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ments and capabilities may be collected from his | ers, who purchased the copyright for fifty guin letter of this period. He could sing eight songs, eas, in addition to fifty copies for subscribers. was deep in poetry, lived by his wits, was happy in the full assurance of integrity, and "in the affection of a mild and lovely woman; at once the object of hatred and admiration; wondered at by all; hated by the aristocrats; the very oracle of his own party." But that was all.
Every author knows the effect of type on a stanza or paragraph. Joan, "set up," looked frightful: a thorough revision was evidently required. "About half the first book was left in its original state; the rest of the poem was recast and recomposed while the printing went on. This occupied He had now ceased to reside at Oxford. Hav- six months." His three models of poetical style ing abandoned the church and physic, without were the Bible, Homer, and Ossian; but he said "the gift of making shoes, or the happy art of that his taste had been "much meliorated by mending them," his hopes turned to the great Bowles." That amiable poet has related with metropolis of suffering, glory, and shame. "The touching simpleness, in Scenes and Shadows of point is," he wrote, "where can I best subsist? Days Departed, how a particularly pleasing and London is certainly the place for all who, like me, | handsome youth, lately from Westminster School," are on the world." A fair face mingled with his called on the printer in Bath and commended the sad thoughts. "Enough! this state of suspense recently published Sonnets of Bowles; and howmust soon be over; I am worn and wasted with some forty years afterwards-he had the delight anxiety; and, if not at rest in a short time, shall of receiving the same person, as author of Thalabe disabled from exertion, and sink to a long ba and the Life of Nelson, in his own beautiful repose. Poor Edith! Almighty God protect vicarage of Bremhill. her!"
Mr. Hill, abandoning all hope of overcoming
But he did not sink without a struggle. A his nephew's clerical prejudices, invited him to go course of public lectures at Bristol was considered to be the likeliest and easiest method of replenishing the very empty pockets of himself and Mr. Coleridge. No trace of the lectures is preserved, but they were said to have been largely attended and admired their delivery occupied several months. To his brother he wrote:
to Lisbon for a few months, and "then return to England in order to qualify himself for entering the legal profession." The breaking-off of what he deemed an imprudent attachment was another reason for the journey. But Southey, if he did not love wisely, was sure to love well. He pours out his heart very freely and warmly to Mr. Bedford in a letter :
Oct. 23, 1795.
And where, Grosvenor, do you suppose the fates have condemned me for the next six months?-to Spain and Portugal! Indeed, my heart is very heavy. I would have refused, but I was weary of incessantly refusing all my mother's wishes, and it is only one mode of wearing out a period that must be unpleasant to me anywhere.
I am giving a course of historical lectures at Bristol, teaching what is right by showing what is wrong. My company, of course, is sought by all who love good republicans and odd characters. Coleridge and I are daily engaged. John Scott has got me a place of a guinea and a half per week for writing in The Citizen, of what kind I know not, save that it accords with my principles of this I daily expect to hear more. If Coleridge and I can get 1501. between us we purpose marrying, I now know neither when I go, nor where, and retiring into the country, as our literary busi-except that we cross to Coruña, and thence by land ness can be carried on there, and practising agri- to Lisbon. Cottle is delighted with the idea of a culture, till we can raise money for America. Still the grand object in view. So I have cut my cable, and am drifting on the ocean of life; the wind is fair, and the port of happiness, I hope, in
The prospectus of these lectures, we think, is printed in Mr. Cottle's Recollections of Coleridge.
volume of travels. My Edith persuades me to go,
In the same work an amusing and characteristic Then the advantageous possibility of being capanecdote is told of Coleridge's offer to deliver a tured by the French, or the still more agreeable lecture for Southey upon a subject included in the chance of going to Algiers * *Then to give scheme of the latter, viz., the progress of the my inside to the fishes on the road, and carry my Roman Empire. The day came and the hour, outside to the bugs on my arrival; the luxury of but not the lecturer. He was probably a thou-sleeping with the mules, and if they should kick sand leagues at sea with the Ancient Mariner; or lonely heart! in the night. And to travel, Grosvenor, with a * When I am returned I shall with Cristabel, where the dying embers shot up be glad that I have been. The knowledge of two into that marvellous flame which showed the languages is worth acquiring, and perhaps the shield of Sir Leoline, and the eye of the mysteri- climate may agree with me, and counteract a cerous Lady. tain habit of skeletonization, that, though I do not apprehend it will hasten me to the worms, will, if it continues, certainly cheat them of their sup
The first stone of his poetical reputation was now about to be laid. Joan of Arc, written in the summer of 1793, had long been waiting for a printer. That adventurous person was found in Mr. Cottle, a name familiar to most of our read
We will write a good opera; my expedition will teach me the costume of Spain. By the by, I have made a discovery respecting the story of the Mysterious Mother. Lord O. tells
it of Tillotson: the story is printed in a work of |lishing news was not encouraging. Joan had Bishop Hall's, 1652; he heard it from Perkins caused no sensation in the "Row." Cadell sold (the clergyman whom Fuller calls an excellent only three copies. But in-door life was pleaschirurgeon at jointing a broken soul: he would anter. He took lodgings at Bristol, and busied pronounce the word "damn" with such an emphasis as left a doleful echo in his auditors' ears a himself in the preparation of Letters from Spain good while after. Warton-like I must go on with and Portugal. Time had mellowed down his Perkins, and give you an epigram. He was lame opinions. The enthusiasm which had, as he exof the right hand: the Latin is as blunt as a good-pressed it, so lately fevered his whole character, humored joke need to be :
Dextera quantumvis fuerat tibi manca, docendi
was rapidly subsiding into a calm strength and devotion of intellect. His wishes were bounded by the circle of his friends, and the most magnificent object of his ambition was a little room to arrange his books in. He had discovered a secret, which
Though Nature thee of thy right hand bereft, Right well thou writest with thy hand that's left; and all this in a parenthesis.) Hall adds, that he afterwards discovered the story in two German so many thousands never find. that happiness authors, and that it really happened in Germany. dwells within doors and not without, “like a If you have not had your transcription of the Vestal watching the fire of the Penates." He tragedy bound, there is a curious piece of informa- compared his youthfuller passions to an ungoverntion to annex to it. I hope to become able horse. Now he rode Bucephalus with a master of the two languages, and to procure some curb. The rythmical impulse alone retained its of the choicest authors; from their miscellanies and collections that I cannot purchase, I shall original force and fire. He said that to go on with Madoc was almost necessary to his happitranscribe the best or favorite pieces, and translate, for we have little literature of those parts, ness, and that he had rather leave off eating than and these I shall request some person fond of poetizing. But he was no longer in a condition poetry to point out, if I am fortunate enough to to think for himself only. London he knew to find one. Mais, hélas! J'en doute, as well as be the scene of enterprise. He told Mr. Bedford you, and fear me I shall be friendless for six"I want to be there; I
Grosvenor, I am not happy. When I get to bed reflection comes with solitude, and I think of all the objections to the journey; it is right, however, to look at the white side of the shield. The Algerines, if they should take me, it might make a very pretty subject for a chapter in my Memoirs; but of this I am very sure, that my biographer I would like it better than I should.
Have you seen the Maviad? The poem is not equal to the former production of the same author, but the spirit of panegyric is more agreeable than that of satire, and I love the man for his lines to his own friends; there is an imitation of Otium Divos, very eminently beautiful. Merry has been satirized too much, and praised too much.
I am in hopes that the absurd fashion of wearing powder has received its death-blow; the scarcity we are threatened with (and of which we have as yet experienced only a very slight earnest) renders it now highly criminal. I am glad you are without it.
God bless you!
When the day was fixed for the voyage, Southey named it for that of his own marriage; and on the 14th of November, 1795, he was united to Edith Fricker, at Bristol, in Radclift church. They parted at the doors, and Mrs. Southey wore her wedding-ring round her neck, and retained her maiden name until the marriage became known. "Never," he said, "did man stand at the altar with such strange feelings as I did." One of his motives was highly honorable to him. He wished to protect the lady of his affections from the mortification of receiving assistance from one who was not bound to her by a religious sanction. During his absence his wife remained as a parlor boarder with the sisters of
He returned to England in May, 1796.
want to feel myself settled." It was a struggle between the prudential and imaginative feelings. He hated cities of every kind and degree, and preferred a corner of Stonehenge to the sunny side of Park Lane. He never approached London without feeling his heart sink within him; its atmosphere oppressed him, and all its associations were painful. He was, moreover, essentially and unchangeably unHe playfully declared that God never intended that he should make himself agreeable to anybody; and that if a window could have been opened in his breast, he should have immediately put up the shutter. A snail popping into the shell when he was approached, or a hedgehog rolling himself up in his bristles if only looked at, were the emblems by which he chose to indicate his own temperament.
With all these hindrances, to London he came, a student of the law. In the beginning of 1797 he paid his fees, and was a member of Gray's Inn. His up-hill path was smoothed by the generosity of his friend, Mr. Winn, who fulfilled an Oxford promise by an annuity of 1601. His spirits rose. "Happiness is a flower that will blossom anywhere," and he expected" to be happy even in London." He gives a glimpse of his doings to his friend, the Bristol printer :—
To Joseph Cottle.
London, Feb. 3, 1797. My dear Friend,-I am now entered on a new way of life, which will lead me to independence. You know that I neither lightly undertake any scheme, nor lightly abandon what I have underbecause the independence I labor to obtain, and of taken. I am happy because I have no wants, and attaining which my expectations can hardly be disappointed, will leave me nothing to wish. I am Pub-indebted to you, Cottle, for the comforts of my
latter time. In my present situation I feel a pleas-produced more exquisite marine views; and we ure in saying thus much.
As to my literary pursuits, after some consideration I have resolved to postpone every other till I have concluded Madoc. This must be the greatest of all my works. The structure is complete in my mind; and my mind is likewise stored with appropriate images. Should I delay it these images may become fainter, and perhaps age does not improve the poet.
Thank God! Edith comes on Monday next. I say, thank God! for I have never, since my return, been absent from her so long before, and sincerely hope and intend never to be so again. On Tuesday we shall be settled; and on Wednesday my legal studies begin in the morning, and I shall begin with Madoc in the evening. Of this it is needless to caution you to say nothing, as I must have the character of a lawyer; and, though I can and will unite the two pursuits, no one would credit the possibility of the union. In two years the poem shall be finished, and the many years it must lie by will afford ample time for correction. Mary has been in the Oracle; also some of my sonnets in the Telegraph, with outrageous commendation. I have declined being a member of a Literary Club which meets weekly, and of which I had been elected a member. Surely a man does not do his duty who leaves his wife to evenings of solitude, and I feel duty and happiness to be inseparable. I am happier at home than any other society can possibly make me. God bless you!
The literary people whom he met did not impress him with favorable sentiments. The countenance of every lion exhibited some unpleasant trait. He was particularly struck by the noble eyes and most abominable nose" of the late Mr. Godwin. The latter feature of that gentleman he never saw "without longing to cut it off." He also met Gilbert Wakefield, with 66 a most critic-like voice, as if he had snarled himself hoarse." this respect he must have offered a strange contrast to Godwin, whose speech was delightfully soft and silvery. We remember him, in our youth, at the Monday suppers of John Martin, the painter. A noticeable man, truly, with his white hair, broad expanse of forehead, and large, solemn gray
The nose was more massive than is usually worn, but it did not haunt us with any grotesque remembrance. His talk-for we kept to windward of republicans, rights of women, and suchlike trumpery-was exceedingly pleasant, with a seasoning of dry humor and sarcasm, frosty but kindly. The most striking and remarkable portrait we have ever seen from a modern pencil, was a head of Godwin in Pickersgill's studio. It was the old man himself looking through a frame.
Edith by his side, and taking Blackstone and Madoc together, the poet managed to jog on with small discomfort, vamping up an occasional translation for the booksellers, and looking forward to a country trip in the summer and autumn. A bathing-place on the Hampshire coast was his desire. He loved the sea and its scenery; to lie along its sands; to catch its morning, mid-day, and evening appearances for poetry. Perhaps no poet has
doubt if the English "Parnassus" can excel the
Adown the sloping shore;
The dark green waves with emerald view
And on the wrinkled sand below,
opportunities of studying sea-appearances.
should like to have a house in it and dispeople the
He succeeded, after some trouble and walking to and fro, in finding lodgings near Christchurch. His mother came to him from Bath, with his brother Thomas, a midshipman in the navy, and just then released from a French prison at Brest. The season, the country, and his friends, all helped to endear the holyday. "The only drawbacks were his detested legal studies, and the idea of returning to London."
The unequal contest between Poetry and Law was not waged long. Blackstone and Coke, with that Littleton to whom for so many years he has been a sort of rough-rider, retreated before a gathering rank-and-file of literary enterprises. He abandoned his London residence for a small house at Westbury, a village near Bristol, and spoke of this season as among the happiest of his life. One of the pleasantest walks in England led him to young Humphry Davy, in the bloom of manhood and intellect, who repaid the recitation of passages from Madoc, with the exhibition of some Martin Hall, in honor of the flourishing colonies new chemical experiment. He called his house of that bird which surrounded and built in it. It was old, but affording delicious prospects, with an abundant garden and incomparable currant puddings. And here, in a Kamtschatkan winter, December 14, 1798, enveloped in a great-coat, formidable and "hirsute," in the twenty-fifth year of his age, and under a fixed, though not
pleasing conviction, that his heart was affected, the first volume ends its story of Robert Southey.
The second volume opens with a picture of the poet in full activity-" play plots maturing in his head, but none ripe." They were of all kindsclassical, European, and domestic. All this time his health was shattered.
I thought (he wrote) I was like a Scotch fir, small vigor to the poet. Soon after his return, a and could grow anywhere; but I am sadly altered, nervous fever laid him on his bed in a state of and my nerves are in a vile state. I am almost deplorable weakness. In search of medical help ashamed of my own feelings, but they depend not upon volition. These things throw a fog over the he again visited Bristol, a city which he afterwards prospect of life. You know not the commended, in the Life of Wesley, as one of the alteration I feel. I could once have slept with the most ancient, most beautiful, and most interesting Seven Sleepers without a miracle; now the least in England. Nor is the surrounding scenery less sound wakes me, and with alarm. remarkable, with "its elm-shadowed fields, and and Coleridge we find charming sketches of the prospect-bounding sea. In the poetry of Southey walks and landscapes :
These were painful confessions, but he strug gled on to keep his terms at Gray's Inn. pleasanter episode in his life was the growth of His Madoc, thoroughly to his own satisfaction. first poems were also going to press for a third edition.
In the summer of 1799 he enjoyed a short ramble along the northern coast of Devonshire; and we are tempted to extract one sketch, as the most agreeable specimen of his style which these volumes have hitherto presented to us. Gilpin would have delighted in it, and even Price, "the Picturesque man," have seen in it something to praise:
The bare bleak mountain speckled thin with sheep;
Mr. Bowles traced his earliest associations of poetry with picturesque scenery, to that charming Brockley-Combe, from whence the eye takes in a long reach of the Severn, woods, villages, and the
glimmering hill-outline of Wales. A very differ
ent person, Robert Hall, was almost equally enMy walk to Ilfracombe led me through Lynmouth, thusiastic. the finest spot, except Cintra and the Arrabida, "Were you ever in Bristol?" he that I ever saw. "There is scenery worth Two rivers join at Lynmouth. asked Dr. Gregory. You probably know the hill streams of Devonshire looking upon, and worth thinking of." -each of these flows down a coombe, rolling down At this time, however, scenery shone very dimly over huge stones like a long waterfall; immediately upon Southey. His letters give distressing glimpses at their junction they enter the sea, and the rivers of his sufferings. "I start from sleep, as if death and the sea make but one sound of uproar. Of had seized me. I am sensible of every pulsation, these coombes the one is richly wooded; the other runs between two high, bare, stony hills. From and compelled to attend to the motion of my heart the hill beween the two is a prospect most magnifi- till that attention disturbs it." A change of clicent; on either hand, the coombes and the river mate seeming to offer the likeliest remedy, his before the little village. The beautiful little vil- thoughts reverted to his uncle at Lisbon. That lage, which I am assured by one who is familiar affectionate friend did not fail him. He cordially with Switzerland, resembles a Swiss village-this invited his sick relative to try the southern air, and alone would constitute a view beautiful enough to to come as quickly as possible. Southey was very repay the weariness of a long journey; but, to complete it, there is the blue and boundless sea, for the willing to obey the summons. His uncle possessed faint and feeble line of the Welsh coast is only to an excellent library, and a pleasant brook ran before be seen on the right hand if the day be perfectly his door. Several of the poet's letters from Porclear. Ascending from Lynmouth up a road of tugal are printed in this volume, and are very serpentining perpendicularity, you reach a lane, entertaining. One remark upon the national apwhich by a slight descent leads to the Valley of pearance is worthy of Tacitus or Macchiavelli :Stones-a spot which, as one of the greatest wonders, indeed, in the West of England, would attract many visitors if the roads were passable by carriages. Imagine a narrow vale between two ridges of hills somewhat steep; the southern hill turfed; the vale which runs from east to west covered with huge stones and fragments of stones among the fern that fills it; the northern ridge completely bare, and excoriated of all turf and all soil, the very bones and skeleton of the earth-rock reclining upon rock, stone piled upon stone, a huge and terrific mass. A palace of the pre-Adamite kings, a city of the Anakim, must have appeared so shapeless, and yet so like the ruins of what had been shaped after the waters of the flood subsided. I ascended with some toil the highest point; two large stones inclining on each other formed a rude portal on the summit. Here I sat down. A little level platform, about two yards long, lay before me, and then the eye immediately fell upon the sea, far, very far below. I never felt the sublimity of solitude before.-Vol. ii., p. 22, 3.
But the sweet breezes of Devonshire wafted
I meet the galley-slaves sometimes, and have looked at them with a physiognomic eye to see if they differed from the rest of the people. It appeared to me that they had been found out. the others had not.
Lisbon is chiefly supplied from gardens scattered
A listless climate made, where, sooth to say,
which the rider was too lazy to beat, in picking | was now on the road to political distinction, they oranges and figs, in drinking Colares wine-the were to be disappointed. The chancellor, having flower of claret and port, distilled and interfused-nothing for his secretary to do, proposed to him and in a voluptuous siesta of two hours! The the education of his son, as a sort of employment days had no cloud, and purple evenings glimmered and fainted into such balmy and visionary moonlight, as Claude might have felt, or Mariana have seen on the old tapestry in the Moated Grange.
But the poet did not yield to Capua. In the enchanted garden of Circe he heard the voice of Minerva. He worked. Thalaba was finished, the Indian story was begun, and Madoc rose in broader outline on the inward eye. A short residence in Wales was required to give the true tone to the Cambrian hero, and the author anxiously contemplated it. He returned to England with improved health. Southern sunshine had done much for him, but the casting off the burden of law did more. The ghost of Blackstone was laid, and the poet could look the Epic Muse in the face.
While searching about for a resting place where he might receive her visits, in the quiet and peace that she loves, he was fortunately directed to that mountain-home, which was to be "his abode for the longest period of his life, the birth-place of all his children, (save one,) and the place of his final rest." It happened at that period to be occupied by Coleridge, who thus pleasantly describes its character and charms :
Our house stands on a low hill, the whole front of which is one field and an enormous garden, nine tenths of which is a nursery garden. Behind the house is an orchard, and a small wood on a steep slope, at the foot of which flows the river Greta, which winds round and catches the evening lights in the front of the house. In front, we have a giant's camp an encamped army of tent-like mountains; which, by an inverted arch, gives a view of another vale. On our right, the lovely vale and the wedge-shaped lake of Bassenthwaite; and on our left Derwentwater, Lodore full in view, and the fantastic mountains of Borrodale. Behind us the massy Skiddaw, smooth, green, high, with two chasms and a tent-like ridge in the larger. A fairer scene you have not seen in all your wanderings. Vol. ii., p. 147.
of spare time. The secretary declined the offer,
When Joan of Arc was in the press I had as many legitimate causes for unhappiness as any man need have-uncertainty for the future and immediate want, in the literal and plain meaning of the word. I often walked the streets at dinnertime for want of a dinner, when I had not eighteen pence for the ordinary, nor bread and cheese at my lodgings. But do not suppose that I thought of my dinner when I was walking. My head was full of what I was composing: when I lay down at night, I was planning my poem; and when I rose up in the morning, the poem was the first thought to which I was awake. The scanty profits of that poem I was then anticipating in my lodging-house bills for tea, bread, and butter, and those little &c.'s which amount to a formidable sum when a
man has no resources.-P. 208.
After relinquishing his secretaryship he took up his abode at Bristol, covered his tables with folios, and labored for immortality and Longman. Poetry had been almost laid aside; he found that tugging at the historical oar was more likely to bring him into port; and his chief attention was turned to finding beds, chairs, and a table for a house-when he could get one. Not that the muse was utterly forgotten.
To assist the desti
tute relations of Chatterton, he busied himself in preparing an edition of his poems for the press, which appeared at the close of 1802, and yielded more than 300l. to the benevolent design of the editor. He had no intention of settling himself at Bristol. Keswick, with the ghost of old Skiddaw lowering over it, had many attractions in his eye. But to him-a greenhouse plant, and pining for the sun-its cold, rainy climate was a strong objection. He did not know where to choose. Now he thought of green Richmond, with its glorious river; and now of a still shadier hermitage in the vale of Neath; where he might pursue his history, learn Welsh, keep an otter, and teach him to catch a trout for dinner.
Southey did not immediately appreciate the enthusiasm of his friend. He sighed for the Mondego and the Tagus, for the great Mouchique and Cintra. But his studies of the picturesque were suddenly interrupted by the most promising invitation he had hitherto received. His kind protector and associate, Mr. Wynn, had obtained for him the appointment of private secretary to the Irish chancellor of exchequer, with a salary of 3501. He accordingly sailed for Dublin, but remained there only a short time, and spent the remainder of the year in London. His official duties were not burdensome; and frequent holydays interspersed pleasant intervals of literary leisure. Meanwhile Thalaba moved slowly, but he introduced the writer to Holland House. In But a dispute with a Cambrian landlord about the beginning of the following year he lost his the repairs of a kitchen, dissolved this agreeable mother, and with her the last friend of his infancy dream of a happy family, and the death of his and childhood. If his admirers hoped that he little girl put an end to his doubts about a residence.
I will have (he told his friend, Mr. Bedford,) a toad to catch flies, and it shall be made murder to kill a spider in my domains; then, when you come to visit me, you will see puss on one side, and the otter on the other, both looking for bread and milk, and Margery in her little great chair, and the toad upon the tea-table, and the snake twisting up the leg of the table to look for his share.