732. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 12 November [1802]

732. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 12 November [1802] ⁠* 

Dear Wynn

Yours by Mackintosh [1]  arrived. I did not immediately acknowledge it because when an answer would find you was uncertain. moreover I have been ill from head to foot – & am now but slowly recovering. Whether some particular Cold fell in love with me – for it came in by the eyes – or if the winter was beginning to nip me & my geraniums at the same time – I cannot tell. but what with collyriums for my poor eyes, plucking out an old grinder, attacking fever by James’s powder, [2]  & clearing out the canal by help of rhubarb & magnesia I hope I am convalescent, but do not feel it quite enough. for about ten days ago I could not read, & I cannot yet write freely. tho I would risque my eyes my head will not bear it.

I expect a MSS. chronicle from Lisbon every day. [3]  one of the oldest writt extant. written about 1450, & this <copy> I suppose nearly as old as the work itself. Have you received the Cid? [4]  The Amadis [5]  is printing. the proofs are franked to me. But every thing is at a stop with me just now. business & amusement – things natural & non-natural – all plaguily out of order. I had some quaint thoughts in my illness – how foolish it was for November. who liked no body out of health. & whom no body in health liked ever to come to a country place where he is so little welcome – how much better it would be for Parliament to suspend Winter instead of the Habeas Corpus [6]  – & if as the King can do any thing – he would but have the goodness to move the Island a little southward

God bless you

R S.

Friday 12 November.

Kingsdown Bristol


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ Lincolns Inn/ London
Stamped: BRISTOL
Endorsement: Nov 12/ 1802: Mr Wynn
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Possibly Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1832; DNB). BACK

[2] Robert James (c. 1703-1776; DNB) had invented the best-selling fever cure ‘James’s powders’. As these contained phosphate of lime and oxide of antimony, they at least made patients sweat. BACK

[3] Fernao Lopes (c. 1385-after 1459), Cronica de el Rei Dom Fernando O Noveno Rei de Portugal, no. 3829 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[4] Southey had transcribed for Wynn material relating to Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (c. 1040-1099), a Castilian aristocrat and military commander, whose exploits were the subject of numerous poems and tales. Southey’s English translation and compilation of three of these was published in 1808 as The Chronicle of the Cid. BACK

[5] Southey’s translation of Amadis of Gaul (1803). BACK

[6] Habeus Corpus was the common law principle that nobody could be imprisoned without trial. It was suspended in Ireland from 1802 to 1805. BACK

Places mentioned