3723. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 1 September 1821
3723. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 1 September 1821*
My dear Wynn
Learning from you that Αναξ ανδρων  is still in the land of the living, I have done what uncertainty upon that point, has long withheld me from doing, – written to him. Poor fellow were we ever to meet again (& yet I hope we shall) – the first feeling would bring tears into our eyes, – an hour or two of delightful reminiscences would follow, & perhaps when the old stock of sympathy was exhausted we should be at a loss for other topics, & perceive how widely we have grown asunder.
I do not remember Dickins.  Wintle  I should have guessed to be as little susceptible of change as the Saracens Head.  But I should have thought the Bridegroom DOyly  as little to be aged, a Badger you know is always grey – & he was an old fellow at school. – Barns claimed acquaintance with me at Oxford last year,  & I certainly should not have known him, tho when he named himself I recognized something of his features.
Did you ever see a sword of Cromwells  age with <having> the back of the blade hollow, & the hilt loaded with quicksilver, so as to give weight to the blow?  – I forget where I have seen an allusion to such a weapon  – either in Fuller, I think, or in Jeremy Taylor.  A clumsy contrivance, & more likely to make the owner of the sword wield it awkwardly, than to give him any advantage. – The mention of J Taylor reminds me of some gross misprints in Reginald Hebers edition,  which I wish I had marked at the time that he might have given orders to cancel the leaves. A careful Corrector of the press is hardly now to be found in any printing office. The octavo edition of Burkes works, which I possess  is made in many places utterly unintelligible by its extreme inaccuracy.
Have you seen the most laborious work that ever proceeded from Wales? Major Prices Retrospect of Mahommedan History  – from Oriental authorities in four quarto volumes, printed in Brecknock? From the last volume I learn, what I could have forewarned him of (had I known him) before he sent the first to the Press, – that there are not many persons like myself, who will purchase such a work.
I am going to Lowther in the course of this month, & wish you were to be there. You shall have a portion of O Newman  in two or three days
God bless you
1 Sept. 1821
* MS: National Library of Wales, MS
4813D. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 268–270. BACK
 ‘King of men’; i.e. Edward Combe. BACK
 Henry John Dickens (c. 1771–1830), Captain of Westminster School in 1787. He had probably left the school before Southey arrived in 1788. In later life Dickens was a barrister. BACK
 Robert Wintle (d. 1848), an old Westminster schoolfellow of Wynn and Southey. He was Rector of Culham 1797–1848. BACK
 Thomas D’Oyly married Elizabeth Simons (dates unknown), daughter of Nicholas Simons (1754–1839), Rector of St Margaret’s, Canterbury 1807–1822, Rector of Ickham 1822–1839, on 4 January 1820, Morning Chronicle, 6 January 1820. BACK
 Southey had been led to this train of thought by an unusual old sword he had seen at Netherhall, home of his friend Humphrey Senhouse. BACK
 Henry More (1614–1687; DNB), ‘Preface’, to ‘A Platonick Song of the Soul’ in Philosophicall Poems (1647), no. 1998 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Southey noted the passage in Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), II, p. 6. BACK
 The works of Thomas Fuller (1608–1661; DNB) or Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667; DNB); like More they were seventeenth-century clergymen. BACK
 Reginald Heber, The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D. D. (1822), no. 2782 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (1815–1827), no. 492 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; an edition of the writings of Edmund Burke (1729–1797; DNB), conservative political theorist, philosopher and politician. BACK
 David Price (1762–1835; DNB), Chronological Retrospect, or, Memoirs of the Principal Events of Mohammedan History (1811–1821), no. 2350 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK