Sunday 8th July – 98
My dear Wynn
Your letters have all reached me safely; & this is the
earliest possible answer to the last enquiring one. I ought to have acknowledged
the receipt of that with the draft – but you know not how busy I have been in
revolutionizing the house.
I have Bootes Suit at Law,  & after reading it find it a book to
be referred to, & not to be remembered; for to recollect so many formulæ, so
little differing from each other, can only be attained by much practice, unless
indeed a man were gifted with the verbal memory of Jedediah Buxton.  The book points
out much that wants reform in the practice. the man would do much good who
should be the Reformer of English law.
I shall take your advice respecting Milton; − it may I think be
doubted whether a poet (allowing him enough previous knowledge of the best
authors) would most improve himself by studying the best writers, or reading the
obscure ones. I speak of epic writers. I read ten books of the Italia Liberata
when at Norwich, & Trissino taught
me very clearly what ought to be avoided in epic poetry.  it is astonishing how servilely these
fellows imitate the established writers. The great advantage of Madocs story is
that the whole & all its parts are unlike any thing before it. Every
incident appears to me original.
Who is this Welshman about to publish the MS.S.? will he be
blockhead enough to print them without translations − for the Magazine gives no
intimation on this head.  If such be his intention, the scheme
will drop. I am much interested in its being carried into execution.
Did you ever see Percys translation of a Chinese novel?  it is very extraordinary that such a book
should have lain nearly 40 years on the booksellers shelves in such obscurity.
it is worth a dozen such books as Sir G. Stauntons.  the
British Critic  has the merit of making it known.
A very good work has passed thro my hands called a Series of
Plays exemplifying the effects of the stronger passions. the author (whoever he
may be) bids fair to become an honour to English literature. 
What is become of Dapple the
God bless you.
* MS: National Library of Wales,
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters
of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp.
 Richard Boote (d. 1782), An Historical Treatise of an Action or Suit
at Law (1766). BACK
 Jedediah Buxton (1707–1772; DNB)
was renowned for his abilities at mental arithmetic. BACK
 Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478–1550), Italia Liberata dai
Goti (1547–1548). BACK
Magazine, 5 (June 1798), 445 had announced ‘that a gentleman, a
native of Wales, has generously resolved to publish, at his own expence, all
the antient Welsh manuscripts’. The ‘gentleman’ was Owen Jones (1741–1814),
a wealthy, Welsh-born, London furrier and antiquarian. The result was
The Myvyrian Archaiology (1801–1807). It did not include
translations from the Welsh. Southey used it in the notes to
Madoc (1805). BACK
 Thomas Percy (1729–1811;
DNB), Hau Kiou Choann or The Pleasing
History (1761). BACK
 George Staunton, 1st Baronet (1737–1801; DNB),
An Authentic Account of the Earl of Macartney’s Embassy from the
King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China (1797). BACK
Critic, 10 (October 1797), 373 n.* had urged that Percy’s novel
be republished. BACK
 Joanna Baillie (1762–1851; DNB),
A Series of Plays In Which it is Attempted to Delineate the
Stronger Passions (1798). BACK
 ‘Dapple’ (a nickname
for Bedford derived from that of Sancho Panza’s ass in Miguel de Cervantes
Saavedra (1547–1616), Don Quixote (1605–1615)) had joined a
company of volunteer cavalry, probably the Light Horse Volunteers of London
and Westminster. BACK