3764. Robert Southey to John Murray, 17 December 1821

3764. Robert Southey to John Murray, 17 December 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 17 Dec. 1821

My dear Sir

I have barely seen the edition of the Lusiad [1]  which you mention, for a few minutes at Lord Hollands; – if you can borrow it for me it will undoubtedly be useful. Did I ever tell you that my paper upon Portugueze literature in the second number of the QR. was translated into Portugueze by one of the Censors of the Press at Lisbon; & because he could not license it for publication there, printed at his expence in Germany, for private distribution in Portugal. [2] 

What is become of Dobrizhoffer? [3]  I could give no extracts, because I had not the translation at hand.

The Book of the Church [4]  you will have directly; & the Dialogues [5]  immediately after it. I am taking great pains with both. And I am making preparations for Cromwell, with such a view of the subject in all its bearings, that unless my hand should forget its cunning, the work will be a standard one. We will talk about terms when it is ready [6] 

All that I hear of Westalls drawings makes me desirous of seeing them. [7]  If you think of engaging in them (which I shall be glad of) it is right you should know what the sale of the poem has been. 7000 copies have sold, [8] & there are two French translations; [9]  & I have heard of a Dutch one, but whether it has been printed I know not. [10] Lord Byron should not have compared it with the Paradise Lost; [11]  – the character of the poem is essentially different. It is not a work which will be laid x <upon the shelf, – but> tho I do not think it is the one upon which my character as a poet will principally rest hereafter. Roderick might have been written by one who could not have conceived Kehama. [12] 

Marshal St Cyrs work [13]  comes in excellent time, & will be very useful.

believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey


* Address: To/ John Murray Esqre./ Albemarle Street/ London.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] 20/ 1821
Seal: red wax; design illegible
Watermark: S E & Co/ 1819
Endorsement: Decr 17. 1821/ R Southey Esq
MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] An unknown edition of Luis Vaz de Camões (c. 1524–1580), Os Lusiadas (1572). BACK

[2] Southey’s review of Extractos em Portuguez e em Inglez; com as Palavras Portuguezas Propriamente Accentuadas, para Facilitar o Estudo d’Aquella Lingoa (1808) in Quarterly Review, 1 (May 1809), 268–292. The translator was Johann Wilhelm Christian Muller (1752–1814), Dutch convert to Catholicism and Royal Censor of Books. Muller translated the article from the Quarterly as Memoria sobre a Literatura Portugueza. Traduzida do Inglez. Com Notas Illustradoras do Texto (1809). BACK

[3] Southey reviewed Sara Coleridge’s An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay (1822) in Quarterly Review, 26 (January 1822), 277–323. The book was a translation of Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717–1791), Historia de Abiponibus Equestri, Bellicosaque Paraquariae Natione (1784). He had hoped it might appear in Quarterly Review, 26 (October 1821), published on 21 December 1821. BACK

[4] Southey’s The Book of the Church (1824). BACK

[5] Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829). BACK

[6] Southey did not write his proposed biography of Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658; Lord Protector 1653–1658; DNB). BACK

[7] William and Richard Westall had suggested they produce illustrations for Southey’s Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814); these could then be inspected and purchased by readers and bound into their copies of the poem. The result was a set of engravings based on drawings by Richard Westall (1765–1836; DNB) and entitled Illustrations of Roderick, the Last of the Goths. A Poem, by Robert Southey, Esq. from the Drawings of R. Westall R.A. (1824). BACK

[8] Southey here calculates that the first four editions of Roderick, the Last of the Goths in 1814–1816 had sold out; and half of the 2,000 copies printed in the fifth edition of 1818 had done so. BACK

[9] Pierre Hippolyte Amillet de Sagrie (1785–1830), Roderic, Dernier Roi des Goths (1821), no. 2700 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library; and Antoine André Brugière, Baron de Sorsum, Roderick, le Dernier des Goths (1820), no. 2697 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] Katherina Bilderdijk, née Schweickhardt (1776–1830), Rodrigo de Goth, Koning van Spanje (1823–1824), no. 2701 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[11] Southey had learned of Byron’s opinion of Roderick from Murray; see Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [c. 16 December 1814]–13 January 1815, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Four, Letter 2520. The comparison is with John Milton (1608–1674; DNB), Paradise Lost (1667). BACK

[12] The oriental romance The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[13] Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr (1764–1830), Journal des Opérations de l’Armée de Catalogne, en 1808 et 1809 (1821). Southey wanted it for his History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)