2475. Robert Southey to James Ballantyne, [c. 23 August 1814]
2475. Robert Southey to James Ballantyne, [c. 23 August 1814]*
Half-title – Roderick the Last of the Goths
A Tragic Poem 
Title – Roderick the Last of the Goths / do only longer types
To Grosvenor Charles Bedford
this Poem is inscribed,
in lasting memorial of a long & uninterrupted friendship,
by his old school-fellow
The history of the Wisi-Goths for some years before their overthrow is very imperfectly known. It is however apparent that the enmity between the royal families of Chindasuintho & Wamba was one main cause of the destruction of the kingdom, the latter party having assisted in betraying their country to the Moors for the gratification of their own revenge. Theodofred & Favila were younger sons of King Chindasuintho; King Witiza who was of Wambas lin family, put out the eyes of Theodofred, & murdered Favila, at the instigation of his <that Chieftans> wife with whom he lived in adultery. Pelayo the son of Favila, & afterwards the found of the Spanish Monarchy, was driven into exile. Roderick, the son of Theodofred recovered the throne, & put out Witizas eyes in vengeance for his father, but he spared Orpas the brother of the Tyrant, as being a Priest & Ebba & Sisibert the two sons of Witiza by Pelayos mother. It may be convenient that these circumstances of an obscure portion of history should be thus briefly stated. If there be any obscurity in the following poem where it relates to these feats, the author x must have failed in one of the essential requisites of his art: it may however be convenient thus briefly to have premise these circumstances of an obscure portion of history with which few readers can be <supposed to be> familiar; & a list of the principal persons who are introduced <or spoken of,> may as properly be prefixed to a poem as a play.
The four latter persons are imaginary. All the others are historical characters mentioned named <in> history. I ought however to observe that Romano is a creature of monkish legends; that the name of Pelayos sister has not been preserved; & that that of Rodericks mother Ruscilo, has been altered to Rusilla, for the sake of euphony.
|1.||Roderick & Romano|
|2.||Roderick in solitude.|
|4.||The Monastery of St Felix|
|5.||Roderick & Siverian.|
|6.||Roderick in times past|
|10.||Roderick & Florinda|
|11.||Count Pedros Castle|
|17.||Roderick & Siverian.|
|18.||The Coron Acclamation.|
|19.||Roderick & Rusilla|
|20.||The Moorish Camp|
|21.||The Fountain in the Forest|
|22.||The Moorish Council.|
|23.||The Vale of Covadonga.|
|24.||Roderick & Count Julian.|
|25.||Roderick in battle|
I hope the manuscript of the poem has been preserved, as I requested it might be. Please to return it to me when the remaining sheets are sent.
* Address: Mr James Ballantyne/ Printer/
Edinburgh/ Single Sheet/
Postmark: AUG/ 23/1814
Endorsement: I beg that all possible haste may be made with this. It is of the utmost moment.
MS: Beinecke Library, GEN MSS 298, Series I, Box 1, folder 58. ALS; 4p.