1137. Robert Southey to Richard Duppa, [29-]30 December 1805

1137. Robert Southey to Richard Duppa, [29-]30 December 1805 ⁠* 

Dear Duppa

For this last fortnight I have been exceedingly unwell & incapacitated from doing anything, first by a bilious diarrhœa, & now by the regular influenza, which chuses to make me in the fashion. I am still taking James’s powders, [1]  & hope tomorrow to be so far recovered as to begin with bark [2]  but I am still very weak, head bad – throat still sore – nights restless &c &c. It is even some effort to write – but I am writing to say that if it were not for this utter disability I should have hammered all day at the M. Angelo [3]  – that I might not be the means of delaying you. You led me to expect longer delay on your part – & I on mine, willingly procrastinated a very difficult job in the hope that Coleridge would arrive, of whom we are in daily expectation. [4]  However the very first thing which I shall do when sufficiently recovered to do any thing, shall be to go thorough-stitch with the translations as well as I can.

Your letters are in tune to a miracle. [5]  I like them exceedingly & do not see that they stand in any need of transcription, except in compassion to the Printer, for it must be confessed your handwriting is the very perfection of unintelligibility. The first must come in about 9th or 10th in the series. the other a little farther on. I wish you also to show him the Exhibition for 1802. There was a picture of Opies [6]  of a dog watching the body of his Master, worthy of much praise if he had not ridiculously ruined it by making the dog a fine fat combed-&-washed parlour spaniel! Mrs O. actually borrowing the handsomest dog she saw in the streets – to sit for the occasion. I saw this picture when first sketched, & thought it one of the finest I had ever seen – so did Coleridge – when finished it was spoilt by this folly. But I should like just to say something civil of Opie which may truly enough be done <upon this picture> − tho I do not & cannot like the man.

Your travelled Englishman will be a fit person to show him the Exhibition [7]  − & you may say what is to be said about Somerset House. [8]  With architecture & the arts it would be very foolish for me to meddle when you are at hand. − I have a third cargo ready to send off – or nearly ready – as soon as I think Rickman is returned to London & will xx in the way to receive it. – If any chance should lead you to Longmans – or by Paternoster Row – I should be obliged to you to take some of these Letters in your pocket – & show them to Artaxerxes, [9]  that he may determine in what shape to print them. there will be 300 such pages, – I like two handleable volumes better than one large thick octavo – but he will know which is best, accor in the Paternoster-Row sense of the word x good & its degrees of comparison. I shall be in town – if no ill fortune prevent me – by the end of March – but these Letters may go to press the beginning of February.

Receive this, which was begun yester-evening – as a letter of excuse for not immediately translating what remains to be done – & a promissory note to do it as soon as I am able. I should be very sorry to occasion any delay. Your book will be too late for this years review but I will take care of it in the next, [10]  either myself – or by Wm Taylor. And I will see what can be done in the Critical thro Wordsworths brother who writes the orthodoxy there – If his belief in the 9 & thirty articles can be made useful to your Life of M. Angelo – there will be as odd an instance of cause & effect as one shall easily meet with – [11] 

God bless you

R S.

Monday. Dec. 30. 1805 –

Your Tuscan [12]  seems to me to have very Opera-House sort of ideas of poetry & not to know what is good from what is bad. – I wish you could point out in your errata that the Cancion [13]  – as I formerly mentioned – has been erroneously printed – each stanza numbered as a seperate poem. How such a blunder could have been made in the first edition is wonderful. Should it be detected by any reviewer he will say you printed the poems without understanding them.


* Address: To/ Richard Duppa Esqr/ 51. Great Malborough Street/ Oxford Street/ London./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [illegible]
Endorsement: CXXI.
Watermark: T BOTFIELD
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 4p.
Dating note: Southey states that the letter was ‘begun yester-’evening’. BACK

[1] James’s fever powder, containing phosphate of lime and oxide of antimony as sweating agents, was the invention of the physician and medical writer, Robert James (bap. 1703–1776). BACK

[2] ‘Fever Bark’ was a popular treatment for illnesses such as influenza. BACK

[3] 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

[4] Coleridge, who was returning across Europe from Malta, did not arrive back in Britain until August 1806. BACK

[5] Duppa wrote several passages of Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). The description of the monuments in Westminster Abbey, in Letter 23, is an example of his contribution. BACK

[6] The painter, John Opie (1761–1807; DNB). The picture, The Unfortunate Traveller, was probably that which, under the title The Dead Traveller and his Faithful Dog, sold for 10 guineas after Opie’s death in 1807. BACK

[7] Southey refers to the fictional host (Mr. J.) of his Spanish traveller, Espriella, in Letters from England. BACK

[8] On its institution in 1771 the Royal Academy was permitted to use seven large state apartments in Somerset House. The Royal Academy moved to the new Somerset House, built by Sir William Chambers (1722–1796) in 1779. According to Kenneth Curry (New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, p. 403) Southey contributed the following entries to volumes VI (1807), VII (1808) and VIII (1813): Volume VI: ‘Vasco Lobeira’, 314–317; ‘Francisco Rodrigues Lobo’, 318; ‘Fernam Lopez’, 340; ‘Gregorio Lopez’, 340; ‘Francisco de Losa’, 344–345; ‘Joam de Lucena’, 371–372; ‘Miguel de Luna’, 388; ‘Fr. Francisco de Santo Agostinho Macedo’, 434–435, ‘El Enamorado Macias’, 437–438; ‘P. Fr. Pedro Malon de Chaide’, 506; ‘D. Jorge Manrique’, 523–524; ‘Don Juan Manuel’, 529–530; ‘Ausias March’, 542–543; ‘Juan de Mariana’, 555–557; ‘Vicente Mariner’, 558; ‘Luis de Marmol Carvajal’, 569; ‘P. M. Fr. Juan Marquez’, 574–575. Volume VII: ‘Juan de Mena’, 28–30; ‘Don Inigo Lopez de Mendoza’, 37–38; ‘D. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza’, 38–39; ‘Menezes’, 41–42; ‘Christoval de Mesa’, 59–60; ‘George de Montemayor’, 174–175; ‘Ambrosio de Morales’, 194–198; ‘Alonso de Castro Nunez’, 466; ‘Antonio de Naxara’, 469; ‘Abraham Nehemias’, 469; ‘Florian de Ocampo’, 471–472; ‘Fr. Diego de Olarte’, 487; ‘Fr. Andres de Olmos’, 497; ‘Jerome Osorio’ [with Thomas Morgan (1752–1821)], 530–533; ‘Alonso de Ovalle’, 548; ‘Andres de Oviedo’, 555–556; ‘Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo’, 556–557; ‘Lorenzo de Padilla’, 578; ‘Pedro Paez’, 578–580; ‘D. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza’, 585. Volume VIII: ‘Josef de Ossau, Salas y Pellicer’, 25–26; Bartholomé Pereira’, 46; ‘Luys Pereyra’, 46; ‘Antonio Perez’, 46–47; ‘Ruy de Pina’, 173; ‘Juan de Pineda’, 175; ‘Fernam Mendes Pinto’, 178–179; ‘Thome Pires’, 182–184; ‘Fernando de Pulgar’, 385. BACK

[9] Southey’s nickname for Longman, after the Persian emperor Artaxerxes I (also named Longimanus) who reigned 465–424 BC. BACK

[10] Southey reviewed Duppa’s The Life and Literary Works of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with his Poetry and Letters (1806) in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807), 411–425. BACK

[11] Christopher Wordsworth was a scholar and apologist in the Critical Review for the Church of England, of which the 39 Articles of Religion, of 1563, established the basis of belief. BACK

[12] Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni [Michelangelo] (1475–1564) was born in Caprese, near Arezzo, in Tuscany. BACK

[13] Duppa’s edition of Michelangelo’s poems formed the appendix to his Life and Literary Works of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with his Poetry and Letters (1806), of which Southey had seen an early presentation copy. Duppa did correct the mistake in numbering in an errata slip at the end of the work. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Paternoster Row, London (mentioned 2 times)