1478. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 11 July 1808 *
Keswick. July 11. 1808.
My dear Tom
The vile cold which had just commenced its operations when you left us, is I hope now ending them. The fountains of my head are choaked up, – which is a previous step to their drying up, & I am resuming my regular employments after this unaccountable interruption. This morning I finished that section of Kehama which was begun while you were here, & which continues with laying Ladurlad in the Ship of Heaven.  What ship’s that, you will not say upon this occasion, inasmuch as you know something about her, & her commander, & her crew. Tomorrow I land them above the great magnet rock at the North Pole, – & that <this next> section will have nothing but images of beauty.
Where can Aunt Mary be? I have been daily hoping to hear from her, & to hear that she was coming this way, – as there can be nothing but the journey now to prevent her.  As for him, we must disinherit him, that’s certain, – nobody will take him at half-price, & the Devil has my consent to take him for nothing. This last freak is quite unaccountable, he behaved to me as civilly as was in his nature, & I thought was disposed to do so to all of us. There must surely Tom be some twist in the head both in his case & his brothers.
Jackson has bought a horse, who I think would not be sorry that you are at sea, if he knew what sort of a thing a sailor on horseback is. – Our bacon is arrived & proves excellent, – & Miss Wood  is expected to make her appearance every day. This is the news of the house. the three maids turn out very well, & our domestic xx affairs are very much improved by the change. the two younger ones have just had the cow pock.
Who’s this for? said I to Edith last night, when the third kiss was given me on going to bed. For Uncle. What am I to do with it? – Send it in a letter. How am I to send it? – Put it in the letter. How am I to put it? Write it in the letter, – after half a minutes consideration. – Be pleased therefore to take notice, that there is a kiss inclosed herein, for every night since you went away.
Your shirts are at last compleated, washed & marked, & the two parcels one for the coach, the other for the waggon, will go by the next carrier. The books from Longmans I suppose will be ready to start within a month. my preface & introduction are printed, & four sheets of the [MS obscured] Neville tells me a third edition of the Remains  will soon be wanted. That book is making its way in the world just as I could wish, & will raise up friends for poor James,  xx xx who really wants a friend; because of his disabled arm. Your Commander in Chief  will be sure to hear of this book.
I have begun my Portugueze Letters. – this new book  will be a good deal in the way of Espriella.  Here are some verses translated from Vieira the Painter,  which will go in a note in the first letter. He is speaking of a light-house near the Bar of Lisbon called Nosse Senhora da Guia, – I daresay you know it.
This is the poem from which the first note to Madoc is extracted:  – by far the most curious & interesting poem in the Portugueze language. These are sweet lines, & describe a sort of psalm-singing quite in unison with my feelings. – I shall work steadily on with these Letters – beginning a great many at once, as I did with D Manuel,  – & I shall send them to my Uncle to be corrected & interpreted with his knowledge, – so the book will Certes be a good one.
Little progress has been made in your Kehama,  because my eyes suffered severely during my cold, & have not yet compleatly recovered. In what little is transcribed some alterations have been made, which you will perceive, when the first number reaches you. Each number is sewn in a cover of the quaker marble paper, bought at Barrys,  – it will be the prettiest manuscript I have ever written. – My plan for Pelayo  is not yet ripe, – it is however ripening, & I expect to be ready to begin with it, whenever I come to a stop in Kehama. Huzza Tom – for these two – & half a dozen more before I have done.
God bless you – I have a load of letters which ought to be written, & the thought makes me growl like a bear
 Southey did not publish a new book of this description but his 1797 Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal were reprinted in an expanded form in 1808 as Letters written during a Journey in Spain, and a Short Residence in Portugal. BACK
- 1 of 2
- next ›