1854.1 Robert Southey to Paul Moon James, 19 January 1811

1854.1 Robert Southey to Paul Moon James, 19 January 1811 ⁠* 

Keswick. Jany. 19. 1811.

My dear Sir

I am very sorry that I have not produced any thing according to my wish & intention. The total disuse of poetry (except in long & continuous works) for many years has {may} partly xx account for this & excuse it, – some excuse also you will xxx allow for manifold occupations, some of which are of an urgent nature.  [1]  – The historical part of the Edinburgh Annual Register [2]  employs me at present very closely, – this if it be estimated only by its bulk is a work of great labour, – but the materials for it are so scattered that it {is} far more so than would be supposed.

It gives me great pleasure to hear that you are pleased with my late publications. The second volume of Brazil will have a higher interest than the first.  [3]  – The poem which I have in hand is pitched in the key of Madoc,  [4]  – & I am thinking of another upon a subject which I pointed out in one of the Quarterly Reviews, – Philips War with the New-Englanders; – – the manners seem at first sight dismally anti-heroic, – & common critics would not think the difficulty was lessend by making the chief personage of the poem a Quaker.  [5] 

I expect a few more names for the list & will write to expedite them –  [6] 

believe me

Yours with true respect

Robert Southey.


* MS: Kendal Record Office, WDHCW/17/18. ALS; 1p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had been consulted by Paul Moon James and Edward Hogg over their proposed edition of the writings of William Isaac Roberts and advised publication by subscription; see Southey to Neville White, 11 March 1810, Letter 1757. He had probably offered, but failed to produce, a contribution of his own to the volume, possibly a dedicatory poem along the lines of ‘To A.S. Cottle’ (1797), see Amos Simon Cottle, Icelandic Poetry, or the Edda of Saemund Translated into English Verse (Bristol, 1797), pp. xxxi–xlii. BACK

[2] Southey was writing the historical sections for the Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

[3] The first volume of The History of Brazil had been published in 1810, the second did not appear until 1817. BACK

[4] The comparison is between Madoc (1805) and what became Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[5] Southey’s review of Abiel Holmes (1763–1837), American Annals; or, a Chronological History of America, from its Discovery in 1492 to 1806 (1808), Quarterly Review, 2 (November 1809), 319–337, had noted that King Philip’s War, or Metacom’s Rebellion, 1675–1676, an armed conflict between English colonists and the Native American inhabitants of New England, was a suitable subject for an epic. The idea eventually developed into ‘Oliver Newman’, left incomplete at his death. BACK

[6] Southey was recruiting subscribers for Poems and Letters of William Isaac Roberts (1811). BACK

People mentioned

Hogg, Edward (1783–1848) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)