284. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 15 January 1798 *
Monday Jany. 15. 98. 12. Lambs-Conduit Street
My dear Tom
I suppose you would be somewhat angry with me were I to congratulate you on having left the Phœbe before her engagement,  & as I cannot in honesty condole with you, I must say nothing. your letter did not reach me till some time after the date owing to the absence of Wynn who is now in Wales.
You enquire after my new edition.  if God had not mixed up a very large portion of patience with the other ingredients of which he composed me, I should let a great oath at mentioning the printer.  to his shame & my vexation & Cottles loss, he has only done three & a half sheets! tho if I rightly remember, the first proof arrived while you were at Bath. according to which expeditious rate the two volumes would be compleated in June 18 1800. But as life is uncertain, Cottle & I did not like looking to so distant a period, & we have therefore resolved to make another Printer print the second volume, which will go to the Press, as soon as a sheet of the first Book is struck off, to serve him for his pattern. I expect the fourth half sheet from this time to be the pattern, for we are at present not through the analysis of Chapelain.  you see therefore that I cannot even guess when the work will be done. I am anxious to wash my hands of it that I may set to the ninth book, which will be a tough piece of business. the good things of this world are but clumsily distributed. I could make <as> good use of leisure as any man living, & I am have as little.
I have a great desire to publish another volume of poems, & let the profits accumulate with those of the Ninth Book when seperately printed,  & of the next edition of my letters  (already wanted & indeed long since) till they amounted to some 80 or 100 pounds, enough to furnish a house, for I greatly dislike lodgings. this desire has already made led me to write sometimes in poetry, what perhaps would otherwise have been in prose. I should correct & reprint the Retrospect.  I have a subject, & a very fine one, for a Ballad. in short, I have more than a fourth part of the necessary quantity ready, & the subjects for the rest floating in my head. I should allot one division to metrical Letters  – a better title, as being less formal than Epistles, for that word reminds me of Pauls Epistle to Timothy.  in my early rhyming days I was very fond of writing Letters in verse – & they taught me to rhyme. I have lately recovered the inclination, & I believe from reading some very beautiful poems of this kind in my old Spanish friend, for such he deserves to be called, Bartholomè Leonardo.  I should not however either make them in rhyme, as formerly, or of a ludicrous nature, like the notorious history of Bow-Begum.  ere long I will send you a specimen. but this train of thought like every other that I pursue, makes me feel the want of leisure.
Biddlecombe sent me a Turkey & Chine last week. I would you had been here to have partaken it. Bedford & Carlisle dined with us, & we had a very pleasant day. Biddlecombe is about to be married. I wrote two epitaphs for the father of his wife-to-be,  that he might take his choice.
& now as I have given you these epitaphs I may as well add m a translation of a beautiful Greek one which popt into my head while washing my hands.
I have seen Charles Lloyd but twice since he left us, one of which times was when I called on him this morning. he is in a boarding house, has got a vast number of new acquaintance, a false tail, a barber to powder him every morning, & is I believe as happy as he wishes to be.
God bless you. Ediths love
* Address: To/ Mr Southey/ H.M.S. Mars/ Plymouth./
Postmark: E.J.A./ 15/ 98
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 47–50. BACK
 One of the most significant changes Southey made to Joan of Arc (1798) was to replace the ninth book with entirely new material. The old ninth book (as published in Joan of Arc (1796)) was revised and appeared as ‘The Vision of the Maid of Orleans’ in Poems, 2 vols (Bristol, 1799), II, pp. –69. BACK
 Bartolomè Leonardo de Argensola (1561–1631). Southey had praised his verse epistles in a letter of [c. July 1797] published in the Monthly Magazine; see The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 1, Letter 230. BACK
 Bow-Begum was a dog owned by the Bedfords, whose story Southey had related in verse; see Southey to Thomas Southey, [late October/early November]–14 December , The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part 1, Letter 65. BACK