310. Robert Southey to Caleb Hillier Parry, [after early May 1798]

310. Robert Southey to Caleb Hillier Parry, [after early May 1798] ⁠* 

My dear Sir

I return you the print with many thanks. it is as I imagined the same as that in Hordals book, [1]  & in the old history of the Siege of Orleans, [2]  with only the omission of the sword. [3]  the picture at Orleans is the original of all, & that I believe to xxx be the rude production of a rude age, tho by the dress, long after the reign of Charles 7th. [4] 

I am Sir

yr obliged

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ Mr Parry/ Catharine Place
MS: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Robert Southey Papers A.S727. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: The brevity of the address suggests this letter was written when Southey was in Bath. It must have been written before Parry’s move to 27 The Circus, Bath in 1800. Most probably the letter dates from shortly after the publication of the second edition of Joan of Arc in early May 1798, when Southey visited Bath. The 1798 edition included a new frontispiece, an engraving by Robert Hancock of Joan wielding a sword. However, the printed text did not record the provenance of this portrait. This omission may have led Parry to send Southey a print of Joan that he owned as a point of comparison and reference. In the 1806 third edition of Joan, Southey took care to note the frontispiece’s provenance. His note contains several echoes of this letter to Parry. BACK

[1] Jean Hordal (1542-1618), Heroinæ Noblissimæ Ioannæ Darc Lotharingæ Vulgo Aurelianensis Puellæ Historia (Ponti-Mussi, 1612), p. [xii]. Hordal claimed to be descended from a brother of Joan of Arc. BACK

[2] L’Histoire et Discours Au Vray du Siège qui fut mis devant la Ville d’Orléans par Les Anglois (Troyes, 1621), unpaginated. BACK

[3] The engravings in the above showed Joan wielding a sword and were the basis for the frontispiece of Joan of Arc (1798). BACK

[4] This was further explained by Southey in a note to Joan of Arc, 3rd edition (London, 1806), I, p. 89n: ‘The portrait … is from a picture in the Town-hall of Orleans … The dress is of a later age than the time of Joan of Arc, and the countenance, beyond a doubt, fictitious.’ Charles VII (1403-1461; King of France 1422-1461). BACK