1084. Robert Southey to Richard Duppa, 14 July 1805

1084. Robert Southey to Richard Duppa, 14 July 1805 ⁠* 

I have not versified any more, because I have not translations of any more, except that utterly unintelligible one, & the poems puzzle me, the meaning being frequently so little that it is very difficult to discover any. If you think it worth while to bestow paper upon more, translate for me whatever you think most suitable, & I will versify, – but I fancy you will think that little is enough. The merit of the poems, such as they have, is not of a translateable kind. – & if Michel Angelos poetry is to be judged by my English, it will not rank very high, – but I confess that I have succeeded very ill. [1] 

Rickman has told you that I am coming to your neighbourhood. As I had before told you on what contingencies I depended, you will not have prematurely considered every thing as settled. When Toms remittance is safely come to hand, & the bills safely negociated, – then I shall positively say I am coming & request my friends to have their eyes upon the watch for me. Then I shall speak potentially, but till <then> must be contented with the optative mood.

Danvers is with me, he walks like a hero & we are going to visit every hole & corner of the Lake country. I wish some able artists would publish the Delices  [2]  of this land of Lakes upon a grand scale. if it were sufficiently extensive & expensive it might answer, – & the subjects are almost xxx innumerable.

I am studying Swedenborgianism for Don Manuel [3]  – & I wish I could get a peep at Jacob Behmens pictures to study them. [4]  Mrs Smith I know has rather a respect for those pictures with their drawn trap doors or I would ask you to write a description of them, but we must look for them elsewhere – I am too provoked to go on a pamphlet has just come by mail from Penrith by the ignorance of the person who was to bring it here, & I am thus made to pay 7s – 1d – for what costs half a crown, – & is not worth twopence. I hope the oath it cost will be set down to the right account.

God bless you

R Southey

Sunday 14 July. 1805.


* Address: To/ Richard Duppa Esqr/ 19 Poland Street/ Oxford Street/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Princeton University Library, Robert H. Taylor Collection, Box 17. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] After Duppa’s visit to the Lakes in the summer of 1804, both Wordsworth and Southey translated poems for Duppa’s Life and Works of Michel Angelo Buonarroti, with his Poetry and Letters, which was published in 1806. Wordsworth translated one sonnet; Southey three sonnets and a madrigal. A further poem, ‘And sweet it is to see in summer time’, was a joint effort, the first four stanzas by Wordsworth, the following five by Southey. See Kenneth Curry, ‘Uncollected Translations of Michelangelo by Wordsworth and Southey’, Review of English Studies, 14 (1938), 193–199. BACK

[2] ‘Delights’. BACK

[3] A religious movement that developed from the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), a Swedish scientist and theologian, who claimed to have received a new revelation from Jesus Christ. In 1788 his followers styled themselves ‘The New Church’. Southey’s account of Swedenborgianism is given in Letter 62 of Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella: Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[4] Jakob Böhme (also called Jacob Boehme, and Behmen; 1575–1624) a German mystic and theologian. He published many books, and among them his Des Gottseeligen Hocherleuchteten … Alle Theosophische Wercken (1682), included colour engravings of mystical scenes. BACK