2799. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 May 1816

2799. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 28 May 1816⁠* 

28 May. 1816

My dear Tom

I am afraid that the parcel has not reached you, as you have not written to acquaint me of its arrival. [1]  In that case you had better desire the Brough carrier to make enquiry at Penrith, where our carrier says it was duly deposited. It is somewhat remarkable that being about to have added another quarto volume to the packet, I was withheld by recollecting that carriers were only answerable to the amount of £5 & that this quarto would make it exceed that sum, – in case of accident.

The final proof of the Lay [2]  went back yesterday, – the insertion of a few stanzas occasioned a weeks delay in sending back a revise. There is no harm in this, for tho the poem may be late for the wedding, [3]  it will be far too soon for the Pilgrimage, [4]  which is of much more consequence. It must be presented before it is published, & bound before it is presented, – for which operations another fortnight must be allowed, after the printers, hot-pressers, folders & stitchers have done their work. Some credit I shall get by it among the few: – but in the way of profit, there can be little or no doubt but that more will be lost by its interfering with the sale of the Pilgrimage, than can be gained by its own. In matters of fashion, & it is merely for fashion that books are bought by multitudes of buyers, “the last poem” is what is asked for, “Southeys last poem” – & the poor last but one, is at once left in the lurch. This is so much the case, that xx as a matter of prudence I did wrong in publishing the Pilgrimage.

My spirits I believe are now as good as they ever will be, – which tho’ very different from what they xxxx have been may suffice xxxx for one with so many gray hairs. [5]  – About your own affairs, be as little easy as you can, I shall be able to assist you this year without inconvenience. How is Sarah? Our love to her–

God bless you



* Address: To/ Capt Southey/ Warcop Hall/ near/ Brough/ Appleby
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey was sending his brother books; see Southey to Thomas Southey, 27 April 1816, Letter 2774. BACK

[2] Southey’s poem The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816). BACK

[3] The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816) was intended as an epithalamion on the wedding of Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (1790–1865; DNB) on 2 May 1816. BACK

[4] Southey’s poem The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[5] Southey’s son, Herbert, had died on 17 April 1816. BACK

People mentioned