Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
21. Capel Lofft to George Bloomfield, 1 March 1800*
I have had the pleasure of seeing your brother's delightful poem at last published. I copy part of a letter from the Duke of Grafton, which I received by this post: —
'I have to thank you for the acquaintance of a real untaught genius, starting from our neighbourhood; which, together with the account you give of his moral character, makes me very desirous of being of service to him. I can not but lament that I had no intimation given me from any person of him or his disposition, at a time when he might have been assisted to great effect in his education, and that easily.
I should be glad to converse with him, if he would do it frankly, on his future views of life; and, if he was advised by you to call on me here, I would first thank him for his work, and then hear what were his plans or wishes for his future occupations. He would find me at home every day about noon; if on Friday, not till after one o'clock.
I should be curious to hear where you first had knowlege of this young man, or of any of his writings. The character he has given was well deserved by William Austin, whose son is now in his father's farm.'
I could not resist copying this. You will not give a copy of it; but you will show it to those friends to whom you may wish to communicate it.
I will write to your brother by to-morrow's post.
I remain, dear sir, yours very sincerely,
Bury 1 Mar: 1800.