3623. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 31 January 1821]

3623. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 31 January 1821]⁠* 

My dear Harry

I propound a question for your deliberation. My Vision must as a matter of course be presented to the King. [1]  Will you present it? It is a proper occasion for being bagged & sworded, & no person can so properly be charged to act as my representative on that occasion as yourself. Bedford will see to getting the book put in full dress.

You are not altogether mistaken about the effect which abuse has upon me, & now I shall have it by wholesale. The metre however will find advocates as well as assailants. The poem is of sufficient length for those who read it to get familiarized to the tune. And then I have this great advantage, that the most part of what may be said against me, will be put down (& with good reason) to party spirit, or personal ill-will.

I wait for a letter, or parcel from Longman, to learn whether they had received the <my> Heliconia [2]  &c from poor Nash, before I write to his brother in law. [3]  Poor fellow his loss will long continue to dwell upon my mind.

I have lately received a French translation of Roderick in prose, from the translator. [4] Bedford will tell you a good story about the Memoir prefixed to it. – Oliver Newman [5]  will wax as the days wax; I shall resume my old habit of versifying before breakfast, for his sake. At present I am in the sixth section, – so that nearly a quarter is done.

Love to all. God bless you


I have great confidence in the Vision, – in spite of the virulence which the subject will provoke. There are parts in it which I have never surpassed, & some splendid specimens of versification.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 15. Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 31 JA 31/ 1821
Seal: red wax; arm raising aloft cross of Lorraine
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.111. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A special copy of A Vision of Judgement (1821), identical to no. 2626 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, ‘superbly bound in blue morocco, leather joints, richly tooled and lined with silk’, was presented to George IV, to whom the poem was dedicated. BACK

[2] Egerton Brydges, Archaica: Containing a Reprint of Scarce Old English Prose Tracts (1814–1815); and Thomas Park (1759–1834; DNB), Heliconia: Comprising a Selection of English Poetry of the Elizabethan Age (1814). Both items were no. 168 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

[4] Pierre Hippolyte Amillet de Sagrie (1785–1830), Roderic, Dernier Roi des Goths (1821), no. 2700 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 26 January 1821, Letter 3616. BACK

[5] Southey’s unfinished epic set in New England. A fragment was published posthumously in Oliver Newman: a New-England Tale (Unfinished): with Other Poetical Remains by the Late Robert Southey (London, 1845), pp. 1–90. BACK

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