2742. Robert Southey to John James Morgan, 20 March 1816

2742. Robert Southey to John James Morgan, 20 March 1816 ⁠* 

Keswick. 20 March. 1816

My dear Morgan

There are some kinds of composition for which I have the greatest inaptitude, – prologues are of the number. I might hammer at one for weeks & at last produce something which would disgust myself & please nobody. But besides the reason, which is in all conscience valid enough, my present employments are too many & too pressing to allow the least leisure for so hopeless an experiment.

I do not doubt the success of Coleridge’s play; [1]  – any thing which is good never must succeed upon the stage, unless it has certain unfitnesses for representation which he very well knows how to avoid.

Remember us to Mrs Morgan & Miss Brent. [2] Mrs Coleridge desires that I will particularly mention her. Derwent is growing fast into a hobble-de-hoy, – he has taken a passion for mathematics & algebra, & has set his heart upon Cambridge, [3]  – whether his hearts desires can be satisfied must depend upon his father.

God bless you

Believe me my dear Morgan

Yours with sincere affection

Robert Southey.

I do not think this letter will be delayed, by calling for a frank as it passes thro London.


* Address: [in another hand] London Twenty fifth March/ John J. Morgan Esqr/ Calne/ Wilts./ Free/ J Rickman
Postmark: FREE/ 25 MR 25/ 1816
MS: Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library, Misc MS. 3576. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, p. 135. BACK

[1] Morgan, Coleridge’s friend and supporter, was soliciting from Southey a prologue to Coleridge’s play Zapolya, which Coleridge was seeking to have performed at Drury Lane. It was not approved for performance there, and was published in 1817. BACK

[2] Charlotte Brent (1783–after 1820), the sister of Mary, Morgan’s wife. BACK

[3] Derwent Coleridge finally entered St John’s College, Cambridge in 1821, graduating with a B.A. in 1824. BACK

People mentioned

Morgan, Mary (b. 1782) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Sarah (1770–1845) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)