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

2363. Robert Southey to [Cornelius Neale], 15 January 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick Jany. 15. 1814.

Sir

I thank you for the honour you are pleased to confer upon me. [1]  Let me however request that you will not call me the greatest poet of the age; – if I should hereafter be ranked among the greatest it will be fame sufficient.

Your tragedy reached me last night. I have perused it with much pleasure, & could say much in its praise: – but as it is not yet published I will rather point out two trifling instances (I believe they are the only ones) in which you seem to have forgotten that your scene lies in the East, & that the personages are Turkish. You speak in one place of the soldiers feather as an object of vulgar attraction, [2]  & in another of the hermits wooden chair. [3]  This is {Both are} of so little importance that they are perhaps hardly worthy of notice.

Believe me Sir

Yrs with sincere respect

Robert Southey.

Should any occasion lead you into this part of the world, I trust you will give me an opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with one who, I trust, is destined to hold a high place among our dramatic writers.


Notes

* MS: Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library, Misc 3557
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Neale had dedicated his Mustapha: A Tragedy (London, 1814) to Southey ‘AS A TESTIMONY OF ADMIRATION/ FOR THE GREATEST POET OF HIS AGE’. BACK

[2] Mustapha: A Tragedy (London, 1814), p. 53. BACK

[3] Mustapha: A Tragedy (London, 1814), p. 68. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013