1447. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 April [1808]

1447. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 25 April [1808] ⁠* 

Dear Harry

Take good <care> of this little book which is of great value, [1]  – it cost 3,200 RS at Lisbon & you may perceive that it was once in the possession of Cardinal Albert of Austria, – What you should do should be to compress it, if into half its bulk, well, – if into a third better, – if xx into a quarter part, best of all, – but let your compr abridgement be every where translation, & take no other thought as to the language but that of translating faithfully, & then the style will take care of itself. – A few pages which I did some years ago may be of use to you.

Write legibly, – I have the Portugueze original of the work, one of the scarcest books in the language, – which you could not have used because there are many leaves made up in MS. in a worse hand than your own. By the help of this I shall probably be able to explain any passage which might puzzle us both in the Spanish.

The shipwreck & journey of Nuno Velho, may I should think, be translated at length. [2]  There are some sea terms at the beginning which might perhaps puzzle you – so you may begin at P. 6 ‘Começandose a noyte – & Tom will translate for you all that goes before. – Take care of the little tract. I shall have it bound, & lay it tr among my treasures.

I put in the volumes of Burn Burns [3]  to xxx xxx bulk to the parcel, – having another edition. The 8vo edition of Turners History [4]  I could <can> also give you, but it would make this It will save carriage thus to make the parcel large enough for waggon-conveyance.

My books are safely arrived, & I shall soon see what work they will supply for you in Pinkertons collection. [5] 

God bless you


Monday April 25


* MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG.1996.5.68. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Francisco Álvares (c. 1465–1536/1541), Portuguese missionary. Southey owned Spanish and Portuguese copies of his narrative: Manuel d’Almeyda, Historia de Ethiopia a Alta ov Preste Joam (Coimbra, 1660); Francisco Alvarez, Verdadera Informacāom das Terras do Preste Joam, [the title and several leaves MS.] (Lisbon, 1540). He also owned a copy of the French translation, Historiale Description de l’Ethiopie (1558). BACK

[2] Joao Baptista Lavanha (mid 1550s-1625), Naufragia da Nao S. Alberto (1597). This report told the story of the shipwreck in 1593 of the Santo Alberta off Southern Africa, and the subsequent trek of the survivors under their elected leader Nuno Velho Pereira. BACK

[3] Robert Burns (1759–1796; DNB). BACK

[4] Turner’s History of the Anglo-Saxons (1799–1805). BACK

[5] Henry was to translate and abridge Álvares, Lavanha and other travels for John Pinkerton (1758–1826; DNB), compiler of A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World (1808–1814). BACK

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