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

989. Robert Southey to Longmans and Rees, 11 November 1804 ⁠* 

Keswick, Nov. 11. 1804.

Dear Sirs,

.                 .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                  .                   I should like to edit the works of Sir Philip Sidney, [1]  who is, in my judgment, one of the greatest men of all our countrymen. I would prefix a Life, an Essay on the Arcadia, [2]  his greatest work, and another on his Metres. It would make three octavo volumes: to the one there should be his portrait prefixed; to the second, a view of Penshurst, his birthplace, and residence; [3]  to the third, the print of his death, from Mortimer’s well-known etching. [4]  Perhaps I overrate the extent of the work; for, if I recollect right, Burton’s Anatomy, which is such another folio, was republished in two octavos. [5]  His name is so illustrious, that an edition of 500 would certainly sell; the printer might begin in spring. I could write the Essays here; in the autumn I shall most likely be in London, and would then complete the Life, and the book might be published by Christmas of 1805. If you approve the scheme, it may be well to announce it, as we may very probably be forestalled, for this is the age of editors. I design my name to appear, for it would be a pleasure and a pride to have my name connected with that of a man whom I so highly reverence.

Mr. Longman promised me a visit in September; I have not found him so punctual as he will always find me.

Believe me,

Yours truly,

Robert Southey.


Notes

* 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), II, pp. 306–307 [in part]. BACK

[1] Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586; DNB): poet, courtier, diplomat, soldier. Southey did not edit Sidney; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 18 December 1804, Letter 1006. BACK

[2] The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1590). BACK

[3] Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge in Kent, is the ancestral home of the Sidney family, and the birthplace of Philip Sidney. BACK

[4] The Death of Sir Philip Sidney by John Hamilton Mortimer (1740–1779). BACK

[5] Robert Burton (1577–1640; DNB), The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) was reprinted in a two volume octavo edition in 1800. BACK

About this Page

Published @ RC

August 2013