754. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 23 January 1803
754. Robert Southey to William Taylor, 23 January 1803 *
Henrys brother does not cease to sympathize with Henrys gratitude to Burnett. Burnett has quarrelled with me – not I with him; & one motive of my writing about it to you was that he might understand no angry feeling existed in me, & that whenever he recovers his common sense he may know I have never lost mine. Mimosa Sensibility is not among the seeds that have thriven in me. there has not been hot-house nurture enough for such weeds, such parlour-window exotics.
Harry will never be an oeconomist that I have long known. I am so by principle & by necessity, − I hope he will never have such lessons as I had, being sure that he would never profit by them so well. it is not the virtue of any of my relations, except my Uncle – to whom in spite of such different views & opinions, I my feelings & character bear a very strong family likeness. but this vexes me in Harry & always did, & always will while I care any thing about him. if he be ever wealthy he will be lavish – not liberal. if he be poor God help him!
Your Prospectus  has the mark of the beast. I should have known it had <it> been for a York or an Exeter paper to be yours: & excellently good it is. Success to you. I wish I had advertisements to send you – or any thing else.  But in plain truth all this poor brain can spin must go to market. I am reviewing for Longman – reviewing for Hamilton.  translating  – perhaps about again to versify for the Morning Post  – drudge – drudge – drudge. Do you know Quarles Emblem of the Soul  that tries to fly but is chained by the leg to Earth? for myself I could do easily. but not easily for others – & there are more claims than one upon me. But in spite of your Prospectus & all the possible advantages of a party newspaper in a county where parties are nearly equal I cannot be satisfied that William Taylor should be a newspaper editor – that he who should be employed in preparing dishes for the daintiest palates – should be making wash for the swine. few men have his talents, fewer still his learning, & perhaps no other his leisure joined to these advantages. from him an opus magnum might – ought to be expected. Coleridge & I must drudge for newspapers from necessity – but it should not be your choice. I remember Edward Taylor  as a fine open-faced boy – Stephen Weever Browne  as one who had always a good humourd laugh ready on demand. – Pray send me your Iris – I care so little about news that to have it regularly once a week will be adding to my stock of knowledge, besides I would have your amber-stones gnat in my cabinet.
Thalaba  shall be severely corrected. yet am I a dull dog if the story be obscure & can only say with Coleridge intelligibilia – non intellectum adfero.  – which I pray you quote for me to those who do not understand it. metrical faults I confess in all abundance – but my “ands” my ‘μεrs & δεs’  have their use – they soften the abruptness of lyrical transition & connect the parts. the Garden of Irem history has been long condemned – so has all in Book 9 after the chain of Thalaba is loosed. 
I will endeavour to find leisure from so many employments of will or of want to send you Madoc  book by book as it proceeds, that you may find faults in time. it is now fourteen years since I fixd upon the subject. in 1792 I began to collect materials – in 94 began the poem – recommenced it 97 – finishd it 99 – & am now pulling it down & building a better edifice on the same ground. I am ambitious of your praise & of that of men like you who judge feelingly & knowingly. & of the praise of those who judge feelingly without knowledge – but for the tiers etat the middle class who want feeling & only pretend to knowledge, it would not be easy to express the xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx <indifference with> which their praise or their censure can excite in <effects> me.
Your letter gave me the first intimation of Dr Sayers book.  thank him for me. it is now just ten years since I bought the dramatic Sketches – the first book I was ever master of money enough to order at a boo country booksellers. the Runic Mythology will come under my hands in its turn. of the Celtic there is not enough recoverable to afford materials.  perhaps Dr Sayer has not chosen his subjects well. the tale of Moina  would have done equally well for a Hindoo-drama – or a Peruvian one.
farewell. the other half the note is inclosed – & you may tell Harry that the five shillings have been paid to Burnett. we are still house-hunting – “foxes have holes &c – you know the text  – but I cannot find a den. my child is well: we are obliged – sorely against all inclination, to wean her for her mothers sake, who I am afraid has suffered materially by suckling her longer than she had strength. this vexes me & hangs upon my spirits. however the rising & falling of my spirits is never very perceptible to others. I can keep the equal countenance – & almost the equal mind.
God bless you
Sunday 23 Jany. 1803.
I expect Coleridge here this week on his way to France & Italy with Thomas Wedgewood – that is if W. lives to go – or keeps his mind till March.
* Address: To/ Mr Wm Taylor Junr/ Surry Street/ Norwich
Postmarks: BRISTOL/ JAN 23 1803; B/ JAN 24/ 1803
Endorsement: Ansd 6 Feb
MS: Huntington Library, HM 4838. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: J. W. Robberds (ed.), A Memoir of the Life and Writings of the Late William Taylor of Norwich, 2 vols (London, 1843), I, pp. 444-447 [in part]. BACK
 Taylor’s prospectus for the new Norwich newspaper, The Iris, which began publication on 5 February 1803. BACK
 Southey did occasionally contribute poems to The Iris in 1803-1804, including ‘A Lamentation’, 12 November 1803 and ‘Monodrama. Florinda’, 21 July 1804. BACK
 Southey contributed thirteen poems to the Morning Post in 1803, beginning on 4 February with ‘A True Ballad of a Pope’. BACK
 Francis Quarles (1592-1644; DNB), Emblemes (1635), Book 5, Emblem 9, pp. 276-279. The book is no. 2311 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK
 Edward Taylor (1784-1863; DNB), later a lecturer and writer on music. Taylor worked on The Iris. BACK
 ‘Things capable of being understood – not that I exercise any understanding’; a popular saying of Coleridge’s, used, for example, in his Poems, 3rd edn (London, 1803), p. x. BACK
 Frank Sayers (1763-1817; DNB), Poems, Containing Sketches of Northern Mythology, &c, 3rd edn (1803). The first edition appeared in 1790, the second in 1792. BACK
 Part of Southey’s never-achieved plan to write on all the world’s mythologies. For his ideas for Runic and Celtic poems, see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 11-12. BACK
 Sayers’s ‘Moina, a Tragedy’ first published in his Dramatic Sketches of the Ancient Northern Mythology (London, 1790), pp. 26-82. BACK