LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843

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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I have just closed a melancholy chapter, and I must open another—the last—in which there is nothing cheerful to record. During the three years that my mother’s afflicted state continued, my father had borne up wonderfully, and after the first shock had passed away, his spirits, though of course not what they had been, were uniformly cheerful; and he had found in the performance of a sacred duty that peace and comfort which in such paths is ever to be found. But when the necessity for exertion ceased, his spirits fell and he became an altered man. Probably the long-continued effort began now to tell upon him, and the loss of her who for forty years, in sickness and health, had been the constant object of his thoughts, now caused a blank that
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nothing could fill. “I feel,” he says, in one of his letters, “as one of the Siamese twins would do if the other had died, and he had survived the separation.” He seemed, indeed, less able to accommodate himself to his altered circumstances, than might have been expected from the turn of his mind, and the nature of his pursuits.

To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 20. 1837.
“My dear H. T.,

“An ever-present sense of the uncertainty of all human projects does not, and indeed ought not, to prevent me from forecasting what course it may be best to pursue under any probable circumstances. For this I have had but too much opportunity for some time past, and temptation to it as well, for it was some kind of relief from the present and the past.

“About the middle of January Karl must begin his residence at Oxford. I think of giving him charge of Kate, to London, from whence she will proceed to Tarring.

Bertha and I must winter where we are. The house cannot be left without a mistress.

“We shall find salutary occupations enough till Cuthbert returns about the end of March, for a month’s recreation. That brings me to the month of May. By that time my extraordinaries will be provided for by the Admirals (whatever becomes of
Cowper) or by the Q. R., for which I have two papers in hand (Sir T. Browne, and Lord Howe). Then, too, Miss Fricker will come from the Isle of Man to keep Mrs. Lovel company; and, in fact, look after the house during the summer months, thus placing Bertha and myself at liberty.

“In May then (I do not look so far forward without misgivings),—but if all go on well, by God’s blessing in May,—I hope to leave home with Bertha, and our invaluable Betty, whose services to us for five-and-twenty years, through weal and woe, have been beyond all price, who loves my children as dearly as if they were her own, and loved their poor mother with that sort of attachment which is now so rarely found in that relation, and served her with the most affectionate and dutiful fidelity to the last. The house might safely be left in her charge, but she needs recruiting as much as we do. So I shall go first with Bertha and her into Norfolk, and pass a week or ten days with Neville White, discharging thus a visit which was miserably prevented three years ago. Then we go to London, making little tarriance there, and that chiefly for Betty’s sake, on whom the sight of London will not be thrown away. By that time Kate will have got through both her stay at Tarring, and her visit to Miss Fenwick; and depositing Bertha at Tarring, I think of taking Kate with me to the West. One friend there I have lost since my last journey; it must have been about this very day twelvemonths that I shook hands with him, little thinking that it was for the last time. But there are still some persons there who will rejoice to see us. Old as my
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good aunt is, she may very probably be living; there is Elizabeth Charter there, and there is Lightfoot, with either of whom we should feel at home; on our way back there would be Miss Bowles; and very possibly Mrs. Brown may be in Devonshire.

“God bless you!

R. S.

“It has been snowing this morning for the first time in the valley, but the snow having turned to rain, I shall presently prepare for my daily walk, from which nothing but snow deters me.”

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Nov. 24. 1837.
“My dear G.,

“This event could not have been regarded otherwise than as a deliverance at any time, since there ceased to be a hope of mental restoration; and for several weeks it was devoutly to be desired. Yet it has left a sense of bereavement which I had not expected to feel, lost as she had been to me for the last three years, and worse than lost. During more than two-thirds of my life, she had been the chief object of my thoughts, and I of hers. No man ever had a truer helpmate I no children a more careful mother. No family was ever more wisely ordered, no house-
keeping ever conducted with greater prudence, or greater comfort. Every thing was left to her management, and managed so quietly and so well, that except in times of sickness and sorrow, I had literally no cares.

“I always looked upon it as conducing much to our happiness, that we were of the same age, for in proportion to any perceptible disparity on that point, the marriage union is less complete. And so completely was she part of myself, that the separation makes me feel like a different creature. While she was herself I had no sense of growing old, or at most only such as the mere lapse of time brought with it; there was no weight of years upon me, my heart continued young, and my spirits retained their youthful buoyancy. Now, the difference of five and thirty years between me and Bertha continually makes me conscious of being an old man. There is no one to partake with me the recollections of the best and happiest portion of my life; and for that reason, were there no other, such recollections must henceforth be purely painful, except when I connect them with the prospect of futurity.

“You will not suppose that I encourage this mood of mind. But it is well sometimes to look sorrow in the face; and always well to understand one’s own condition. . . . .

“Meantime you may be assured that I shall not be wanting in self-management, as far as that can avail; that I shall think as little as I can of the past,
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and pursue as far as possible my wonted course of life.*

“Remember me most kindly to Miss Page. God bless you, my dear Grosvenor!

R. S.”

* I transcribe here the chief part of Mr. Bedford’s admirable reply to this letter:—

“Your letter, as you may supposed is one of the highest interest to me, as affording a perfect picture of your present state of mind and feelings; and it is also satisfactory.

“However much the separation may have been anticipated, or, for her sake, even desirable, I am not at all surprised that you feel the sense of bereavement as you do at this moment, or that your recollection rather reverts to her in her happier days than in the last few years of sickness and helplessness. It is quite natural, and the period for such recollections will run its course, to be succeeded by a tender, a cherished, and in its effects a most consolatory feeling.

“If you and I had not resembled each other in some material points, we could not have maintained an unbroken intimacy for five and forty years, and when I speak from observation and experience of myself, I speak for you also. I may therefore on these grounds say that I believe few men have preserved the youth of their minds as long as we have. For my own part I am truly grateful for this, for I consider such a possession as one of Heaven’s best blessings, inasmuch as it affords a protection against the evils of life, and, like youth of body, contains an elastic power of resistance to every blow, and encourages the spring and growth of hope in the very depth of misfortune. My dear Southey, I have no hesitation in believing that in due time you will again be such as you have been. You have great and happy means within your own reach for attaining this desirable state, in the society of your own excellent children, with whom you have ever lived so much like a brother, that I cannot believe the difference in your mutual years can create any strong line of demarcation between you. You will now consider them with (if possible) increased love, and they will look to you with more reverent affection. Surely these must operate to break down the bar which difference of years might else interpose between you, to prevent that perfect intercourse and fellow-feeling which will constitute so much of your happiness and theirs. Recollection will operate to strengthen the tie on both sides. I have often called to mind the last act of my dear father’s life that displayed consciousness, and always with such pleasure as I look for for you. Henry and I were standing on each side of the bed, with one of his hands in each of ours. He had long lain quite still, and only breathed, when to our joint surprise he lifted one, the disabled arm, and brought our two hands in union across his

To H. Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec 2. 1837.
“My dear H. T.,

“I have received Spring Rice’s circular about the pensions, and take for granted that it comes as a mere circular, and therefore requires no answer.

Moore and I being coupled upon this occasion, it is not likely that our pensions will be objected to, on either side of the House, upon the ground that literature, like any other profession, brings with it its own emoluments. But if that argument should be used against an enlargement of the copyright, which is not unlikely, it will be fitting that some one should state how the case stands in my instance. That followed as a profession, with no common diligence, and no ordinary success, it has enabled me to live respectably (which without the aid of my first pension it would not have done), and that all the provision I have been able to make for my family consists in a life-insurance, of which about three-fourths are covered by the salary of the Laureateship. Were I to die before Talfourd’s Bill passes, the greater part of my poems, and no little of my prose, would be seized immediately by some rascally booksellers, as property which the law allowed them

Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 355
to scramble for. It is true that, as the law now stands, I secure a new term of copyright by the corrected edition now in course of publication. But these fellows would publish from the former copies, and thereby take in all those purchasers who know nothing about the difference between one edition and another.

“It is well that Windham is not living, and that there is no one in either House on whom his mantle has fallen. For he would surely have taken the opposite side to Talfourd, and argued upon the folly of altering an established law, for the sake of benefiting one or two individuals in the course of a century. He would ask what the copyrights are which would at this time be most beneficial to the family of the author: the Cookery Book would stand first: within my recollection, the most valuable would have been Blair’s Lectures, the said Blair’s Sermons, Taplin’s Farriery, Burn’s Justice, and Lindley Murray’s English Grammar. . . . .

“Monday, 4.

“Thank you for the Examiners; they shall be duly returned. I would never desire better praise, and must not complain because there is more of it than is good. In the piece which they praise as resembling Cowper, there is nothing Cowperish. And on the other band, in the substitution of the general crimes of the Terrorists in France, for the instances of Brissot and Madame Roland, there is nothing but what is in perfect accord with the pervading sentiment of the poem.
Madame Roland’s praise is left where it was appropriate, in the second volume. As for Brissot, I knew him only by newspapers, when his deaths and that of the great body of the Girondists with him, kept me (as I well remember) a whole night sleepless. But I know him now by two volumes of his
Memoirs, which though made up, are from family materials; and I know him by nine volumes of his own works, and thereby know that he was a poor creature. And I know by Garat’s book, that the difference between the Brissotines and the Jacobines was that, playing for heads, the Brissotines lost the game.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec 14. 1837.
“My dear H. T.,

“. . . . . It cannot often have happened that any one should have a lost wife brought to his mind in the way that I am continually reminded of my poor Edith. Before any of my children were old enough to make extracts for me, it was one of her pleasures to assist me in that way. Many hundred notes in her writing (after so many have been made use of) are arranged among the materials to which every day of my life I have occasion to refer. And thus she will continue to be my helpmate as long as I live and retain my senses. But all these notes bring with them the vivid recollection of the when and the where,
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 357
and the why they were made; and whether the sight of her hand-writing will ever be regarded without emotion, is more than I can promise myself.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec 29. 1837.
“My dear G.,

“I was not aware that it was so long since you had heard from me; of me you could only have heard from H. T., with whom I have a pretty constant communication, owing to the transmission of proofs. These come thick; there has been little tinkering in the third volume but the sixth, on which I am at work, requires a good deal, in repairing some old wefts and strays, and preparing prolegomena. Moreover, I am reviewing Barrow’s Life of Lord Howe; so you see I am not idle.

“In other respects, I can give no good report of myself. There is every possible reason to be thankful for my poor Edith’s release, and God knows I am truly thankful for it. But my spirits, which bore up through three trying years, and continued to do so while there was immediate necessity for exertion, show as yet no tendency to recover that elasticity which they lost when the necessity ceased. Time will set all to rights. As the days lengthen, I shall be able to rise earlier, which will be a great benefit, the worst hours being those in which I lie awake, and
they are many. The best are those when I am employed, and you know I am not given to idleness; but it behoves me to manage myself in this respect. Except in the main point of sleep, the bodily functions go on well. I walk duly and dutifully. But I am as much disposed to be silent in my own family now, as I ever was in company for which I felt little or no liking; and if it were not plainly a matter of duty to resist this propensity, I should never hear the sound of my own voice. . . . .

“Nothing more has been heard of Baldwin and Cradock’s affairs. But I must tell you what it will give you pleasure to hear. As soon as Lightfoot learnt that the sum which I had (as I thought) provided for carrying Cuthbert through the University, was supposed to be in danger of being lost, he offered to relieve me from all anxiety upon that score. Knowing the sincerity of that offer, I am just as much obliged to him as if there were any necessity for accepting it. But Dr. Bell’s legacy is available for that purpose. And as for my Cowperage, if it be recovered, as I think it will, so much the better; if it be lost, it will never enter into the thoughts that keep me wakeful at night, or in the slightest degree trouble me by day. . . . .

“To-day (30th) the sun shines, and it is some satisfaction to see that there still is a sun, for he has been so long among the non-apparentibus, that if I jumped to my conclusions as eagerly as some of our
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modern philosophers, I might have pronounced him to be not in existence.

“Your brother ought to reflect that though it is many a poor fellow’s duty to expose his life upon deck, and to lose it there, it is no man’s duty to die at the desk. And as I once heard a medical student say, when he expressed his satisfaction at having escaped being taken upon a resurrectionary party, ‘there is no glory in it.’ The first duty of any man, upon whose life the happiness or the well-being of others is in great degree dependent, is to take care of it God bless you! Our love to Miss Page.

R. S.”
To Dr. Shelton Mackenzie.
“Keswick, Jan. 25. 1838.
“My dear Sir,

“I am much obliged to you for your good services in one paper, and the Canadian news in another. It has never been my fortune to be engaged with any bookseller who made good use of the periodical press to promote the sale of any of my works. They lay out lavishly in advertisements, when a tenth part of the money so expended would, if laid out in extracts, produce ten times the effect.

“I recollect hearing of Miss Edgeworth* at Dr.

* Dr. Mackenzie had mentioned to Miss Edgeworth that my father was employed in working up materials for his own life, and had communicated the substance of her reply, which was as follows:—

“I thank you for telling me that Southey is engaged in literary biography. His life of Nelson is one of the finest pieces of biography I know. I have seen its effects on many young minds. I had the

Holland’s, but have no recollection of seeing her there; but I very well remember seeing her more than once at Clifton in 1800, at which time her father said to me, ‘Take my word for it. Sir, your genius is for comedy.’ He formed this opinion, I believe, from some of the Nondescripts, and one or two Ballads which had just then appeared in the Annual Anthology. This, I think, will be worth mentioning in the Preface to the Ballads. When you write to Miss Edgeworth, present my thanks for her obliging message, and say that I am pleased at being remembered by her.

“It is mortifying to think how few situations there are in this country for men of letters,—fewer I believe than in any other part of civilised Europe,—and what there are, leave the occupant very little leisure to profit by the stores of learning with which he is surrounded. The Editorship of the ———, or of any Literary Journal, would be a more agreeable office than that of a public librarian, in this respect that your own mind would have more scope. And private librarians there are very few. Lord Spencer, I suppose, must have one as a matter of necessity. The only instance within my knowledge in which a man of letters was invited to such an appointment, not because the library was extensive enough to need

honour of meeting Mr. Southey some years since, at our mutual friend’s, Dr. Holland’s, in London. But such is the nature of that sort of town intercourse, that I had not opportunity of hearing much of his conversation, and he none of mine; therefore I can hardly presume that he remembers me. But I would wish to convey to him, through you, the true expression of my respect for his character, and admiration of his talents, and of the use he has made of them.”

Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 361
his attendance, but because it was thought desirable for him, is that of
Jeremiah Wiffen, and no doubt he owed it to his being a native of Woburn. The Duke of Bedford might otherwise never have heard of him, nor cared for him if he had.

“Farewell, my dear Sir,

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”
To Charles Swain, Esq.
“Keswick, March 9. 1838.
“My dear Sir,

“Since you heard from me last I have been so much shaken that there is little likelihood of my ever being myself again. But it would be ungrateful indeed, in me to complain, who have had a greater share of happiness than falls to the lot of one in ten thousand, and that happiness of a higher degree, and of much longer continuance, with health that had scarcely ever been interrupted, and with a flow of spirits that never ebbed. I cannot be too thankful for these manifold blessings, let the future be what it may.

Cuthbert comes home the first week in April, for about a month’s vacation. Can you give yourself a holiday, and pass with us as much of that month as you can spare?—I cannot now climb the mountains with you,—not for want of strength, still less of inclination, but because of an infirmity (I know not how or when occasioned) but recently discovered,
which condemns me to caution at least, for the rest of my life. But I shall be heartily glad to see you, and to make your visit as pleasant as I can. You were the last guest whom my dear
Edith received with pleasure.

“Most persons, I believe, are displeased with any alterations that they find in a favourite poem; the change, whether for the better or the worse, baulks them as it were, and it is always unpleasant to be baulked. In tinkering one’s old verses there is a great chance of making two flaws where you are mending one. However, to my great joy, I have now done with tinkering; the last pieces which required correction on the score of language are in that volume of Ballads (beginning with The Maid of the Inn), which come next in order of publication. I know not yet how the adventure is likely to turn out. The number struck off at first was 1500, which the publishers say will just about cover the expenses, leaving the profit to arise from any farther use of the stereotype and the engravings. Something may be expected from the occasional sale of separate portions, for which merely a new title-page will be required; in that way the long poems may tempt purchasers by their cheapness. But apart from all other considerations I am very thankful that I was persuaded, against my inclination and in some degree also against my judgment, to undertake such a revision of my poetical works. The sort of testamentary feeling with which it was undertaken may prove to have been an ominous one: certain it is, that if the task had been deferred but a few months, I should never have had heart to per-
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form it, though it was a duty which I owe to myself and to the interests of my family.

“And now, my dear Sir, God bless you!

Yours with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”
To C. C. Southey, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 7. 1838.
“My dear Cuthbert,

“It is right that you should clearly understand what you have to reckon on for your ways and means. Two hundred a year will be a liberal allowance, probably above the average at Queen’s, which has not the disadvantage of being an expensive college. Whether I live or die, this is provided for you. If I live and do well, my current occupations will supply it. In any other event, there is Dr. Bell’s Legacy in the French Funds, even if the Cowperage should not be forthcoming.

“It is an uncomfortable thing to be straitened in your situation; but for most undergraduates it is far more injurious to have too much. If you can save from your income I shall be glad; and I have confidence enough in you to believe that you would have much more satisfaction in saving from it, than you could derive from any needless expenditure. I do not mean that you should receive less from me, if you find that you can do with less; but that you should lay by the surplus for your own use. Next to moral and religious habits, habits of frugality are
the most important; they belong, indeed, to our duties. In this virtue your dear mother never was surpassed. Had it not been for her admirable management, this house could not have been kept up, nor this family brought up as they were. God never blessed any man with a truer helpmate than she was to me in this and in every other respect, till she ceased to be herself.

“I dwell upon this, not as supposing you need any exhortation. upon the subject, for I have the most perfect confidence in you; no father ever had less apprehension for a son in sending him to the University. But frugality is a virtue which will contribute continually and most essentially to your comfort; without it it is impossible that you should do well, and you know not how much nor how soon it may be needed. It is far from my intention, if I should live till you take your degree, to hurry you into the world* and bid you shift for yourself as soon as you can. On the contrary, there is nothing on which I could look forward with so much hope, as to directing your studies after you have finished your collegiate course, and training you to build upon my foundations. That object is one which it would be worth wishing to live for. But when you take your degree, I, if I should then be living, shall be hard upon three score and ten. My whole income dies with me. In its stead there would be (at this time) about 8000l. immediately, from the Insurance, and this is all that there will be (except 2 or 300l. for current expenses) till my papers and copyrights can be made available. At first, therefore, great frugality
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will be required, though eventually there may be a fair provision for all. I make no estimate of my library, because if it please God that you should make use of the books in pursuing my course, they would be of more value to you than any sum that could be raised by dispersing them.

“It is fitting that you should bear all this in mind; but not for discouragement. Your prospects, God be thanked, are better than if you were heir to a large estate,—far better for your moral and intellectual nature, your real welfare, your happiness here and hereafter.

“God bless you, my dear Cuthbert!

Your affectionate Father,
Robert Southey.”
To the Rev. Neville White.
“Keswick, Feb. 14. 1838.
“My dear Neville,

“Long ago I ought to have written to you, but to you and my other friends, I have as little excuse to offer as an insolvent debtor can make to his creditors. Of late, indeed, I have waited not so much for a more convenient season as for better spirits and for better health. I have been very much out of order in many ways—old infirmities reappeared and brought others in their train, and I could both see and feel such changes in myself, as induced a not unreasonable apprehension that my constitution was breaking up. I have had recourse,
under my brother’s direction, to tonics and opiates; they have quieted the most distressing symptoms, and abated others, and I hope that milder weather, when it comes, will rid me of what I suppose to be rheumatic affection in the right hip. So much for my maladies. No one can have enjoyed better health than I have been favoured with during what has now not been a short life; nor has any one been blessed with a greater portion of happiness—happiness not to be surpassed in this world in its kind and degree, and continued through a long course of years. I never can be too thankful to the Giver of all good.

“I have recovered sufficiently to be in trim for work, though it is hardly to be expected that I should do anything with the same heart and hope as in former days. However, I shall do my best, and endeavour by God’s mercy to take the remaining stage of my journey as cheerily as I can.

“Remember me most kindly to your fireside; and believe me always, my dear Neville,

Yours with true and affectionate regard,
Robert Southey.”

At this time he was labouring under apprehension of an infirmity which, though not dangerous, would have prevented him taking active exercise, and caused him great inconvenience and discomfort, and this naturally preyed somewhat on his spirits; fortunately, however, he determined at once to seek London advice, and went up to town to consult Sir
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 367
B. Brodie, who quickly relieved his apprehension, pronouncing that there was no real cause for alarm. He consequently returned home, reassured on this point.

To Miss Charter.
“Keswick, April 11. 1838.
“Dear Miss Charter,

“I am much obliged to you for all the trouble you have taken; trouble being, I am sorry to say, the only privilege accruing at present from the title of friend, which you have possessed with me for so many years, and will continue to hold while we retain any remembrance of the past. . . . .

“I have now been returned a week, in which time I have been fully employed in writing letters and correcting proof sheets, except yesterday, when great part of the day was passed upon the sofa, for the sake of putting to sleep a cold in the head. The weather has been wet and stormy; and it is better that I should keep within doors, than continue to brave all weathers, as I was wont to do, till I get into good condition again, if it please God. Shaken as I have been, there is still a reasonable hope of this.

“. . . . . Kate is at Mr. Rickman’s now. Bertha was very busily employed during my absence in painting and papering; making alterations which are not the less melancholy because it was necessary that they should be made. She has made
a good choice in her cousin
Herbert; and happy man is his dole, I may say with equal truth. They may have long to wait before he gets a living; but meantime there is hope, without which life is but a living death. He loves literature; and his situation as second librarian at the Bodleian is favourable for literary pursuits. My papers may be entrusted to his care, if I should die before Cuthbert is old enough to superintend their publication.

Cuthbert’s vacation is only for a month. He must be at chapel on Sunday the 29th. I shall proceed the more earnestly with my work that I may have the shorter time to pass in solitude and silence. What I have to do is to get through a volume of the Admirals, in which little progress has been made, and a reviewal of Sir Thomas Browne’s works. My Poems require no farther tinkering; I have only to correct the proofs of the remaining three volumes, and to write the prefaces to them. Arranged and dated as the Poems now are, they communicate to those who have known me well much of my history and character; and a great deal has been reserved which there would have been no propriety in telling the public while I am in the land of the living. There is nothing, thank God, which I could wish to be concealed after my death; but the less that a living author says of himself (except in verse) the better. God bless you, dear Miss Charter!

Yours with sincere regard,
R. S.”
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 369
To —— ——.
“Easter Monday (April 16.), 1838.
“My dear Sir,

“. . . . . God forgive those who bring upon others any unhappiness which could be prevented by a wiser and kinder course of conduct. If we could be spared the misery which others make for us, little would there be but what might be borne with wholesome resignation as the appointment of Providence, or as the proper consequence of our own errors and misdeeds.

“Time will do all for you, and will probably not be long in doing it. With an old subject like me there is more to do, and of that kind that there is little hope it can be done before the curtain falls. I could always, when I went from home, leave all my habits behind me. It is a far different thing to feel that I have lost them; that my way of life is changed, the few points which are unchangeable serving only to make the change in all other respects more sensible.

‘I thank God I am well in health, having easily got rid of a cold: and now that all the proofs in your packet have been got through, and directions given to the printer concerning the eighth volume, I shall make up my despatches, set my dogs by the fire, and emerge from my solitude; not to look for society which is not to be found, nor to be wished for, out of a very small circle which every year contracts, but to take a dutiful walk. God bless you!

R. S.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, June 10 1838.
“My dear H. T.,

“Whether Hope and I shall ever become intimate again in this world, except on the pilgrimage to the next, is very doubtful; nor ought it to be of much importance to a man in his sixty-fourth year. I have had a large portion of happiness, and of the highest kind: five-and-thirty years of such happiness few men are blest with. I have drunk, too, of the very gall of bitterness; yet not more than was wholesome: the cup has been often administered, no doubt because it was needed. The moral discipline through which I have passed has been more complete than the intellectual. Both began early; and, all things considered, I do not think any circumstances could have been more beneficial to me than those in which I have been placed. If not hopeful, therefore, I am more than contented, and disposed to welcome and entertain any good that may yet be in store for me, without any danger of being disappointed if there should be none.

“I am very glad that Kate is to join Miss Fenwick; but I must warn both Kate and Dora against converting dormitories into loquitories, and talking each other to death before they get to the end of their journey. God bless you!

R. S.”
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 371
To the Rev. John Miller.
“Keswick, July 21. 1838.
“My dear Sir,

“I was very much pleased with Bishop Jebb’s first opinion of your Bampton Lectures, and not less pleased with the greater part of his more elaborate critique. I did not agree with him in any of his objections, nor has a fresh perusal of that critique, after reading your Preface, altered or even modified my first impression in the slightest degree. It appears to me that you were right in noticing his remarks as fully as you have done, and that it could not have been done in a better spirit nor in a more conclusive manner.

“The publication of Froude’s Remains is likely to do more harm than —— is capable of doing. ‘The Oxford School’ has acted most unwisely in giving its sanction to such a deplorable example of mistaken zeal. Of the two extremes—the too little and the too much—the too little is that which is likely to produce the worst consequence to the individual, but the too much is more hurtful to the community; for it spreads, and rages too, like a contagion. . . . .

“I hear, though I have not seen, that another volume of The Doctor is announced. You and I, therefore, may shortly expect it, if the masked author keeps his good custom of sending it to us. Some letters, published in the Sheffield Mercury, have been
collected into two small volumes, entitled ‘
The Tour of the Don.’ They contain a chapter which is headed ‘Doncaster and the Doctor,’ The writer reminds the Doncasterians of the visit, ‘not a clandestine one,’ of the worthy Laureate to their good town, some ten years agone, accompanied, as some may recollect, by his lovely daughter, ‘the dark-ey’d Bertha;’ and this he mentions as one of the facts which ‘appear indubitably to identify the author of The Doctor with the author of Thalaba.’ The conclusion would not have followed, even if the premises had been true. But the truth upon which he has built a fallacious argument is, that about ten years ago I passed a night at Sheffield on the way to London. My daughter Edith was one of our traveling party; and certainly there was nothing clandestine in the visit; for I wrote notes to Montgomery and to Ebenezer Elliott, to come to me at the inn—the only time I ever saw either of those remarkable men. James Everett, a Methodist preacher, and also a remarkable man, heard from one of them where I was, and volunteered a visit. So it was soon known that I was in Sheffield. It is not often that a mistake of this kind can so plainly be explained. ‘Well,’ Latimer used to say, ‘there is nothing hid, but it shall be opened.’

“Farewell, my dear Sir; and believe me always.

Yours with sincere regard and respect,
Robert Southey.”

For some time my father had been meditating a short journey on the Continent, to which his friends
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 373
also urged him, in the hopes it might aid in re-establishing his health and spirits, which, though both were somewhat amended, seemed greatly to need some change. A party of six was accordingly soon formed for the purpose, and a tour arranged, through Normandy, Brittany, and a part of Touraine, to terminate at Paris.

The party consisted of Mr. Senhouse, of Netherhall, who had been with my father in Switzerland in 1817; Mr. Kenyon, also a friend of long standing; Mr. Henry Crabbe Robinson, and Captain Jones, B. N.; my father and myself made up the number. At the end of August we all met in London, and, crossing to Calais, commenced our excursion, the course of which is indicated in the next letter, and which proved as agreeable as favourable weather, an interesting line of country, and a party disposed to be pleased with everything, could make it.

In all we saw, my father took much interest, and while we were actually travelling, the change and excitement seemed to keep his mind up to its usual pitch. He bore all inconveniences with his wonted good humour; and his vast stores of historical knowledge furnished abundant topics of conversation.

Still, however, I could not fail to perceive a considerable change in him from the time we had last travelled together:—all his movements were slower, he was subject to frequent fits of absence, and there was an indecision in his manner, and an unsteadiness in his step, which was wholly unusual with him.

The point in which he seemed to me to fail most was, that he continually lost his way, even in the
hotels we stopped at; and, perceiving this, I watched him constantly, as, although he himself affected to make light of it, and laughed at his own mistakes, he was evidently sometimes painfully conscious of his failing memory in this respect.

His journal also, for he still kept up his old habit of recording minutely all he saw, is very different from that of former journeys,—breaks off abruptly when about two-thirds of our tour was completed, and shows, especially towards the close, a change in his handwriting, which, as his malady crept on, became more and more marked, until, in some of the last notes he ever wrote, the letters are formed like the early efforts of a child.

To John May, Esq.
“Dieppe, Sept 2. 1838.
“My dear John May,

“Thus far our journey has been in all respects favourable. You saw us proceeding with weather which was only too fine, inasmuch as it soon became hot and dusty, such weather bringing with it a plague of flies, who insisted upon being inside passengers, and whenever I was inclined to doze, and indeed could not keep awake, some one of the Egyptian enemies presently awakened me by alighting upon the most prominent feature of my face. We had a short and pleasant passage the next morning, and remained one day at Calais for the purpose of engaging carriages for the journey: Kenyon having recom-
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 375
mended that we should travel post, as the only means by which we could command our own time, choose our own route, stop where we would, and remain as long as seemed good to us at any place. This I had found the most advisable mode when travelling with poor
Nash and Senhouse in 1817.

“I am now writing at Blois, on Friday, Sept. 28. Our faces were turned homeward when we left Nantes on Sunday last. Sept 23. We had then accomplished the two chief objects of our journey; that is, we had been to Mount St Michael’s and to Carnac, the only two days concerning which there could be any solicitude concerning the state of the weather. In both instances we were most fortunate. We came to the mount during the neap tides, and in a clear day, escaping thus all dangers and inconveniences that, at ordinary tides, the state of the weather might have occasioned, and fogs at any time. Cuthbert and I had seen our own St Michael’s Mount in 1836. The French is the more remarkable, because of its position, which is always a waste either of water or of sand. The mount itself is not much higher, if at all, I think, than the Cornish Mount, but the superstructure of building is much greater, including a small fishing town, a large prison, a garrison, houses for the governor and other officers, and, on the summit, a church. Our own mount, on the contrary, is far the more beautiful object, and except a few mean houses at the landing places, there is nothing to excite any uncomfortable reflections. The rock itself reminded me of Cintra in this respect, that it consisted in great part of rocks piled on rocks, and on the summit the
governor’s house and the church very much resembled in their situation the Penha Convent. The mount stands also in a small bay, and is itself a beautiful object, in a part of the country which is itself regarded as the most genial part of the West of England.

“Another place which we were desirous of seeing was the great Druidical monuments, known by the name of Camac, from the nearest village. They are the most extensive Druidical remains that have yet been discovered, the stones at the lowest computation not being fewer than four thousand, and extending in parallel lines over a great extent of country; none of these are so large as those of Stonehenge, and they are all single stones. But there are many of considerable magnitude, and many have been destroyed before a stop was put by authority to such destruction, and many are built up in walls; but there remains enough to astonish the beholder.

“To-day we have seen the Castle of Amboise, which Louis Philippe began to repair when he was Duke of Orleans; but which, though it is a beautiful place, commanding fine views, and in itself a comfortable palace, there being nothing too large to be inconsistent with comfort, he has never set foot in himself. I can account for this only by supposing that as the very beautiful chapel which they are repairing contains the intended mausoleum for himself and his royal family, that consideration may dispose him to regard it with a melancholy feeling, which he is not willing to induce.

“To-morrow we shall see what is most worth see-
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 377
ing at Blois, and proceed after breakfast to Orleans, where we shall remain on Sunday. I should tell you that I have seen
Joan of Arc’s monument at Rouen, and the Castle of Chinon, and the apartment in the ruins there in which she had her first interview with the king. So when I shall have seen Orleans I shall have sufficient knowledge of the localities to correct any mistakes into which I may, indeed must, have fallen.

“The other places of most interest which we have seen are Havre, by which port I propose returning, Honfleur, Caen, Bayeux, Granville, St. Malo, Nantes, Angers, Saumur, Tours. Normandy and Bretagne we have seen satisfactorily, and were as much delighted with Normandy as we were surprised by the miserable condition and more miserable appearance of our Breton cousins: they seem not to partake in the slightest degree of that prosperity which is every where else apparent in France. Louis Philippe is both Pontifex and Viafex maximus, if there be such a word. The roads are undergoing, at the expense of government, a most thorough repair, greatly to our annoyance in travelling over them in the course of remaking. I know not how many suspension bridges we have seen, finished or in progress, and every large place bears evident marks of improvement upon a great scale.

“ I hope to be at Paris on the 4th or 5th of October. There our party separates: Kenyon and Captain Jones proceed to the Low Countries; Robinson remains awhile at Paris; Cuthbert, I, and Mr. Senhouse make our way by one steamer down the Seine
to Havre, and by another from Havre to Southampton. From thence Cuthbert proceeds to London and Oxford, Senhouse to Cumberland, and I to Lymington, where I shall remain a few weeks with
Miss Bowles, and get through some work, where I shall be free from all interruption.

“I have had no opportunity of purchasing any books, there being no old book shops in any of the great towns through which we have passed; but at Paris my only business will be to look for those which I want.

“And now, my dear old friend, God bless you! Remember me to your dear daughters, and believe me always.

Yours most affectionately,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Backland, Lymington, Oct. 1838.
“My dear R.,

“I heard good accounts of you on my journey, and having since seen that you were present at the prorogation, venture to infer that you are no longer under the oculist’s care.

“Nothing could be more fortunate than my expedition was in every thing. The weather was as fine as it could be. During six weeks there was not one wet day; what rain fell was generally by night, and never more than sufficed for laying the dust and cooling the air. We got to Camac. Chantrey had de-
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 379
sired me to look for some small red stones*, which
Buckland, or some of his disciples, had been much puzzled about, because they are not pebbles of the soil, and have all evidently been rubbed down to different angles. Just such stones so rubbed are used by Chantrey’s own people in polishing the finer parts of their statuary: and he fancied this was proof that the people who erected the stones at Carnac must have used them for some similar purpose. I came to the conclusion that the Celts, which are so hard and so highly polished, were brought to that high polish by these instruments.

“The Bretons are the most miserable people I have ever seen, except those inhabitants of the Alps who suffer with goitres, and among whom the Cretons are found. They look, indeed, as if they lived in an unhealthy country, and as if they were only half fed. Yet I know not that there are any causes to render it insalubrious: it is not ill cultivated, and there is no want of industry in the inhabitants. The only cause that I can imagine for their squalid appearance, and their evidently stunted stature, (if that cause be sufficient) is their extreme uncleanness. The human animal cannot thrive in its own filth, like the pig; and the pig, no doubt, is a very inferior creature in its tame state to what it is when wild in the forest.

“I never saw so many dwarfs any where as in

* We found a number of these stones, all in one place, as if they had been poured out in a heap, nearly overgrown with grass and weeds. I brought some home, and took them to Sir. F. Chantrey, who recognised them as of the same description as those he had seen before.—Ed.

Brittany,—more, indeed, when travelling through that province than in the whole course of my life.

“There is one work which Mr. Telford would have regarded with great interest if he ever happened to see it. The Levée, as it is called, which protects a large tract of country from the inundations of the Loire. This work is of such antiquity that it is not known when it was commenced, but it seems first to have been taken up as a public work by our Henry II. Perhaps there is no other embankment which protects so great an extent of country.

“I am finishing here the reviewal of Telford’s book, which I hope to complete in about a week’s time, taking care not to make it too long, and therefore passing rapidly over his latter works, and winding up in the way of an eulogium, which no man ever was more worthy of.

“I derived all the benefit that I hoped for from my journey, and am in good condition in all respects.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Mrs. Hodson.
“Keswick, Feb. 18. 1839.
“My dear Mrs. Hodson,

“My movements last year did not extend beyond Normandy and Bretagne, and when I turned my face towards England, it was in a steam packet from Havre to Southampton, by good fortune just before that stormy weather set in, which, with few intervals
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 381
and those but short, has continued ever since. Normandy pleased me as much as I had expected, and my expectations were pitched high. We were six in company, and no journey could have been more prosperous in all respects. The weather never prevented us from seeing any thing that we wished, and we met with no mishap of any kind.

Cuthbert and I parted when we left the steam packet. He made the best of his way to Oxford; I remained some weeks in Hampshire, and on returning to Keswick found my youngest daughter suffering under a serious attack of the influenza*; an insidious disease, from which, though we were assured that she was well recovered, she has not yet regained strength. You may possibly have heard from the newspapers that I have resolved upon a second marriage. I need not say that such a marriage must be either the wisest or the weakest action of a man’s life. But I may say that in the important points of age, long and intimate acquaintance, and conformity of opinions, principles, and likings, no persons could be better suited to each other. The newspapers, indeed, have stated that Miss Bowles is thirty years younger than me, which, if it were true, would prove me to be something worse than an old fool.

“You will be glad to hear that I am likely to recover something from Baldwin and Cradock. The trustees of their affairs had the modesty to expect that I should receive a dividend of one shilling in the pound, to be followed by a second and final dividend

* Upon this a sharp attack of pleurisy had supervened, and we were for some little time in alarm as to the result.—Ed.

of the same amount. But upon finding that I was prepared to file a bill in Chancery against them, they have proposed to pay me eight hundred pounds,—a composition which I am advised to accept, and shall think myself fortunate when it is fairly paid.

“This place and the surrounding country suffered greatly in the late hurricane: it was quite as violent as that which I witnessed at Dawlish, and of much longer duration. I never felt the house so shaken. Indeed, there were persons who came as soon as it was daybreak to see what had become of us, and whether we were buried in the ruins of the house. Happily we suffered no serious injury, having chiefly to regret that the whole front of the house, which was covered with ivy, has been completely stript of it. The havoc among the trees* has been such as the oldest persons do not remember to have seen or heard of. Few days have passed without a storm since the great one. The winds are piping at this time, and so continued is the sound that my head is almost as much confused by it as if I were at sea. The weather concerns me much more than the affairs of State, and I know as little of current literature, as if there were neither magazines nor reviews. My state is the more gracious. And if there were no newspapers in the world, and no railroads, I should begin to think that we might hope to live once more in peace and quietness.

* “A poplar, mentioned in the proem to the Tale of Paraguay, was torn up by the roots. It had become for some years a mournful memorial, and though I should never have had heart to fell it, I am not sorry that it has been thus removed. But do not suppose that I ever give willing admission to thoughts of unprofitable sadness.”—To H. Taylor, Esq., Jan. 8. 1839.

Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 383

“I heard of Landor during my last transit through London, and saw one of the very best portraits of him by a young artist that I ever remember to have seen. The picture, too, was as good as the likeness. The artist did not succeed so well with Kenyon, whose head upon the canvas might very well have passed for the Duke of York’s.

“You will think that I am bent upon continuing in the old ways when I tell you that it is my intention never again to travel by a railway, if there be any means of proceeding by any other mode of conveyance. It is very certain that the rapidity of railway travelling, if long continued, has a tendency to bring on a determination of blood to the head; this is one of the unforeseen and unforeseeable results of a mode of travelling so unlike any thing that was ever before in use. Mail coach travelling will be fast enough for me, if I should ever travel again after the journey to which I am now looking forward of four hundred miles, which I mean to take with no other rest than what is to be had in the mail. But I expect to doze away the time. When I was a schoolboy there was nothing I should have liked better than such a journey.

“Present my kind remembrances to Mr. and Mrs. Blencowe, &c.

Believe me, my dear Mrs. Hodson,
Yours with sincere regard,
Robert Southey.”
To Walter Savage Landor, Esq.
“Buckland, March 31. 1839.
My dear Landor,

The portrait of Savonarola is safely lodged at Keswick; I should have thanked you for it sooner, if I had known whither to direct to you. I have seldom seen a finer picture or a finer face; the countenance seems to bespeak credit for one whose character may perhaps be still considered doubtful.

Mr. C. Bowles Fripp wrote to me some time last year, asking me to supply an epitaph for the proposed monument to Chatterton. I said to him, in reply, that I was too much engaged to undertake it; that, as far as related to Chatterton, I had done my duty more than thirty years ago; that of all men, men of genius were those who stood least in need of monuments to perpetuate their memory. Moreover, as to an epitaph, I never would attempt to compose any thing of the kind, unless I imagined that I could do it satisfactorily to myself, which in this case appeared to me impossible. How, indeed, could the circumstances of Chatterton’s history be comprised in a monumental inscription? It is to the credit of Bristol that my fellow-townsmen should show how different a spirit prevails among them now from that which was to be found there fifty years ago; but how this might best be effected I know not.

“The portrait of Chatterton, which Mr. Dix discovered, identifies itself if ever portrait did. It brought his sister, Mrs. Newton, strongly to my
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 385
recollection. No family likeness could be more distinctly marked, considering the disparity of years.

“My daughter Bertha’s marriage to her cousin, Herbert Hill, is especially fortunate in this respect, that for a few years it will remove her no farther from Keswick than Rydal. Very different has been her elder sister’s lot; for being, to all likelihood, fixed upon the coast of Sussex (and the very worst part of it), she has been lost to us ever since. I have now only one daughter left, and my son divides the year between college and home. Oxford has done him no harm; indeed, I never apprehended any. Reduced in number as my family has been within the last few years, my spirits would hardly recover their habitual and healthful cheerfulness, if I had not prevailed upon Miss Bowles to share my lot for the remainder of our lives. There is just such a disparity of age as is fitting; we have been well acquainted with each other more than twenty years, and a more perfect conformity of disposition could not exist; so that, in resolving upon what must be either the weakest or the wisest act of a sexagenarian’s life, I am well assured that, according to human foresight, I have judged well and acted wisely, both for myself and my remaining daughter. God bless you!

Robert Southey.”

On the 5th of June, my father was united to Miss Bowles, at Boldre Church, and returned to Keswick with her the latter end of the following August

I have now almost arrived at the conclusion of my
task, yet what remains to be said calls up more painful recollections than all the rest.

The reader need not be told that the sorrows and anxieties of the last few years of my father’s life had produced, as might be expected, a very injurious effect upon his constitution, both as to body and mind. Acutely sensitive by nature, deep and strong in his affections, and highly predisposed to nervous disease, he had felt the sad affliction which had darkened his latter years far more keenly than any ordinary observer would have supposed, or than even appears in his letters. He had, indeed, then, as he expressed himself in his letter declining the Baronetcy, been “shaken at the root;” and while we must not forget the more than forty years of incessant mental application which he had passed through, it was this stroke of calamity which most probably greatly hastened the coming of the evil day, if it was not altogether the cause of it, and which rapidly brought on that overclouding of the intellect which soon unequivocally manifested itself.

This, indeed, in its first approaches had been so gradual as to have almost escaped notice; and it was not until after the sad truth was fully ascertained, that indications of failure (some of which I have already alluded to) which had appeared some time previously, were called to mind. A loss of memory on certain points, a lessening acuteness of the perceptive faculties, an occasional irritability (wholly unknown in him before); a confusion of time, place, and person; the losing his way in well-known places,—all were remembered as having taken place when
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 387
the melancholy fact had become too evident that the powers of his mind were irreparably weakened.

On his way home in the year 1839, he passed a few days in London, and then his friends plainly saw, what, from the altered manner of the very few and brief letters he had latterly written, they had already feared, that he had so failed as to have lost much of the vigour and activity of his faculties. The impressions of one of his most intimate friends, as conveyed at the time by letter, may fitly be quoted here. “I have just come home from a visit which affected me deeply. . . . . It was to Southey, who arrived in town to-day from Hampshire with his wife. . . . . He is (I fear) much altered. The animation and peculiar clearness of his mind quite gone, except a gleam or two now and then. What he said was much in the spirit of his former mind as far as the matter and meaning went, but the tone of strength and elasticity was wanting. The appearance was that of a placid languor, sometimes approaching to torpor, but not otherwise than cheerful. He is thin and shrunk in person, and that extraordinary face of his has no longer the fire and strength it used to have, though the singular cast of the features and the habitual expressions make it still a most remarkable phenomenon. Upon the whole, I came away with a troubled heart.” . . . . . After a brief account of the great trials of my father’s late years, the writer continues:—“He has been living since his marriage in Hampshire, where he has not had the aid of his old habits and accustomed books to methodize his mind. All this considered, I think we may hope that a year or two
of quiet living at his own home may restore him. His easy cheerful temperament will be greatly in his favour. You must help me to hope this, for I could not bear to think of the decay of that great mind and noble nature,—at least not of its premature decay. Pray that this may be averted, as I have this night.”*

On the following day the same friend writes: “I think I am a little relieved about Southey to-day. I have seen him three times in the course of the day, and on each occasion he was so easy and cheerful that I should have said his manner and conversation did not differ, in the most part, from what it would have been in former days if he had happened to be very tired. I say for the most part only though; for there was once an obvious confusion of ideas. He lost himself for a moment; he was conscious of it, and an expression passed over his countenance which was exceedingly touching,—an expression of pain and also of resignation. I am glad to learn from his brother that he is aware of his altered condition and speaks of it openly. This gives a better aspect to the case than if he could believe that nothing was the matter with him. Another favourable circumstance is, that he will deal with himself wisely and patiently. The charm of his manner is perhaps even enhanced at present (at least when one knows the circumstances), by the gentleness and patience which pervade it. His mind is beautiful even in its debility.”

Much of my father’s failure in its early stages was

* August 24. 1839.

Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 389
at first ascribed by those anxiously watching him, to repeated attacks of the influenza—at that time a prevailing epidemic—from which he had suffered greatly, and to which he attributed his own feelings of weakness; but alas! the weakness he felt was as much mental as bodily (though he had certainly declined much in bodily strength), and after his return home it gradually increased upon him. The uncertain step—the confused manner—the eye once so keen and so intelligent, now either wandering restlessly or fixed as it were in blank contemplation—all showed that the over-wrought mind was worn out.

One of the plainest signs of this was the cessation of his accustomed labours; but while doing nothing (with him how plain a proof that nothing could be done), he would frequently anticipate a coming period of his usual industry. His mind, while any spark of its reasoning powers remained, was busy with its old day-dreams—the History of Portugal—the History of the Monastic Orders—the Doctor;—all were soon to be taken in hand in earnest—all completed, and new works added to these.

For a considerable time after he had ceased to compose, he took pleasure in reading, and the habit continued after the power of comprehension was gone. His dearly prized books, indeed, were a pleasure to him almost to the end, and he would walk slowly round his library looking at them, and taking them down mechanically.

In the earlier stages of his disorder (if the term may be fitly applied to a case which was not a perversion of the faculties, but their decay) he could still converse
at times with much of his old liveliness and energy. When the mind was, as it were, set going upon some familiar subject, for a little time you could not perceive much failure; but if the thread was broken, if it was a conversation in which new topics were started, or if any argument was commenced, his powers failed him at once, and a painful sense of this seemed to come over him for the moment. His recollection first failed as to recent events, and his thoughts appeared chiefly to dwell upon those long past, and as his mind grew weaker, these recollections seemed to recede still farther back. Names he could rarely remember, and more than once, when trying to recall one which he felt he ought to know, I have seen him press his hand upon his brow and sadly exclaim,—“Memory! memory! where art thou gone?”

But this failure altogether was so gradual, and at the same time so complete, that I am inclined to hope and believe there was not on the whole much painful consciousness of it; and certainly for more than a year preceding his death, he passed his time as in a dream, with little, if any, knowledge of what went on around him.

One circumstance connected with the latter years of his life deserves to be noticed as very singular. His hair, which previously was almost snowy white, grew perceptibly darker, and I think, if anything, increased in thickness and a disposition to curl.

But it is time I drew a veil over these latter scenes. They are too painful to dwell on.

“A noble mind in sad decay.
When baffled hope has died away.
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 391
And life becomes one long distress
In pitiable helplessness.
Methinks ’tis like a ship on shore,
That once defied the Atlantic’s roar,
And gallantly through gale and storm
Hath ventured her majestic form;
But now in stranded rain laid,
By winds and dashing seas decayed,
Forgetful of her ocean reign,
Must crumble into earth again.”*

In some cases of this kind, towards the end some glimmering of reason reappears, but this must be when the mind is obscured or upset, not, as in this case, apparently worn out. The body gradually grew weaker, and disorders appeared which the state of the patient rendered it almost impossible to treat properly; and, after a short attack of fever, the scene closed on the 21st of March, 1843, and a second time had we cause to feel deeply thankful, when the change from life to death, or more truly from death to life, took place.

It was a dark and stormy morning when he was borne to his last resting place, at the western end of the beautiful churchyard of Crosthwaite. There lies his dear son Herbert—there his daughters Emma and Isabel—there Edith, his faithful helpmate of forty years. But few besides his own family and immediate neighbours followed his remains. His only intimate friend within reach, Mr. Wordsworth, crossed the hills that wild morning to be present.

Soon after my father’s death, various steps were taken with a view to erecting monuments to his

* Robert Montgomery. The fourth line is altered from the original

memory; and considerable sums were quickly subscribed for that purpose, the list including the names of many persons not only strangers to him personally, but also strongly opposed to him in political opinion. The result was that three memorials were erected. The first and principal one, a full length recumbent figure, was executed by
Lough, and placed in Crosthwaite church, and is certainly an excellent likeness, as well as a most beautiful work of art. The original intention and agreement was that it should be in Caen stone, but the sculptor, with characteristic liberality, executed it in white marble at a considerable sacrifice.

The following lines by Mr. Wordsworth are inscribed upon the base:—
“Ye vales and hills, whose beauty hither drew
The poet’s steps, and fixed him here; on you
His eyes have closed; and ye loved books, no more
Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore,
To works that ne’er shall forfeit their renown
Adding immortal labours of his own,—
Whether he traced historic truth with zeal
For the state’s guidance or the church’s weal,
Or fancy disciplined by curious art
Informed his pen, or wisdom of the heart,
Or judgments sanctioned in the patriot’s mind
By reverence for the rights of all mankind.
Wide were his aims, yet in no human breast
Could private feelings meet in holier rest.
His joys—his griefs—have vanished like a cloud
From Skiddaw’s top; but he to Heaven was vowed
Through a life long and pure, and steadfast faith
Calm’d in his soul the fear of change and death.”

But this was not the only tribute to my father’s memory paid in connection with the church where he had so long worshipped. The structure itself, though not unecclesiastical in its style and plan, had
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 393
little architectural beauty; and the interior at the time I am referring to was much in the same state as ordinary country churches—a flat ceiling, the stone pillars and arches covered with whitewash, and a multitude of pews of all shapes and sizes and colours. A small gallery at the west end had been added a few years before, and a very handsome organ presented by
James Stanger, Esq., of Lairthwaite, Keswick. This gentleman had taken a most active part in furthering the erection of the monument; and rightly deeming that the introduction of a beautiful work of art would only show in a strong light the deficiencies of the structure, as well as moved by the pious wish to dedicate largely of his substance to the Church, he determined upon a total renovation of the building, of the heavy expense of which be bore by far the largest part. The exterior stonework was renewed, the pillars and arches restored to their original state, an open roof with ornamented rafters was substituted for the flat ceiling, the pews were taken away, the chancel was fitted with oak stalls beautifully carved, and the nave and aisles with uniform open seats. He also presented a very handsome painted east window. This good example was not lost, for three other painted windows and a beautiful communion service were presented by residents in the immediate neighbourhood; and a fourth was added by the parishioners generally, as a testimonial to Mr. Stanger.

When all was completed, the monument was removed to its appointed place, immediately facing the east door, and together with the changes and em-
bellishments of the church itself, forms a most lasting and gratifying testimonial to the estimation in which my father was held in the place where so large a portion of his life had been spent.

Committees were also formed in London and in Bristol for the same purpose, and Busts and Tablets erected in Westminster Abbey, and in the Cathedral church of his native city.

I must now make a few observations upon the materials which have passed through my hands in the preparation of these volumes. I stated at the commencement my intention of making my father his own biographer, and I have endeavoured to render this work consistent with itself throughout in its autobiographical character.

In selecting from the masses of correspondence which have passed through my hands there has necessarily been considerable labour and difficulty, the amount and nature of which can only be understood by those who have been similarly employed. One of my chief difficulties has been to avoid repetition, for the same circumstance is commonly to be found related, and the same opinions expressed to most of his frequent and familiar correspondents; so that what a Reviewer calls “significant blanks and injudicious erasures” are very often nothing more than what is caused by the cutting out of passages, the substance of which has already appeared in some other letter, and, according to my judgment, more fully and better expressed. It may probably be observed that
Ætat. 64. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 395
my selections from the correspondence of the later years of his life are fewer in proportion than of the former ones; but for this several reasons may be given. A correspondence is often carried on briskly for a time, and then dropped almost entirely, as was the case between
Sir Walter Scott and my father, although the friendly feelings of the parties were undiminished; in other cases the interchange of letters continued, though they contained nothing sufficiently interesting for publication. With others, again, as with Mr. Rickman, Mr. H. Taylor, and Mr. Bedford, the correspondence increased in frequency, and necessarily the interest of single letters diminished, as it was carried on by a multitude of brief notes; and this, which in these two cases resulted from facilities in franking, it seems likely will be so general a result of the New Postage system, that in another generation there will be no correspondences to publish. With respect to the correspondence with Mr. Wynn, much to my regret, I was unable to procure any letters of later date than 1820, owing to their having been mislaid; since his decease they have been found and kindly transmitted to me by his son; but unfortunately it was too late for me to make any present use of them.

In addition to these causes, it may also be mentioned, that his correspondence with comparative strangers and mere acquaintances occupied a continually increasing portion of his time. The number of letters he received from such persons was very great, and almost all had to be answered, so that but little time was left for those letters he had real
pleasure in writing. Every new work he engaged in entailed more or less correspondence, and some a vast accession for a time, and these letters generally would not be of interest to the public. The
Life of Cowper involved him in a correspondence of considerable extent with many different persons: many of these letters I could have procured, and some were sent to me; but they were not available, from the limits of this work, neither would their contents be of general interest. I may, however, take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to those gentlemen who have sent me letters of which I have not made any use, but for whose kindness I am not the less obliged.

While, however, I have necessarily been obliged to leave out many interesting letters, I feel satisfied that I have published a selection abundantly sufficient to indicate all the points in my father’s character—to give all the chief incidents in his life, and to show his opinions in all their stages. I am not conscious of having kept back anything which ought to have been brought forward,—anything excepting some free and unguarded expressions which, whether relating to things or persons, having been penned in the confidence of friendship and at the impulse of the moment, it would be as unreasonable in a reader to require, as it would be injudicious and improper in an editor to publish. And if in any case I may have let some such expression pass by uncancelled, which may have given a moment’s pain to any individual, I sincerely regret the inadvertency.