464. Robert Southey to Daniel Stuart, 19 December
To whom of all the Powers that throng
The earth & air & sea,
Unknowing have I offered wrong?
Laments some wood-nymph for her favourite tree
Or Satyr for his summer bower
By me destroyed in evil hour?
Falls for my crime the Naiads wrathful tear?
Or have I chaced to death Dianas 
Or, Lord of Ocean! is it thou
Whose anger I am doomd to know,
That from the fountains of my head
The briny floods must flow
Earth-shaking Neptune, 
for no broken vow
Dost thou thy fury on the sufferer shed,
I never yet put out a Cyclops eye! 
Did ever I profane
High Jove, or Juno’s 
Or make too free with subtle Mercury? 
That like the fair Sicilian virgin coy 
A spring of living streams I flow away,
Or as the wretch who, on his desert way,
Bit by the Seps, 
Hisses like melting snow on the hot sands, & dies.
Weave the warp, & weave the woof,
The pocket-handkerchief for me,
Give ample room, & verge enough,
To hold the flowing sea.
Heard ye the din of trumpets bray?
Nose to napkin – nostril force?
Long currents force urge their way
And thro the kindred fountains speed their course.
Mark the social hour of night,
When the house-roof shall echo with affright
The sneezes sudden thunder!
The neighbours leap with wonder.
A room-quake follows; each upon his chair
Starts at the fearful sound, & interjects a prayer.
Days of delight return! return!
Ye angry Powers enough!
Relent & give me once again
The joy of health & Snuff!
Oh give me once again to feel
The gentle titillation steal
Thro all the mazes <windings> of the œthmoid maze!
And thou return, thou wanderer Smell!
Back to thy native home return in haste
And with thee bring again thy brother wanderer Taste.
Dreams of recovery are ye fled?
That sneeze has scared the faëry forms away
And yet again out-rushing from my head
The torrent tides have forced their way.
So when the Senators of Gaul require
Defensive armour for their coursers feet,
The civic Mulciber 
prepares his fire
With quick obedience meet.
The chimneys leathern lungs he works away
And blow, blow, blow, becomes the order of the day.
Thursday 19. Dec. 99.
* Address: To/ Mr Stuart/ 335. Strand/ London/
Postmarks: [partial] BRISTOL/ DEC; [partial] B/ DEC 20
MS: British Library, Add MS 34046. AL; 4p.
published: Letters from the Lake Poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, to Daniel Stuart
(London, 1889), pp. 442–444. BACK
 Not published in the Morning Post or elsewhere. BACK
 Greek goddess of the hunt. BACK
 A race of one-eyed giants. In Homer’s
Odyssey, the hero blinds the cyclops Polyphemus, son of the sea god Poseidon (the Greek equivalent of
 The chief of the Roman gods and his consort (the Roman
equivalents of Zeus and Hera). BACK
 Messenger of the Roman gods, but also
god of trickery. BACK
 Arethusa, a nymph who was desired by a
river god. In order to save her, Diana turned her into the spring on the island of Ortygia, off the coast of Sicily. BACK
 According to Lucan (AD 39–65), Pharsalia,
Book 9, line 723, the seps is a snake whose bite is so deadly it dissolves the victim’s whole body, including the bones. BACK
 An alternative name for Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and