1391. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [on or before 8 December 1807] *
My dear Rickman
My Uncle leaves town in a few days to go look after litigious parishioners in Herefordshire; – he therefore wishes me to delay my journey, – so you will not see me till the snowdrops & the unborn have made their appearance. 
I have taken time about the Edinburgh proposal,  – not to think about it, for that were wasting time, – but to let the pros & cons find their level, – that being a safe way of proceeding. You see the advantage of engaging in it just in the right point of view, – but even that is not worth the sort of compromise which it would cost. I write therefore to Walter Scott, refusing, in terms of all courtesy to have bear any part in a journal with x which I do not hold any one opinion in common, & the conduct of which I thoroughly disapprove. 
You estimate Palmerin  rightly, – it is even more inferior to Amadis  than Virgil is to Homer. The only scene in it which at all affects one is that where the tombs of K Arban & old Grumedan xxxx <give> for a moment a sort of historical reality to the story.  Yet the very difference between this romance & Amadis, the reputation of both being considered, made it worth while that both should be in our language. – The part which I have translated is as well done as Amadis, – the difference lies in the original. Moraes  was for writing a fine style. The Cid  you will find equal in this point to Amadis, the language being of the same character i–e – both being anterior to the age of fine style.
Prince Arthur is so lettered in green, on a gilt back. one of the small quartos.  With this I have nothing to do but to write a preface & add notes, – in which I design to give the whole bibliology of the Round Table.  Luxurious sort of reading, in which I think I should not afford to indulge were I not paid for it.
Espriellas secret is not worth any awkward attempt at evading the avowal.  Your friend Lady Holland has just sent me a present of Spanish plays, & asked me the question concerning it. This book is xxx likely to set me fairly afloat, a second edition  will clear me with Longman, & leave me the profits of all my other books to look on to for ways & means in the ensuing year; – enough it is to be hoped without touching the xxxxx produce of Brazil. 
Drop the inclosed note  into the twopenny – it is to desire that the sheets of the Cid may be sent to you when my Uncle leaves town. I wish you to look them over before the additional notes be made up, that you may point out what may occur to you.
* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr./ Harting/ near/ Petersfield/
Endorsements: Circa. 10 Decr. 1807; RS./ 10 Decr. 1807
MS: Huntington Library, RS 121. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 33–34. BACK
 Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB), the Edinburgh publisher of the Edinburgh Review and Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and Marmion (1807), had asked through Scott whether Southey would become a contributor to the Edinburgh Review; see Southey to John Rickman, 1 December 1807, Letter 1387. BACK
 See Southey’s edition of Palmerin for the tomb of King Arban of North Wales and the knight Don Grumedan. In a footnote, Southey writes: ‘Many readers will remember their old friends. They who do not may be introduced to these excellent good knights by Amadis of Gaul’, Palmerin of England; by Francisco de Moraes. Corrected by Robert Southey from the Original Portugueze, 4 vols (London, 1807), I, p. 291. The good knights appear in Southey’s Amadis of Gaul, 4 vols. (London, 1803), III, p. 316. BACK