240. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 28 July  *
Friday 28 July.
My dear Cottle
Herbert Croft  is in Exeter jail! I am very sorry for it — because one cannot so well attack him in that situation.
there is a French poem upon the voyage of Columbus in ten books written by Madame Boccage:  her works cannot be very scarce as she has not been dead above twenty years. should you see them in a catalogue at any time I should be glad of this poem of hers; there may be something worth transplanting in it.
The day you left us my drawings arrived from Lisbon: this was a judgement for your hurry to depart. you would have been very much pleased with them. there are above twenty, & among them a finished view of Madrid.
I have a letter from the French Captain.  he tells me Mr Birt  called upon him & offered him money. that the next day the Commissary sent for him & told him he was to go by the first cartel. he thanks me very much & gives me his address at Nantes.
I wrote to Danvers yesterday & gave him a message for you. you will I hope be able to send me the book by him: it is indispensably necessary for my fourth book. a very great progress has been made in the third since you left us. I am sadly in want of a good library. I shall perpetually be in want of Giraldus Cambrensis  in my Welch proceedings, he is a scarce author, & it may be very long before I meet with him. this will give me much trouble by leaving so much to insert hereafter.
Since you left me I have been reading the Saint Louis of Le Moyne:  an epic poem in 18 books. Le Moyne had genius — but he has introduced the most incredibly ridiculous thing in his poem. Louis is wounded with a poisoned arrow, for which there is no earthly cure, but he is healed by the waters of a fountain in which the Virgin Mary had, on the way to Egypt, washed her little boys clouts!
They tell me I am civilly wiped in that stupid poem the Pursuits of Literature. 
Do you know [MS torn] Rogers  (the Memory man) published two volumes of poems about 15 years ago? the Review says of him, when he attempts to be serious he is dull, & when he aims at wit, obscene. I think it is the Monthly for 1782.  he is a stupid fellow.
I must not forget to desire you to give a large copy of the Poems when finished in my name to Danvers & to Estlin. I wrote to Danvers about your copying Madoc. how is your eye? if not well enough to permit your own answering make your brother your amanuensis.
Did you go to Corfe? King John who was almost as great a scoundrel xxxx xxxxxx xxxx for his amusement*  starved above twenty Breton Knights to death in the dungeon there.  the old villains bones were examined lately at Worcester you hear he had something to answer for tooth-drawing  in the next world.
God bless you.
* Address: For/ Mr Cottle/ High Street/ Bristol
Endorsements: (89) 33; 1797
MS: Houghton Library, bMS Eng 265.1 (18)
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 138–140. BACK
 A friend of Joseph Cottle’s, Isaiah Birt (1758–1837) was the Minister of the Baptist Church at Plymouth Dock. Joseph Cottle was one of the booksellers responsible for distributing his A Vindication of the Baptists, in Three Letters, Addressed to a Friend in Saltash (1793). BACK
 The prolific chronicler Giraldus Cambrensis (c. 1146–1220), whose Itinerarium Cambriae seu Laboriosae Baldvini Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi per Walliam Legationis Accurata Descripto Auctore Silv. Giraldo Cambrensis Southey made use of in Madoc (1805). BACK
 Thomas James Mathias (1753/4–1835; DNB), The Pursuits of Literature, or What You Will. A Satirical Poem in Dialogue. With Notes. Part the Second, 6th edn (London, 1798), pp. 297–298 (and note). BACK
 Samuel Rogers (1763–1855; DNB), author of The Pleasures of Memory (1792). His first published volume was An Ode to Superstition, With Some Other Poems (1786). Southey is conflating him with the clergyman-poet Samuel Rogers (c. 1731–1790), author of Poems on Various Occasions (1782). BACK
 John (1167–1216; reigned 1199–1216; DNB). This story was versified in Southey’s ‘March 18th. King Edward the Martyr murdered at Corfe. Inscription for a monument at Corfe castle’, published anonymously in the Morning Post, 17 March 1798. BACK