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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1285. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 11 March 1807 ⁠* 

Wednesday March 11. 1807

My dear Wynn

By this time you have had the Specimens, [1]  they will not reach me till next week, & I confess that I expect to be so much vexed & provoked, that I do not look on to the arrival of the book with any satisfaction. The sheets which were sent me were full of the most egregious & beastly blunders, – & as Dapple in spite of my frequent afflictions, never sent me the rest God knows how they may be. I suppose he was afraid I should order more cancels, – but still the book ought not to have been published till I had seen it. nor did I suppose it would till the newspaper told me the thing was done. – You may be sure I will take care of the second edition – if such there should be – myself. [2] 

I have finished Hebers copy of Esplandian [3]  this afternoon, & am groaning in spirit for Lisuarte of Greece. [4]  The Curate was perfectly right in burning Esplandian; [5]  – but time has now made it a curious & interesting book. It is the history of a Crusade, according to the authors idea of what a crusade should be. You are not perhaps {aware} that tho there is reason to doubt the truth of some parts of the history of Amadis, there can be none with regard to that of his son, for it was written by a person of no less veracity than Master Helisabad [6]  himself. It will be more welcome intelligence to you – if you do not already know it, that Amadis is not dead. He & Oriana, Esplandian & Leonorina, Galaor & Briolania, Floristan & Sardamora, Afrayes & Mxxxx{olinda}, & Grasandor & Matilia, are all in the Defended Chamber, just as they were in their full bloom & beauty of youth, sitting upon thrones. Count Gandalia & his wife the Damsel of Denmark. Carmela the Damsel of Esplandian, Ardian the Dwarf, & Master Helisabad with his great Chronicle are there also. The Chamber has been sunk by Urganda into the centre of the Earth, & they {are} all to come out when Arthur comes again, & assist him in restoring the empire of Christianity. [7]  So that if this should happen in your time, you will have an excellent chance of being introduced to them, as I suppose King Arthur must needs be invited to Wynnstay. [8]  In that case I beg you will xxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx make mention of my faithful services, & as Master Helisabad must be too old to undertake the task of chronicling the feats which are to be performed, recommend me for his successor

The inclosed is for franking – God bless you

RS


Notes

* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Whitehall/ London
Postmark: FREE/ MAR 13/ 1807
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s and Grosvenor Bedford’s Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). BACK

[2] A second edition was not called for. BACK

[3] Las Sergas de Esplandián (1510) one of a series of Spanish chivalric romances by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo (1450–1504) of which Amadis of Gaul, which Southey translated in 1803, is the first. BACK

[4] Lisuarte of Greece was a chivalric romance, a sequel to Amadis of Gaul, written by Feliciano de Silva (1491–1554). Lisuarte, the hero, is the son of Esplandian. BACK

[5] Southey refers to a scene in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616), Don Quixote vol. I, chapter 6, in which various chivalric romances are thrown on a bonfire. BACK

[6] The putative author of the original Greek tale of Esplandian, according to the subtitle of Las Sergas de Esplandián (1510) and the companion of Amadis of Gaul in the romance of that name. BACK

[7] Characters in Las Sergas de Esplandián (1510). BACK

[8] Wynn’s family seat in north Wales. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013