1784. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 12 June 1810

1784. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 12 June 1810 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

I do not believe that the same number of lines ever cost me half the time xxxx (since I left off Bible – exercises) that these have done, – & after all I doubt whether they will please any body more than they do myself, – which Gods knows is little enough. The structure of the poem is good, – & that is all I can say in its praise. If you throw it behind the fire my present feelings about it are such as to render it very little likely that I shall ever make it rise again from its ashes. Believe me however I have laboured very anxiously to do something which might gratify you, – & the worse the verses are the more do they evince this, – since in spite of fear & foresight I have chosen rather to do <write> ill than to do write nothing. [1] 

You would materially serve me if you could procure for me the various papers respecting Spain which have been laid before either house of Parliament during this & the last sessions. [2] 

I send off this evening the last proof of the Register. Many of my friends will think that I have written very imprudently, – it will however answer to the booksellers, – so that if I looked to my own direct worldly interest they will not be injured by the perfect liberty <freedom> with which I have censured all parties in their turn.

Ld Carysforts poems [3]  have not yet arrived. I suppose they are in the waggon, with a cargo of other books & a ream of paper for my ensuing campaign. There is a world of work before me! – but thank God, my spirits never flag, & instead of fancying that I have no holyday, I feel as if the whole year were one. – At present I am employed upon my second volume, [4]  – seizing an interval before I <it is necessary to> begin the Chronicle for 1809. [5] 

My family are going on well. I expect an increase to it in the course of next month. [6] 

God bless you

Yrs very affectionately


Keswick June 12. 1810.


* MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4812D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had been asked by Wynn to write a poem commemorating Grenville’s (Wynn’s uncle) installation as Chancellor of Oxford University. It was published as ‘Verses. Spoken in the Theatre at Oxford Upon the Installation of Lord Grenville’, Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 641–643. BACK

[2] The papers were needed for Southey’s work for the Edinburgh Annual Register. He had, at this time, just completed the proofs for the volume covering events in 1808 and had started work on that for 1809. BACK

[3] Carysfort’s Dramatic and Narrative Poems (1810). A ‘Presentation Copy, uncut, from the Author’ was no. 548 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] The second volume of the History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[5] Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 1–336. BACK

[6] Kate Southey was born in August 1810. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)