2493. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 27 October 1814 *
Keswick. 27 Oct. 1814.
My dear Cottle
It is not long since I heard of you from De Quincey, but I wish you would sometimes let me hear from you. There was a time when scarcely a day past without my seeing you, & in all that time I do not remember that there ever was a passing cloud of coolness between us. The feeling I am sure continues. Do not then let us so entirely be seperated by distance, which in case of correspondence, may almost be considered as a mere abstraction.
How has your attack in the spring left you?  Disease has no form more alarming in appearance, but <there are>  many which are more perilous in reality. You must be careful during the winter not to expose yourself to frosty air, & would do well to regulate the temperature of your apartments as nearly as possible to an equable heat. There is a stove by which this may be done with little trouble, – & which at once heats & ventilates a house.
Longman will send you my Poem.  It has been printed about two months, but he delays its publication till November, for reasons of which he must needs be the best judge. I am neither sanguine about its early, nor doubtful concerning its ultimate acceptation in the world. The passion is in a deeper tone than in any of my former works; I call it a tragic poem for this reason, & also that the reader may not expect the same busy & compleated action which the term heroic might xxxx seem to promise. The subject has the disadvantage of belonging to an age of which little or no costume has been preserved. I was therefore cut off from all adornments of this kind, & xxxx had little left me to relieve the stronger parts but description the best of which is from the life.
My next production is to be entitled A Tale of Paraguay,  & will not much exceed 1000 lines. As yet I have merely begun the introduction or Proem, – which is in the form of an address to my eldest daughter upon the subject of time & mortality. Were I not pressingly employed upon other things I should proceed in this little work with much earnestness, the story, which is true, is very simple & very beautiful.
Can you tell us anything of Coleridge? A few lines of introduction for a son of Mr Biddulph of St James’s  are all that we have received from him since I saw him last September <twelvemonth>  in town. The children being thus entirely left to chance, I have applied to his brothers at Ottery  concerning them, & am in hopes, thro their means & the aid of other friends, of sending Hartley to college. Lady Beaumont has promised 30£ annually for this purpose. Poole 10£. I wrote to Coleridge three or four months ago telling him that unless he took some steps towards providing for the object, I must make this application, & required his answer within a given term of three weeks. He received the letter, & in his note by Mr Biddulph promised to answer it, – but has never taken any farther notice of it. I have acted with the advice of Wordsworth; – the brothers,  as I expected, promise their concurrence, & I daily expect a letter stating to what amount they will contribute. – What is to become of C. himself! He may continue to find men who will give him board & lodging for the sake of his conversation, but who will pay his other expences? I cannot but apprehend some shameful & dreadful end to this deplorable course.
We were in great distress the beginning of this week concerning my youngest child, who had a most severe bilious attack. God be thanked, she is now doing well. – You can hardly understand how things of this kind try a parents heart. I feel at ease to day, – & the change is as much more delightful than that of xxxation relief from pain, as mental pain is more afflicting than bodily suffering.
Remember us most kindly to your sisters –
& believe me my dear Cottle
ever your affectionate old friend
You will find among my Gothic names that of Cottila,  – doubtless the origin of yours. I do not know its meaning.
* Address: To/ Mr Cottle/ Brunswick Square/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 83 230
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 106–108; Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p. 386 [in part, with a paragraph from Southey to Cottle, 2 March 1815, Letter 2562, incorporated]; Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 81–83 [in part; misdated 17 October 1814). BACK
 Earlier in 1814 Cottle had been ‘afflicted with the bursting of a blood vessel, occasioned, probably, by present agitations of mind, which reduced … [him] to the point of death’, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p, 379; see also Southey to Joseph Cottle, 13 May 1814, Letter 2420. BACK
 See Coleridge to Southey, 10 August 1814, E. L. Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (Oxford, 1956–1971), III, p. 521. The ‘young Gentleman’ they introduced was Zachariah-Henry Biddulph (c. 1792- 1842), a young Bristolian who was later Vicar of Old and New Shoreham 1828–1842. He was the second son of the leading West Country evangelical Thomas Biddulph (1763–1838; DNB), Perpetual Curate of St James’s Bristol, and author of the much-reprinted Short Sermons by the R. John Biddulph. BACK