674. Robert Southey to Richard Heber, 7 May [1802]

674. Robert Southey to Richard Heber, 7 May [1802] ⁠* 

My dear Sir

The Corpus Poetarum Lusitanorum [1]  is in all probability by this time arrived & lodged in the Custom House. There was an error in the direction committed by the man who packed them – Hebers Brewery – instead of Greens – which would prevent their delivery till enquired for.

Will you trust me with your Amadis de Gaul [2]  till I can procure one – or till I can abridge it – that is till the end of autumn? – Longman & Rees had thoughts of translating Tressans Romances. [3]  I advised them not to do it – because tho he was an able man, his books are too modern, & what is worse – too French. I have engaged to abridge Amadis myself – from the English translation, [4]  & as nearly as possible into the language of that translation – omitting as little of importance as possible, & adding nothing. this is a mere trial – if it succeeds the whole Army of Romances will be proceeded upon in order. [5]  To the Amadis I prefix a Dissertation on the Romances in general. my name is not to appear – & I trust it to you, to explain my reason for asking so long a loan of a Book which the Booksellers have vainly tried to procure. The book shall not be injured. I use books too much ever to abuse them. – but if you either want the work or fear to send it travelling – say so as freely as I have asked it.

yrs truly

R Southey.

May 7. 35. Strand.


* Address: To/ Richard Heber Esqr/ Mrs Hebers/ Green’s Brewery/ Buckingham Gate
Stamped: Two-Penny/ Post/ 46 Strand
Postmark: [partial] 7 o’Clock/ 7 MY/ 1802 LT
Endorsement: Southey
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 215. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: R. H. Cholmondeley (ed.), The Heber Letters 1783-1832 (London, 1950), pp. 183-184. BACK

[1] Antonio dos Reys (1690-1738), Corpus Illustrium Poetarum Lusitanorum (1745-1748), no. 3280 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Amadis of Gaul, a Spanish romance, first published in four books by Rodriguez de Montalvo (d. 1504). BACK

[3] Louis Elizabeth de la Vergne de Broussin, Comte de Tressan (1705-1783), whose adaptations and translations of Spanish and Old French chivalric romances included Traduction Libre d’Amadis de Gaule (1780). BACK

[4] Anthony Munday (1560-1633; DNB), The Ancient, Famous and Honourable History of Amadis of Gaul (1589-1619). BACK

[5] Southey’s four-volume translation of Amadis of Gaul appeared in 1803. It sold well enough for Longman and Rees to commission a four-volume version of Palmerin of England (1807) and the Chronicles of the Cid (1808). BACK

People mentioned

Rees, Owen (1770–1837) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

35 Strand, London (mentioned 1 time)