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kind and good heart, but he wanted energy; he jing on him one morning, the Chancellor inbecame a preacher at Yarmouth, and died in formed him that, in consequence of his secreMarylebone workhouse, in 181.
tary's demise, he was in want of a person to Mr Southey's friends, hoping that absence occupy the post; « I have no doubt,” said Mr would wean him from his intended match, per- Corry, but that were I to make known the suaded him to accompany his maternal uncle, vacancy, I should have my family relations, even Mr Hill (then chaplain to the English factory at to my seventh cousins, tormenting me to let one Lisbon), to Portugal; but the lovers, fearing that of them fill it; but since it is my wish to have a during their separation means might be taken to young man possessed both of talents and inteprevent their union, determined on a secret grity, you will oblige me by recommending such marriage, which took place towards the close of a one.» Mr M. candidly acknowledged that he the autumn of 1795, and only an hour or two did not immediately recollect any person, whose ere Mr Southey's departure. They separated at character and principles he was sufficiently acthe church door, and the lady continued to bear quainted with as to recommend him; but added, her maiden name, wearing the wedding-ring con- that he would reflect upon the subject, and incealed and suspended from a riband round her form the Chancellor of the result on the followpeck!
ing morning. A second meeting accordingly took
place, when Mr M. observed, that he thought no How beautiful is life, in those young dreams Of joy and faith!-of love that never llies,
person so well qualified for the post as a Mr SouChain 'd like the soul to truth!
they, with whom he had formed a strict intimacy,
but of whose situation in life he was utterly ignoWhen Mr Southey left England, the period rant; he would however write to him immediately, fixed for his return was the end of six months; and inquire whether the proposed establishment and almost to a day he kept the appointment he would be acceptable to him. It is not to be imahad made. After his arrival from Portugal, he gined that our author deliberated for a long time for some years remained in Bristol and its on what answer he should make; he determined vicinity, where he pursued his literary labours, to be the bearer of it in person. Arrived in or rather his literary pleasures, with great Dublin, he waited on Mr Corry, and having, in zeal and industry, and laid the foundation of the course of the conversation which took place several of the works he afterwards published between them, convinced that gentleman of his The year following that of Mr Southey's mar- capacity to fill the vacant post, he added, that riage, 1796, appeared his Joan of Arc:
that he could by po means think of accepting it, work,» says Mr Hazlitt, « in which the love of were he required to make a sacrifice of his poliliberty is exhaled like the breath of spring, nuild, tical principles, by actively supporting the Irish balmy, heaven-born; that is full of tears, and Administration. Mr Corry had, however, by this virgin-sighs, and yearnings of affection after time conceived so high an idea of his talents, and truth and good, gushing warm and crimsoned was so delighted with his ingenuous eloquence, from the heart., The letters which Southey that without making any terms, to use the politiwrote to his virgin-bride, during his residence cal phraseology of the day, he immediately apin Portugal, were published in 1797, in one oc- pointed him his secretary, with a salary of 5ool. tavo volume, without any alterations or additions. sterling a year. On his return, he contributed to the Monthly Mr Southey continued to hold this place until Magazine, under the signatures of Joshua, T. Y., his principal quitted the office, when, we believe, and S. In 1799-1800, conjointly with Mr C. Mr Southey's talents and services received a Lamb, Mr (now Sir Humphrey) Davy, Mr Taylor, reward which they eminently merited. Before, of Norwich, and Coleridge, he published two vo- however, he entered upon the duties of this office, lumes of poems, called the Annual Anthology.' he had published his poem of Thalaba, the
Towards the close of the year 1801, Mr Southey Destroyer, which excited a strong sensation in was appointed Secretary to Mr Corry, then Chan- the literary community. Much learned dust cellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, and this in was raised in disputes respecting the pre-emia manner equally honourable to both parties. nence of its merits and defects, but the decision
Mr Corry, it appears, had an intimate friend, of the public was unquestionably in its favour. whom he often consulted, and whose advice he Mr Southey never meant to confine himself frequently took. This Gentleman, a dir M.,' call- within the rigid rules prescribed to the Greek
epic, and therefore by them it was unfair to " A third volume was published in 1802, but it was edited by Mr James Tobin, of Bristol, brother to the au
judge him. As Pope says, in lis preface to thor of « The Honeymoon.»
Shakspeare, it would be like deciding that a 2 The present Sir James Mackintosh.
man was guilty of a crime in one country when
he acted under the laws of another. The greater | The Lay of the Laureate, 12mo, 1816.-A Tale part of Thalaba was written in Portugal. In of Paraguay, 8vo, 1824. 1801 also appeared a volume of miscellaneous Besides the above, Mr Southey has written the pieces, none of which can be read without annexed works, the dates of which we are not able some degree of praise; it was followed by a accurately to ascertain :--The Vision of Judgment, a second volume of the same kind a few years Poem, 4to.---Life of Wesley.-- Book of the Church. afterwards.
-History of the Peninsular War.- Vindiciae EcIn the autumn of 1802, or the spring of 1803, clesiæ Anglicanæ. Mr Southey retired to Keswick, in Cumberland. No Poet in our language, or perhaps in any His dwelling there, a very pretty house (by no other, has been more the object of contempomeans a cottage), was divided in the centre;- rary criticism than Mr Southey. The frequency one half being occupied by Mr Southey, his wife, and boldness of his flights astonished those who and children, and the other half by Mrs Coleridge could not follow him, and who, naturally enough, (sister to Mrs Southey), her two daughters, and when they saw him enlarging the range of his Mrs Lovel, the widowed sister of Mrs Southey, art beyond their conception, solaced themselves who also found a welcome asylum under the roof with an opinion of his having deviated from its of her brother-in-law. Mr Southey's own family rules. If Poetry has any fundamental rules but consists of one son, about ten years old, and those which best exhibit the feelings of the huthree daughters, the eldest of whom is in her man heart, we confess that we are strangers to twenty-second year. He had the misfortune to them. It is in proportion to his knowledge of lose a daughter about three years ago.
these, and to his power of developing and deliIn the month of September, 1813, Mr Southey neating their action and effects, that the world accepted the office of Poet Laureat on the death in general bestow their tribute of approbation of Mr Pye.
upon the Poet. Whether he lays his scene The subjoined is a list of Mr Southey's works in in heaven or earth, his business is with human verse and in prose :—Wat Tyler, a poem (after- sympathies, exalted perhaps by the grandeur of wards suppressed). -- Bion and Moschus, a Col- the objects which excite them, or called into exlection of Poems. --Joan of Arc, an epic Poem, istence by the circumstances which he creates, 4to, 1796.—Poems, Svo, 1797; 4th edition, 1809. but still in their nature, progress, and ends, in — Letters written during a Short Residence in every sense of the word, human. These must be Spain and Portugal, 850, 1797. The Annual An- the main springs and active principles of a poem; thology, a miscellaneous Collection of Poetry, of and, compared to them, the power of all other which he was the editor and principal writer, inachinery is weak. 2 vol. 12mo, 1799-1800.- Amadis de Gaul, from Mr Southey has shown the validity of this systhe Spanish Version, 4 vol. 1amo, 1803.—The tem in his principal poems, particularly in the Works of Chatterton, 3 vol. 8vo, 1803.—Thalaba metrical romance of «Thalaba,» and « the Curse of the Destroyer, a metrical romance, 2 vol. 8vo, Kehama ; » and whether he has drawn from the 1803; ad edit. 1809.-Metrical Tales and other inexhaustible sources of his own imagination, and Poems, 8vo, 1804.—Madoc, a Poem, 4to, 1805; 2d created both his personages and the world which edit. 1809.-Specimens of the late English Poets, he has given them to inhabit, or set before us with preliminary notes, 3 vol. 8vo, 1807.-Pal- pictures of elevated humanity, his principle has merin of England, translated from the Portuguese, been true to nature, and his application of it con4 vol. 8vo, 1807.-Letters from England, 3 vol.sistent through even the wildest of his fables. 1 2mo, 1807; published under the fictitious name Other Poets may have drawn down the gods and of Don Manuel Velasquez Espriella.—The Remains mingled them in their story; but he has planted of Henry Kirke White, with an Account of his Life, a divinity in the very breasts of men, and, through 2 vol. 8vo, 1807; several editions. The Chro- the invisible agency of passion, moved them by nicle of Cid Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, from the springs at once more natural and more powerful Spanish, 4to, 1808.— The History of Brazil, 4to, than have ever been obtained from the incon1810.– The Curse of Kehama, a poem, 4to, 1810; sistent and treacherous aid of classical fictions, 3d edit, 2 vol. vamo, 1813.---Omniana, 2 vol. His march to fame has been regular, and he has 12mo, 1812.- Life of Nelson, 2 vol. small 8vo, made himself master of the ground over which he 1813.-Carmen Triumphale, 4to, 1814.—Odes to has passed. Indeed, it is by no means easy to the Prince Regent, the Emperor of Russia, and mention a style of composition which Mr Southey the King of Prussia, 4to, 1814.- Roderick the has not attempted, and it would be still harder last of the Goths, 4to, 1814; 2d edit. 2 vol. 12mo, to point out one in which his talents might not 1815.- Minor Poems, 3 vols. 12mo, 1815.—The be expected to raise him to distinguished emiPoet's Pilgrimage to Waterloo, 12mo, 1816.-nence; - few authors of the present age have
written so much as he has done, and still floating in purer ether!) while he had this hope, fewer have written so well. With a share of this faith in man left, he cherished it with childgenius and fancy equalled but by few-an ho- like simplicity, he clung to it with the fondness nesty surpassed by none--and an extent and va- of a lover; he was an enthusiast, a fanatic, a leriety of information, marked with the stamp of veller; he stuck at nothing that he thought would that industrious and almost forgotten accuracy banish all pain and misery from the world; in which brings us back to the severer days of Eng- his impatience of the smallest error or injustice, lish study, he possesses a commanding knowledge he would have sacrificed himself and the existing of his mother-tongue, which, though the osten- generation (a holocaust) to his devotion to the tation of power sometimes produces pedantry, right cause. But when he once believed, after and its attendant negligence betrays him too many staggering doubts and painful struggles, often into antiquated homeliness, is strongly, that this was no longer possible, when his chimehowever, and we think, advantageously contrast-ras and golden dreams of human perfectibility ed with the monotonous and unbending dignity vanished from him, he turned suddenly round, which distinguishes the greater part of modern and maintained that whatever is, is right. Mr historians.
Southey has not fortitude of mind, has not paThe severest critics on Mr Southey's poetical tience to think that evil is inseparable from the style allow him to be gifted with powers of fancy nature of things. His irritable sense rejects the and of expression beyond almost any individual alternative altogether, as a weak stomach rejects of his age; and that in the expression of all the the food that is distasteful to it. He hopes on tender and amiable and quiet affections, he has against hope, he believes in all unbelief. He must had but few rivals, either in past or in present either repose on actual or on imaginary good. He times. But they accuse him of « a childish taste missed his way in Utopia, he has found it at Old and an affected manner, which, if they cannot Sarum. destroy genius, will infallibly deprive it of its
generous ardour no cold medium knows: glory.,
No Author in our days has been more the ob- his eagerness admits of no doubt or delay. He is ject of party criticism than Mr Southey. The ever in extremes, and ever in the wrong! The charge of political inconsistency is continually reason is, that not truth, but self-opinion, is the reverted to and « thrown in his teeth » by his ruling principle of Mr Southey's mind. The charm quondam friends and associates, who never can of novelty, the applause of the multitude, the forgive what they call his apostacy from the sanction of power, the venerableness of antiquity, a right cause.» In evidence of this, we give the pique, resentment, the spirit of contradiction have following extracts from Contemporary Portraits
, a good deal to do with his preferences. His ina well-known work by a well-known writer. quiries are partial and hasty: his conclusions raw
« Mr Southey,” says the critic, « as we formerly and unconcocted, and with a considerable infuremember to have seen him, had a hectic flush sion of whim and humour, and a monkish spleen. upon his cheek, a roving fire in his eye, a falcon His opinions are like certain wines, warm and glance, a look at once aspiring and dejected—it generous when new; but they will not kecp, and was the look that had been impressed upon his soon turn flat or sour, for want of a stronger spiface by the events that marked the outset of his rit of the understanding to give a body to them. life; it was the dawn of Liberty that still tinged He wooed Liberty as a youthful lover; but it was his cheek, a smile betwixt hope and sadness that perhaps more as a mistress than a bride; and he still played upon his quivering lip. Mr Southey's has since wedded with an elderly lady, called mind is essentially sanguine, even to overween- Legitimacy. We must say that we relish Mr ingness. It is prophetic of good; it cordially Southey more in the Reformer' than in his lately embraces it; it casts a longing, lingering look acquired, but by no means natural or becoming after it, even when it is gone for ever. He cannot character of poet-laureat and courtier. He may bear to give up the thought of happiness, his con- rest assured that a garland of wild flowers suits fidence in his fellow-man, when all else despair. him better than the laureat-wreath: that his pasIt is the very element, 'where he must live, or toral odes and popular inscriptions were far more have no life at all.' While he supposed it pos- adapted to his genius than his presentation-poems. sible that a better form of society could be intro- He is nothing akin to birth-day suits and drawingduced than any that had hitherto existed, while room fopperies. ' He is nothing, if not fantasthe light of the French Revolution beamed into tical.' In his figure, in his movements, in his his soul, (and long after, it was seen reflected on sentiments, he is sharp and angular, quaint and his brow, like the light of setting suns on the peak eccentric. Mr Southey is not of the court, courtly. of some high mountain, or lonely range of clouds, Every thing of him and about him is from the
people. He is not classical, he is not legitimate. After giving up his heart to that subject, he ought He is not a man cast in the mould of other meu's not (whatever others might do) ever to have set opinions: he is not shaped on any model : he bows his foot within the threshold of a court. He might to no authority, he yields only to his own way- be sure that he would not gain forgiveness or faward peculiarities. He is wild, irregular, singu-vour by it, nor obtain a single cordial smile from lar, extreme. He is no fornalist, not he! All is greatness. All that Mr Southey is or that he does crude and chaotic, self-opinionated, vain. He wants best, is independent, spontaneous, free as the vital proportion, keeping, system, standard rules. He air he draws-when he affects the courtier or the is not teres et rotundus. Mr Southey walks with sophist, he is obliged to put a constraint upon his chin erect through the streets of London, and himself, to hold in his breath; he loses his genius, with an umbrella sticking out under his arm in and offers a violence to his nature. His characthe finest weather. He has not sacrificed to the teristic faults are the excess of a lively, unguarded Graces, nor studied decorum. With him every temperament:-Oh! let them not degenerate inthing is projecting, starting from its place, an to cold-blooded, heartless vices! If we speak or episode, a digression, a poetic license. He does have spoken of Mr Southey with severity, it is not move in any given orbit, but, like a falling with the malice of old friends,' for we count star, shoots from his sphere. He is pragmatical, ourselves among his sincerest and heartiest wellrestless, unfixed, full of experiments, beginning wishers. But while he himself is anomalous, inevery thing anew, wiser than his betters, judging calculable, eccentric, from youth to age (the Wat for himself, dictating to others.
Tyler and the Vision of Judgment are the Alpha « Look at Mr Southey's larger poems, his Keha- and Omega of his disjointed career) full of sallies ma, his Thalaba, his Madoc, his Poderick. Who of humour, of ebullitions of spleen, making jetswill deny the spirit, the scope, the splendid ima- d'eau, cascades, fountains, and water-works of gery, the hurried and startling interest that per- his idle opinions, he would shut up the wits of vades them? Who will say that they are not sus- others in leaden cisterns, to stagnate and corrupt, tained on fictions wilder than his own Glendoseer, or bury them under groundthat they are not the daring creations of a mind
Far from the sun and summer gale! curbed by no law, tamed by no fear, that they are not rather like the trances than the waking He would suppress the freedom of wit and hudreams of genius, that they are not the very pa- mour, of which he has set the example, and claim radoxes of poetry? All this is very well, very in- a privilege for playing antics. He would introtelligible, and very harmless, if we regard the duce a uniformity of intellectual weights and rauk excrescences of Mr Southey's poetry, like measures of irregular metres and settled opinions, the red and blue flowers in corn, as the unweeded and enforce it with a high hand. This has been growth of a luxuriant and wandering fancy; or judged hard by some, and brought down a seveif we allow the yeasty workings of an ardent spi- rity of recrimination, perhaps disproportioned rit to ferment and boil over-the variety, the to the injury done. Because he is virtuous' (it boldness, the lively stimulus given to the mind, has been asked), ' are there to be no more cakes may then atone for the violation of rules and the and ale? Because he is loyal, are we to take all offences to bed-rid authority; but not if our our notions from the Quarterly Review? Because poetic libertine sets up for a law-giver and judge, he is orthodox, are we to do nothing but read the or an apprehender of vagrants in the regions Book of the Church? We declare we think his either of taste or opinion. Our motley gentle- former poetical scepticism was not only more man deserves the strait-waistcoat, if he is for amiable, but had more of the spirit of religion in setting others in the stocks of servility, or con- it, implying a more heartfelt trust in nature and demning them to the pillory for a new mode of providence, than his present bigotry. We are at rhyme or reason. Or if a composer of sacred the same time free to declare that we think his Dramas on classic models, or a translator of an articles in the Quarterly Review, notwithstanding old Latin author (that will hardly bear transla- their virulence and the talent they display, have tion), or a vamper-up of vapid cantos and odes a tendency to qualify its most perbicious effects. set to music, were to turn pander to prescription They have redeeming traits in them. “A little and palliator of every dull, incorrigible abuse, it leaven leaveneth the whole lump,' and the spirit would not be much to be wondered at or even of humanity (thanks to Mr Southey) is not quite regretted. But in Mr Southey, it was a lament- expelled from the Quarterly Review. At the corable falling off. It is indeed to be deplored, it is ner of his pen, there hangs a vaporous drop a stain on genius, a blow to humanity, that the profound' of independence and liberality, which author of Joan of Arc should ever after turn to falls upon its pages, and oozes out through the folly, or become the advocate of a rotten cause. pores of the public mind. There is a fortunate
difference between writers whose hearts are na- indefatigable patience and industry. By no unta rally callous to truth, and whose understand common process of the mind, Mr Southey seems ings are hermetically sealed against all impres- willing to steady the extreme levity of his opisions but those of self-interest, and a man like nions and feelings by an appeal to facts. llis Mr Southey. Once a philanthropist and always translations of the Spanish and French romances a philanthropist. No man can entirely baulk his are also executed con amore, and with the litenature: it breaks out in spite of him. In all rary fidelity and care of a mere linguist. That those questions, where the spirit of contradiction of the Cid, in particular, is a master-piece. Not does not interfere, on which he is not sore from a word could be altered for the better, in the old old bruises, or sick from the extravagance of scriptural style which it adopts in conformity to youthful intoxication, as from a last night's de- the original. It is no less interesting in itself, or as bauch, our “laureate' is still bold, free, candid, a record of high and chivalrous feelings and manopen to conviction, a reformist without know- vers, than it is worthy of perusal as a literary cu
riosity. Mr Southey's conversation has a little re« He does not advocate the slave trade, he does semblance to a common.place book; his habitual not arin Mr Malthus's revolting ratios with his deportment to a piece of clock-work. lle is not authority, he does not strain hard to deluge Ire- remarkable either as a reasoner or an observer: land with blood. On such points, where huma- but he is quick, unaffected, replete with anecnity has not become obnoxious, where liberty dote, various and retentive in his reading, and has not passed into a by-word, Mr Southey is still extremely happy in his play upon words, as most liberal and humane. The elasticity of his spirit scholars are who give their minds this sportive is unbroken : the bow recoils to its old position. turn. We have chiefly seen Mr Southey in soHe still stands convicted of his early passiou for ciety where few people appear to advantage, inquiry and improvement. Perhaps the most we mean in that of Mr Coleridge. He has pleasing and striking of all Mr Southey's poems not certainly the same range of speculation, nor
not his triumphant taunts hurled against the same flow of sounding words; but he makes oppression, are not his glowing effusions to Li- up by the details of knowledge, and by a herty, but those in which, with a wild melancholy, scrupulous correctness of statement, for what he seems conscious of his own infirmities of tem- he wants in originality of thought, or impeper, and to feel a wish to correct, by thought and tuous declamation. The tones of Mr Coletime, the precocity and sharpness of his disposi- ridge's voice are eloquence: those of Mr Soution. May the quaint but affecting aspiration ex- they are meagre, shrill, and dry. Mr Colepressed in one of these be fulfilled, that as he ridge's forte is conversation, and he is conmellows into maturer age, all such asperities may scious of this: Mr Southey evidently considers wear off, and he himself become
writing as his strong-hold, and, if gravelled in an Like the high leaves on the holly tree!
argument, or at a loss for an explanation, refers
to something he has written on the subject, or « Mr Southey's prose-style can scarcely be too brings out bis port-folio, doubled down in dogmuch praised. It is plain, clear, pointed, fami- ears, in confirmation of some fact. liar, perfectly modern in its texture, but with a « He is scholastic and professional in his ideas. grave and sparkling admixture of archaisms in its He sets more value on what he writes than on ornaments and occasional phraseology. He is the what he says: he is perhaps prouder of his libest and most natural prose-writer of any poet brary than of his own productions—themselves a of the day. The manner is perhaps superior to the library!- He is more simple in his manners than matter, that is, in his Essays and Reviews. There his friend Mr Coleridge; but at the same time less is rather a want of originality, and even of im- cordial or conciliating. He is less vain, or has petus; but there is no want of playful or biting less hope of pleasing, and therefore lays himself satire, of ingenuity, of casuistry, of learning, less out to please. There is an air of condeand of information. He is full of wise saws scension in his civility. With a tall, loose figure, and modern (as well as ancient) instances.' Mr a peaked austerity of countenance, and no incliSouthey may not always convince his opponents; nation to embonpoint, you would say he has but he seldom fails to stagger, never to gall them. something puritanical, soinetimes ascelic in his in a word we may describe his style by saying, appearance. He answers to Mandeville's descripthat it has not the body or thickness of port-wine, tion of Addison, “a parson in a tie-wig.' He is but is like clear sherry with kernels of old au not a boon companion, nor does he indulge in thors thrown into it. lie also excels as an histo- the pleasures of the table, nor in any other vice; rian and prose-translator. His histories abound nor are we aware that Mr Southey is chargeable in information, and exhibit proofs of the most with any human frailty but -- want of charity!