462. Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 15 December 1799

462. Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 15 December 1799 ⁠* 

My dear Coleridge –

Savary [1]  is willing to take George into his bank, if you & I will become his bondsmen, bound for 500 £ each. the situation is thought a favourable one. it is for seven years – at a salary of 12 £ the first – 15 the second, & increasing 5£ every succeeding year – at the expiration of that time he is calculated for any situation which requires accomptant knowledge. to be bound for the good conduct of any body is always hazardous & never wise, but it is sometimes right – & so I conceive it to be in the present case. write me your opinion – & that as soon as you can that Savary may be answered. the obvious advantage of the situation is that he will be receiving something towards his maintenance during this apprenticeship; its objection that it leads, in all likelihood, only to a bare support. but it must be remembered that George is very slow, & therefore unlikely to forward himself in any way of life – & this neither requires premium now, not capital hereafter.

I have written to Stuart & resigned the Laureatship [2]  – that is in February next. the defalcation of my ways & means must be supplied – for the ensuing year I look to Thalaba. [3] 

In the Anthology [4]  I see no advantage from method – on the contrary a mixed arrangement appears to me decidedly the best. it is in the Press. do not think about Christabel [5]  on that account. you will want all your time – & I suspect more, – & much as I should like the poem I can do without it & feel no inconvenience. if you publish your letters you will of course insert the Brocken lines; these therefore I will remove from the Anthology-bag; [6]  – do you also insert Home Sick – & the Something childish? [7]  one question more – your lines about Burns in the Bristol xxxx paper bore your name – shall I retain it – or will you adopt some literal signature? [8]  If you can procure me the conclusion of Francini & the Hermit of the Alps, [9]  by referring to the filed papers [10]  – why I shall be glad of them in the volume.

I have some anonymous communications – in number not many – yet more than are good. Cottle is busy & will only add one short piece [11]  – ditto George Dyer  [12]  – whom God bless for his intentions & forgive for his mode of putting them in practice. so much for the shrimps – the salmon is sickly & out of season. or you may change the metaphor & consider me as lobster sauce to your turbot. Wrangham [13]  has left me his volume with certain pieces marked for my choice – this will advertise it. Tobin  [14]  has sent a parcel of which I send up my judgement by Mrs Coleridge.

I have got Boulainvilliers life of Mohammed, [15]  which will soon occupy much of my attention.

Where do you purpose fixing your residence? I shall remain the winter here, & if I receive no benefit must remove to a warmer climate – a curse upon the war! Italy & France & the South of Spain are blocked up. Trieste has just come into my head – but I see no practicable way of getting there – the route by Mentz is block obstructed by armies, & <thro> Vienna is too confined xx xxxxxx it is an unreachable distance. I should rather visit a new country than return to Lisbon. somewhere probably I must go.

direct – Kingsdown Parade.


yrs truly

Robert Southey.

Dec. 15. 99. Sunday.

Your lime-tree bower – how to be signed? [16] 


* Watermark: [obscured]
Endorsement: [probably a later addition] Early in December, 1799
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 111. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Irvin Ehrenpreis, Notes and Queries, 195 (1950), 125–126; Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, p. 207 [in part]. BACK

[1] John Savary (d. 1831), a banker based in Bristol. BACK

[2] Southey’s commitment to provide poems for the Morning Post. BACK

[3] Thalaba the Destroyer, published in 1801. BACK

[4] Annual Anthology (1800). BACK

[5] Coleridge had originally offered ‘Christabel’ for inclusion in Annual Anthology (1800); see Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 11 October 1799, Letter 444. However, it remained unfinished and unpublished until 1816. BACK

[6] Coleridge did not publish his letters from his German visit of 1798–9; ‘Lines Written in the Album at Elbingerode, in the Hartz Forest’ appeared in Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 74–76. BACK

[7] Coleridge’s ‘Home-sick. Written in Germany’ and ‘Something childish, but very natural. Written in Germany’, Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 192, 193. BACK

[8] Coleridge’s ‘To a Friend who had declared his intention of writing no more Poetry’, Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 103–105. It was signed ‘Esteesi. 1796.’ and had first appeared in an untraced Bristol newspaper in 1796, in aid of a subscription for the family of Robert Burns (1759–1796; DNB). BACK

[9] Coleridge’s ‘The Apotheosis, or the Snow Drop’, Morning Post, 3 January 1798, was signed ‘Francini’. It was a reply to Mary Robinson’s (1758–1800; DNB) ‘Ode to the Snow Drop’, Morning Post, 26 December 1797. ‘Anselmo, the Hermit of the Alps’ was by Mary Robinson and had first appeared in the Morning Post. None of these poems were included in Annual Anthology (1800), although Robinson did contribute ‘Jasper’, pp. 165–172 and ‘The Haunted Beach’, pp. 254–257. BACK

[10] Back numbers of the Morning Post. BACK

[11] Joseph Cottle. ‘Markoff, a Siberian Eclogue’, Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 223–229. BACK

[12] George Dyer, ‘To the Nightingale’, Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 217–218. BACK

[13] Francis Wrangham (1769–1842; DNB), clergyman, poet and friend of Wordsworth. His Poems did not appear until 1802, but had been intended for publication in 1795. Wrangham contributed six poems to the Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), all signed ‘F.R.S.’: ‘Song, Addressed to a Lady Known from Infancy’, pp. 77–78; ‘Sonnets I–II’ and ‘XVIII–XIX’, pp. 145–146, 162–163; and ‘Song’, pp. 184–185. BACK

[14] James Webbe Tobin contributed eight poems, all signed ‘J.W.T.’, to the Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800): ‘Lines Written in Devonshire’, pp. 41–42; ‘The Gallinipper’, pp. 46–49; ‘To Lydia’, pp. 101–102; ‘Ode to Mr Packwood’, pp. 137–139; ‘Sonnet III’, p. 147; and ‘Epigrams XV–XVII’, pp. 271–272. BACK

[15] Henri, Comte de Boulainvilliers (1658–1722), La Vie de Mahomed (1730). The book was no. 325 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[16] Coleridge’s ‘This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison’, Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1800), pp. 140–144, signed ‘Esteesi’. BACK

People mentioned

Fricker, George (1785–1813) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Sarah (1770–1845) (mentioned 1 time)
Stuart, Daniel (1766–1846) (mentioned 1 time)
Cottle, Joseph (1770–1853) (mentioned 1 time)
Dyer, George (1755–1841) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Kingsdown Parade, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)


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