296. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 15 March [1798]

296. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 15 March [1798] ⁠* 

You see my dear Tom that Edith has been my scribe upon this occasion. [1]  I have another half written, which will be finished next week & then Scribarella shall set to work again.

I am sorry you think it necessary when you say you have given away the poems, to promise never to do so any more. I have always copies enough for you, & I would wish you to dispose of them as freely as I myself. When my new edition [2]  is ready, of which the first volume is this day compleated, you shall be supplied again.

Charles Fox, “who sung the banished man of Ardebeil,” is now preparing the seven most striking of my Uncles sketches for the Engraver. [3]  they are to be in Aqua tinta, & the book [4]  to go to the press as soon as I am ready with the corrections.

The old scoundrel Chilton [5]  is still off & on with my Mother about the lease – have it he will, I believe there is no doubt of that, but he always skulks from any attempt to fix a meeting & settle it. My Mother came over to dine in the College Green some ten days ago, & I saw her at Cottles. on Saturday I go over & remain till the following Monday. – by the by direct to Cottle Wine Street for the future; he is removed to where Coward [6]  lived, & a most noble shop has he gained by the exchange.

Lloyds book [7]  comes on but slowly, I now correct the proofs for him, the second volume is only advanced 88 pages. You have I suppose learnt from him that he has begun another novel, & that Lamb has finished one. [8]  The poems which he is about to print, it is his intention to dedicate to me, they are all, as indeed expressed in the title, Blank Verse. [9] 

God bless you. tell me your last number of the M Magazine. I hope to send you St. Patricks Purgatory [10]  next week.

Ediths love.

yr affectionate brother

Robert Southey

15 March

You will have the earliest possible news of Ld. Proby.


* Address: To/ Mr Southey/ H.M.S. Mars/ Spithead/ or elsewhere/ Single
Stamped: BRISTOL
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] This suggests that there was a verse enclosure, in Edith’s hand, with this letter. If so, it does not seem to have survived. BACK

[2] Joan of Arc (1798). BACK

[3] Southey is quoting his own ‘To A. S. Cottle’, in Amos Simon Cottle, Icelandic Poetry, or the Edda of Saemund Translated into English Verse (Bristol, 1797), p. 35. Joseph Cottle published Charles Fox (1740?–1809; DNB), ’Aks-i partaw. A Series of Poems: Containing the Plaints, Consolations, and Delights of Achmed Ardebeli (1797). Fox was also an artist and it would seem he was preparing some sketches, probably of Portuguese scenes, by Southey’s uncle, Herbert Hill, for publication. BACK

[4] The volume of Herbert Hill’s sketches did not appear. BACK

[5] Mr Chilton (first name and dates unknown) was the owner of the boarding-house at 8 Westgate Buildings, Bath, and therefore Margaret Southey’s landlord; see The New Bath Directory (Bath, [1792]), p. 29. BACK

[6] Unidentified. BACK

[7] Charles Lloyd, Edmund Oliver (1798). BACK

[8] Charles Lamb, A Tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret (1798). Lloyd’s new novel may well have been Isabel, which was not published until 1820. BACK

[9] Charles Lamb and Charles Lloyd, Blank Verse (1798). Lloyd’s contributions were dedicated to Southey. BACK

[10] Southey’s ‘St Patrick’s Purgatory’ was published anonymously in the Morning Post, 8 May 1798. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 3 times)
Southey, Margaret (1752–1802) (mentioned 2 times)
Cottle, Joseph (1770–1853) (mentioned 1 time)
Lloyd, Charles (1775–1839) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Lamb, Charles (1775–1834) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

College Green, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)
Cottles (mentioned 1 time)