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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1407. Robert Southey to Neville White, fragment [December 1807] ⁠* 

The sight of the books now completed [1]  gave me a melancholy feeling, and I could not help repeating some lines of Wordsworth’s, –

‘Thou soul of God’s best earthly mould,
Thou happy soul, and can it be
That this          .          .          .          .          .
Is all that must remain of thee?’ [2] 

But this is not all: so many days and nights of unrelenting study, so many hopes and fears, so many aspirations after fame, so much genius, and so many virtues, have left behind them more than this, – they have left comfort and consolation to his friends, an honourable remembrance for himself, and for others, a bright and encouraging example.

Our intercourse will not be at an end. When I visit London, which will certainly be during the winter, and probably very soon, I shall see you. We shall have, it is to be hoped and expected, to communicate respecting after editions; and at all times it will give me great pleasure to hear from you.


* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850)
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 79–80.
Dating note: C.C. Southey says this is an ‘extract from a letter written to Mr. Neville White at the close of the year’. BACK

[1] The Remains of Henry Kirke White, of Nottingham (1807), which was edited by Southey. BACK

[2] Lines 29–32, the final stanza of ‘Lines written on a Tablet in a School’ (‘Matthew’) (1799) from Lyrical Ballads (1800). BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013