478. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 16 January 1800

478. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 16 January 1800 ⁠* 

My dear Wynn

The Sarsar is the icy wind of death; & its reservoir is in the centre of the earth. so say the notes to Vathek [1]  – I have neither the book nor memorandum by me, & know not the authority referred to. nor is the word in D’Herbelot. [2]  with the Simoom [3]  it has no affinity – except its deadliness. the Simoom I have employed with very great effect at the end of the second book. one of the magicians has found Thalaba by means of his ring with the bit of hell-fire set in it. at the hour of prayer when Thalaba & the Bedouins with whom he dwells fall on their faces in adoration – Abdaldar stands over him to strike. at that instant comes the blast of the desert. This I think the finest incident that I have ever conceived.

This mild weather favours me much, & the difference I perceive is very great. hence, I conclude that climate materially effects me – for I never suffered so much as during the severe weather. I will come to London as soon as I conveniently can & take the opportunity of keeping a term. I want to talk with you respecting law, & express the complete conviction I feel that the chancery line [4]  will suit me best.

God bless you.

yrs R Southey.

Jany. 16. 1800.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr/ Wynnstay/ near Wrexham/ Denbighshire
Stamped: BRISTOL
Postmark: JAN 16 1800
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 1, lines 555–556. It is described as the ‘sansar’ in William Beckford (1760–1844; DNB), An Arabian Tale, From an Unpublished Manuscript: With Notes Critical and Explanatory (London, 1786), p. 207, but is not mentioned in the notes. BACK

[2] Barthelemy d’Herbelot (1625–1695), Bibliotheque Orientale, ou Dictionnaire Universel Contenant Generalement Tout ce qui Regarde la Connoissance des Peuples de l’Orient (1697). BACK

[3] Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 2, lines 393–401. The Simoom is a hot, dry, dust-laden wind. BACK

[4] Civil cases heard before the Court of Chancery. BACK