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...
241. Robert Bloomfield to Joseph Blacket, 15 June 1809*
Near ye Shepherd & Shepherdess, City Road, Jun 15, 1809
I write a word with a strong sence of contrition for not having written before, as Mr Lackington sent me your Vollumn a fortnight ago.  The instant I read it I resolved to shake hands with you by letter at least, and to thank you for a pleasure of no common sort. 'The Conflagration' is so truly full of fire that it allmost burns ones fingers to read it. Saragossa is a noble poem. You have got the right pig by the ear, go on; but choose your own themes, and let the master-tint of your mind have full play. I fear from your own hints in the work that you are not healthy. this makes the last page the more afflicting. I have much to say but will now only tender my hearty good wishes and congratulations. And am sincerely your friend and Brother in Leather.
P.S. I have mentiond your book to Mr C Lofft, and shall send it. An acquaintance of mine feels as I do, and sends his respects.
Address: Mr Joseph Blacket (Favour'd by Mr Marchant)
* James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, 17966. An abridgement of Bloomfield's letter, together with extracts from Blacket's reply were printed in The Remains of Joseph Blacket; Consisting of Poems, Dramatic Sketches, The Times, An Ode, and A Memoir of his Life by Mr. Pratt, 2 vols. (London, 1811), I, pp. lxi-lxii. BACK