2590. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 21 April 1815

2590. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 21 April 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Harry

Bring Louisa here. If you can spare a few weeks from London, there will in all probability be fewer difficulties in bringing her now than at any future time. Remember that that old fellow with the scythe & the hourglass must be taken by the forelock, for he has no pig-tail. She will see something here to remember & to talk of, – & she can never see it with so much comfort as while we are here: & perhaps we may not be here long. I sometimes think seriously of removing at the expiration of my first term [1]  which will be in 1817. I am too far from London to undertake the journey without some strong motive, & when a man is beginning to go down the hill of life, if he sees his friends only at intervals of two or three years, – he must not expect to see them often. This feeling weighs with me. Bring Louisa then to the Lakes while I am here.


Bedfords interest with Gifford must be the same at one time as another, for theirs is an intimacy of old standing. I have expressed too much I am my desire that the reviewal of your book [2]  should appear in pressing terms. It may be very possible that the it may be thought better not to insert your book & mine in the same number, – & this indeed I hinted at, wishing yours to have the precedence. But you lost your place in the last number, & I believe Roderick is to be reviewed in this next, [3]  not by any desire or wish of mine, but because it is not for the credit of the Quarterly to be much behind hand in noticing books that are talked of. I desired a copy of the small edition [4]  might be sent to Gooch. You will get my Minor Poems [5]  in a few weeks – four sheets more will compleat them.

Call on Arrowsmith [6]  for me, & ask him whether he has been spoken to by Longman about the map [7]  that if not I may write again & have it put in hand forthwith. Tell him that I have a map of the Captaincy of Maranham & part of the adjoining Captaincies which perhaps he has not seen, published at the Rio by a Portugueze Colonel Berford in 1810. [8]  Tell him that I have not received the map of the Pyrenees which he gave me, nor that grand one of the country between India & Constantinople which I desired he would send when it was published. I wish to have them both upon rollers, but not mounted with springs, things too expensive for me & too ticklish for the country where they could not be repaired. Ask him also if he has seen Azaras maps of Paraguay. [9]  My volume will not be out before the winter: you would be astonished to see the collections for it on yonder table, & yet there is much more to do. I have just now a strong Brazil fit upon me. The Quarterly occupies far too much of my time – but I am like my lean brother the Apothecary in Romeo & Juliet, & must consent against my will. [10]  That pleasant Capt Perkins [11]  whom you saw here, has shown me a pair of black legs, & tricked me out of thirty pounds by a draft on his agent which I indorsed for him.

My Inscriptions are in a fair way of being finished & I shall perhaps send them into the world with a thunder & lightning ode in their company. [12] 

Longman has sent me Dr Hollands Travels – a good book. He has a theory that both Earthquakes & Siroccos are occasioned by electricity, [13]  – which I do not believe. For if it were so well-water would not be affected before the shock as in in many instances it is known to have been; neither would hot winds come always from the same quarter. But De his in Omniabus futuris. [14]  I could set up a Theorist with facts, & an Experimentalist with theories. By the by I have two choice stories for Goochs lectures, – such as never were heard in a lecture before.

God bless you.


21 April. 1815. Keswick.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 24 AP 24/ 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, Don. d. 3. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. the first term of Southey’s lease on Greta Hall. BACK

[2] Henry Herbert Southey’s Observations on Pulmonary Consumption (1814). It was not reviewed in the Quarterly Review. BACK

[3] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) was reviewed (by Grosvenor Bedford) in Quarterly Review, 13 (April 1815), 83–113. BACK

[4] The second, duodecimo edition of 1815. BACK

[5] Southey’s Minor Poems (1815). BACK

[6] The Arrowsmiths were a famous family of cartographers. Southey may be referring to the senior partner, Aaron Arrowsmith. BACK

[7] The map that appeared in History of Brazil, 3 vols (London, 1810–1819), volume 2, published in 1817. BACK

[8] Sebastiao Gomes da Silva Berford (dates unknown), Mappa Geographico da Capitania do Maranhao e de Parte das Capitanas Circundantes Para (1810). BACK

[9] Felix Manuel de Azara (1742–1821 ), Essais sur l’Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de la Province du Paraguay (1801) and Voyages dans l’Amerique Meridionale depuis 1781, jusqu’en 1801 (1805), nos. 89–90 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, contained some very detailed, copper-engraved maps of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. BACK

[10] Romeo and Juliet, Act V, scene 1, line 75, ‘My poverty, but not my will, consents.’ BACK

[11] Captain Thomas Perkins (1778–1815), a cousin of Edith Southey. He died at Dover on 3 April 1815. BACK

[12] Southey’s series of Inscriptions on the Peninsular War. Only 18 of the projected 30 poems were completed and they were not collected together until they were published in Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 122–156. The proposed Ode to accompany the Inscriptions was not written. BACK

[13] Henry Holland (1778–1873; DNB), physician and author of Travels in the Ionian Islands, Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia etc during 1812 and 1813 (London, 1815), pp. 20–21, 47–50. BACK

[14] ‘About all these things in the future’. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)