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780. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 5 May [1803] ⁠* 

Thank you for your letter & Catalogue. I have the XL books of Garibay [1]  in four folios – the original & I believe only edition.

Among Ritsons books [2]  are two of which I should be very glad. 600 No 600. 3rd days sale – Las Patrañas de Juan Timoneda. [3]  it is the first book of Novelas published in Spain, & perhaps Collectors may not know this. the other 1564 6th day Canionero de Lopez Maldo Nado. [4] 

614. Les Obres de Ausias March [5]  – if they be the works of Ausias March indeed in his own Valencian dialect & not Las Obras translated into Spanish by George of Montemayor [6]  – would be a very valuable accession to my stock.

809. Cronica Geral de Gonçalo Hernandez de Cordova [7] 

1090. Ochoa de la Salde Vide de Carlos V [8]  I know nothing of either of them but would give six shillings for each at a venture.

The Romances I trust Heber will buy. he ought to buy 1077. Las Sergas de Esplandian. [9]  1083 Amadis de Grecia [10]  as sequels to his Amadis – the Sergas indeed are a second volume to Amadis which is quite incomplete without them.

In my preface to Amadis [11]  I have mentioned Heber as the possessor of the copy which I used – if this be ill-done tell me for it may be stopt xxx a month hence. but I conclude he will be rather pleasd than otherwise – I simply speak of his {valuable} collection – & his liberal use of it.

Leyden [12]  read certain sheets of Amadis to Ellis. I do not expect the book to sell well, tho I regarded such a possibility in my bargain & have 50£ contingent upon the edition – & half all after profits. Ellis can give a fashion to his own books, but he cannot make his own taste general enough to sell this of mine. I shall get some credit for it among men who can judge how very faithfully I have preserved the minutest parts of the story & all the traits of manner while I shortened the work. I can lose none – because the merits or demerits of the story are not mine. they print very slowly. perhaps if 120 sheets lie days together at Debretts [13]  for a chance frank – shall I direct them to be sent to you? if two a week will not intrench too much on your limited number. I have done my part these three week – Hebers book is necessary to refer to in correcting the proofs – he shall have it returned with its four young ones. My preface [14]  proves the author to have been Vasco Lobeira, [15]  & likewise how far he was author – to the middle of the fourth book – the marriage – & there I leave off. the remaining chapters belong to Esplandian. [16]  Some little I say of the remaining books & but little having read but few, & I throw out a good guess about the classical origin of Dragons Enchanted Armour & Fairies & Ladies of the Lake.

My publishers I see think proper to make me an Esqr. [17]  I dare say they find their account in it. Whenever I publish a book under a nom de guerre I am determined it shall be a Sir something – John Williams – or John Smith Bart. the title will be worth half an edition.

I received a letter lately thrown into the Atlantic for me in a bottle by for my brother, which floated 656 miles & was found upon St Salvadores – [18] 

You will perhaps see me in London before summer be advanced & for this unlikely reason. I want great exercise & should be compelled to take it there. I am plagued with diabetes — & a manufactory of lime in my kidnies – my life is too sedentary & now {that} I am free from any immediate employment for the press I work double tides at history. [19]  for love of the employment – & to get sooner back to Portugal that I may ride jackasses – & take another journey thro deserts & over mountains.

By the by I see now certainly that the Portuguesa books are in the Kings Library [20]  – can I get permission to use them?

Mister Pratt has sent me a Copy of Verses upon Barkers Picture & my poem. [21]  they cost me a one penny to the postman. the trouble of writing him a letter, & the sin of telling him a lie.

God bless you –

yrs affectionately

R S.


May 5. Thursday

Notes

* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr. M.P./ Lincolns Inn/ London
Postmarks: FREE/ MAY 6/ 1803; BRISTOL/ MAY 5 1803; 12 o Clock/ MY 6/ 1803 Nn
Endorsement: May 5/ 1803
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Esteban de Garibay (1533-1600), Compendio Historial de las Chronicas y Universal Historia de todos los Reynos de Espana (n.d.), no. 3390 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Southey was choosing books from A Catalogue of a Very Curious Parcel of Books, the Property of a Well-Known Collector (1803), which detailed the sale of Joseph Ritson’s (1752-1803; DNB) collection by Sothebys, 4-9 May 1803. BACK

[3] Juan de Timoneda (1518/1520-1583), El Patranuelo (1567), a collection of Italian stories translated into Spanish. BACK

[4] Gabriel de Lopez Maldonado (dates unknown), Cancionero (1586). BACK

[5] Ausias March (c. 1397-1459), one of the first poets to write in Catalan. BACK

[6] Jorge de Montemayor (c. 1520-1561), Portuguese novelist and poet who wrote in Spanish. His translation of Ausias March’s works appeared in 1555. BACK

[7] Chronica del Gran Capitan Goncalo Hernandez de Cordova y Aguilar (1584), no. 3340 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Juan Ochoa de la Salde (dates unknown), La Carolea Inchiridion (1585). BACK

[9] Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo (d. 1504), Las Sergas de Esplandian (1510), the first sequel to the four books of Amadis of Gaul. BACK

[10] Feliciano de Silva (1491-1554), Amadis de Grecia (1530), Book 9 in the sequels to Amadis of Gaul. BACK

[11] Amadis of Gaul, 4 vols (London, 1803), I, p. xxxiii. BACK

[12] John Leyden (1775-1811; DNB), linguist and poet. BACK

[13] John Debrett (d. 1822; DNB), publisher and bookseller in Piccadilly, London. BACK

[14] Amadis of Gaul, 4 vols (London, 1803), I, pp. [i]-xv. BACK

[15] Vasco Lobeira (d. 1403), medieval troubadour. Southey was mistaken in this attribution, as Amadis of Gaul dates to the early 14th century. BACK

[16] Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo (d. 1504), Las Sergas de Esplandian (1510), the first sequel to the four books of Amadis of Gaul. BACK

[17] Southey objected to ‘Esqr’ on political grounds, as a title with pretensions to gentility. It is possible that Longmans used it in advertising materials for Amadis of Gaul. They certainly used it in the subscription list for Southey and Joseph Cottle’s edition of The Works of Thomas Chatterton (1803) and advertisements included at the back of Frederick Augustus Fischer (1771-1829), Travels in Spain in 1797 and 1798 (1802), a volume reviewed by Southey later in 1803 (see Southey to John May, [7-8 December 1803], Letter 862). BACK

[18] See Southey to Thomas Southey, 22 April 1803, Letter 775. BACK

[19] Southey’s unfinished ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[20] The Kings Library at Windsor, collected by George III (1738-1820, King of Great Britain 1760-1820) and given to the nation in 1823. BACK

[21] Samuel Jackson Pratt, Gleanings in England (London, 1803), p. 638. Pratt’s poem was in praise of Southey’s ‘Mary’, Poems (Bristol, 1797), pp. 163-170, and the picture it inspired by Thomas Barker (1767-1847; DNB). BACK

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