3101. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, Easter Eve [22 March] 1818

3101. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, Easter Eve [22 March] 1818⁠* 

Easter Eve. 1818.

My dear Tom

Here is something for you rather more interesting than any news which I have to communicate. I know nothing of the author, except that he introduces himself to me in a very well written letter, as a person known to Mrs Lloyd. There is a great of cleverness in some of the sketches (specimens of eight or ten have been sent me) not in all, – they are as may be expected very unequal, – this is one of the best. [1]  I have subscribed for four sets, one of which is intended for your Lordship.

My provoking books are not yet come, – of all the packages that I ever yet expected, that this is the one concerning which I have been most frequently disappointed. [2]  And as miseries seldom come singly, Pople is keeping me upon a short allowance of proof sheets, [3]  – not one have I had for the last three weeks.

Thank you for your extracts. [4]  What a scoundrel that fellow is

I am getting on with Brazil [5]  & with Wesley, [6]  – & have gone thro 40 volumes of the Methodist Magazine in collecting materials for the latter. [7]  It will be a singularly curious work.

Love to Sarah & the children –

God bless you



* Address: To Capt Southey/ Warcop./ near/ Brough
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa. ALS; 2p. (c).
Dating note: Easter Sunday fell on 22 March in 1818.
Note on MS: The letter is written onto the blank leaves of a copy of the ‘PROSPECTUS’ for ‘ESSAYS IN DESIGN/ FROM/ SOUTHEY’S POEM OF THALABA./ DRAWN AND ETCHED/ BY/ WILLIAM HAWKES SMITH’. This reads as follows: ‘In Royal Quarto, Price 10s. 6d.// ESSAYS IN DESIGN/ FROM/ SOUTHEY’S POEM OF THALABA/ DRAWN AND ETCHED/ BY/ WILLIAM HAWKES SMITH/ PROSPECTUS.// When an unprofessional Artist, and one whose only opportunities of cultivating an acquaintance with the Arts, are the scanty portions of leisure allowed from the pressure of his daily occupations; when such a one ventures to submit the result of his labours to public notice, some apology is necessary, and it is accordingly, with becoming diffidence, that these attempts to embody the ideas of the Poet are given to the general eye.// The Sketches which form the proposed work, were chiefly made several years ago, and their revision and improvement have been the occasional occupation of the Artist’s leisure for some months past. Fully aware that numerous defects may be detected, he trusts that, under the unpretending title of ‘ESSAYS,’ his efforts may be candidly examined, and that if any merit be discernible in the Conception, those errors in Drawing which years of close study would alone instruct him to avoid, may be pardoned.// The work will consist of Twenty-eight outline Etchings, from what are deemed the most prominent and interesting situations in the Poem; they will be printed on fine Royal Drawing Paper, and accompanied by a sheet of Letter-press, containing ample explanatory quotations.// A specimen of the style of the designs, is given in the Plate worked at the back of this page.// The Names of Subscribers will be received by W. Hawkes Smith, Easy Row, Birmingham.// [SMITH, TYP.]’ BACK

[1] William Hawkes Smith’s ‘Prospectus’ included a copy of ‘Thalaba Bound’, published as Plate XVI in Essays in Design Drawn and Etched by W. H. Smith, …Illustrative of the Poem of ‘Thalaba the Destroyer’ by R. Southey (1818). BACK

[2] The books Southey had bought at Milan on his continental tour in 1817. BACK

[3] Proofs of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[4] Possibly extracts concerning Brougham, who was standing for election in Westmorland, much to Southey’s disgust. Southey had agreed to put together some material that might be used to discredit Brougham; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 6 March 1818, Letter 3087. BACK

[5] The third, and final, volume of Southey’s History of Brazil was published in 1819. BACK

[6] The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[7] Southey was reading the Arminian Magazine (1778–1797), a monthly magazine edited by John Wesley (1703–1791; DNB) until his death and continued as the Methodist Magazine (1798–1822) and the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine (1822–1969). BACK

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