478. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 16 January 1800 *
My dear Wynn
The Sarsar is the icy wind of death; & its reservoir is in the centre of the earth. so say the notes to Vathek  – I have neither the book nor memorandum by me, & know not the authority referred to. nor is the word in D’Herbelot.  with the Simoom  it has no affinity – except its deadliness. the Simoom I have employed with very great effect at the end of the second book. one of the magicians has found Thalaba by means of his ring with the bit of hell-fire set in it. at the hour of prayer when Thalaba & the Bedouins with whom he dwells fall on their faces in adoration – Abdaldar stands over him to strike. at that instant comes the blast of the desert. This I think the finest incident that I have ever conceived.
This mild weather favours me much, & the difference I perceive is very great. hence, I conclude that climate materially effects me – for I never suffered so much as during the severe weather. I will come to London as soon as I conveniently can & take the opportunity of keeping a term. I want to talk with you respecting law, & express the complete conviction I feel that the chancery line  will suit me best.
God bless you.
yrs R Southey.
Jany. 16. 1800.
 Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 1, lines 555–556. It is described as the ‘sansar’ in William Beckford (1760–1844; DNB), An Arabian Tale, From an Unpublished Manuscript: With Notes Critical and Explanatory (London, 1786), p. 207, but is not mentioned in the notes. BACK