2067. Robert Southey to John Wilson Croker, 27 March 1812

2067. Robert Southey to John Wilson Croker, 27 March 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. March 27. 1812.

My dear Sir

I must not avail myself of your name to cover these Quarterly contributions, without thanking you for Talavera, – a poem which has been one of the most successful of modern times, or indeed of any times, – & yet not more so than it deserves to be. [1]  You have done for Sir Arthur Wellesley what none of his contemporaries could do for Marlborough. [2]  I must not wish you leisure to do as much for Earl Wellington, [3]  – yet I have good hope that he may be destined to atchieve a victories as splendid in itself <themselves> as Blenheim, [4]  & more important in their consequences, – & then perhaps even your avocations will not prevent you from finding time to celebrate it his career.

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly & respectfully

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ John Wilson Croker Esqre/ &c &c &c
MS: Morgan Library, MA 1005. ALS; 1p.
Previously published: Myron F. Brightfield, John Wilson Croker (London, 1940), p. 270 [in part]. BACK

[1] Croker’s The Battles of Talavera, first published in 1809 had gone into nine editions by 1812. It was written in the style of Scott’s Marmion (1808). BACK

[2] Wellesley was the hero of Croker’s poem, and remarked that he had not thought ‘that a battle could be turned into anything so entertaining’ (L. J. Jennings (ed.), The Croker Papers: The Correspondence and Diaries of the Late Right Honourable John Wilson Croker, 2 vols (London, 1884), I, p. 25). The comparison is with the British hero of the War of the Spanish Succcession, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722; DNB). BACK

[3] Wellesley had been given an Earldom on 18 February 1812 as a reward for the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo. BACK

[4] The victory of Marlborough and his allies over the French on 13 August 1704. It was also the subject of Southey’s 1798 anti-war ballad ‘The Battle of Blenheim’. BACK

People mentioned

Wellesley, Arthur (1769–1852) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)