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

2459. Robert Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on 15] July 1814 ⁠* 

I hope the Long-men of the Row sent you the Odes, according to their instructions. For some time I had a sort of uncomfortable suspicion that it might be proper for me to produce something on the occasion, – but it was not till I perceived how the thing could be done, that I was at all determined upon doing it: & then for the first time I felt serious inconvenience in this distance from town. [1]  Many little amendments are made in a proof sheet which would not occur at any other time. This advantage was lost, & among many minor errors of the press, two have xxx crept in which make a wrong sense worse than nonsense. p. 7. sea is printed instead sun, & p. 16 the beach of Tarragona where the French dragoons galloped thro the crowd of women & children & cut them down to the right & left with their sabres, – is converted into the breach. [2]  – I sent up an insertion of some value for the first ode, – but it arrived too late –

Fear, Sorrow & Repentance following close:
And War scarce deigning to conceal
Beneath the mantles folds his armed plight.
Dogging her steps with deadly eye intent,
Sure of his victim, & in devilish joy
Laughing behind the mask.
Not thus doth Peace return,
A bright & glorious visitant she comes
Honour &c –  [3] 

& then a few lines lower, are must be substituted for comes. [4] 

The remaining part of their history is such as you may divine. They were sent to Portsmouth to Croker, who transmitted one to each of the beöded Sovereigns, thro their respective Chamberlains, [5]  – from whom their acknowledgement & thanks were received in due form; – & any thing unbound being deemed unpresentable to an English Prince, these lean sheets are now in the bookbinders hands to receive a court dress, preparatory to their formal delivery by Croker’s hands. So much for the Odes. The middle one is the most compleat. The last contains the best-turnd compliment, but is on the whole the worst. The first would be the best, if it did not limp in the concluding stanza. [6] 

Friday 15 July.

Gooden was here on Tuesday & Wednesday. He came in seasonable time to draw me out of doors & set my limbs in action, for I had been long & vehemently engaged upon Roderick, [7]  & had not quite concluded it. It was a great pleasure to show my MSS & books to somebody who could understand them & their value. The vellum manuscript of the Privilegios [8]  I find is still unsold, & is likely to remain so as long as the fellow asks such an inordinate price for it: – one should like to know for whom it was so beautifully written, & how it came to be misused & fall into a booksellers hands. Gooden has a copy of the first edition of the Regra xxx xxx & estatutos da Ordem de Santiago of which your copy was printed in 1548, by Germaõ Galharde, Frances. [9]  His, which I saw in town, is by a German printer, & the finest old Portugueze book I ever saw. He tells me, which you may tell Sir Charles Stuart, that there is a copy of Gil Vicente [10]  in the library at Gottingen, [11]  & he did tell me the {name of the} German author (but I have forgotten it) who had given some account of his works. [12] 

Did you notice a paragraph in two lines dated Rome & saying that the Pope had announced his intention of restoring the Jesuits? [13]  Upon mentioning this to Rickman, [14]  he writes me word that they actually were reestablished about 7 years ago, first in Sicily; thay they had already sent out about a dozen eleves to Ireland, & that two or three more are on the way there to assist in an Establishment which they are forming, the House & domain having cost about £20,000, & the purchase money having come nobody knows from whence. [15]  During the durance of the Pope the Catholicks denied the fact of this reestablishment; but certain property in abeyance could not be recovered without an avowal, which was managed characteristically, – xxx avowed, denied, distinguished &c &c. This is Rickman’s information, & when you see him you may enquire further. [16]  Were I Pope most certainly I would reestablish this order. Were I Prince as certainly I would smoke them out of my dominions; – that is to say – Prince Regent of a Protestant Country.

I mean, if circumstances permit, to go to France next spring, because I never can go there after my History of the Sp: war is published, [17]  – my plan will be to stay no longer at Paris than suffices to see the place & then run on to the South x so as to see the finest parts of the country, & as much of it as can be seen in the course of five or six weeks. A companion I must needs have, – & I wish you would be prevailed upon to go with me – the passage is nothing, – the travelling cheap, & the accommodations good. we might get into Switzerland, come down the Rhine, & drink Hock out of the Heidelberg Tun. [18]  – Perhaps if we could hit his leisure time we might steal the Doctor, & take him with us for our travelling Physician. Do not reject this proposal at once, for I am very much in earnest about it, & believe that if you would conquer a growing disinclination to locomotion, you would both be pleased with the journey, & the better for a few weeks of a better climate.

I compleated my poem [19]  yesterday, & shall send up the two concluding books in a parcel to Harry as soon as I can transcribe the last which is of unusual length. The whole has extended to 7000 lines.

Love to my Aunt & to the Three Bears. [20] 

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ The Reverend Herbert Hill/ Streatham/ Surry
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmarks: [partial] 10 o’Clock/ JY/1814 F; E/ 18 JY 18/ 1814
Watermark: 1811
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
Unpublished.
Dating note: Dating from content. This letter was continued on Friday 15 July 1814. BACK

[1] Hill had been sent a copy of Southey’s odes paying tribute to the Prince Regent and celebrating the 1814 visit to London of Alexander I (1777–1825; Emperor of Russia 1801–1825) and Frederick William III (1770–1840; King of Prussia 1797–1840); published as Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (1814). BACK

[2] ‘Ode to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland’, III and IV; Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (London, 1814), pp. 7 and 18. When the French army stormed the final Spanish strongholds at Tarragona on 28 June 1811, as many as 2,000 civilians were killed. For Southey’s account, see Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1811, 4.1 (1813), 305–306. BACK

[3] A new section for ‘Ode to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland’, III; Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (London, 1814), p. 8; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 15 June [1814], Letter 2441. BACK

[4] ‘Ode to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland’, III; Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (London, 1814), p. 8. BACK

[5] The Prince Regent’s Chamberlain was the Marquess of Hertford; Hertford’s son, Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, Lord Yarmouth (1777–1842; DNB), was appointed to be the Emperor Alexander’s Chamberlain during his visit; and Frederick William brought his own Chamberlain, the eminent scientist, Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859). BACK

[6] ‘Ode to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland’, VII; Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (London, 1814), p. 12. BACK

[7] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[8] Possibly a copy of the Cartas dos Privilegios de Nacam Britannica em Portugal (1746), which John May had previously lent to Southey. BACK

[9] Regra y Statutos da Ordem de Santiago (1548), printed by Germaõ Galhardo (fl. 1520s-1560s); Southey later acquired a copy – perhaps from Hill’s library – no. 3710 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[10] The Portuguese playwright and poet Gil Vicente (c. 1465-c. 1536). Charles Stuart, Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779–1845; DNB), envoy at Lisbon 1810–1814, had expressed his desire to obtain a copy of Vicente’s works; see Southey to Herbert Hill, [started before and continued on] 8 March 1814, Letter 2386. BACK

[11] The Library of the University of Gottingen in Hanover (founded 1734). BACK

[12] Friedrich Bouterwek (1766–1828), Geschichte der Portugiesischen Poesie und Beredsamkeit (1805), pp. 85–115. This book was the fourth volume in Bouterwek’s 12 volume series on European literature (1801–1812). BACK

[13] Pius VII (1742–1823), pontiff since 1800, restored the Society of Jesus (which had been suppressed in 1773), in a Bull of 7 August 1814. BACK

[14] See Southey to John Rickman, 8 July 1814, Letter 2457. BACK

[15] A garbled description of the foundation of the Jesuit school, Clongowes Wood College, near Clare in Ireland. The Jesuits had never been suppressed in Russia and the Papacy had recognised their organisation there in 1801, clearly indicating the Order would be restored elsewhere. Inspired by this decision, the two Irish Jesuits who had survived since the suppression of the Order in 1773, recruited five new members, who studied at Stonyhurst School (founded 1794) and then in Palermo (1808–1811), before returning to Ireland. The land at Clongowes was bought for £16,000 in March 1814 and the school admitted its first pupils on 18 May 1814. BACK

[16] See John Rickman to Southey, 12 July 1814 (Huntington Library MS). BACK

[17] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[18] A popular tourist attraction, the tun was an extremely large wine vat, found in the cellars of Heidelberg Castle. BACK

[19] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[20] The Hills’ children: Edward, Herbert, and Erroll. BACK

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August 2013