202. Robert Southey to Amos Cottle [fragment], 28 February 1797
Feb. 28, 1797.
20, Prospect Place, Newington Butts.
* * * Here I am travelling on in the labyrinth of the law; and though I had rather make books myself than read the best lawyer’s composition, I am getting on cheerfully, and steadily, and well.
While you are amusing yourself with mathematics, and I lounging over the law, the political and commercial world are all in alarm and confusion. I cannot call myself a calm witness of all this, for I sit by the fireside, hear little about it, think less, and see nothing; ‘all hoping, and expecting all in patient faith.’  Tranquillity of mind is a blessing too valuable to sacrifice for all the systems man has ever established. My day of political enthusiasm is over. I know what is right, and as I see that everything is wrong, care more about the changing of the wind, lest it should make the chimney smoke, than for all the empires of Europe.
* * *
* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847)
Previously published: Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 200–201 [in part, with omissions at beginning and end of the letter indicated]. BACK
 Southey’s ‘Hymn to the Penates’, Poems (Bristol, 1797), p. 220. BACK