3212. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 26 November 1818

3212. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 26 November 1818 ⁠* 

Thursday. 26 Nov. 1818

My dear Tom

Your bed is ready whenever you please to occupy it.

My going from home is delayed till the spring, – partly that I may finish Brazil & Wesley [1]  before I move – but still more because Edith expects to be confined in about February. [2]  She is very unwell; her spirits are exceedingly depressed, – & I too have as little comfort in looking forward as in looking back.

I admire your sanguine temper! You no sooner hear that I have resumed a poem of which not 200 lines had been written, than you suppose it is going to the press! [3]  It will be time enough to think of that twelvemonths hence, if I live so long, & get on with it xxxxx according to my wishes rather than my expectations. Some use I have made of your letter, but found it better not to attempt to work the ship: – to go thro all the operations would have been very unfit for poetry, & I did not know what to select. The second book is nearly finished, – a morning spell may possibly compleat it. Then I get to Cape Cod, & shall grow warm in the progress of the story.

My table is covered with proofs of the QR, [4]  of Brazil, & of Wesley. The concluding MS of the first volume of Wesley is on the road, – the notes will follow in a day or two. Of Brazil 416 pages printed.

The General leaves us next week, & I hope to make great way during the winter when I shall be wholly left to myself. Interruptions are very expensive to me. My voluntary work is (comparatively) unproductive, – task-labour I do slowly, & therefore can ill afford the time which company inevitably consumes during the summer & autumn. My harvest is during wet days & long evenings, & my spirits are best when I am most actively employed.

Love to Sarah & the young fry [5] 

God bless you



* Address: To/ Captain Southey./ Warcop/ near/ Brough
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) and The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[2] Charles Cuthbert Southey was born on 24 February 1819. BACK

[3] Southey’s New England epic, ‘Oliver Newman’, was never completed and a fragment was published posthumously in 1845; see Oliver Newman: a New England Tale (Unfinished): with Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 1–92. The second Book, ‘The Voyage’, narrates the hero’s journey to America. BACK

[4] The Quarterly Review. BACK

[5] Margaret Hill Southey (b. 1811); Mary Hill Southey (b. 1812); Robert Castle Southey (1813–1828); Herbert Castle Southey (1815–1864); Eleanor Thomasina Southey (1816–1835) and Sarah Louise Southey (1818–1850). They were joined later by Nelson Castle Southey (1820–1834); Sophia Jane Southey (1822–1859); and Thomas Castle Southey (1824–1896). BACK