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

2558. Robert Southey to William Lisle Bowles [fragment], 21 February 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick 21 Feby. 1815.

… Whenever I may be travelling westward (or rather southward), it will give me great pleasure to halt awhile with you: – but my ties with that part of England are much loosened. Death has cut up the dearest of them by the roots, & my heart fails me when I look that way. – According to the ordinary course of things I ought to have been settled at this time in the west of England upon a fair fortune, but it has been my lot to be twice disinherited by near relations to whom I never gave cause or shadow of offence. [1]  They were both cases of that kind of insanity which is not cognizable by law. Here in this beautiful country I am too far from libraries, & too far from my friends: and going but seldom to London, I am old enough whenever I leave them to feel very strongly the uncertainty of seeing them again. These things make one sometimes think of moving, & Bath generally presents itself as that place where a man of limited means may enjoy most comforts.

And now my dear Sir, farewell. I am indebted to you for many hours of deep enjoyment, & for great improvement in our common art, for your poems came into my hands when I was nineteen and I fed upon them. Our booby critics talk of schools, & if they had had common discernment that might have perceived that I was of your school. But they are as deficient in judgement as they are in candour and in common honesty …


Notes

* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from W. L. Renwick, ‘Southeyana’, Durham University Journal, 33 (1940)
Previously published: W. L. Renwick, ‘Southeyana’, Durham University Journal, 33 (1940), 68. BACK

[1] Southey and his brothers had inherited nothing from their wealthy uncles John and Thomas Southey. BACK

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August 2013