till they are grown up, I have no doubt of providing for them; and if Herbert’s life be spared, he has every thing which can be required to make his name a good inheritance to him. . . . .

“O dear Neville! how unendurable would life be if it were not for the belief that we shall meet again in a better state of existence. I do not know that person who is happier than myself, and who has more reason to be happy; and never was man more habitually cheerful; but this belief is the root which gives life to all, and holds all fast. God bless you!

Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Mr. James White.
“Keswick, Nov. 11. 1814.
“My dear James,

“I am grieved to learn from Neville that you are distressing yourself about what I could find in my heart to call these cursed examinations.* There are few things of which I am more thoroughly convinced, than that the system of feeding-up young men like so many game cocks for a sort of intellectual long-main is every way pernicious.

“University honours are like provincial tokens, not current beyond the narrow limits of the district in which they are coined; and even where they pass current they are not the only currency, nor the best. Doubtless there are many men at Cambridge in high repute, who have taken no honours and gained no prizes: and should you yourself stand for a fellowship or take pupils, you will find the opinion of what you might have done, will act as well in your favour as if your acquirements had received the seal and stamp of approbation in the Senate House. Content yourself with graduating among the many; and remember that the first duty which you have to perform is that of keeping yourself, as far as it can depend upon yourself, in sound health of body and mind, both for your own sake and for the sake of those who are most dear to you. If I were near you I would rid you of these blue devils. When I

* This is strong language; but it might well be used to the brother of poor Kirke White: who, urged by exhortations, and kept up by stimulants, won in the race, and—died.

was about eighteen I made
Epictetus literally my manual for some twelvemonths, and by that wholesome course of stoicism counteracted the mischief which I might else have incurred from a passionate admiration of Werter and Rousseau. His tonics agreed with me; and if the old Grecian could know how impassible I have ever since felt myself to the τά ύχ έϕ΄ ήμιν, he would be well satisfied with the effect of his lessons. It is not your fault that these university distinctions have a local and temporary value, but it is your fault if you do not consider how local and how temporary that value is; and if you suffer yourself to be agitated by any losses and fears concerning what is worth so little. My dear James, in this matter, follow, in the strict interpretation of the words, the advice of Boethius,—
‘Pelle timorem,
Speraque fugato.’

“Remember that you only want your degree as a passport: content yourself with simply taking it; and if you are disposed to revenge yourself after wards by burning your mathematical books and instruments, bring them with you to Keswick when next you make us a visit, and I will assist at the auto-da-fè. We will dine by the side of the Lake, and light our fire with Euclid.

Neville was more fortunate than you in his excursion to this land of loveliness. He had delightful weather, and he made the most of it. Never had we a more indefatigable guest, nor one who enjoyed the country more heartily. Since his return, Neville-
like, he has loaded us with presents; and no children were ever happier than these young ones were when the expected box made its appearance. I happened to be passing the evening at the Island with
General Peachey when it arrived, and they one and all laid their injunctions upon their mother not to tell me what each had received, that they might surprise me with the sight in the morning. Accordingly, no sooner was my door opened in the morning than the whole swarm were in an uproar, buzzing about me. In an evil moment I had begun to shave myself; before the operation was half over, Edith with her work-box was on one side, Herbert with his books on the other,—Bertha was displaying one treasure, Kate another, and little Isabel, jigging for delight in the midst of them, was crying out mine—mineMitter White—and holding up a box of Tunbridge ware. My poor chin suffered for all this, and the scene would have made no bad subject for Wilkie or Bird. God bless you!

Your affectionate friend,
Robert Southey.”
To Dr. Gooch.
“Keswick, Nov. 30. 1814.
“My dear Gooch,

“Your letter reminds me that I have something to ask of you. You may remember telling me of a sailor in Yarmouth Hospital, after Nelson’s battle at Copenhagen (if I recollect rightly), whom you at-
tended, and who died in consequence of neglect after you had ceased to attend him, but expressed his delight at seeing you before he died. Though I have not forgotten, and could not forget the circumstances, I have acquired a sort of passion for authenticity upon all points where it is attainable, and you will oblige me by relating the particulars. I am about to compose a
paper for the Quarterly, the text for which will be taken from the Reports of the Poor Society, and the object of which is to show what has been done in this country towards lessening the quantum of human suffering, and what remains to do. In treating of prevention, correction, and alleviation, I shall have to treat of schools, prisons, and hospitals; and respecting hospitals, must quote the saying of a Frenchman whom Louis XVI. sent over to England to inquire into the manner in which they were conducted. He praised them as they deserved, but added, Mais il y manque deux choses, nos curés, et nos hospitalières. And here, with due caution respecting place, &c., I wish to tell your story.

“I am fully convinced that a gradual improvement is going on in the world, has been going on from its commencement, and will continue till the human race shall attain all the perfection of which it is capable in this mortal state. This belief grows out of knowledge; that is, it is a corollary deduced from the whole history of mankind. It is no little pleasure to believe that in no age has this improvement proceeded so rapidly as in the present, and that there never was so great a disposition to promote it in those
who have the power. The disposition, indeed, is alloyed with much weakness and much superstition; and God knows there are many disturbing powers at work. But much has been done, more is doing, and nothing can be of more importance than giving this disposition a good direction.
Perceval’s death was one of the severest losses that England has ever sustained. He was a man who not only desired to act well, but desired it ardently; his heart always strengthened his understanding, and gave him that power which rose always to the measure of the occasion. Lord Liverpool is a cold man; you may convince his understanding, but you can only obtain an inert assent, where zealous co-operation is wanted. It is, however, enough for us to know what ought to be done: the how and the when are in the hands of One who knows when and how it may be done best. Oh! if this world of ours were but well cultivated, and weeded well, how like the garden of Eden might it be made! Its evils might almost be reduced to physical suffering and death; the former continually diminishing, and the latter, always indeed an awful thing, but yet to be converted into hope and joy.

“I am much better pleased with ——’s choice than if he had made a more ambitious alliance. Give me neither riches nor poverty, said the Wise Man. Lead us not into temptation is one of the few petitions of that prayer which comprises all that we need to ask: riches always lead that way.

“Why have you not been to visit Joanna Southcote? If I had been less occupied, I should have
requested you to go, not for the sake of a professional opinion (
Dr. Simms having satisfied me upon that score), but that you might have got at some of the mythology, and ascertained how much was imposture; and how much delusion. Gregoire has published a Histoire des Sectes, in two volumes, beginning with the last century. I shall review it as a second part to the article upon the Dissenters.

“You have in Roderick the best which I have done, and, probably, the best that I shall do, which is rather a melancholy feeling for the author. My powers, I hope, are not yet verging upon decay, but I have no right to expect any increase or improvement, short as they are of what they might have been, and of what I might have hoped to make them. Perhaps I shall never venture upon another poem of equal extent, and in so deep a strain. It will affect you more than Madoc, because it is pitched in a higher key. I am growing old, the grey hairs thicken upon me, my joints are less supple, and, in mind as well as body, I am less enterprising than in former years. When the thought of any new undertaking occurs, the question, shall I live to complete what I have already undertaken? occurs also. My next poem will be, ‘A Tale of Paraguay,’ about a thousand lines only in length. Its object will be to plant the grave with flowers, and wreathe a chaplet for the angel of death. If you suspect, from all this, that I suffer any diminution of my usual happy spirits, you will be mistaken. God bless you!

R. S.
To Bernard Barton, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 19. 1814.
“My dear Sir,

“You will wonder at not having received my thanks for your metrical effusions; but you will acquit me of all incivility when you hear that the book did not reach me till this morning, and that I have now laid it down after a full perusal.

“I have read your poems with much pleasure, those with most which speak most of your own feelings. Have I not seen some of them in the Monthly Magazine?

Wordsworth’s residence and mine are fifteen miles asunder, a sufficient distance to preclude any frequent interchange of visits. I have known him nearly twenty years, and, for about half that time, intimately. The strength and the character of his mind you see in the Excursion, and his life does not belie his writings, for, in every relation of life, and every point of view, he is a truly exemplary and admirable man. In conversation he is powerful beyond any of his contemporaries; and, as a poet,—I speak not from the partiality of friendship, nor because we have been so absurdly held up as both writing upon one concerted system of poetry, but with the most deliberate exercise of impartial judgment whereof I am capable, when I declare my full conviction that posterity will rank him with Milton. . . . .

“You wish the metrical tales were republished; they are at this time in the press, incorporated with
my other
minor poems, in three volumes. Nos hæc novimus esse nihil may serve as motto for them all.

“Do not suffer my projected Quaker poem to interfere with your intentions respecting William Penn; there is not the slightest reason why it should. Of all great reputations, Penn’s is that which has been most the effect of accident. The great action of his life was his turning Quaker; the conspicuous one his behaviour upon his trial. In all that regards Pennsylvania, he has no other merit than that of having followed the principles of the religious community to which he belonged, when his property happened to be vested in colonial speculations. The true champion for religious liberty in America was Roger Williams, the first consistent advocate for it in that country, and, perhaps, the first in any one. I hold his memory in veneration. But, because I value religious liberty, I differ from you entirely concerning the Catholic question, and never would intrust any sect with political power whose doctrines are inherently and necessarily intolerant.

Believe me,
Yours with sincere respect,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 22. 1814.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“If Murray were to offer me 500l. for a Register, I certainly should not for a moment hesitate. In-
deed, I know not whether I ought not gladly to catch at the 400l., circumstanced as I am. In that case I should advise him to begin with the Peace, for many reasons. First, because it would be so tremendous an undertaking to bring up the lee-way from the beginning of 1812; and, secondly, because there is a great advantage in commencing with a new era in history. It might be worth while at leisure (if I could possibly procure it) to write the volumes for 1812-13, for the sake of connecting the former volumes with these: but this I should despair of. My history of the Peninsula will include what is to me the most interesting portion, and the only portion which I can do thoroughly as it ought to be done. And, more than all, however I might spirit myself up to the undertaking, flesh and blood are not equal to it. I cannot get through more than at present; unless I give up sleep, or the little exercise which I take (and I walk to the Crag* before breakfast); and, that hour excepted, and my meals (barely the meals, for I remain not one minute after them), the pen or the book is always in my hand.

“Had you not better wait for Jeffrey’s attack upon Roderick? I have a most curious letter upon this subject from Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, a worthy fellow, and a man of very extraordinary powers. Living in Edinburgh, he thinks Jeffrey the greatest man in the world—an intellectual Bonaparte, whom nobody and nothing can resist. But Hogg, notwithstanding this, has fallen in liking with me, and is a

* A promontory jutting out into Derwentwater, about a mile from Greta Hall.

great admirer of Roderick. And this letter is to request that I will not do anything to nettle Jeffrey, while he is deliberating concerning Roderick, for he seems favourably disposed towards me! Morbleu! it is a rich letter! Hogg requested that he himself might review it, and gives me an extract from Jeffrey’s answer, refusing him. ‘I have, as well as you, a great respect for
Southey,’ he says; ‘but he is a most provoking fellow, and at least as conceited as his neighbour Wordsworth.’ But he shall be happy to talk to Hogg upon this and other kindred subjects, and he should be very glad to give me a lavish allowance of praise, if I would afford him occasion, &c.; but he must do what he thinks his duty, &c.! I laugh to think of the effect my reply will produce upon Hogg. How it will make every bristle to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine.

“God bless you!

R. S.

“What can I call the ode? Can you find anything to stand with Carmen? Annuum I will not use, nor will I call it Ode for the New Year, for I will do nothing that I can avoid toward perpetuating the custom. How would Carmen Hortatorium do, if there be such a word?”

To Walter Scott, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 24, 1814.
“My dear Scott,

“Are you still engaged with the Lord of the Isles, or may I give you joy of a happy deliverance? There are few greater pleasures in life than that of getting fairly through a great work of this kind, and seeing it when it first comes before us in portly form. I envy you the advantage which you always derive from a thorough knowledge of your poetical ground; no man can be more sensible of this advantage than myself, though I have in every instance been led to forego it.

Longman was to take care that Roderick should be duly conveyed to you. Remember that if you do not duly receive every book which has the name of R. S. in the title-page, the fault lies among the booksellers. My last employment has been an Odeous one. I was in good hope that this silly custom had been dispensed with, but on making inquiry through Croker, the reply was that an Ode I must write. It would be as absurd in me to complain of this, as it is in the higher powers to exact it. However, I shall no longer feel myself bound to volunteer upon extraordinary service. I had a ridiculous disappointment about the intended marriage of the Princess Charlotte, which was so mischievously broken off. Willing to be in time, as soon as I was assured that the marriage was to be, I fell to work, and produced some fifty six-lined stanzas, being about half of a
poem in the old manner, which would have done me credit.

“I do not like the aspect of affairs abroad. We make war better than we make peace. In war John Bull’s bottom makes amends for the defects of his head; he is a dreadful fellow to take by the horns, but no calf can be more easily led by the nose. Europe was in such a state when Paris was taken, that a commanding intellect, had there been such among the allies, might have cast it into whatever form ho pleased. The first business should have been to have reduced France to what she was before Louis XIV.’s time; the second to have created a great power in the north of Germany with Prussia at its head; the third to have consolidated Italy into one kingdom or commonwealth. A fairer opportunity was given us than at the peace of Utrecht, but moderation and generosity were the order of the day, and with these words we have suffered ourselves to be fooled. Here at home the Talents, with that folly which seems to pursue all their measures like a fatality, are crying out in behalf of Poland and Saxony—the restoration of which would be creating two powerful allies for France; and in America we have both lost time and credit. Of Sir G. Prevost, from his former conduct, I have too good an opinion to condemn him until I have heard his defence; but there has evidently been misconduct somewhere. And at Baltimore I cannot but think that the city would have been taken if poor Ross had not been killed. Confidence is almost everything in war.


Jeffrey I hear has written what his admirers call a crushing review of the Excursion. He might as well seat himself upon Skiddaw and fiincy that he crushed the mountain. I heartily wish Wordsworth may one day meet with him, and lay him alongside, yard-arm and yard-arm in argument.

“I saw Canning for an hour or two when he was in this country, and was far more pleased with him than I had expected. He has played his cards ill. In truth I believe that nature made him for something better than a politician. He is gone to a place where I wish I could go. Indeed I should think seriously of going to Spain, if the country were not evidently in a very insecure state. Some of my old Guerilla friends, for want of other occupation, might employ a cartridge upon me. I have still a communication with Madrid, but of course we get no information concerning the real state of things; nor can I guess who is the mover of this mischief. For Ferdinand is a fool, and is moreover exceedingly popular, which seems as if he were a good-natured fool. And a change of ostensible counsellors has produced no change of system. I am much gratified by the compliment the Academy have paid me, and if the Lisbon Academy should follow the example, I should desire no other mark of literary honour. The concluding volume of my Brazil is in the press, and I am closely employed upon it. You will find in it some warfare of the old hearty character, the whole history of the Jesuits in Paraguay, and much curious information respecting the savages. Remem-
ber me to
Mrs. Scott and your daughter, and believe me,

Yours very affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Dec. 29. 1814.

Laus Deo! Peace with America. All difficulty about the Ode is thus terminated, and instead of singing O be joyful! I must set about another. So I shall pen one for the Fiddlers, and alter the other, either to be published separately or with it. Coming extra-officially it cannot be offensive, and, being in the press, it cannot be suppressed without losing the price of the printer’s labour.

“As for any such possibilities as those at which you hint, they are so very like impossibilities that I do not know how to distinguish them. For in the first place you may be sure that if the men in power were ever so well disposed toward me, they would think me already liberally remunerated for my literary merits; they cannot know that by gaining a pension of 200l. I was actually a loser of 20l. a-year; they, if they thought about it at all, would needs suppose that it was a clear addition to my former means, and that if I lived decently before, the addition would enable me to live with ease and comfort. Secondly, they are never likely to think about me, farther than as I may, in pursuing my own principles, happen to fall in with their view of things. This happened in
the Spanish war, and would have happened in the Catholic question if the
Quarterly had not been under Canning’s influence. Thirdly, I am neither enthusiast nor hypocrite, but a man deeply and habitually religious in all ray feelings.

“No, Grosvenor, I shall never get more from Government than has already been given me, and I am and ought to be well contented with it; only they ought to allow me my wine in kind, and dispense with the Odes. When did this fool’s custom begin? Before Cibber’s time? I would have made the office honourable if they would have let me. If they will not, the dishonour will not be mine. And now I am going to think about my rhymes, so farewell for the night.

“Friday, Dec. 30.

“I have been rhyming as doggedly and as dully as if my name had been Henry James Pye. Another dogged fit will, it is to be hoped, carry me through the job; and as the Ode will be very much according to rule, and entirely good-for-nothing, I presume it may be found unobjectionable. Meantime the poor Mus. Doc. has the old poem to mumble over. As I have written in regular stanzas, I shall despatch him one by this post to set him his tune. It is really my wish to use all imaginable civility to the Mus. Doc, and yet I dare say he thinks me a troublesome fellow as well as an odd one.

“God bless you!

R. Southey.”
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 3. 1815.

“In one of the first books which I published a crazy compositor took it into his head to correct the proofs after me; and this he did so assiduously, that it cost me no fewer than sixteen cancels to get rid of the most intolerable of his blunders. One of his principles was, that in printing verse, wherever the lines were so indented that two in succession did not begin in the same perpendicular, there was to be a full stop at the end of the former; and upon this principle he punctuated my verses. I discovered it at last in the printing-office, upon inquiring how it happened that the very faults for which a leaf was cancelled appeared most perseveringly in the reprint. The man then came forward, quite in a fit of madness, told me I should have made a pretty book of it if he had not corrected it for me, and it was as much as the master of the office could do to pacify him.

“You have, I think, at Tours, the grave of Ronsard, who would have been a great poet if he had not been a Frenchman. I have read his works in those odds and ends of time which can be afforded to such reading, and have so much respect for him, Frenchman as he was, that I shall not visit Tours without inquiring for his grave. Never did man more boldly promise immortality to himself,—never did man more ardently aspire after it; and no Frenchman has ever impressed me with an equal sense of power; but poetry of the higher order is as impossible in that
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 101
language as it is in Chinese. And this reminds me of a certain
M. le Mierre, interprète, traducteur, &c., who has written to tell me that many of my compatriotes, distingués par leur goût et leurs connoissances, have spoken to him with great eulogies of my poem of Roderick; whereupon he, not having seen the poem, has resolved to translate it, and found a bookseller who will undertake to print the translation. I wrote him, as courtesy required, a civil reply, but expressed my doubts whether such a poem would accord with the tastes of a French public, and recommended him, if he should persist in his intention when he had read the work, to render it in prose rather than in verse.

“I have begun my Quaker poem, and written the first book in irregular rhyme,—a measure which allows of a lower key than any structure of rhymeless verse, and may be laid aside, when the passion requires it, for dialogue. The principal character is rather a Seeker (in the language of that day) than a Quaker, a son of Goffe, the King’s Judge, a godson of Cromwell, a friend of Milton, a companion of William Penn. The plan is sufficiently made out; but I have no longer that ardour of execution which I possessed twenty years ago. I have the disheartening conviction that my best is done, and that to add to the bulk of my works will not be to add to their estimation. Doubtless I shall go on with the poem, and complete it if I live; but it will be to please others, not myself; and will be so long in progress, that in all likelihood I shall never begin another. You see I am not without those autumnal feelings
which your stanza expresses, and yet the decline of life has delights of its own—its autumnal odours and its sunset hues. My disposition is invincibly cheerful, and this alone would make me a happy man, if I were not so from the tenour of my life; yet I doubt whether the strictest Carthusian has the thought of death more habitually in his mind.

“I hope to see you in the autumn, and will, if it be possible. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mr. J. Neville White.
“Keswick, Feb. 16. 1815.
“My dear Neville,

“Since you heard from me, I have scarcely seen a face but those of my own family, nor been farther from home than Friars’ Crag, except one fine day, which tempted me to Lord William Gordon’s, The weeks and months pass by as rapidly as an ebb tide. The older we grow the more we feel this. The hour-glass runs always at the same rate; but when the sands are more than half spent, it is then only that we perceive how rapidly they are running out. I have been close at the desk this winter. The Quarterly takes up a heavy portion of my time. You would see in the last number two articles of mine—one upon the History of English Poetry, the other upon Forbes’s Travels, both deplorably injured by mutilation. The next number will have a pretty full abstract of Lewis and Clarke’s Travels. All these things cost me more time than they would any
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 103
other person, for upon every subject, I endeavour to read all such books relating to it, as I had before left unread.

“I know not that there is anything farther to tell you of myself, unless it be, that I have written the first book of Oliver Newman, and that it is in irregular rhymes. We are all, thank God, tolerably well. Herbert goes on stoutly with his Greek, and last week he began to learn German, which I shall acquire myself in the process of teaching him.

“How is James going on? This I am anxious to hear. The Income Tax was laid on with great injustice; it is taken off, not because it pressed with a cruel weight upon those of small fortune, but because it took in a proper proportion from the great landholders and capitalists, who cannot be got at in an equal degree by any other manner. For instance, Lord —— pays probably 10,000l. a year to this tax. Nothing that can be substantiated for it can by possibility take from him a tenth part of that sum. The tax ought not to be continued; but I would have given it one year longer, that Government might have been enabled, with as much facility as possible, to wind up the accounts of a long war, unexampled alike in its duration, importance, and expense. Not to have done this will lower the English people in the eyes of other nations; but of all people under Heaven who have any country to boast of, we are the least patriotic.

Believe me, my dear Neville,
Very affectionately yours,
Robert Southey.”
To Dr. Southey.
“Feb. 16. 1815.
“My dear Harry,

“I have got scent of the squid-hound, for whom I inquired in the Omniana. Cartwright heard of a sort of cuttle-fish of this enormous size; there is a beast of this family on the coast of Brazil, which twines its suckers round a swimmer and destroys him; and Langsdorff, who relates this, refers with disbelief to a book, which I wish you would examine for me. In the Histoire Naturelle des Mollusques, par Denys Montfort, Paris, An. 10., under the head of Le Poulpe Colossal, there must be an account of a fellow big enough to claw down a large three-masted vessel. Being a modern work of natural history, I dare say the book will be at the Royal Institution, and I pray you to extract the account for me. I shall make use of it in an article about Labrador for the Quarterly. Cartwright says, he is told they grow to a most enormous size, as big as a large whale, and he evidently does not disbelieve it. He was not a credulous man, and knew upon what sort of authority he was speaking. The description of the Kraken accords perfectly with this genus. You know, Doctor, that I can swallow a Kraken. You know, also, that I am a mortal enemy to that sort of incredulity which is founded upon mere ignorance.

“Several weeks have elapsed since this letter was begun; and in the interim, to my no small satisfaction, I have found one of these monsters dead, and
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 105
literally floating many a rood. The Frenchman,
De Menonville, met with it between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Domingo (see Pinkerton’s Coll. vol. xiii. p. 873.), and knew not what to make of it.

“I have heard from many quarters of Lord Byron’s praise, and regard it just as much as I did his censure. Nothing can be more absurd than thinking of comparing any of my poems with the Paradise Lost. With Tasso, with Virgil, with Homer, there may be fair grounds of comparison; but my mind is wholly unlike Milton’s, and my poetry has nothing of his imagination and distinguishing character; nor is there any poet who has, except Wordsworth: he possesses it in an equal degree. And it is entirely impossible that any man can understand Milton, and fail to perceive that Wordsworth is a poet of the same class and of equal powers. Whatever my powers may be, they are not of that class. From what I have seen of the minor poems, I suspect that Chiabrera is the writer whom, as a poet, I most resemble in the constitution of my mind. His narrative poems I have never seen.

“The sale of Roderick is what I expected, neither better nor worse. It is also just what I should desire, if profit were a matter of indifference to me; for I am perfectly certain that great immediate popularity can only be obtained by those faults which fall in with the humour of the times, and which are, of course, ultimately fatal to the poems that contain them. God bless you!

R. S.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“Keswick, March 9, 1815.
“My dear Wynn,

“It would be needless to say that I am much gratified by your general opinion of Roderick. To most of your objections I can reply satisfactorily to my own judgment. The eleven syllable lines (by which we must here understand those which have the redundant syllabic anywhere except at the end,) I justify upon principle and precedent, referring to the practice of Shakspeare and Milton, as authorities from which there can be no appeal. The blending two short syllables into the time of one is as well known in versification as what are called binding-notes are in music.

“The descriptive passages are the relief of the poem, the time in which the action took place not affording me any costume available for this purpose; and relief was especially required in a work wherein the passion was pitched so high.

“I cannot abbreviate the first scene between Julian and Roderick without destroying the connection; and for the blinding of Theodofred, where else could it have been introduced with so much effect as in its present place, where it is so related as at once to mark the character of Rusilla?

“The words to which you object are, one and all, legitimate English words; and I believe, in those places where they are used, the same meaning could not be expressed without a periphrasis. The account
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 107
of the Spanish towns, &c. was for the double purpose of relief, and of distinctly marking the geography. The auriphrygiate is the only piece of pedantry that I acknowledge, and I was tempted to it by the grandiloquence of the word. You need not be told how desirable it often is to connect blank verse with sonorous words.

“The image of the clouds and the moon*, I saw from my chamber window at Cintra when going to bed, and noted it down with its application the next morning. I have it at this moment distinctly before my eyes, with all the accompanying earth-scenery. Thus much for Roderick. Shall I ever accomplish another work of equal magnitude? I am an older man in feelings than in years, and the natural bent of my inclinations would be never again to attempt one.

“The last Register was not mine, nor do I know by whom it was written. I have not seen it. For the former volume I have never been wholly paid, and have lost from 300l. to 400l. altogether—to me a very serious loss.† At present my time is divided

Methinks if ye would know
How visitations of calamity
Affect the pious soul, ’tis shown ye there!
Look yonder at that cloud, which through the sky
Sailing alone doth cross in her career
The rolling moon! I watched it as it came,
And deemed the bright opake would blot her beams;
But, melting like a wreath of snow, it hangs
In folds of wavy silver round, and clothes
The orb with richer beauties than her own,
Then passing, leaves her in her light serene.
Roderick, sect. xxi.

† Part of this was ultimately paid, but not for several years.

at fits between the
History of the Spanish War, and that of Brazil: the latter is in the press, and will be published about the close of the year. I shall follow it immediately with the History of Portugal, which will be by far the most interesting of my historical works.

“Your godson bids fair to walk in the ways of his father. He is now in his ninth year, and knows about as much Greek as a boy in the under-fifth. His Latin consists in a decent knowledge of the grammar, and a tolerable copia verborum. His sister teaches him French, and he and I have lately begun to learn German together. Do not fear that we are over-doing him, for he has plenty of play, and, indeed, plays at his lessons. He takes it for granted that he must be a poet in his turn; and in this respect, as far as it is possible to judge, nature seems to agree with him. Be that as it may, there is not a happier creature upon this earth, nor could any father desire a child of fairer promise, as to moral and intellectual qualities.

“When shall I see you? Alas, how little have we seen of each other for many many years! I might also say, since we used to sit till midnight over your claret at Ch. Ch. The first term of my lease expires in two years, and some reasons would induce me to come near London, if I could encounter the expense; but though my History of the War might possibly enable me to make the arduous removal, the increased costs of housekeeping would probably be more than I could meet. I know not whether I shall be in London this year; if I go, it will be shortly;
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 109
but I can ill afford the time, and for weighty reasons ought not to afford it. On the other hand, my
uncle is advancing in years and declining in health; and if my visits are to be at such long intervals as they have hitherto been, there can be very few more, even upon the most favourable chances of life.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq.
“Keswick, May 20. 1815.
“My dear Wynn,

“It is surprising to me that men whose fortunes are not absolutely desperate at home will go to India to seek them; that is, men who have any feelings beyond what is connected with the sense of touch. Fourteen years’ transportation is a heavy sentence; Strachey, I think, has been gone seventeen. What a portion of human life is this, and of its best years! After such an absence the pain of returning is hardly less severe, and perhaps more lasting, than that of departure. He finds his family thinned by death; his parents, if he finds them at all, fallen into old age, and on the brink of the grave; the friends whom he left in youth so changed as to be no longer the same. What fortune can make amends for this! It is indeed propter vitam vivendi perdere causas! I grieve to think sometimes that you and I, who were once in such daily habits of intimate intercourse, meet now only at intervals of two or three years;
though, besides our communication by letter (too seldom, I confess, rather than complain), what we do in public serve to keep us in sight of each other. However indifferent may be the matter of the debate, I always look to see if
Mr. C. Wynn has spoken. But Strachey must almost feel himself in another world.

“I thought that rascal Murat might have done more mischief. The proper termination of his career would be that the Sicilian Bourbons should catch him, and send him to Madrid; and I think Louis the Eighteenth would now be fully justified in sending Prince Joseph to the same place. The contest in France cannot surely be long; if Bonaparte could have acted with vigour on the offensive, he would have found perilous allies in Saxony, and little resistance from the Belgians. But the internal state of France paralyses him; and if he acts on the defensive, he can derive no advantage from the injustice of the great German powers. Two things were wanting last year,—the British army did not get to Paris, and the French were neither punished as they deserved, nor humbled as the interests of the rest of the world required. It will, I trust, now be put beyond all doubt that they have been conquered, and that their metropolis has been taken.

“The second edition of Roderick is selling well. It will probably soon reach to a third, and then fall into the slow steady sale of its predecessors. The sale will become of importance, when by the laws of literary property it will no longer benefit the author in his family. This is an abominable injustice, and
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 111
will, I suppose, one day be redressed, but not in our times. I am misemploying much time in reviewing for the lucre of gain, which nothing but filthy lucre should make me do. My
History of Brazil, however, gets on in the press; and you would be surprised were you to see the materials which I have collected for it. I did not think it right to postpone this second volume till my History of the Spanish War was done; for it had already been postponed too long. But it is a considerable sacrifice which I thus have been making. As soon as this work is off my hands I shall be able to put the History of Portugal to press without impeding the more profitable work. It is on this that I should wish to rest my reputation. As a poet I know where I have fallen short; and did I consult only my own feelings, it is probable that I should write poetry no more,—not as being contented with what I have done, but as knowing that I can hope to do nothing better. I might were my whole heart and mind given to it, as they were in youth; but they are no longer at my own disposal. As an historian I shall come nearer my mark. For thorough research, indeed, and range of materials, I do not believe that the History of Portugal will ever have been surpassed.

“God bless you, my dear Wynn!

Yours very affectionately,
R. S.”
To the Rev. Nicholas Lightfoot.
“Keswick, June 18. 1815.
“My dear Lightfoot,

“You cannot think of me more frequently nor more affectionately than I do of you. These recollections begin to have an autumnal shade of feeling; and habitually joyous as my spirits are, I believe that if we were now to meet, my first impulse would be to burst into tears. I was not twenty when we parted, and one and twenty years have elapsed since that time. Of the men with whom I lived at Oxford, Wynn, Elmsley, and yourself are all that are left. Seward is dead, Charles Collins is dead, Robert Allen is dead, Burnett is dead. I have lost sight of all the rest.

“My family continue in number the same as when you heard from me last. I am my son’s schoolmaster, and, in the process, am recovering my Greek, which I had begun to forget at Balliol. How long I may continue to abide here is uncertain: the first term of my lease will expire in 1817; if I do not remove then, I must remain for another seven years, and I am far too sensible of the insecurity of life to look beyond that time. Having many inducements to remove nearer London, and many to remain where I am, the trouble and enormous expense of moving (for I have not less than 5000 books) will probably turn the scale; certainly they will weigh heavy in it. It is not that I have any business in London as Poet-Laureate; that office imposes upon me no such necessity; it only requires, as a matter of decorum,
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 113
that when I happen to be there I should sometimes attend a levee, especially on the birth-day, but it is not expected that I should make a journey for this purpose, and accordingly I have never been at court since I kissed hands upon my appointment. . . . .

“I have just been reading the Ludus Literarius of my friend Dr. Bell: happy is the schoolmaster who profits by it, and reforms his school upon the Madras system. I pray you give the subject a serious consideration. The only real obstacle is the want of initiatory books, but they would be very easily made; and I believe that very few pieces of literary labour would be so largely repaid. It is quite certain that his system removes 99 parts in 100 of the miseries of the school-boys and the school-master. . . . .

“Thus, Lightfoot, my life passes as uniformly and as laboriously as yours. There is one difference in your favour: you, perhaps, look on to an end of your labours, which I never must do till ‘my right hand forget its cunning.’ But I am very happy, and I dare say so are you. ‘The cheerful man’s a king,’ says the old song; and if this be true, both you and I are royal by nature.

“God bless you, my dear Lightfoot!

Believe me, most truly and affectionately,
Your old friend,
R. Southey.”
To C. W. W. Wynn, Esq., M.P.
“Keswick, June 18. 1815.
“My dear Wynn,

“You have done many things which have given me great pleasure since your last letter. I never was more rejoiced than when Lord Grenville gave his full and manly support to a war which, beyond all others in which we have been involved, is necessary and inevitable. I am very glad, also, to see that you are doing something to promote vaccination. Much may be done towards the cure and prevention of diseases, by wise legislative interference; and this is one of the points in which the state of society is susceptible of great improvement. . . . .

“The question of incest was touched upon, and you very properly recommended that the case of should rest upon the existing law, rather than make it the subject of a specific (and superfluous) clause in the act of divorce. But has it never occurred to you, my dear Wynn, that this law is an abominable relic of ecclesiastical tyranny? Of all second marriages, I have no hesitation in saying that these are the most natural, the most suitable, and likely to be the most frequent, if the law did not sometimes prevent them. It is quite monstrous to hear judges and lawyers speaking, as they have done of late, upon this subject, and confounding natural incest with what was only deemed to be incestuous, in order that the Church might profit by selling dispensations for its commission—a species of marriage, too, which was not only permitted by the Levitical law, but even
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 115
enjoined by it. I should be glad to know in what part of the Christian dispensation it is prohibited as a crime. The probable reason why the law was not swept away in this country at the Reformation, was, because it involved the cause of that event; but surely we owe no such respect to the memory of
Henry the Eighth, that it should still continue to disgrace a reformed country.

Longman was to send you my poems. You will perceive how very few have been written since I was twenty-five, and that may account for the numberless and incorrigible faults, and the good-for-nothingness of a great part of them, which, had they been my own property, would have gone behind the fire.

“They have made me member of another academy at Madrid—the R. A. of History—a body which have rendered most efficient service to the literature of that country. This gives me some privileges*, which I should be very glad to profit by, if I could afford a journey to Spain, for I should have better access to archives and manuscripts than any foreigner has ever enjoyed.

“You will see in the next Quarterly a picture, which I found in M. Larrey’s book—Bonaparte sleeping in the Desert by a fire of human bodies and bones—the remains of travellers who had perished there, and been dried by the sun and sands! It is

* The same privileges as if he had been a member of the royal household. “I do not know,” he says in another letter, “how this will accord with the English privilege which I must use of speaking my free opinion of Ferdinand’s conduct.”

one of the most extraordinary and appropriate situations that ever fancy conceived. . . . .

“God bless you my dear Wynn.

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”

The important question of marriage with a wife’s sister, touched upon in the foregoing letter, is far too summarily disposed of; for, first of all, the ecclesiastical prohibition is traced back to the primitive ages of Christianity, so that it cannot be accounted for by the supposition that it originated in the wish to multiply dispensations. (See the printed evidence of Dr. Pusey and of the Hon. and Rev. A. P. Perceval.)

Secondly, the Levitical law nowhere authorises, much less enjoins, this particular union. The prohibited degrees are, in Leviticus, in most cases, stated only on one side; and the Church has supplied the other: as, if a man must not marry his father’s wife, a woman must not marry her mother’s husband. By this mode of interpretation, if a man must not marry his brother’s wife (Lev. xviii. 16., and xx. 21.), a woman must not marry her sister’s husband. The former of these connections is twice forbidden, the latter is not mentioned, but is inferred. My father’s notion is, I suppose, based upon the other passage (Deut. xxv. 5.), where a brother is enjoined to take to him his brother’s wife. This, however, is only an exceptional case, ordered for a special purpose, and cannot be set against the general law stated in Leviticus, nor authorise the like exception in the case of the woman, the case not applying. It is not my wish to
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 117
say anything more upon this subject than seems called for by the opinion given in this letter. If I had not printed it, I might, perhaps, have been supposed by some who are acquainted with what my father’s sentiments were, to have suppressed a statement upon a topic of more than common interest at the present time.

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, June 24. 1815.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . Our bells are ringing as they ought to do; and I, after a burst of exhilaration at the day’s news*, am in a state of serious and thoughtful thankfulness for what, perhaps, ought to be considered as the greatest deliverance that civilised society has experienced since the defeat of the Moors by Charles Martel. I never feared or doubted the result; but if we had been thus thoroughly defeated in the first battle, the consequences would have been too fatal to think of with composure. Perhaps enough has been done to excite a revolt in Paris; but I have a strong impression, either upon my imagination or my judgment, that that city will suffer some part of its deserved chastisement. The cannon should be sent home and formed into a pillar to support a statue of Wellington in the centre of the largest square in London.

* Of the battle of Waterloo.


“I am expecting the Review daily. Your hint respecting Marlborough does not accord with my own opinion of the subject. I could make nothing of a life of Marlborough. A battle can only be made tolerable in narration when it has something picturesque in its accidents, scene, &c. &c., which is not the case with any of Marlborough’s. The only part which I could make valuable would be what related to Louis XIV. and the peace of Utrecht. But if the Bibliopole of Albemarle Street were to propound sweet remuneration for the Egyptian story, he would do wisely. With all his sagacity, he turned a deaf ear to the most promising project which ever occurred to me—that of writing; the age of George III. This I will do whenever (if ever) I get free from the necessity of raising immediate supplies by temporary productions. The subject, as you may perceive, is nothing less than a view of the world during the most eventful half century of its annals,—not the history, but a philosophical summary, with reference to the causes and consequences of all these mighty revolutions. There never was a more splendid subject, and I have full confidence in my own capacity for treating it.

“Did I tell you of the Yankee’s pamphlet, to abuse me for an article in the Quarterly which I did not write, and (between ourselves) would not have written? He talks of my getting drunk with my sack. One especial (and just) cause of anger is the expression that ‘Washington, we believe, was an honest man;’ and I am reviled for this in America, when I was consternating the Lord Chamberlain by
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speaking of Washington with respect in a New Year’s Ode! Has
Longman sent you the Minor Poems? The newspapers ought to reprint that ode upon Bonaparte. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“July 10. 1815.
“My dear R.,

“I could wish myself in London to be three-and-forty hours nearer the news. Was there ever such a land battle in modern times! The wreck has been as complete as at the Nile. Murray propounds me sweet remuneration to bring it into his next number, which, as I have a French history of Massena’s campaign before me, it will be easy to do, the object of that book being to prove that the French beat us wherever they met us, and that Lord Wellington is no general, and, moreover, exceedingly afraid of them. The battle of Waterloo is a good answer to this. The name which Blucher has given it will do excellently in verse—the field of Fair Alliance! but I do not like it in prose, for we gave them such an English thrashing, that the name ought to be one which comes easily out of an English mouth. If you can help me to any information, I shall know how to use it.

“If Bonaparte comes here, which is very likely, I hope no magnanimity will prevent us from delivering him up to Louis XVIII.; unless, indeed, we could
collect evidence of the murder of
Captain Wright, and bring him to trial and condemnation for that offence. This would be the best finish.

“I am sorry Lafayette has opened his mouth in this miserable Assembly. As for the rest of them—gallows, take thy course. . . . . They should all be hanged in their robes for the sake of the spectacle, and the benefit of M. Jean Quetch. What a scene of vile flattery shall we have when the Bourbons are restored!

Yours truly,
R. S.”
To Dr. Southey.
“Keswick, Aug. 23. 1815.
“My dear Harry,

“According to all form, I ought to write you a letter of congratulation*: but some unlucky ingredient in my moral, physical, and intellectual composition has all my life long operated upon me with respect to forms, like that antipathy which some persons feel towards cats, or other objects equally inoffensive. I get through them so badly at all times, that, whenever I am obliged to the performance, my chief concern is, how to slink out of it as expeditiously as possible. I have, moreover, a propensity which may seem at first, not very well to accord with that constitutional hilarity which is my best inherit-

* On his marriage. On some similar occasion, my father remarks, “I never wish people joy of their marriage; that they will find for themselves: what I wish them is—patience.”

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ance. Occasions of joy and festivity seem rather to depress the barometer of my spirits than to raise it; birth-days and wedding-days, therefore, pass uncelebrated by me; and with the strongest conviction of the good effects of national holidays, and with a feeling towards them which men, who are incapable of understanding what is meant by the imaginative faculty, might call superstition, I yet wish, if it were possible, that Christmas and New Year’s Day could be blotted from my calendar. It might not be difficult to explain why this is, but it would be somewhat metaphysical, which is bad, and somewhat sentimental, which is worse.

“Monday, the 21st of August, was not a more remarkable day in your life than it was in that of my neighbour Skiddaw, who is a much older personage. The weather served for our bonfire*, and never, I believe, was such an assemblage upon such a spot. To my utter astonishment. Lord Sunderlin rode up, and Lady S., who had endeavoured to dissuade me from going as a thing too dangerous, joined the walking party. Wordsworth, with his wife, sister, and eldest boy, came over on purpose. James Boswell arrived that morning at the Sunderlins. Edith, the Senhora†, Edith May, and Herbert were my convoy, with our three maid-servants, some of our neighbours, some adventurous Lakers, and Messrs. Rag, Tag, and Bobtail, made up the rest of the assembly. We roasted beef and boiled plum-pud-

* In honour of the Battle of Waterloo.

Miss Barker, a lady with whom my father first became acquainted at Cintra,

dings there; sung ‘God save the king’ round the most furious body of flaming tar-barrels that I ever saw; drank a huge wooden bowl of punch; fired cannon at every health with three times three, and rolled large blazing balls of tow and turpentine down the steep side of the mountain. The effect was grand beyond imagination. We formed a huge circle round the most intense light, and behind us was an immeasurable arch of the most intense darkness, for our bonfire fairly put out the moon.

“The only mishap which occurred will make a famous anecdote in the life of a great poet, if James Boswell, after the example of his father, keepeth a diary of the sayings of remarkable men. When we were craving for the punch, a cry went forth that the kettle had been knocked over, with all the boiling water! Colonel Barker, as Boswell named the Senhora, from her having had the command on this occasion, immediately instituted a strict inquiry to discover the culprit, from a suspicion that it might have been done in mischief, water, as you know, being a commodity not easily replaced on the summit of Skiddaw. The persons about the fire declared it was one of the gentlemen—they did not know his name; but he had a red cloak on; they pointed him out in the circle. The red cloak (a maroon one of Edith’s) identified him; Wordsworth had got hold of it, and was equipped like a Spanish Don—by no means the worst figure in the company. He had committed this fatal faux pas, and thought to slink off undiscovered. But as soon as, in my inquiries concerning the punch, I learnt his guilt from the
Ætat. 40. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 123
Senhora, I went round to all our party, and communicated the discovery, and getting them about him, I punished him by singing a parody, which they all joined in: ‘’Twas you that kicked the kettle down! twas you, Sir, you!’

“The consequences were, that we took all the cold water upon the summit to supply our loss. Our myrmidons and Messrs. Rag and Co. had, therefore, none for their grog; they necessarily drank the rum pure; and you, who are physician to the Middlesex Hospital, are doubtless acquainted with the manner in which alcohol acts upon the nervous system. All our torches were lit at once by this mad company, and our way down the hill was marked by a track of fire, from flambeaux dropping the pitch, tarred ropes, &c. One fellow was so drunk that his companions placed him upon a horse, with his face to the tail, to bring him down, themselves being just sober enough to guide and hold him on. Down, however, we all got safely by midnight; and nobody, from the old Lord of seventy-seven to my son Herbert, is the worse for the toil of the day, though we were eight hours from the time we set out till we reached home. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.

“I heard of your election from your good and trusty ally, Neville White. If that man’s means were equal to his spirit, he would be as rich as Crœsus.”