892. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 1 February 1804

892. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 1 February 1804 ⁠* 

Dear Danvers

News of the wine at last. [1]  It is safe landed at Workington & will make its triumphal entry in the carriers waggon into Keswick on Saturday next – in what plight we are yet to learn but I trust not much the worse for its voyages.

Rain – rain – rain, – wind – wind – wind, our weather for about six weeks has been nothing but xxxxxxxxxx <diabilê> & flatulence. I do not set foot out of the house, & this inaction agrees so well with me that if I were at all disposed for circumcision & a harem it might be a fair argument that nature designed me for a Turk. The little ailings occasioned by Sir Wilfreds [2]  wine & his twelve-o-clock suppers, went off as soon as I had returned to my own habits & hours, & the days pass with such uninterrupted & undeviating uniformity that they never seemd to pass half so rapidly.

You will rejoice with me that my years reviewing is happily over. [3]  the last batch went off yesterday – & I am once more set upon Madoc tooth & nail. [4]  I am finishing an entirely new book, which intervenes between his discovery of young Hoel & their return to Aberfraw. [5]  this last will carry me back to America before it is over, & as it is now pretty plain sailing before me I expect to arrive there in ten days.


Your letter has this evening arrived. I will reply to it in order. if No 9 of the Missionary Transactions begins a new volume, as I suppose, it is right. [6]  if not let Barry [7]  get the number that does – but it must be right. & you may send it with the Critical Review by Mrs Clarkson.

Tom has blundered sadly about Henrys History. [8]  when first he went to Cork I commissioned him to buy it – because it is only half the price of the English edition, & keep it till he could safely send it a shore, as I did not want it for immediate use. Letter after letter did I say this in vain – off he would send it, assuring me that the bookseller would get it landed safely – tho I as often assured him that there was no occasion of any risque as I was in no want of the book. if it come safe put it on your shelf for me. but ten to one the bookseller cheats him & never sends it. If any more books arrive from Lisbon you must send them to Rickmans. I must fix soon on account of those books. this unsettled life is becoming intolerable. I will rather make up my mind to remain here among the mountains for ever than bear it after this next year.

This very day I was going to write to Mrs Smith when Madoc tempted me astray. I will do it tomorrow, – & this is a promise. I will send her a fragment of Coleridges  [9]  & my own poem on Emmett, [10]  & withall a letter of such honest confession as shall obtain pardon for a very foolish delay. yet in plain truth the awkwardness of sending double enclosures has been a lurking cause of this delay.

Your letter, as is often the case with letters from a distance, speaks of many things as if I were previously acquainted with them. I knew nothing of the state of Kings child, [11]  except that it was scrofulous – nor that poor Mary Holland [12]  had left him. nor have I ever heard that Mrs King has left her room [13]  – or indeed her bed – tho of course I take it for granted. there is a worse omission in your letter – you never mention your own health, tho you know, or ought to know, that I care more for that than for any other intelligence you could possibly send me. I cannot open a newspaper without seeing something about the great Kakkerlakkens rheumatism [14]  – & you of which I am really anxious write to me & send no bulletin concerning yourself.

Coleridge is arrived in London – & God knows how long he may stop there, perhaps only a few days – perhaps a few months.

It is strange that King should never have written to me – nor am I able to account for his silence – for tho I ought to have offered him money & indeed should have done it if I could, I do not think that would make him manifest displeasure. Expences came upon me at that time so thick & thronging that I have not yet recovered them, & I did not tell him this, because had I offered him any thing he would perhaps, not willingly have taken it, & to have apologized for delay would have seemd like inviting refusal. I do not want you to say this to him, but if you know at what he has taken offence let me know it. there are so many excellent points about him that I shall not willingly drop the intimacy tho he may be willing to do it at present.

God bless you

yrs affectionately

R Southey

Wednesday Feby 1. 1804.

Remember me to Sam Reid. what is become of Stock? [15] 


* Address: To/ Mr Danvers/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ FEB 4
Endorsements: 6 Dozen No 31/ 2 Lisbon No 21; All No 1. 2/ 16 Dozen No 10 –; M Hoots
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] See Southey to Charles Danvers [c. 15 January 1804], Letter 885. BACK

[2] Wilfrid Lawson, 10th Baronet of Isell, Cumberland (c. 1764–1806). BACK

[3] Southey reviewed, in the Annual Review for 1803, 2 (1804): James Burney, A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ... Illustrated with Charts (Vol. 1; 1803), 3–12; James Stanier Clarke (1766–1834; DNB), The Progress of Maritime Discovery, from the Earliest Period to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, Forming an Extensive System of Hydrography (1803), 12–20; James Curtis (dates unknown), A Journal of Travels in Barbary in 1801 ... With Observations on the Gum Trade of Senegal (1803), 20–23; Louis Maria Joseph, Count O’Hier de Grandpré (1761–1846), A Voyage in the Indian Ocean, and to Bengal ... To Which is Added a Voyage in the Red Sea, Including a Description of Mocha, and of the Trade of the Arabs of Yemen (1803), 48–54; John Davis (1774–1854), Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America, During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802 (1803), 54–59; Lockhart Muirhead (dates unknown), Journals of Travels in Parts of the Late Austrian Low Countries, France, the Pays de Vaud and Tuscany in 1787 and 1789 (1803), 59–63; Charles William Doyle (1770–1842), A Non-Military Journal; Or, Observations Made in Egypt, by an Officer upon the Staff of the British Army: Describing the Country, its Inhabitants, their Manners and Customs (1803), 63–66; William Wittman (fl. 1799–1804), Travels in Turkey, Asia Minor, Syria, and Across the Desert into Egypt During the Years 1799, 1800, and 1801, in Company with the Turkish Army and the British Military Mission (1803), 66–71; [Ann Blund (dates unknown)], Journal of a Short Excursion among the Swiss Landscapes (1803), 79–80; Isaac King (dates unknown), Letters from France (1803), 88–90; Part the First of An Address to the Public from the Society for the Suppression of Vice, Instituted, in London, 1802, Setting Forth, with a List of the Members, the Utility and Necessity of such an Institution, and its Claim to Public Support (1803), 187; Transactions of the Missionary Society (Vol. 1, 1803), 189–201; William Myles (1756–1828), A Chronological History of the People called Methodists ... With an Appendix, Containing Two Lists of the Itinerant Preachers ... With the Last Will and Testament of the Rev. J. Wesley (1803), 201–213; Thomas Malthus (1766–1834; DNB), An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society; with Remarks on the Speculations of W. Godwin, M. Condorcet and Other Writers (1803), 292–301; William Godwin, Life of Geoffrey Chaucer ... Including Memoirs of ... John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; with Sketches of the Manners, Opinions, Arts and Literature of England in the Fourteenth Century (1803), 462–473; George Mason (1735–1806; DNB), The Life of Richard Earl Howe (1803), 499–501; Joseph Ritson (1752–1803; DNB), Ancient Engleish Metrical Romanceës (1802), 515–533; George Ellis, Specimens of the Early English Poets (3rd edn 1803), 538–542; Richard Mant (1776–1848; DNB), The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Warton (1802), 543–546; William Hayley (1745–1820; DNB), The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, Esq. (1803), 457–462; Peter Bayley (bap. 1778–1823; DNB), Poems (1803), 546–552; Henry Kirke White, Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with other Poems (1803), 552–554; Josiah Walker (d. 1831), The Defence of Order, a Poem (1803), 557; The Inquiry. Part 1, 557–558; William Barnes Rhodes (1772–1826; DNB), Epigrams (1803), 558; James Woodhouse (bap. 1735–1820), Norbury Park, a Poem with Several Others Written on Various Occasions (1803), 558; Henry William Tytler (1752/3–1808), The Voyage Home from the Cape of Good Hope (1803), 559; Luke Booker (1762–1835; DNB), Calista, or a Picture of Modern Life, a Poem (1803), 564; D. A. G. B. Cassano (dates unknown), Il Fiore della Poesia Italiana (1802), 562–563; Percy Clinton Sydney, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780–1855; DNB), Poems from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens (1803), 569–577; William Lisle Bowles, The Picture, Verses Suggested by a Magnificent Landscape of Rubens (1803), 582; John Peter Roberdeau (bap. 1754–1815), Fugitive Verse and Prose (1803), 582–583; George Owen Cambridge (d. 1841), Works of Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq. with an Account of his Life and Character (1803), 583–585; Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baroness de Staël-Holstein (1766–1817), A Treatise of Ancient and Modern Literature (tr. 1803), 643–650; Asiatic Researches; or Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal for Enquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Science and Literature of Asia (vol. VII, 1803), 898–908. BACK

[4] Southey’s poem Madoc, which he had written in 1797–1799 and was revising for publication. It was published in 1805. BACK

[5] Madoc (1805), Part 1, Book 15. BACK

[6] The Transactions of the Missionary Society were first issued as separate numbers, each dealing with a specific mission, from 1798 onwards. They were gathered into volumes, the first including the transactions for the years 1795–1802 in the Pacific and South Africa, the second beginning with further South African transactions (London, 1804) and containing The Rev. Mr Kicherer’s Narrative of the Mission to the Hottentots, and Boschemen; with a General Account of the South African Missions. BACK

[7] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller and stationer. BACK

[8] Robert Henry (1718–1790), The History of Great Britain, From the First Invasion of it by the Romans under Julius Cæsar (1771–1793). BACK

[9] Southey sent Elizabeth Smith a MS of Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’ (now British Library, Add MS 50847). BACK

[10] Southey’s ‘A Lamentation’ was published in The Iris; or, Norwich and Norfolk Weekly Advertiser on 12 November 1803. It was a poetic response to the trial (19 September 1803) of the United Irishman Robert Emmet (1778–1803), who was executed for treason for his part in organising a rebellion against British rule. Emmet’s speech of self-vindication rapidly became a defining statement of Irish nationalism. BACK

[11] King’s child had been born in July 1803. BACK

[12] Untraced. BACK

[13] King’s wife had contracted childbed fever and was not fully recovered by November. BACK

[14] Here Southey terms the recurrently sick and mad King George III (1738–1820, King of Great Britain 1760–1820; DNB) a cockroach. BACK

[15] John Edmonds Stock (1774–1835) was an assistant at Thomas Beddoes’s Bristol Pneumatic Institution from 1804. He was entrusted both with dissecting Beddoes’s corpse in 1809, and with writing his biography, Memoirs of T. Beddoes, M.D., with an Analytical Account of his Writings (1811). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)