856. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 24 November [1803]

856. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 24 November [1803] ⁠* 

Thursday. 24 Nov.

Dear Wynn

I have received yours with its contents this evening.

Last night I finished my Bardsey book [1]  & very much to my own satisfaction. with local & particularizing scenery of course nothing could be done – for I have not been able to find any account whatever of the Island. I have pourd out a fine description of a fine autumn day with shore-objects, & made good use of my catholic knowledge in a service for the dead. thereto Llewelyn [2]  is introduced in a coracle. My mountaineering recollections are to come in the next book. some images I learnt by Llanberris – the best is one which came to me at Wynnstay – there where the Dee has some outlandish name – there where we saw the French Duke [3]  drawing – after all the objects of sight I shall turn to those of sound, which always affect me very much – & having dwelt on them – add – a blind man would have loved that lovely spot. [4]  – Your Dee certes is a most lovely river between Llangollen & Corwen – there where it rolls over amber colourd rocks but the finest river scenery we saw in Wales was before Llanrwst – in that wild valley – where the river so often rested in dark dead pools – what the Spaniards call the remansos  [5]  of the river. Oh I could show you such a mountain river here in our Greeta – the loud-lamenter which is the plain English of its Norse name! (by the bye gritar is the Portugueze word to lament aloud) & such a famous bridge over which Peter Elmsley could no more pace with his load of flesh & blood, than the heaviest laden sinner can get over the razor edged bridge leading to Paradise over Hell. [6] 

I am reviewing a History of the Methodists [7]  – a plain matter of fact Book which none but Methodists read now but which will be consulted by the Historians of England. I will blow the trumpet. [8] 

God bless you.



* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esq. M.P./ Wynnstay/ Wrexham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: Nov. 24/ 1803
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 247-248. BACK

[1] Madoc (1805), Part 1, Book 13. BACK

[2] Llewelyn ‘the Great’ (c. 1173-1240, Prince of Gwynedd 1194-1240; DNB). BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

[4] Actually used in Madoc (1805), Part 2, Book 23, line 39. BACK

[5] The Spanish translates as ‘a still pool’ (i.e. stagnant water). BACK

[6] An image from Zoroastrian belief. For the wicked the Bridge over hell becomes razor sharp and they fall into the abyss. BACK

[7] William Myles (1756-1828), A Chronological History of the People Called Methodists (1803), Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804), 201-213. BACK

[8] Zephaniah 1: 16, ‘A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against high towers’. BACK

People mentioned

Elmsley, Peter (1774–1825) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned