944. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, [late May] 1804

944. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, [late May] 1804 ⁠* 

London, May. 1804

.                   .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                     The Thames is ebbing fast before the window, and a beautiful sight it is, dear Edith; but I wish I were upon the banks of the Greta! I will not remain an hour longer than can be helped. You have no notion of the intolerable fatigue it is to walk all day and not get to bed till after midnight.                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                     I have lost a grand triumph over you, Edith. Had you seen me in my Hyde, when I tried it, you would never have sent me to a London hyde-maker again. [1]  The sleeves are actually as large as the thighs of my pantaloons, and cuffs to them like what old men wear in a comedy. I am sure, if I were a country farmer, and caught such a barebones as myself in such a black sack, I would stick him up for a scarecrow.

I saw Longman yesterday, who was very glad to see me. I am trying to make him publish a collection of the scarce old English poets, which will be the fittest thing in the world for Lamb to manage, if he likes it; or, perhaps, to manage with my co-operation. [2]  The Amadis sells not amiss; the edition, they say, will go off. [3]  Thalaba [4]  goes off slowly, but is going. They got me W. Taylor’s review, [5]  which is very characteristic of his style, talents, and good-will for the author. I will bring down the number

                   .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                    .                     On Thursday Carlisle gives me a dinner. There must be one day for Turner; and as for all my half a thousand acquaintances, they may ask till they are blind, for I won’t go. I might live all the year here, by being invited out as a show, but I will not show myself. I write you very unsatisfactory letters, dear Edith, but you know how like a bear with a sore head this place makes me; and never was I more uncomfortable in it, though with a pleasanter house over my head than ever, and better company.

God bless you!

R. S.


* MS: MS untraced; Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850)
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), II, pp. 287–288 [in part]. BACK

[1] Hyde (first name and dates unknown) was a London tailor frequented by Southey. BACK

[2] Charles Lamb’s Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who Lived about the Time of Shakespeare was published by Longman in 1808. BACK

[3] Southey’s translation of the Spanish romance Amadis of Gaul (1803). BACK

[4] Southey’s poem Thalaba the Destroyer, published in 1801. BACK

[5] Taylor’s review of Southey’s Thalaba the Destroyer appeared in The Critical Review, 2nd series, 39 (December 1803), 369–379. BACK

People mentioned

Lamb, Charles (1775–1834) (mentioned 1 time)
Taylor, William (1765–1836) (mentioned 1 time)
Carlisle, Anthony (1768–1840) (mentioned 1 time)
Turner, Sharon (1768–1847) (mentioned 1 time)