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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1040. Robert Southey to John King, 28 February 1805 ⁠* 

I am proceeding steadily with history [1]  & have done a world of good with as much pleasure as it is possible to receive from a favourite pursuit. The forthcoming of the first volume depends upon Bonaparte; if he will drive my Uncle from {to} England, I may go to Press in the winter; if he will let me cross to Portugal a delay of some years may intervene. As I grow older & feel that I have less of life to spare the wish of travelling lessens, & the comforts of a settled habitation within reach of the friends I love increases upon me in estimation. My health is good, & I have ceased to fear the climate – tho not to dislike it. well-varied studies & a well-governed mind keep the nervous system in order, & that I take to be my weak part; & fear that I have transmitted an over-busy brain to my children. Were you to see a register of such dreams as are worth repeating which I have kept for the last three months you would see how restless an imagination my xxx xxx to has fallen to my share. I wish I had done this ten years ago. They are as wild as Thalaba, [2]  – tho not a waking thought or image has been added. If I do not vary my studies in the course of a day, my sleep is disturbed, – so I neutralize one with another. I see your owl & motto: for my own I mean to take In labore quies  [3]  – borrowed from Garibay, [4]  one of my predecessors in Spanish History.

Keswick Feby 28 1805


Notes

* Address: To/ John King Esqr/ Dowry Square/ Hot Wells/ Bristol/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ MAR 4/ 1805
MS: British Library, Add MS 47891
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The common name for mercury chloride, which was taken for various ailments. BACK

[2] Southey’s poem Thalaba the Destroyer (1801). BACK

[3] Meaning ‘in labour, rest’. BACK

[4] Esteban de Garibay and Zamalloa (1533–1600), author of Illustraciones Genealogicas de los Catholicos Reyes de las Espanas (1596) and Compendio Historial de las Chronicas y Universal Historia de todos los Reynos de Espana (1628), both of which Southey owned. They were nos 3389 and 3390 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

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August 2013