Keswick. Nov. 28. 1813
My dear friend
Leave-taking is one of the evils of life, & I do not therefore regret that we did not meet in London just to say farewell. Here I am, recovered from three months of mental dissipation, & from three hundred miles mail-coaching, – the least fatiguing of the two: – my wife & children  all, thank God, in health, my books about me, my papers in order, & I myself in full enjoyment of health, happiness, & uninterrupted leisure.
I learnt at the Chamberlains Office that it is necessary to give you a letter of Attorney, because a receipt cannot be transmitted from hence, but must be signed at the office. Will you therefore procure one empowering you to receive all monies payable to me as Laureate, & Henry will thro Rickman transmit it to me in a frank for signature, & I will return it thro the same channel, & apprize you at what time the salary will be in course of payment. My appointment dates singularly enough from the 12th of August which is both the Prince’s birth day & my own, – the day after Pye’s death.  With pensions one quarter is never paid till another is due, & the Chamberlains office may perhaps be somewhat longer in arrear. There will be fees to the amount of nearly £20 to be deducted from the first quarter.
From Ballantyne I have heard nothing since I saw you – but a letter from Scott was awaiting me, in which he says he had seen James B (the Printer, had spoken to him on the subject, & was convinced that I should find the treatment which I was so well entitled to expect. – I account for the delay in closing my account by the much longer & heavier ones which they have to settle. That I shall lose my share in the Register  (£209) seems sufficiently certain. What is due to me I expect to recover, & am about to demand from them a bill payable to you in London.
When the Laureateship was first mentioned to me I thought little of it, & doubted whether I should accept it, if it were placed at my acceptance. I think very differently now. As an honour it was given me, & honourable I will make it. & I derive a satisf from the use to which it is applied a satisfaction greater than a much larger salary would have given me if devoted to my own immediate use.
My Ode  will be finished in the course of the week, – it is at once a Te Deum,  & an exhortation not to stop short in victory. I shall probably like it less than an Epistle to the Prince with which it is my intention to accompany it, concerning the office & myself.  Could I but strike off a beginning this would soon be written. I mean to do a good deal of volunteer duty, & meditate among other things a series of monumental inscriptions for the peninsular war. 
I found some valuable letters from Spain on my return. One from D Pedro Maria Ric  respecting Palafox & Zaragoza  which was especially gratifying. He tells me that the Junta of Aragon have sent me a series of their journals  – which I was very desirous of possessing. I am in high odour among in Spain, & shall obtain from thence every information which I know how to ask for. This is a great point. Perhaps no historical work was ever undertaken under more favourable circumstances. – I have not seen you since the battle of Leipsic!  Ask Mrs Walpole  xxx what she thinks <now> of my rose-coloured politics? My faith was that nothing founded upon evil could be permanent, – & that faith is now abundantly justified. We have now to look for the recovery of Italy,  on the capture of Davousts army,  & the submission of Denmark.  These we may expect, & it would not surprize me to hear that Buonaparte falls by the hands of the French. I think it likely that the Bourbons will be restored. I am not sure that I wish for their restoration. Pereat iste  however, – let who will succeed him.
I am anxious to know what intelligence you have from Brazil concerning the ship.
I left directions concerning the Bust.  Two in a week are all that can be cast without injuring the mould, – & the <artist> has fifteen & may probably have twenty to make. – Edith joins me in kind remembrances to Mrs May
God bless you –
Yrs very affectionately
Remember me to John Coleridge when you see him.
* Address: To/ John May Esqre/ Richmond/ Surry.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: E/ 1 DE 1/ 1813; 10 o’Clock/ DE 1/ 1813 FNn
Endorsement: No. 169. 1813/ Robert Southey/ Keswick 28th November/ recd. 1st Decembr/ ansd. 9th Feb. 1814
MS: Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. ALS; 4p.
Published @ RC
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