1357. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 11 September 1807

1357. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 11 September 1807 ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

The books which I miss are these [1] 

Two volumes of a set of Fieldings works. [2] 

One Vol. of Percys Reliques of A. Poetry [3]  – half bound by Barry [4]  with beautiful

marbled paper.

One Do – of Dodsleys Miscellanies. [5] 

One Do – of the Sailors Letters. [6]  unbound.

One Do of the Amusements of the Spa [7] 

Geddes’s Hist: of the Church of Malabar. [8] 

One Do of Lees Plays. [9]  half bound by Juniper. [10] 

I leave a gap in case I should recollect more. Let me know the sum total in which I stand indebted to you xxx xxx & I will send you a draft on Longman to the amount.

The Smiths arrived yesterday from Scotland. They are gone to Buttermere to day, & were to pass the evening here, but I suspect they are weather bound. Tom is with them. Don Manuel is their travelling companion, & I find they are acquainted with the author. [11]  – It would amuse you to hear the Imperial Colonel descant upon the bigotry of this said author, & admire his wonderful observation. nothing, he says, escapes him.

Yesterday I received a statement of my account with Longman, by which it appears that the whole of my profits upon Madoc [12]  up to this time amount to £25–19–5/2. Good encouragement to write another such poem, if I needed such encouragement. The remaining 150 copies will probably never sell, unless they are turned over to such xxx venders as Cody [13]  to be sold at half price & so net to the author about five shillings a xxx each. – I have ordered a parcel to be directed to you of which your own consignment forms the smallest part – there will be the small Madoc for Hort [14]  – Palmerin [15]  for yourself & King – & some of my books for Martha & Eliza. Put down the carriage to my account, – for I did not like to make them pay for it. Do’nt read Palermin: you have no relish for such books, & it would be time lost to no purpose. Your brother perhaps may like it better, & if he should it may serve to beguile a weary hour.

I sent off part of the Cid [16]  yesterday to Pople, who is now my Printer in ordinary. If the edition sells I shall receive 130 £ from it. I think it will sell, – but so I have thought of all my books & every one has disappointed me, except those of which the copy right is not my own.

Lord & Lady Holland past thro Keswick about a fortnight ago & drank tea with us. – Miss Barker has been a third time called away by unpleasant circumstances at home – her sister has chosen to marry – & her brother is about to do the same, & all the affairs of the family hang upon her. We miss her much – for never did a pleasanter woman come to a friends house. – Count Burnetski has dawdled himself out of the little good opinion which I so long & so obstinately retained of him. He lodges now at Portinscale [17]  & comes here to dinner. In Poland he has picked up some scraps of French, & some French morality at second hand, which makes his conversation to women so stupid & so abominable at the same time, that when once he turns his back upon Keswick I shall have done with him. I never saw a fellow with so little sense of propriety. He talks of remaining <months> longer, & then I suppose will move off as soon as he can either beg or borrow money to carry him to London; – but I suspect he has mendicated so long in every quarter that this will not xxx easily be done. I am sick of him – & know not which is xxx <worst> xxx his pride, or his meanness.

Hempstretch – Heaven knows how – is got into the Northampton Militia, & is now at Woodbridge Barracks near Ipswich! That hero seems destined to go thro as many adventures as Roderic Random. [18] 

I believe Wynn & Bedford are on the road here – It would rejoice you to see my Library how delightfully it is filled – & the London books are not yet come. I find several of yours – of which the only one worth carriage back is Camden. [19]  – We go on well – tho Herbert seems stopt in his growth by teething; – you would delight in my daughter. Dapper [20]  I am sorry to say hath trod in the steps of Cupid [21]  & is in durance vile for the offences.

God bless you


Sept 11. 1807.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Endorsements: Dr Sayers Poems; Brown on Popular [illegible word]
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ SEP15/ 1807
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Danvers had recently sent Southey the books which he had been storing for him in Bristol. BACK

[2] The sale catalogue of Southey’s library included a copy of Tom Jones but not of the Works of Henry Fielding (1707–1754; DNB). BACK

[3] The three volumes that comprise Thomas Percy (1729–1811; DNB), Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1767) are listed in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), bookseller and stationer, of 21 High Street, Bristol; Southey frequently sent Danvers orders for books to be supplied by him. BACK

[5] Robert Dodsley (1704–1764; DNB), Miscellanies, or Trifles in Prose and Verse (1745). BACK

[6] Edward Thompson (1738?–1786; DNB), A Sailor’s Letters. Written To His Select Friends In England, During His Voyages And Travels In Europe, Asia, Africa, And America (1766). BACK

[7] Carl Ludwig, Baron von Poellnitz (1692–1775), Les Amusements de Spa: or the Gallantries of the Spaw in Germany (1737). BACK

[8] Michael Geddes (c.1647–1713; DNB), The History of the Church of Malabar (1694). BACK

[9] Nathaniel Lee (d. 1692; DNB), dramatist. The Works of Mr Nathaniel Lee (1713). BACK

[10] Juniper (dates unknown), a Bristol carpenter who built book cases for Southey and also bound books for him. BACK

[11] Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella, the putative author of Southey’s Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[12] Southey’s poem Madoc, first published in 1805, and recently issued in a smaller duodecimo edition. BACK

[13] John Cody (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller. BACK

[14] William Jillard Hort (1764–1849), Unitarian Minister and writer, who taught in the school run by John Prior Estlin (1747–1817; DNB). He was one of many acquaintances who stored books for Southey. BACK

[15] Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze (1807). BACK

[16] Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish was published by Longmans in 1808. It comprised translations from the Crónica particular del Cid (1593), with additions from the Crónica de España of Alphonso the Wise (1541) and Romancero e Historia del Cid (1632). BACK

[17] A village within walking distance of Keswick on the shore of Derwentwater. BACK

[18] Eponymous hero of the 1748 picaresque novel by Tobias Smollett (1721–1771; DNB). BACK

[19] William Camden (1551–1623; DNB), antiquarian. Probably an edition of Britannia: or, a Chronological Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Islands Adjacent; from the Earliest Antiquity. BACK

[20] Southey’s dog. BACK

[21] Cupid, a dog Southey had saved from drowning in 1795, and who had been left with Danvers when he moved north. In January 1806, Southey informed his brother Thomas that Cupid ‘has been hung at last for robbing a hen-roost’; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 1–5 January 1806, Letter 1140. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)