457. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 28 November  *
My dear Wynn
Halto is the printers blunder.  Bishop is my own wilful one – however the Arch may be hammered on with very little tinker trouble. according to my authority here – which is Coryat the Oddcombian  – he was eat by Mice & the Tower is called Mouse-Tower. read the last stanza thus improved
This pain in my side troubles me – whether it be pleurisy – or consumption – or some disease at heart for in that part it lies – I know not. I am going to winter at Bristol for the sake of medical advice. this nervous fever has left me very weak & emaciated.
Bedfords extract is curious. Xx I should like to trace its historical foundation. I weave the story into Thalaba, which is the why I sent for it.  Purchas relates it from Marco Polo.  I have prest into my service most of the ingenious lies which I have found in travellers. Maundeville is worth reading  – he will tell you of a Valley where the Devils head always appears above ground – & of a Faery Falcon which whoso could watch for 7 days & nights should have his wish cum multis aliis quæ nunc perseribere longum est. 
I am going to work at Queen Mary  with all the little spirits I now possess. we go to Bristol on Monday – unless I should have a relapse – which I am fearful of.
Heywood lies before me P. 600. the tale will do.  there is another in the Sphynx of Heidfeldius.  of a man who sold his soul at a tavern to a strange man – the famous single combat in France between the man & the dog would balladize, but I want documents – & names.  Thalaba you will like I think – if you will endure the metre ecce exemplum. 
This ring with a little hell-fire set in it, is a very material <important> ring. the regular blank verse is not usually so much mingled with the shorter lines in the dialogue (for part is dramatic) I employ it, & in parts that require a loftier tone.
God bless you. I am an unlucky fellow to have the heartache, with every reason & inclination to be happy.
Burton. Thursday 28 Nov.
All the imprecations of Ernulphus on my Biographer! 
 Thomas Coryat (1577–1617; DNB), Coryat’s Crudities Hastily Gobbled up in Five Months Travel to France, Italy &c (London, 1611), pp. 571–572. Coryat was an ‘Oddcombian’ because he was from Odcombe in Somerset. BACK
 On 24 October 1799 (Letter 450) Southey had asked Bedford to find information about the garden of Aloaddin or Aladeules. It was used in a note to Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 7, line 256. BACK
 Sir John Mandeville, The Voiage and Travaile of Sir John Maundeville (London, 1727), pp. 340–344, 176–178. For the ‘faery falcon’ see also Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 90–91. BACK
 Southey’s proposed play on ‘The Days of Queen Mary’, set in the time of Mary I (1516–1558; reigned 1553–1558; DNB); see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 190–192. BACK
 Thomas Heywood (1570s–1641; DNB), The Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells (1635), p. 600, relates the tale of a nobleman who feasted with the ‘divells of hell’. Southey did not turn this into a poem, though he had previously made use of Heywood’s book in the supernatural ballads ‘Donica’ and ‘Rudiger’, both published in Poems (1797). BACK
 The story that in France in c. 1400 the Chevalier Maquer murdered a man called Montdidier. Montdidier’s greyhound found the corpse and accused Maquer by attacking him. In a trial by combat between the man and the dog, Maquer was overpowered, confessed to his crime and was executed; see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, p. 197. BACK