212. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 26 April 1797 *
Wednesday evening. 26th April. 1797.
Remember us to Gilbert. 
On receiving your letter (Thursday last) I went to the Swan, found the box there & requested the Master to send it as soon as possible. which he promised. that day & the next I vainly expected it, & on the Saturday Mr Peacock sent his man for it. what a vice is the want of punctuality, & what a curse is expectation! the waggoner reminded me of this reflection, & this reflection reminded me of Rosser — & where are Charles Fox  & his family? — Place the saddle on the right horse. it was Mrs Peacock who bargained with me for the lodgings.
I have finished Necker  this morning — & return again to my regular train of occupations. Would that digging potatoes were among them! — & if I live some dozen years Cottle you shall eat potatoes of my digging. but I must think now of the present.
Some Mr T Park  sent me a volume of his poems last week, with a note; its praises too gross for one whos is no fowl-feeder. I read his book it was not above mediocrity; he seems very fond of poetry, & even to a superstitious reverence for Thomsons old table & that xxxxx Miss Sewards  manuscripts which he “rescued” from the printers.  I called on him to thank him & was not sorry to find that he was not at home. But the next day a note arrives with more praise — he wishes my personal acquaintance & “trusts I shall excuse the frankness that avows that it would gratify his feelings to receive a copy of Joan of Arc from the Author.” now I thought this, to speak tenderly, not very modest. but there is a something in my nature which prevents me from even silently showing <displaying> my sentiments, if that display can give pain — & so I answered his note — & am going to send him the book. He writes sonnets to Miss Seward  & Mr Hayley.  — enough to stamp him blockhead. I suppose he will call — & you shall hear more of him.
When the Bodderation comes, Carlisle & I have resolved instead of your a Revolutionary Tribunals to erect a Physiognomical one; & as transportation is to be the punishment instead of guillotining — to put the whole navy in requisition to carry off all ill-looking fellows — & then we may walk London Streets without being jostled. You are to be one of the Jury. & we must get some good Limner to take down the evidence. Witnesses xx will be needless — the features of a mans face will rise up in judgment against him. — & the very voice that pleads “not guilty” will sometimes be enough to convict the raven-toned criminal.
I think of splitting my Letters  into two volumes — but whether I told you on what plan or no, I cannot recollect. I see them in several shops here. Danvers tells me you mean to cease your doing business <with> Hazard;  certainly H told you huge lies.
T. Park wanted Coleridges Poems  in vain. What news of a second edition? I supped with Flower  (of Cambridge) lately with Mr Peacock, & never saw so much coarse strength in a countenance. his spirits seem heavily depressed by the death of the young man whom he had adopted.  he repeated an epigram to me upon the dollars which perhaps you may not have seen.
this has a coarse strength too — better perhaps than a point.
By Mr Peacocks desire I am going to get some papers printed with a list of my books, to hang up in the country Booksellers shops, as a cheap & permanent kind of advertisement. he wants some vignettes to a second edition of the Poems & the book to be six shillings. Alas! how tedious it is to plan books upon paper. half an hours conversation would say more than half a days writing. plague on Space. how I envy the Monster who dwells beyond it in the Adamant River! but you are not yet initiated into the mysteries of the Butler  & I must not spoil his grand mythology by committing it to paper. How have you hurt your hand? — I set out with Mr Peacock this day week to reconnoitre; Danvers will not meet us as we hoped; We are very sorry for this — besides yourself, I look upon him & George Burnett as my only correspondents. George has commenced preacher. Danvers tells me you have written to Herbert Croft;  give me some account of your letter. let me hear from you before I go — & tell me how you all are, & what is going on in the little world of Bristol. God bless you — remember me us to your sisters &c. — & remember me particularly to William Reid  when you see him.
* Address: For/ Mr Cottle/ High Street/ Bristol
Stamped: [partial] Street
Postmark: AP/ 27/ 97
Endorsements: Southey/ April/ 1797; (76) 25
MS: Cornell University Library. ALS; 4p. (c).
Previously published: Leslie N. Broughton (ed.), Some Letters of the Wordsworth Family, Now First Published with a Few Unpublished Letters of Coleridge, Southey and Others (Ithaca, NY, 1942), pp. 114–115; Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 209–210 [in part]. BACK
 Thomas Park’s Sonnets, and Other Small Poems (London, 1797) contained an inscription ‘For a Table which was Formerly Used as a Writing-Desk by Thomson the Poet’ (p. 71) and a sonnet ‘Written in a Manuscript Copy of Miss Seward’s Poems, After Having Rescued it from the Printing-House’ (p. 33). BACK
 Southey and Joseph Cottle both disapproved of his exploitation of manuscripts obtained from members of Thomas Chatterton’s (1752–1770; DNB) family. Cottle had written to Croft, informing him that if he did not financially recompense Chatterton’s sister, Mary Newton (1749–1804; DNB), his misconduct would be exposed. See Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p. 145. BACK