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 suppose.
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/ 1797
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: 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. BACK
 Edward Coke (1552–1643; DNB), Commentarie upon Littleton (1628), the first part of his four part Institutes of the Laws of England (1628–1644). BACK
 ‘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 Funeral’. BACK
 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 (1785). BACK
 Published as ‘Written Soon
after the Preceding Poem’, in Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd, Blank Verse (London, 1798), pp.
 These lines appeared in Joan of Arc, 2nd
edn, 2 vols (Bristol, 1798), II, pp. 238–240. BACK