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nor

“mine," nor "others,” is of the suppressive or stranguary kind. You may read me the prescription of this kill or cure physician.

(1813, June 12. Letter 300, to John Murray,

Vol. II., p. 216.)

Stick to the East; the oracle, Stael, told me it was the only poetical policy. The North, South, and West, have all been exhausted; but from the East, we have nothing but Southey's unsaleables, and these he has contrived to spoil, by adopting only their most outrageous fictions. His personages don't interest us, and yours will. You will have no competitor; and, if you had, you ought to be glad of it. The little I have done in that way is merely a “voice in the wilderness for

you;

and if it has had any success, that also will prove that the public are orientalising, and pave the

path for you. (1813, August 28. Letter 324, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. II., p. 255.)

Yesterday, at Holland House, I was introduced to Southey—the best-looking bard I have seen for some time. To have that poet's head and shoulders, I would almost have written his Sapphics. He is certainly a prepossessing person to look on, and a man of talent, and all that, andthere is his eulogy.

(1813, September 27. Letter 335, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. II., p. 266.)

I have been passing my time with Rogers and

SOUTHEY'S POETRY, PROSE, AND LUCK

221

Sir James Mackintosh ; and once at Holland House I met Southey; he is a person of very epic appearance, and has a fine head-as far as the outside goes, and wants nothing but taste to make the inside equally attractive.

(1813, September 30. Letter 337, to J. W.

Webster, Vol. II., p. 269.)

Southey, I have not seen much of. His appearance is Epic; and he is the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have some pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not those of a man of the world, and his talents of the first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions : there is, perhaps, too much of it for the present generation ; posterity will probably select. He has passages equal to any thing. At present, he has a party, but no publicexcept for his prose writings. The life of Nelson is beautiful.

(1813, November 22. “Journal, 1813

1814," Vol. II., p. 331.)

Now is your time ;--you will come upon them newly and freshly. It is impossible to read what you have lately done (verse or prose) without seeing that you have trained on tenfold. ** has floundered; * * has foundered. I have tried the rascals (i.e. the public) with my Harrys and Larrys, Pilgrims and Pirates. Nobody but S**** y [Southey] has done any thing worth a slice of bookseller's pudding, and he has not luck enough to be found out in doing a good thing. Now, Tom, is thy time—“Oh, joyful

day !—I would not take a knighthood for thy fortune.”

(1815, January 10. Letter 521, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. III., p. 169.) Southey's Wat Tyler [i.e. its unauthorised and piratical publication] is rather awkward; but the Goddess Nemesis has done well. He is—I will not say what, but I wish he was something else. I hate all intolerance, but most the intolerance of Apostacy, and the wretched vehemence with which a miserable creature, who has contradicted himself, lies to his own heart, and endeavours to establish his sincerity by proving himself a rascal—not for changing his opinions, but for persecuting those who are of less malleable matter. " It is no disgrace to M Southey to have written Wat Tyler, and afterwards to have written his birthday or Victory odes (I speak only of their politics), but it is something, for which I have no words, for this man to have endeavoured to bring to the stake (for such would he do) men who think as he thought, and for no reason but because they think so still, when he has found it convenient to think otherwise. Opinions are made to be changed, or how is truth to be got at ? We don't arrive at it hy standing on one leg, or on the first day of our setting out, but, though we may jostle one another on the way, that is no reason why we should strike or trample. Elbowing's enough. I am all for moderation, which profession of faith I beg leave to conclude by wishing M" Southey damned—not as a poet but as a politician. There is a place in Michael Angelo's last judgment in the Sistine Chapel which would

A BURNING LIAR

223

just suit him, and may the like await him in that of our Lord and (not his) Saviour Jesus Christ—Amen!

(1817, May 9. Letter 649, to John Murray,

Vol. IV., p. 117.) I have finished the first canto .... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is called Don Juan, and is meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not~at least, as far as it has yet gone—too free for these very modest days. However, I shall try the experiment, anonymously; and if it don't take, it will be discontinued. It is dedicated to Southey in good, simple, savage verse, upon the Laureat's politics, and the way he got them. [The Dedication was suppressed till after Byron's death.]

(1818, September 19. Letter 715, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. IV., p. 260.)

Lord Lauderdale set off from hence twelve days ago, accompanied by a cargo of poesy directed to M' Hobhouse—all spick and span, and in MS. You will see what it is like. I have given it to Master Southey, and he shall have more before I have done with him. I understand the scoundrel said, on his return from Switzerland two years ago, that “Shelley and I were in a league of Incest, etc., etc.” He is a burning liar! for the women to whom he alludes are not sisters—one being Godwin's daughter, by Mary Wollstonecraft, and the other daughter of the present (second) M" G", by a former husband; and in the next place, if they had even been so [i.e. sisters], there was no promiscuous intercourse whatever.

You
may

make what I say here as public as you please--more particularly to Southey, whom I look upon, and will say as publicly, to be a dirty, lying rascal; and will prove it in ink—or in his blood, if I did not believe him to be too much of a poet to risk it. If he had forty reviews at his back-as he has the QuarterlyI would have at him in his scribbling capacity, now that he has begun with me; but I will do nothing underhand. Tell him what I say from me, and everyone else you please. You will see what I have said if the parcel arrives safe. I understand Coleridge went about repeating Southey's lie with pleasure. I can believe it, for I had done him what is called a favour. I can understand Coleridge's abusing me, but how or why Southeywhom I had never obliged in any sort of way, or done him the remotest service-should go about fibbing and calumniating is more than I can readily comprehend. Does he think to put me down with his cantingnot being able to do so with his poetry? We will try the question. I have read his review of Hunt, where he has attacked Shelley in an oblique and shabby manner. Does he know what that review has done? I will tell you. It has sold an edition of the Revolt of Islam, which, otherwise, nobody would have thought of reading, and few who read can understand—I for one.

Southey would have attacked me, too, there, if he durst, further than by hints about Hunt's friends in general; and some outcry about an “Epicurean system,” carried on by men of the most opposite habits, tastes, and opinions in life and poetry (I believe), that ever had their names in the same

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