960. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [c. 4 July 1804]

960. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, [c. 4 July 1804] ⁠* 

Dear Wynn

Your letter gives me some hope. thirty days is the regular course of a typhus fever, & an amendment at the end of that time indicates recovery.

Edwards address is with Dr Thomas, Kington, Herefordshire. I will beg you to thank Dickinson [1]  for me – which indeed I would do by letter myself, if I did not know that any unnecessary letter to a man in business is an impertinent intrusion on his time.

I know not why poor White has neglected to write to me as he promised, & will therefore enquire of him again what hopes he has. Something may certainly be done for him, & he is worth saving. I am afraid however consumption will be his end he has a tendency to it, & confinement & anxiety are dreadful allies to disease. – You shall know where Mrs James’s annuity was purchased & on what terms as soon as I can learn from Bristol. [2] 

This evening I have corrected the first proof of Madoc. [3]  dear Wynn how many years have elapsed since you & I first corresponded upon the subject, & you sent me the extract from Powell! [4]  We were then school boys – & now I have grey hairs in my head. It is so little likely that I shall ever as a poet produce any thing better than this – & I have so deep a sense of radical faults in the story, that my feelings are not what they used to be at the sight of a proof sheet. This & the history – but for many long years – this has been the thing <work> to which I lookd forward – & when wor ones work is done it seems as if the day would soon be over.

My brother Henry is with me – a very fine young man. We have <not> been together a week at a time since his childhood.

God bless you –




* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ Lincolns Inn/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: FREE/ JUL 4/ 1804
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] William Dickinson (1771–1837), a fellow pupil at Westminster School with Southey, who later went on to Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1793, MA 1795). He was Civil Lord of the Admiralty, 1804–1806. BACK

[2] Mrs James (first name and dates unknown) had lost her four sons in a shipwreck in 1802. Southey and his friends raised money to invest in an annuity for her; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Two, Letter 683. BACK

[3] The poem Madoc, which Southey had written in 1797–1799 and since then had been intermittently revising. It was completed in October 1804 and published in 1805. BACK

[4] Dr David Powel (c. 1549/52–1598) published translations of the Welsh chronicles, including the story of Madoc’s sea voyage, in 1584 in his Historie of Cambria. Southey began work on his Madoc story in 1789, corresponding with Wynn about it. BACK

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