2591. Robert Southey to Mary Matilda Betham, 26 April 
2591. Robert Southey to Mary Matilda Betham, 26 April  *
26 April, 1814 
I like your poem  very much, & this is the best criticism that can be offered upon it. The plan can not be judged of from a part only, but the execution is what I expected & hoped it would be. The little specimen of this kind in your printed volume  made me expect something as good as this. I have usually heard vagaries pronounced with the accent in the middle. You lay it upon the beginning of the word. Are you sure that you are right? I am not sure that you are wrong. When shall we see you here? I am shortly forthcoming with my series of Inscriptions upon the Spanish war.  I write to Longman by the next post & shall desire him to send you a copy of the portable Roderick  now that I have your direction.
Love from all.
God bless you.
* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Ernest Betham, A House
of Letters (Norwich, 1905)
Previously published: Ernest Betham, A House of Letters (Norwich, 1905), pp. 145–146.
Dating note: although it is dated ‘26 April, 1814’ in A House of Letters, the content suggests this letter is from 1815. BACK
 Probably Betham’s Lay of Marie, A Poem (1816), a fictionalised tale of the medieval poet Marie de France (fl 12th century). BACK
 Betham’s Poems (London, 1808), did not include an extract from the Lay of Marie; but the ‘Fragment’, pp. 31–36, was in a similar vein. BACK
 Southey’s ‘Inscriptions Triumphal and Sepulchral, recording the acts of the British army in the Peninsula’ had been recently advertised as ‘nearly ready for publication’ (e.g. in European Magazine, 65 (January 1814), 77). However, the promised volume did not appear and only 18 of the proposed 30 inscriptions were written. BACK