1142. Robert Southey to Longman and Rees, 5 January 1806
1142. Robert Southey to Longman and Rees, 5 January 1806 *
Jan. 5. 1806.
A gentleman in this neighbourhood, Mr. ——,  is printing some poems at his own expense, which Faulder is to publish;  and he has applied to me to request that your name also may appear in the title-page. In such cases, the only proper mode of proceeding is to relate the plain state of the matter. His verses are good for nothing; and not a single copy can possibly sell, except what his acquaintance may purchase: but he has been labouring under mental derangement, – the heaviest of all human calamities, – and the passion which he has contracted for rhyming has changed the character of his malady, and made him from a most miserable being, a very happy one. Under these circumstances you will not, perhaps, object to gratifying him, and depositing copies of his book in your wareroom, for the accommodation of the spiders.  He tells me his MS. is at ——, if you think fit to inspect it: this trouble you will hardly take: the poems are as inoffensive as they are worthless. I shall simply tell him that I have made the application, without giving him any reason to expect its success. You will, of course, use your own judgment, only I will beg you to signify your assent or dissent to him himself. . . . . . . . . . . .
* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and
Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850)
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 14–15 [in part]. BACK
 Anthony Harrison (1773–1827), a contemporary of Wordsworth in his childhood at Hawkshead and an attorney of Penrith, published in 1806, Poetical Recreations. The book was, as Southey forecast, damned by the critics. BACK