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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

1776. Robert Southey to [? James Ballantyne], 4 May 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. May 4. 1810.

My dear Sir

A portion of the Register [1]  goes off to-night, – another will follow it tomorrow, & the concluding chapter [2]  the day after. The remainder of the appendix I send with the notes to Kehama. [3]  I purpose being at Durham on Tuesday next, to pass a fortnight with my brother; let therefore the proofs be directed there.

I fear you may have thought me pertinacious in not qualifying the commendation of Wordsworths pamphlet. [4]  But on no point was I ever more clearly & coolly satisfied that my opinion was in the strictest sense of the word impartial. An opinion prevails that Mr Wordsworth & I are in close habits of intimacy, – & the notion of a literary connection is a existing between us is so prevalent, that each of us is made partner in whatever censure or satire is levelled at the other. It is very likely that from this supposed intimacy you may hi have suspected my praise of his pamphlett to have proceeded from {feelings of} personal friendship. But the truth t is that this general opinion is altogether erroneous, founded upon an intimacy between him & Mr Coleridge, – that when Criticasters x began to sneer at us as joint founders of a new school of poetry, I had not seen him more than twice, – & that highly as I estimate his talents both as a poet & a political philosopher, there never has existed, & I believe never will, any such intercourse between us as could in any degree induce me to overvalue his productions.

The book from Lisbon has not reachd me. [5]  I did the best I could without it, – still the disappointment was vexatious, tho I trust & hope no person will feel the want of it so much as myself. – At Durham I shall have leisure to explain what seems to me the best plan for an English Parnassus. [6]  My absence from home will not exceed three weeks, I shall then return to my usual employments, & will write to Longman for materials for your second volume, [7]  that they may be ready when I get back. To whom shall I return those materials for the first which I have no farther occasion?

Yrs very truly

Robert Southey.


Notes

* MS: Brotherton Library, University of Leeds
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808 (1810). BACK

[2] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), Chapter 23 on the British retreat in northern Spain in 1809 and the Battle of Corunna, 16 January 1809. BACK

[3] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), xix–ciii, the ‘Appendix’ of 42 State Papers; and The Curse of Kehama (1810), printed by the firm of Ballantyne. BACK

[4] Wordsworth’s Convention of Cintra (1808) criticised the treaty which allowed the defeated French to evacuate their forces from Portugal. Southey had praised it as ‘a work which has never been surpassed in eloquence, and to the philosophy of which, nothing comparable has been produced since the days of Milton’, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1808, 1.1 (1810), 320 n. *. BACK

[5] Observador Portuguez, Historico e Politico de Lisboa (1809), no. 3556 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, reviewed by Southey in Quarterly Review 4 (August 1810), 1–24. It was an account of the French Army’s invasion of Portugal in 1808. BACK

[6] Possibly a scheme for a book containing a selection of English poetry. In Greek mythology, Mount Parnassus was the home of the muses. BACK

[7] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809 (1811). BACK

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August 2013