942. Robert Southey to Henry Kirke White, 18 May 1804 

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

942. Robert Southey to Henry Kirke White, 18 May 1804 ⁠* 


Your little volume has given me much pleasure and & much hope. it is scarcely possible that so young a writer should write better & if you live to enjoy that fame which you have talents to command, tho you may regard all the other pieces as juvenile composition, you will always remember the Ode {to} the Rosemary with satisfaction & pride. [1]  In saying this much I speak the opinion of Mr Wordsworth & Mr Coleridge as well as my own.

I wish Sir it was were in my power to render you more efficient service than can be done by private or public commendation. If you have friends who would bestir themselves would it not be possible to raise such a subscription for a Second volume as might enable you to graduate & take orders – that appearing to be your wish. Under any other circumstances it would be bad advice to advise you to publish. a young poet whatever cannot write too much. but if he be indeed a poet whatever he has written will dissatisfy him as his understanding & his taste improve. Your situiation renders this common rule xxx of prudence inapplicable. The interest which I possess is but very little – very little indeed. shuch such however as it is it should be willingly & warmly exerted. I would recommend a half-guinea volume as probably more productive than one of heavier price. most likely you have plenty of materials – if not you can produce them easily before the subscription-list be sufficiently full. If you think the experiment worth trial (& it may be made without cost) I shall gratify my feelings & discharge my duty at the same time by endeavouring to assist it.

My address is with John Rickman Esqr New Palace Yard Westminster. & I shall remain in town about ten days. after that time it will be Keswick Cumberland

I am sir

Yours with respect

Robert Southey

Friday May 18th 1804


* Address: Mr H. K. White
MS: University of Nottingham, KWC 280/56/3 (copy of original)
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey reviewed Henry Kirke White, Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with Other Poems (1803) in the Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804), 552–554. Southey praises his poem ‘To the Herb, Rosemary’ on page 553. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013