1226. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 13 October 1806
1226. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 13 October 1806 *
My dear Rickman
You will be glad to hear that my child proves to be of the more worthy gender, – he is as stout-limbed & as strong-voiced as I could wish him. Edith going on excellently well. The boy was born a quarter after six in the morning, the alarm having been given at three; his name is Herbert.
I would do a good deal to please poor Tobin (– indeed it is doing a good deal to let him inflict an argument upon me –) but to write an epilogue is doing too much for any body.  Indeed were I ever so well disposed to misemploy him; paper & rhymes, it would be as much out of my reach as the moon is, & I bless my stars for the incapacity, – believing that a man who can do such things well cannot do anything better. I am also thoroughly busy. Summer is my holyday season, in which I lay in a store of exercise to serve me for the winter, & leave myself as it were lying fallow to the influencies of heaven. I am now very hard at Palmerin,  – so troublesome a business that a look before the leap would have prevented the leap altogether. I expected it would only be needful to alter the Propria quae maribus  to their original orthography, & restore the costume when the old translators had omitted it as being to them foreign or obsolete; – but they have so mangled, mutilated & massacred the <manners> so vulgarized impoverished & embeggared the story <language>, so lopt cropt & xxxxxxx dockt all the ornaments, & so castrated the virility of the style – that I was fair to set my shoulder stiffly to the wheel, & retranslate about the one half. As this will not produce me one penny more than if I had reprinted it with all its imperfections on its head, the good conscience with which it is done reconciles me to xxxx the loss of time – & I have moreover such a true love of romance that the labour is not irksome. the labour of hand it is. To correct a sheet, 16 pages of the square sized black letter – is a days work, that is from breakfast till dinner, allowing an hours walk, & from tea till supper. & the whole is about sixty sheets.
Secondly Espriella  is regulated by the Printer  who seems as little disposed to hurry me as I am to hurry him. he has half a sheet yet to finish the first volume, & copy for three sheets more. In a few days I shall have the start in Palmerin sufficiently to put three more in readiness for him, having little more than to transcribe them. Indeed there is not above half a volume more to write.
Thirdly the reviewing is come round of which in the shape of Missionaries, Catholick Miracles, Bible & Religious Societies – Clarkson & Little Moore (not forgetting the Capitaneus )  I have more to do than I at first designed, yet not more than will make a reasonable item on the right side of the King of Persias books.
Fourthly I have done half the Cid,  & wherever I seem sufficiently ahead of other employment to lie to for awhile – this is what I go to.
Lastly for the Athenæum alias Foolæum  – for I abominate such titles I am making some preparations, meaning among other things to print there certain collections of unemployed notes & memoranda under the title of Omniana, for the sake of being paid for them now, & meaning them to use them hereafter as required,  & taking care to secure them to myself by omitting the references.
By Gods blessing I shall have done all this by the end of the winter, & come to town early in spring, to inspect certain books for the Cid at the Museum & at Holland House – & to proceed to Lisbon.
I rejoice to hear of Mrs R’s recovery.  pray you remember me to her —
God bless you
Monday October 13. 1806
* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr
Endorsement: RS./ 13 Octr. 1806
MS: Huntington Library, RS 94. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 53–55 [in part]. BACK
 Tobin had asked Southey to write an epilogue, probably to The Curfew: a Play (1807), the posthumously-published work of Tobin’s brother John Tobin (1770–1804; DNB), a London solicitor and playwright whose comedy The Honey Moon had been a success in 1805; see Southey to John Tobin, 22 September 1806, Letter 1218. BACK
 Southey published an English translation of Palmerin of England, by Francisco Moraes in 4 volumes in 1807. BACK
 Southey’s Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella; Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK
 Richard Taylor (1781–1858; DNB), printer and naturalist, who would go on to establish the publishing firm of Taylor and Francis with his son William Francis (1817–1904; DNB) in 1852. BACK
 Southey reviewed the following in the Annual Review for 1806, 5 (1807): John Barrow (1764–1848; DNB), A Voyage to Cochin China, in the Years 1792, and 1793: Containing a General View of the Productions, and Political Importance of this Kingdom; and also of such European Settlements as were Visited on the Voyage, with Sketches of the Manners, Character, and Condition of their Inhabitants (1806), 2–16; James Burney, A Chronological History of the Discoveries in the South Sea or Pacific Ocean ... Illustrated with Charts (Vol. 2; 1806), 16–30; James Stanier Clarke (1765?–1834; DNB), Naufragia, or, Historical Memoirs of Shipwrecks (Vol. 2; 1806), 71–72; Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society (1805), 155–160; Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820; DNB), A New and Appropriate System of Education for the Labouring People (1806), 278–282; John Wooll (bap. 1767–1833; DNB), Biographical Memoirs of the late Revd. Joseph Warton, Master of St. Mary Winton College; Prebendary of Winchester Cathedral; and Rector of the Parishes of Wickham and Upham, Hants: to which are added, a Selection from his Works; and a Literary Correspondence Between Eminent Persons, Reserved by him for Publication (1806), 298–305; Lucy Hutchinson (née Apsley; 1620–1681; DNB) and Julius Hutchinson (dates unknown), Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson (1806), 361–378; James Grant Raymond (1771–1817), The Life of Thomas Dermody (1806), 383–397; Henry Richard Fox, 3rd Lord Holland, Some Account of the Life and Writings of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (1806), 397–411; Richard Duppa, The Life and Literary Works of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with his Poetry and Letters (1806), 411–425; George Chalmers, (bap. 1742–1825; DNB), ed., The Poetical Works of Sir David Lyndsay (1806), 482–494; Thomas Moore (1779–1852; DNB), Epistles, Odes and Other Poems (1806), 498–499; [Society of Friends of Pennsylvania], Accounts of Two Attempts Towards the Civilization of Some Indian Natives (1806), 589–593; Thomas Clarkson, A Portraiture of Quakerism, as Taken From a View of the Moral Education, Discipline, Peculiar Customs, Religious Principles, Political and Civil Œconomy, and Character, of the Society of Friends (1806), 594–607; Thomas Jarrold (1770–1853; DNB), Dissertations on Man, Philosophical, Physiological and Political; in Answer to Mr. Malthus’s ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1806), 607–615. BACK
 The short-lived Athenæum, A Magazine of Literary and Miscellaneous Information (1807–1809), which was owned by Longman and edited by John Aikin. BACK
 Southey gathered many of the miscellaneous short pieces that he contributed to the Athenaeum in the book he compiled with Coleridge in 1812, Omniana: or Horae Otiosiores. BACK