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...
263. Robert Bloomfield, to Mary Lloyd Baker, 2 August 1811*
London. Aug 2d. 1811
I have just seen Miss Ansted, and from her report was induced to forward to you one of the very first Copies of my Tour.  I will send more to you, and to Dursley next week. I may not congratulate you I find on the score of health. but I may, and allways will, on a subject quite reviving and encouraging your long and uniform placidity of mind, and boyant spirit that lifts you above this world and bears you to Heaven. I will not give place to any man on earth but your Husband in the earnestness of my wishes for your restoration. Read my verses, and travel with me over again, my heart will be in perfect unison. There are several passages entirely new to you, and some which I think you will like, but remember that you are a critick, and have a right (I suppose as great as any of them) to say what you please of it.
There is a sad blunder committed either by the Bookseller or the engraver in the first plate, which you see exhibits a 'view of the Wye from Crickhowel,' a sight which you and I never saw before in our lives, tell Mr Baker not to laugh at them,—Davy the Composer askd 35 Guineas for setting the four Ballads to Music, and therefore here comes the Book without them. If the enthusiasm of the reader is not awakend by the scenery described, he may drum in his own ears for me.
I learn that Miss C Sharp is with you, I rejoice at it for many reasons.
Tell Mr Baker to measure my performance with his antiquarian compasses, and if it should not be knockd down by the professd Towmahawk-men, I will do any thing in another Edition which shall not destroy the spirit, and the half-wild, half-informed run of the whole.
I have nothing to boast of as to health and appitite, I want to get well under a hedge and cannot find one to my liking, I have been confined all the Summer in London. My Children are growing up round my table, even the pudding would instinctively tell you this if it could talk. Health attends them all, a blessing which I hope I duly appreciate. My Mind is much easier than it has been, for the printing task is done, and my health amended.
I will endeavour though to write more next time I try, and till then I defer much that might be said.
Please to give my Love to Your Children, and to Mr Baker, and to the Elders of your name. And believe me Dear Madam never more sincerely yours
I would gladly have written now to Miss Sharp, but to her I must give my best bow and my love.