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learning directed the light to fall.'—vol. ii. pp. I do it, should willingly finish Kehama; but being 60-63.
like Shakspeare's apothecary, lean, and obliged
to do what I do not like, my ways and means He was still, it seems, a pretty regular at- lead me another way, and I am prosing, not altendant of several clubs and evening socie- together against my will, and yet not with my ties. One, called the Conversation,' ad- will.' mitted ladies ; but the biographer seems to When Madoc was at last published, it readmit that this did not find the highest favor opened this correspondence, which had with him. Another, the Foreign,' had been
paused for some months. begun by a set of young men who wished to cultivate the colloquial use of the continental
• Norwich April 5, 1805. languages, and who were surprised as well as
My dear Friend, - Yesterday, at eleven flattered when Taylor proposed to join them. Madoc.
o'clock, the wagoner brought me a copy of
I was going on foot to dine in the He became their Magnus Apollo-entered country, at Coltishall
, but I could not pluck into all their pursuits, topics, and merri- myself from the book, and staid at home the ments; and seemed as young as the youngest whole day, I did get my dinner just after the when among them. The biographer extols death of the Snake-God, but I returned to my this as a proof of his extreme good-nature; book soon, and finished it early in the evening. but though he was a truly good-natured man, life, which I shall always remember, so to have
It is one of the great intellectual luxuries of my we suspect some vanity may have mingled in
spent yesterday. I am satisfied with Madoc: I the matter of the stripling club-perhaps also expected much, and am not disappointed. I put a little of the spirit of proselytism.
the Iliad and the Jerusalem Delivered above To a letter in which he told Southey of Madoc; the Pharsalia and the Lusiad below the repudiation affairs and of his anxiety to Madoc: it approaches closely in rank and charachieve some literary work of more value acter and quality to the Odyssey, and is to sit in than his ‘Articles, the poet replies from the peers, with the Æneid, the Paradise Lost
and the Messiah, with a newer but not less wellKeswick :
earned patent of nobility. ... The manners are "With all my heart and soul do I wish that hardly mixed enough: almost every body is a you would put forth your strength in some effi- real hero, with very fine feelings, notions, and cient way. ‘All those articles in the Review will sentiments; and this, whether he is a white or a do little till some thirty or forty years after you red man, an educated bard or a runaway savand I are both gone to visit our friends of the age. There are some painters (Barry is one) days before us. Then some political Peter Bay- who, having accustomed themselves while stuley will pick out all the golden threads with dents at Rome to copy the antique statues frewhich you have embroidered such worthless quently, are continually introducing into modern canvass, to lace his own waistcoat.
English figures the features and attitudes of the ' I see no Review but the Monthly, which is Apollo or the Laocoon, &c. Is there not in not worth seeing; no newspaper but the White- your ethic drawing a mannerism of this sort ?haven; no new books but the Annuals-a good a perpetual tendency to copy a favorite ideal dame for such deciduous productions; no society. perfection, of which the absence of selfishness but an old East Indian general, with whom I, and warm sensibility constitute the contour and once in a month or so, play a rubber of whist. coloring ?? Am I the better or the worse for growing alone
Keswick, April 9, 1805. like a single oak ?, Growing to be sure I am, My dear Friend, -There is that moral manstriking my roots deeper, and spreading out nerisin which you have detected: Thalaba is a wider branches. . . . Iam historifying totis viri- male Joan of Arc; and Mr. Barbauld thought bus [this was the History of Brazil). Me judice, Joan of Arc was modelled upon the Socinian I am a good poet, but a better historian; be- Christ. He was mistaken. Early admiration, cause, though I read other poets and am hum- almost adoration, of Leonidas, early principles bled, I read other historians with a very differ- of stoicism derived from the habitual study of ent feeling. They who have talents want in- Epictetus, and the French Revolution at its dustry or virtue; they who have industry want height when I was just eighteen,--by these my talents. One writes like a French sensualist; mind was moulded. But are not the characters another like a Scotch scoundrel, calculating how in Madoc those which the circumstances would to make the most per sheet with the least ex- form ? . . . . In classing Madoc in Wales with pense of labor: one like a slave, another like a the historical plays of Shakspeare, you bestow fool. Now I know myself to be free from these the highest praise, and what I feel to be the etaminal defects, and feel that where the subject most appropriate. It has the historical verisideserves it I write with a poet's feeling, with-militude, and the dramatic truth. The other out the slightest affectation of style or ornament, part, which is sui generis, you over and undergoing always straight forward to the meaning rate. It is below Milton and Homer-infinitely by the shortest road. My golden rule is to re- below both, for both are unapproachably above late erery thing as briefly, as perspicuously, as my strength of wing; it is below Tasso in splenrememberably as possible. I begin, however, dor and in structure of fable, above him
in origto feel my brain budding for poetry, having lain inality, and equal in feeling even to Spenser. • fallow since November, and if I could afford to With the others I will not admit comparison.
ge's repleiess admirable. If sto ste many letters, Dr
easing bingraphy of hun Exeteroboslied with süt a aquella
Virgil and Camoens are language-masters of is a short series of letter between Taylor and
ran a sacias:. the first order-nothing more; and the “Mes- the late Dr. Robert Gooch-a physician ************ siah”-pardon me if I say, that of what you ad- second to none of his age either in the learn- Bir bu mire in that poem, at least nine-tenths appear to
ing or the practical skill of his profession, or 123 pm 4.3 me bubble, and 'bladder, and tympany-just
rence of what I should produce for a mock heroic, and in elegance of general accomplishments, or
oy: Jer.;.! could produce with facility: there is one uni- in kindness and generosity of spirit. Gooch,
a> to service of .cyt form substitution of bulk for sublimity. born in Taylor's neighborhood, completed
úa ca eo P.: "The language is, I hope, pure English un- his education at Edinburgh in the compan
**"TOTT **, defiled, always straightforward to the point; the ionship of the younger Southey, and then es
DIY at style certainly my own, as much as is the bee's tablished himself at Croydon, where he
: ;*4.: honey, for I read too little English poetry to speedily earned such success and distinction
ey of 31:25. catch the manner of any predecessor; it savors
as paved the way for a splendid, but too short, more of chronicles and romances, Spanish as
of man to anes? well as English. I now think the second part career in the metropolis. While at Croydon wants similes in all its land-battles; and, if I he had the misfortune to lose the wife of his continue to think so, will pour in learning enough, youth, and Taylor addressed to him this and bedeck it with diamonds from Golconda and letter :gold from Ophir, with topazes from Brazil and
· Norwich, Jan. 28, 1811. amber from Scandinavia, the furs and feathers of the wild Indian, and the woven hair of the “My dear, dear Friend, I feel for you-I voluptuous Orientalist. You see I have re- weep at your loss—but am well aware that only covered my state of desertion, and think at least the mother's sorrow can deserve the name of as well of my poem and myself as any body sympathy. 'Twere a deficient consciousness of
the excellence that is no more, not to pour out else is likely to do.' Yes, truly.—Mr. Southey made a run to tears again and again before the imaged remem
brance, not to wring the hands and call at times Scotland in the winter of 1805–6, and we
on the unanswering Emily. Grieve on. Where may pick a sentence or two from his letters, real merit is the subject of regret, there is justice touching the society of Edinburgh, and his in affliction, there is duty in lamentation, there is first impressions of the author of the Lay of luxury in woe. It is an expression of that worthe Last Minstrel :
ship of the heart, now, alas! the only sentiment
to bestow on the departed. Time is said to be : The Scotch society disappointed me, as it the comforter of all." To you it would yet be a needs must do a man who loves conversation in- painful reflection to foresee that you too are stead of discussion. Of the three faculties of the doomed to cease to deplore. You would feel it mind, they seem exclusively to value judgment.
as a profanation of the sacredness of your disThey have nothing to teach, and a great deal tress to look on it as finite. more to learn than I should choose to be at the
*Your daughter survives. In her education trouble of instructing them in.'
you will take a double solicitude, and will en"I passed three days with Walter Scott
, an deavor, as in her features so in her mind, to reamusing and highly estimable man. You see trace that rare union of feeling and purity, of the whole extent of his powers in the “Minstrel's intellect and kindness, which marked her other Lay," of which your opinion seems to accord parent. As the highest idea of feminine worth with mine--a very amusing poem ; it excites a she may hope to realize, you will describe her novel-like interest, but you discover nothing on mother to her, and accustom her to the imagiafter-perusal. Scott bears a great part in the
nary presence of a superior being, whose frown Edinburgh Review, but does not review well.?
was to have checked her every fault, whose The Edinburgh Review (in which Scott smile of approbation was to have recompensed
her sweetest virtues, whose example was to have never bore a part of much consequence) was fashioned her for the domestic charities. And
SHIT: tege pertas din!
1. Opty for! all along gall and wormwood at Keswick, thus the holy manes will still be the guardian
*II en un her olip į When Taylor's version of ‘Nathan the Wise' angel of your household, and even here become
Teve a heart at was published by itself (1806), it was criti- what faith and hope have assured us she was to
T. A pse never beat before. cised, it seems, by Mr. Jeffrey, and Southey be hereafter. writes to Taylor in a strain of furious indig- “How early you have quaffed the finest sweets nation on the said Article. The mention of and bitterest dregs of the draught of life! Youth
and love handed you the matrimonial chalice, Taylor's name, which though not on the
its brim smeared with honey; but disease shed title-page, was not nor had ever been meant poison in the cup, and to the intoxication of de
2082** minds brit to be a secret, seemed to Southey an absolute light was to succeed the ravings of despaircrime. Taylor, who no doubt perceived that the corse, the spectre, the veiling pall, the unrehis friend's ire had been kindled by things storing tomb. "You already know the utmost nearer home than Nathan the Prosy, makes which fate can give or take away. Hope has
wings an amusement answer, -I agree with Jeffrey in most things no blandishments in store that can seduce, nor
Fear a threat that can appal. about Nathan, and am well satisfied with his
With your disposition and temper these revoreviewal.'
lutions may improve the sensibility, and increase Next to the correspondence with the poet a benevolent zeal to defend others from such of Keswick, the most striking in the book | heart-rending separations, as it was not reserved *
I mould they might prepare a stoical apathy; for for you to prevent at home. In men of graver
experience mostly but evolves the tendencies of|able peculiarities, was the selectness, the warmth, our dispositions, and philosophy but utters mo- and the lastingness of her attachments. There ralities in unison with our passions. You will, are some warm-hearted beings whom the slightI am sure, not make a parade of affliction, but est intercourse kindles into friendship, who feel speedily resume the avocations of your employ- equal regard for the acquaintances of a few ment, and seek in the service of humanity the weeks, and for the friends of many years, and purest interruption of agonizing thoughts. Be whose seat of affection is of that soft and friable assured that sorrow is not only borne better, texture on which deep impressions are easily but lasts the longer for being indulged at in- made and easily worn away again. Emily's tervals in private ; of all our ideas, the frequent affection had all their warmth, without having repetition, not the intensity of contemplation, any of their indiscriminateness or evanescence. secures the endurance.
No one was ever more thoroughly free from all I have by me a letter of yours to answer, those petty pursuits and vulgar vanities which written early in December. Be that reserved abound among her sex; and if a strong expresfor other times. What is the prate of friendship sion is excusable from a man of my age, grievto the wound of love ?-a muttered spell, which ing for the loss of a wife who was dearer to him, draws aside attention without the slightest power as a wife, even than she had been as a mistress to heal-a lichen on a gravestone, which fain and a bride-I may say with thorough sincerity would veil the doom it cannot efface-a prospect and unaffectedness that I have never beheld, and from a prison, which only reminds of intercourse never expect to behold again, so perfect and barred out for ever. God bless you!
pleasing an instance of feminine gracefulness of 'Believe me, with sincere attachment, yours, character. In losing her I have lost not only William Taylor, Jun.' my domestic bliss, but all my social pleasures ;
for my home always contained all the suitable Nor is Gooch's reply less admirable. If suciety which this neighborhood afforded. I he had leisure to write many letters, Dr. brought with me all that I ever possessed here, Henry Southey's pleasing biography of him and that all is gone; I live in a populous solishould not be republished without a copious tude; for days and weeks I don't see the face of appendix :
a friend; my mornings are spent in toil and my
evenings in loneliness, embittered by the rememCroydon, 29th March, 1811.
brance of my lost felicity. I begin to tremble * Dear Friend, -You would have heard from too, for the life of my little girl ; she has her me long before this, if a parcel which I sent you mother's full eye and wan face and fearful delia month ago had not been lost on its way from cacy of constirution; she has never been well London to Norwich. It contained no books of since she has been motherless, and I see, or yours, and indeed nothing to regret the loss of fancy that I see, the same disease which has inbut a few letters, which were prepared for no Aicted on me one blow about to inflict another. eyes but those of friendship.
God avert it! for the prospect of life is pleasing I was fully sensible to the feeling and the elo- to me only as it presents the idea of rearing and quence of your letter,—to your sympathy, your educating my child, and raising my own profesendeavors to impart some sweetness to the bitter- sional character. A man must have some obness of my grief; but above all, to your eulogium jects in view, and these are mine, and it is hard on my departed wife. Indeed it was merited, and indeed if I am deprived of the best half. Pray more than merited; for under a veil of modesty, so write me coon, and believe me to be closely woven as to be utterly impenetrable to the
Your grateful and affectionate friend, eye of the world, was hidden an assemblage of
"ROBERT Gooch.' virtues, which now one may look around for in -vol. ii. p. 336–338. vain. You praise her, and praise her justly, for her feeling and her purity; these perhaps lifted After such beautiful effusions as these, her higher above her sex even than her other prompted by the stern realities of life, the virues, for I confidently believe that a heart at best of mere literary correspondence must once so warm and so pure never beat before.
needs of far inferior moment.
appear But these were not all. She had an intellect remarkable for its clearness and accuracy, al- draw to a close then-but must hazard one ways seizing with the utmost readiness on the parting specimen of Taylor's criticism of essential points of a question, and leaving no- Southey's writings. After a long, dull story thing for parading and ostentatious minds but about gout, and lumbago, and whitlows, and ornament and expansion. She had an exquis- suppurations, his pen warms in his fingers, and itely delicate and highly sensitive taste: this he turnsto‘Roderick the Last of the Goths::— was of great value, as it was a constant source of pleasure to me; for when I have been reading I now believe I shall never make a book. I to her any eloquent writings (an amusement have, however, in the preceding page given you which formerly closed my days of toil with an a specimen of what I conceive to be the greatest evening of the sweetest enjoyment), and came fault of yours-detaining the attention on little to passages of force and beauty, instead of being things, when the reader is impatient for the cooled by contact with colder feelings than my proper business of the work. There is a good own, I received an additional warmth of delight deal of prosing in the poem; it does not weigh on from her glowing admiration. One of her most the wrist so often as Madoc, but oftener than remarkable, and, I may add, of her most valu- Joan of Arc or Thalaba, or Kehama. Poets
May, 1844. 3
should live in cities; the leisure of the country) ist. Strange, truly it is, to compare the spoils them. That bucolic contemplation of charitable spirit in which he tolerated the nature, which spends its ennui in watching for most Hagrani heresies in a friend, with the hours the eyelei-holes of a rill's eddies, is very monastic bitterness of his remarks and well for a goatherd, and may grace an eclogue ; but where fates of empires are at stake, the at-reflections concerning real or imagined tention should not be invited to settle on any errors in the conduct or opinions of any phenomena not stimulant enough to arrest the person, out of his own set, by whom he conattention of a busy man. The engineer, who is ceived the slightest liberty to have been taken sent to reconnoitre, is not to lose his time in with him in his literary capacity. Behold zoologizing, entomologizing, botanizing, and the dangers of living too much in a narrow picturesquizing, as Pelayo does on his way to Covadonga. I can at most concede to Homer circle, however virtuous, however refined, that he may get his dinner. Your heroes never
however accomplished. travel in seven-league boots, but rather à la
If we look to what Taylor did, unquesHumboldt. Wordsworth carries further than tionably few are they who can be entitled to you the narratory manner, and the magnification call him idle ; but he was considered as emof trifles, but you Wordsworthize too often. inently so by all who were qualified to comAnother fault of the poem is its incessant religiosity. All the personages meet at prayers ; done by Sayers especially, by Southey, and
pare what he did with what he might have all the heroes are monks in armor; all the speeches are pulpit exhortations; all the favor- by himself. He knew himself well, and inites are reconciled to the church, and die with dicates with a charming frankness, half playthe comfort of absolution, as if, not the deliver- ful, half sad, in one letter to the laureate, that ance of Spain, but the salvation of the court, con- same weakness which made him so fond of stituted the action of the epopea. And in this predominating in provincial coteries and jureligiosity there is more of methodism and lees venile clubs. The truth is,' he says, I of idolatry than marked the Spanish catholicism have a childish and singular delight in seeing of that era. Thirdly, there are too many women in the poem, and none of them very attaching, myself in print.' This is part of his comexcept perhaps Gaudiosa; the domestic affections plaint over the non-arrival of a Review, which occupy in consequence a preposterous space. Out included one of his articles on the prose of of a truly respectable puritanism you dislike to Milton. Brief and pregnant confession ! contemplate woman in the point of view in which No wonder that Southey by and bye. gives she chiefly interests man. You rather carve a Vestal than a Venus, and in consequence your
over his urgencics for the undertaking of a women want attraction; you take or mistake magnum opus. There remained for the poet purity for beauty. Heroes are never very eini- such ejaculations as the following :nent for the domestic affections. While ai home
Time is stealing on us. The grey hairs bethey have a superfluous fondness for their wives gin to thicken on my head-more years have during the age of beauty; in absence they con- passed over yours; and it gives me a feeling, sole themselves with substitutes; and in later which if not exactly the heartache, is something life, if they retain their vigor, they despotize akin to it, when I think what literary fortunes over the old woman; if they become infirm, they will hereafter be made on your spoils,-thoughts seek the friendsbip of their nurse. But all this and illustrations pillaged, and systems extracted, is very excursive. I should have been glad if while the bibliographer who may chance to disyour topic had involved the marvellous, and had cover the real author, and come forward to vinemployed the hostile mythologies of the Catho- dicate his claim, must be content with a place lics and Moslems. Attributing to you still in some magazine or compilation of anecdotes greater scenic than dramatic force, and a more for an article with William Taylor for its headunrivalled power of picturesque ihan of ethic
ing.” delineation, the more your opera is a pièce à spectacle, the better; your machinery and illu- -And for Taylor such echoes as this :mination is always magically dazzling and bril
"At one time the mezerions of poetry stretch liant."
their purple fingers; at another, the hedge-row The perfect freedom of these communica- hawthorns of politics
, limiting rights and woundtions is, we apprehend, without any parallel regularly-knotted, elastic, plastic bamboos of in the history of men of letters; and the gen- metaphysics; at another, the dark-wreathed tleness and candor with which Southey re- simbul which strangles the cedar of superstition, ceived his friend's analysis is most amiably Oh that, instead of this morbid versatility, I could unique throughout. His character was truly persevere in some quiet incessant historic task! a lovable as well as a venerable one: yet it -- vol. ii. p. 288. would be idle to dissemble that these memo- It is deeply interesting to compare the derials disclose many very strange weaknesses tails of Southey's own daily life as a man of and inconsistencies in this best of recent letters, which occur in this correspondence,
His self-laudations are too often such with the foregoing and other similar consesas one would not wonder at in a dandy novel- sions of Taylor. We have seen how the mis
cellanist of Norwich divided his day—how he higher faculties with which he was endowed relaxed in his evening. Southey says in 1807, for comparatively a small part of his day, and and we know he might have said the same on tasks comparatively trivial, paid, much during thirty subsequent years,
earlier in life, the penalty of his habitual in
dulgence in the conviviality of his hospitable 'I cannot do one thing at a time: so sure as I
and club-abounding Norwich. We have attempt it, my health suffers. The business of the day haunis me in the night; and though a
already heard of gout and others of the same sound eleeper otherwise, my dreams partake so 'painful family which generous bachelors much of it as to harass and disturb me. I must with whitening heads and darkening cheeks always therefore have one train of thoughts for are so apt to be well endowed withal. By the morning, another for the evening, and a the age of fifty, his biographer says, his book not relating to either for half an hour after friends observed with regret that but a few supper; and thus neutralizing one set of associations by another, and having (God be thank- glasses of wine sufficed to produce an extra
His delicate hints ed!) a heart at ease, I contrive to keep in order ordinary flow of spirits. a set of nerves as much disposed to be out of are quite enough to convey the impression order as any man's can be.'
that from that time Taylor continued to
break down. His literary performances inWe believe that, from the same dread of dicated more and more the falling off of pith over-excitement in the composition of poetry, and fire; and year after year they were which made Johnson give over rhyme alto- fewer, and of less consequence in every gether, Mr. Southey allotted to that species respect--though as age advanced, his pecuof work the first hours of his morning---never niary circumstances deteriorated; and his meddling with verse after breakfast : history, pen, if he had exercised it even as energeticor some grave treatise (most commonly, in ally' as he did when he thought himself a rich later times, in the shape of an article for the man, might have enabled him, and those Quarterly'), occupied him during the best dearest to him, to escape troubles and vexapart of the forenoon. He worked in the tions that give a very melancholy coloring large and beautiful room which contained his to several of these chapters. valuable library, until that overflowed into The repudiation losses were followed by
adjoining closets, and even passages; and he several years of struggling between diminish:
sat there at his desk, surrounded by his own ed means and reluctance to confess the fact ! family and the other relations who had found by visible curtailment of expenditure ; till
a home under his roof, undisturbed by their the remaining fortune sustained another heavy feminine occupations, well and worthily blow by the failure of some canal-share helped now and then by some of them in his speculations. After these new mishaps it own, till it was time for a short walk on the was hopeless to keep hidden what had prohill or a row on the lake; after which came bably long been guessed in a shrewd merthe simple meal, a mirthful hour or two of cantile community. A total change in the the easy chair, and social talk; and then, style of living was necessary—and William with
Taylor's pride made him suggest to his The cup that cheers, but not inebriates,' parents a removal from Norwich to some
sequestered village retreat, where he was to the resumption for what he calls half an hour, have no society but theirs, and practice in but in reality a much longer space, of some his own person the abstinence which is no lighter employment, in which he could pro- doubt easier than temperance in many cases, ceed without much consultation of authori- but hardly so to the inveterate diner-out of ties. Alas! even with all this carefulness of a place where dinners were at three o'clock, arrangement and subdivision, carried out and the established order of goings on for the amidst such prevailing innocence of heart rest of the evening such as may be inferred and habits, the demand made on the essential from many passages in this book, among y poetical structure of nerve and brain was others an imitation of the Persicos odi by Dr. far too great : it could not be persisted in Sayers, composed in honor and glory of one with impunity. Nay, in truth, his variation favorite Norwich club, 'The Chips of Comof tasks might have seemed as if he was in fort :search of the over-excitement which he
• Dinners of form I vote a bore, dreaded. There was a false and fatal stimu- Where folks who never met before, los in what he adopted as the substitute for And care not if they ne'er meet more, repose. What a dreary twilight came after
Are brought together;
Cramm'd close as mackerel in their places, that bright day of rare genius and almost un
They eat with Chesterfieldian graces, paralleled diligence, we all know too well. Drink healths, and talk with sapient faces But Mr. Taylor, though he exercised the
About the weather.