217. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, [c. 18 May 1797]

217. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, [c. 18 May 1797] ⁠* 

Thursday night

My dear Cottle

You will I believe find my directions to the Printer marked with sufficient minuteness in the book. [1]  it may however be right to tell you, that I would have all the lines alike under the headings & above the notes, & those lines like that under The Triumph of Woman P.7. All the prefaces like that to Rudiger. & no ornaments at the end of each poem. I have put my new arrangement by the Contents. let the Contents be printed exactly in the same manner that they are now. “Lyric Poems” & “Musings” must each have a black letter title page. I do not think the first Birth day Ode deserves to be reprinted. if however you wish it, it may be inserted the first of the Lyric poems; entitled “To a Friend on his birthday, & the motto, now assigned to the other, affixed to that. [2]  this is if you wish it. I condemn the poem & we can spare five pages. the note opposite P. 143 is strictly true; & I should think myself criminal in suppressing so authentic a picture of the horrors of war. [3] 

Cannot the Printers Alphabet or catch letter be omitted? or at least stuck in the corner where it may be cut off in binding? why will not the paging be guide enough for the bookbinder?

If you have any alteration to suggest it is not yet too late. Do not let them split stanzas. Mr Estlin will perhaps be kind enough to correct the little Greek there is. Let me likewise again request that I may have a dozen copies upon large paper — such as the presentation copies of Estlins sermon; [4]  & I would advise you likewise to have a few for your more particular friends.

All the mottos should be in Italics.

Mr Peacock has not yet had from me all the copies. I shall leave them for him with Mrs P. thus have we settled. of course we have as yet come to no account, excepting that I do not pay him my quarters rent, but shall send the ten pounds to you, as soon as I receive my money from Cadell & Davies, [5]  which I daily expect, & which, if I do not receive it before I leave town, will be remitted to me thro Dr Aikin. Mr Peacock has had from me 29 Letters & 32 <Poems> in all. he has no doubt of disposing of more than are now in readiness for him. x I ordered 12 Poems — 18 Letters from Robinsons when he first wanted 12 of each; as I wanted two Letters for George Dyer — & James Jennings, & 4 to send to Lisbon. those 4 Mr Peacock had, & I was (as I told you at the time) obliged to replace them from Robinsons, as Allen was leaving town who was to carry them to Lisbon. so that you must add to my debtor account 12 P. 22 L.

You should have sent Thomas’s Wynns & the Bedfords [6]  copies of Achmed, [7]  to me. it would have been better to have sent the parcel up in Robinsons. it cost 2s & 4d. — these rascals always impose upon me.

I am you see writing a mere letter of business. why am I & Wynn & Thomas put down “Bristol” in the list of subscribers with which the book is disgraced?

As I have given such full directions it would be useless to write any thing to Biggs as I at first intended. I am now much hurried. we dine out tomorrow & I mean to drop the parcel on the road. but I will not lose the opportunity of writing to Danvers & Gilbert.

You will of course advertise my other books at the end of the volume. I can trust Biggs; but if ever I were condemned to go thro Rossers press, & his journeymans correction, I would have every sheet sent to me.

God bless you. we go Wednesday. I will write to you as soon as we are settled. Ediths love. yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.

I have not time to write to Gilbert — as an opportunity has just offered of sending this safely to Bath.


* Address: Mr Cottle/ High Street/ Bristol
Endorsements: Southey 1797; (98) 13
MS: Morgan Library, MA Unassigned. ALS; 4p. [The letter accompanied the manuscript of the second edition of Southey’s Poems (1797), Morgan Library, MA 414.]
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 127–129 [where it is misdated [4 May 1797]].
Dating note: The dating of this letter is from internal evidence. It was written on Thursday, 18 May, before Southey left for Ringwood, Hampshire, on Wednesday 24 May 1797. BACK

[1] The letter contains instructions for the printing of the second edition of Southey’s Poems (1797). BACK

[2] ’Birth-Day Ode, 1793’ was omitted from the second edition of Southey’s Poems (1797) and ‘Birth-Day Ode, 1796’ was retitled ‘To a Friend’. BACK

[3] A description of an incident reported to have occurred during the British army’s retreat to Deventer in 1795. BACK

[4] Probably John Prior Estlin, The Nature and Causes of Atheism, Pointed Out in a Discourse, Delivered at the Chapel in Lewin’s-Mead, Bristol. To Which are Added, Remarks on a Work, entitled Origine de Tous Les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle. Par Dupuis, Citoyen François (1797). BACK

[5] The London booksellers and publishers Thomas Cadell Jnr (1773–1836; DNB) and William Davies (d. 1820). BACK

[7] Charles Fox (1740?–1809; DNB), 'Aks-i partaw. A Series of Poems, Containing the Plaints, Consolations, and Delights of Achmed Ardebeili, a Persian Exile (1797). BACK

People mentioned