2743. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 22 March 1816

2743. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 22 March 1816⁠* 

My dear R.

One more portion xxxx will bring this to an end, – & I have only to correct & transcribe it. [1]  Laus Deo, [2]  say I, – whether any body will say Laus Poetæ [3]  the event will show. – My old Orange work is now coming into use, when the Orange flowers are weeded out, there are about 300 lines written, – which is much more than half the expected extent. [4] 

I anticipated the fate of the Income Tax. It would have been more gracious to have yielded to public opinion so generally expressed, than to have given opposition battle upon such unpopular ground, & have [MS torn] field. [5] 


22 March. 1816


* Address: John Rickman Esqre// St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ 25 MR 25/ 1816
Seal: red wax, with ‘S’, ‘In Labore Quies’ motto below Endorsement: 22 March 1816
MS: Huntington Library, RS 275. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had enclosed parts of his The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[2] ‘Praise God’. BACK

[3] ‘Praise the Poet’. BACK

[4] Southey refers to his poem The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), an epithalamion for Princess Charlotte, who was due to marry Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865; DNB) on 2 May 1816. Southey had written fifty stanzas of the Lay of the Laureate in March–June 1814, when Princess Charlotte was engaged to William, Hereditary Prince of Orange (1792–1849; King of the Netherlands 1840–1849). He had abandoned the poem when the engagement was broken off, but he was able to reuse most of it in his Lay of the Laureate. BACK

[5] The Ministry had tried to gain parliamentary support for a renewal of the income tax (originally levied in 1799 to raise funds for war). On 18 March 1816 the measure was lost in the House of Commons and the tax abolished. BACK