601. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 19 August 1801 *
My dear Wynn
I know not ubi diabolus  to direct to you. losing the chance of hitting you at Oswestry I have been in hope of hearing from you– but doubtless you have in the same manner lost sight of me – I move the end of this week for Keswick where you will direct.
Ellis’s book  made me angry that he had incorporated the whole of his former volume instead of leaving it untouched. new extracts could have been made with little trouble – & very many might have been better. of Quarles  he is strangely ignorant as indeed of all the poets of that day with whom I am acquainted. his historical sketch is very [MS obscured] & must have cost great labour.
It is a serious evil that no man of adequate talents will take the Welsh antiquities in hand, & that no encouragement is given those who do. Owens has translated Llywarc Hen badly  – that is evident – yet his version is better than none, & eminently useful to all who want that information either in old history or our old manners. I wish that the Literary Society  as they call themselves would employ their fund better. they will give any man of Letters – ten pounds – who will ask for it with proper certificates &c – but they will not pay him for executing a wanted work. I would have them pay Owen if no abler can be found to translate Taliessin – Aneurin  &c & advance money for the publication taking the risk themselves. he would think himself well paid with fifty pounds a volume, – so should the Metrical Romances &c be edited. thus would their funds be of public utility – now they are only collected for the ostentation of patronage & do no more good than any common alms. I am fretted about your Welsh books, feeling the want so sorely. & if ever it should please God that I should have a settled home in England <this island> I would wish it to be on the South side of some Welsh mountain, that I might conversationally learn the language, & do something for those who will come after me.
For Madoc  I am rummaging the dirty dunghill of Irish antiquities – in which I have discovered two tricks of pure Paddyism. the one that of dying their shirts &c with saffron  – to keep them clean – a pretty origin of the Orange badge – the other that of making balls for their slingers of brick-dust & blood. 
In the Welsh books – the Odyssey-part of Madoc – I design to introduce old Giraldus  excommunicating Owen Cyveilioc  (– as he did –) for not going to the Crusade. & to remove the interview with Llewellyn  to the Island of Bardsy – which I wish to visit. he shall also take a dog who is to be found in Giraldus  with him, – the poor beast watched his masters corpse for eight days – I can make him useful & he ought to have his fame – only how to christen him? have xxxx you any decent dog names in Wales? – for the Propria quæ canibus  of England are vile –
I have read & laughed over Irelands Ballads  – a fellow who thinks that to write badly is to write like the old Poets – & that hey no nonny is worth reviving.
God bless you.
Robert Southey.Aug. 19. 1801
* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M. P./ 5. Stone Buildings/
Lincolns Inn/ London
Endorsement: Aug 29/ 1801
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 166-168 [misdated 29 August 1801]. BACK
 Taliesin (6th century), Welsh poet, whose work survives in the medieval Book of Taliesin; Aneurin (6th-7th century), Welsh poet, author of the epic ‘Y Gododdin’, contained in the 13th-century Book of Aneirin. BACK
 Sir James Ware (1595-1666; DNB), ‘The Antiquities of Ireland’ in The Works of James Ware Concerning Ireland Revised and Improved, 3 vols (Dublin, 1739-1746), II, p. 178. Southey noted this down; see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), II, p. 255. BACK
 Sylvester O’Halloran (1728-1807; DNB), A General History of Ireland, from the Earliest Accounts to the Close of the Twelfth Century, 2 vols (London, 1778), II, p. 224. Southey made a note of this; see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), II, p. 238. BACK
 Owain Cyveilioc (c. 1130- c. 1197), poet and Prince of Powys. He was excommunicated in 1188 for refusing to support the Third Crusade, an incident Southey used in Part I, Book 15 of Madoc (1805). BACK
 Llewelyn ‘the Great’ (c. 1173-1240; DNB), Prince of Gwynedd and effective ruler of Wales in his later years. Madoc’s meeting with Llewelyn on Bardsey occurs in Part I, Book 13 of Madoc (1805). BACK