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

2599. Robert Southey to James Ballantyne, 20 May 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. 20 May. 1815

Dear Sir

You will have heard from Messrs Longman respecting the new editions of Madoc & Roderick. [1]  Of the latter I cannot send a copy because the second edition [2]  has not yet reached me; – do you therefore procure one & print from it; & I will, when I receive one, inform you by letter of any errors which may be to be avoided. There is one unavoidable source of error, – when a paragraph ends at the bottom of a page, & the book is reprinted in a different form, the compositor not perceiving the pause which the subject requires {naturally} connects it with the following one.

A copy of Madoc I send off this day. I have expunged an infinite number of commas, which we use so redundantly in the modern printing as {to} create a difficulty in punctuation.

There is one general correction to which I wish the compositor would attend: – that of every where restoring the e to the participle past, & the third person singular. We never omit it in prose, tho in prose it is never pronounced. Where it is to be pronounced in verse it may be indicated to the reader by a mark thus ë, ordained – for instance upon the common pronunciation, or if the third syllable be pronounced, ordainëd.

The proofs of Madoc I wish to see. Remember that they must be uncut. The last sheets which you sent me were uncut, but tho {this} was manifest in the folding, & tho “Single Proof Sheet” was written upon them, they were charged double at your Post Office. To insist upon having the sheet cut is both illiberal & unusual: – but when the letter of the law has been observed, it is provoking to have the trouble of recovering an overcharge, which proceeds rather from incivility than mistake.

I look every post for the Titles &c to the Poems. [3] 

Yrs truly

Robert Southey.

Add a running title in Roderick, as in Kehama. [4]  It is convenient when you want to turn to a passage.


Notes

* Address: To/ Mr James Ballantyne/ Printer/ Edinburgh
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: MAY/ B 22 M/ 1815
MS: Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Library, J. A. Symington Collection
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A fourth edition of Madoc appeared in 1815 and a third of Roderick, the Last of the Goths in 1816. BACK

[2] The second edition of Roderick had been published earlier in 1815. BACK

[3] Minor Poems, published in three volumes later in 1815. BACK

[4] The Curse of Kehama, first published in 1810. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013