My dear Wynn
All the blunders concerning Coke  will soon be over I hope, my letter to Wynnstay, & what I have this day
written to Sancho will explain them — & the book will soon be here I
For my little poem in the Magazine.  Philips  had been
some year & half importuning me for my name, & I did not like
the appearance of pride in refusing it. the piece pleased me. look at the word
very as there used again — it occurs twice — & you will find that in the
last place it is used as an adjective, & no other word could so well
supply it. in the first — it scarcely — even to my own ear seems expletive “It
was a very plain & simple tale. By the by I called it a plain tale — to
which Philips or Aikin absurdly tacked
on a syllable & made it ridiculous — plaintive! it was written at Burton — the mere recital of what happened
near our lodgings.
You will be surprized perhaps at hearing that Cowpers  poem does not at all please me. you must have heard it in
some moment when your mind was predisposed to be pleased, & the first
impression has remained. indeed I think it — not above mediocrity — I cannot
trace the Author of the Task in one line. I know that our tastes differ much in
poetry. & yet I think you must like these lines by Charles Lamb. I believe you know his
history — & the dreadful death of his mother.
Thou shouldst have longer lived, & to the grave
Have peacefully gone down in full old age.
Thy children would have tended thy gray hairs;
We might have sat, as we have often done,
By our fire side, & talkd whole nights away,
Old times, old friends & old events recalling,
With many a circumstance of trivial note,
To memory dear & of importance grown.
How shall we tell them in a strangers ear!
A wayward son oft times was I to thee,
And yet in all our little bickerings
Domestic jars, there was I know not what
Of tender feeling, that were ill exchanged
For this worlds chilling friendships, & their smiles
Familiar, whom the heart calls strangers still.
A heavy lot hath he, most wretched man,
Who lives the last of all his family.
He looks around him, & his eye discerns
The face of the stranger, & his heart is sick.
Man of the World, what canst thou do for him?
Wealth is a burthen which he could not bear,
Mirth a strange crime the which he dares not act,
And generous wines x no
cordial to his soul.
For wounds like his Christ is the only cure.
Go — preach thou to him of a world to come,
Where friends shall meet & know each others face
Say less than this, — & say it to the winds. 
I am aware of the danger of studying simplicity of language. but
you will find in my blank verse a fullness of phrase when the subject requires
it. these lines may instance
it was a goodly sight
To see the embattled pomp, as with the step
Of stateliness the barbed steeds came on,
To see the pennons rolling their long waves
Before the gale, & banners broad & bright
Tossing their blazonry, & high-plumed Chiefs
Vidames & Seneschalls & Chastellains,
Gay with their bucklers gorgeous heraldry
And silken surcoats on the buoyant wind
God bless you. I come to London Monday the 20th.
* Address: To/ C W Williams
Wynn/ 5. Stone Buildings/ Lincolns Inn/ London
Postmarks: FR/ NO/ 13/ 97; NO/ 13/ 97
Endorsement: Nov, 13/
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D
Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of
Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 324–326 [in
part; misdated 20 November 1797].
Dating note: 12 November was a Sunday in
1797, and therefore probably the day on which Southey wrote this letter.
 Edward Coke (1552–1643; DNB), Commentarie upon Littleton (1628), the first part of
his four part Institutes of the Laws of England
 ‘Hannah, a Plaintive Tale’ was published in the Monthly
Magazine, 4 (October 1797), 287. From 1799, it was incorporated
into Southey’s sequence of ‘English Eclogues’ and retitled ‘The
 Sir Richard
Phillips (1767–1840; DNB), author, publisher and
proprietor of the Monthly Magazine. BACK
 William Cowper (1731–1800; DNB), whose works included The Task
 Published as ‘Written Soon after the
Preceding Poem’, in Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd, Blank Verse (London, 1798), pp. 84–86. BACK
 These lines
appeared in Joan of Arc, 2nd edn, 2 vols
(Bristol, 1798), II, pp. 238–240. BACK