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may, and when the weather permits, with a book in my hand; dinner at four, work about half an hour, then take the sofa with a different book, and after a few pages get my soundest sleep, till summoned to tea at six. My best time during the winter is by candlelight; and in the season of company I can never count upon an evening's work. Supper at half-past nine, after which I work an hour, and then to bed ; the greatest part of my miscellaneous work is done in the odds and ends of time.”—Life and Correspondence, vol. vi. p. 238.
His chief relaxations from this incessant labour were, as I have said, his daily walk and occasional excursions with his family to the summits of Saddleback, Skiddaw, and Helvellyn, or amongst the lakes and tarns which lay on all sides. Sometimes he and his family met Wordsworth and his family and friends, at Leathes water or Thirlmere, half-way between their residences, where sometimes as many as fifty persons have assembled, and made grand rural festivities.
Sometimes, but more rarely, he cast aside his books, and made a considerable tour. In the autumn of 1805 he made an escursion into Scotland, and visited Walter Scott at Ashestiel. In 1817 he made a journey to the Continent, visiting the Netherlands, the Rhine, Switzerland, and the north of Italy. On this tour he saw Pestalozzi at Yverdun, and Fellenberg at Hofwyl. In 1819 he made a tour to the Highlands, with his friends Hickman and Telford, the engineer. In 1825 he went to Holland, with his friends Jir. Henry Taylor, author of Philip van Artevelde, Mr. Neville White, and Arthur Malet, where he was laid up some time at the house of the celebrated Bilderdijk, whose wife had translated his Roderick into Dutch, and formed a warm friendship with these interesting people ; and so much was he pleased, that he paid them another visit the following year. While at Brussels, he learned to his surprise that he had been elected a member of Parliament, which honour he declined, as he afterwards did that of a baronetcy. In 1836 he made a sort of farewell visit, with his only son Cuthbert Southey, down into the West of England. The aged poet went over all the scenes of his boyhood at Bristol, and in that neighbourhood, with the feeling that it was for the last time. There he saw Joseph Cottle, one of his earliest and most generous friends, and Walter Savage Landor, at Clifton. In 1838, again with his son and several of his friends, he made an autumnal tour in France, chiedy in Normandy and Brittany.
Such were the home labours and the brief wanderings of Robert Southey. In his domestic life no one ever showed more amiably and beautifully, and the spirit which he communicated to his children is felt in the kindly and affectionate tone in which his Life is written by his son.
Another inost interesting trait in Southey's character was his ever-ready and cordial aid and encouragement to young or struggling authors. One of his earliest acts of authorship was the editing of the Remains and Works of Chatterton, by which he was enabled to
hand over to the surviving sister and niece of the poet 3001. ; thus at once relieving them from great necessity, and doing them justice on a nefarious literary knight, who had been entrusted with Chatterton's MSS., and had published them for his own use. His next Samaritan deed of the same kind was the editing the Remains of Henry Kirke White ; and these acts inspired all young poets with 80 attractive a conception of the generosity of his character, that numbers flocked to submit to him their early compositions, and to solicit his advice. This was never refused; and the publication of bis letters demonstrates to what a number of young authors his knowledge and experience were made useful ; but how plainly, frankly, and yet kindly, his counsel was administered. Amongst the names of such young aspirants for his favourable notice, we recognise those of Ebenezer Elliott ; Shelley, who went to Keswick in 1812 to consult with him; the unfortunate Dusantoy; Bernard Barton, who sent to ask him the sagacious question-Barton being educated a quaker, and Southey being no quaker at all-whether he thought the Society of Friends would be displeased if he published a volume of poems? Herbert Knowles, Chauncey Hare Townshend, Allan Cunningham, Henry Taylor, &c. With several of these gentlemen the correspondence thus formed grew into warm friend. ship. Besides this general encouragement to rising genius, he edited the writings of Mary Collins and John Jones, two persons in very humble life.
From a similar benevolent feeling he was a great advocate for Protestant Bequinages, or lay nunneries, in which women of education and position, but of small incomes, might live together, and devote their leisure to the soothing of sickness and distress in others, like the Bonne Sæurs, or Sisters of Charity, on the Continent.
All this time he was labouring with never-ceasing exertion for the maintenance of his own family. With a pension of 2001., reduced by deductions to 1601., with 901. per annum, the clear balance of his laureateship, with 4001. per annum from the Quarterly for many years, besides the general profit of his works, it might have been supposed that, living in a cheap part of the country, and a house, with gardens and paddocks, at only 501. rental, the life of Southey had passed in tolerable ease and absence of anxiety. On the contrary, we are assured by his son, in his biography of his father, that he was constantly on the stretch to make his income meet his daily expenses. This was the great eating canker of his life, as was the case with Moore, and with far too many literary men. Having no independent property, the very uncertainty of their gains filled them with a perpetual anxiety. Southey appears to have had no expensive habits, except his great passion for book-buying, which must have drained him of very large sums. He had, moreover, insured his life for 4,0001.; and he had always a number of relatives resident under his roof.
In this respect what a contrast he presented to Coleridge, who seemed to wander off from his home and domestic duties with as complete an indifference as an ostrich is said to abandon her eggs !
In one of his letters to Cottle, in 1814, Southey asks, "Can you tell me anything of Coleridge? A few lines of introduction for a son of Mr. of your city, are all that we have received since I saw him last September twelve months. The children being left entirely to chance, I have applied to his brothers at Otley concerning them, and am in hopes, through their means and the aid of other friends, of sending Hartley to college. Lady Beaumont bas promised 301. a-year for this purpose ; Poole, 101. I wrote to Coleridge three or four months ago, telling him that unless he took some steps in providing for this object, I must make the application, and required his answer within three weeks. He promised to answer the letter, but has never taken any further notice of it."- Life ust Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 82.
It is a melancholy reflection that Southey, with his gigantic labours, could never accumulate sufficient beforehand to ward off the killing effects of anxiety. This was at the bottom of a great portion of his immense periodical composition, of his continual projection of heavy works, and of his eager grasping at posts which frequently were wholly out of the range of his talents and habits. He applied for the stewardship of the Greenwich Hospital Estates, and his friend Bedford informed him, in reply, that the salary was 7001. a-year, but that the place of residence varied over a tract of country of about eighty miles; that the steward must be a perfect agriculturist, surveyor, mineralogist, and the best lawyer that, competently with these other characteristics, could be found. The responsibility was that of a revenue of 40,000/. per annum. This was a dilema He was equally anxious for the post of historiographer to the Crown, as well as the laureateship, but this turned out to have no salary attached to it. Yet, with all his anxiety for place, he refused the editorship of The Times at 2,0001. a-year, because it implied a total renunciation of his own literary pursuits.
As old age stole upon him, these constantly wearing cares and exhausting labours, with other sorrows incident to humanity, the loss of beloved children, began to undermine the great intellect which had so long seemed actually to revel in the immensity of its undertakings. But this did not take place before he had seen the mind of his wife vanish under the annihilating burden of anxiety. Cuthbert Southey distinctly ascribes the insanity of his mother to this cause,—“An almost life-long anxiety about the uncertainty and highly precarious nature of my father's income," acting on a naturally nervous constitution. How excellent a woman was thus sacriticed, we may judge from her husband's beautiful testimony—“During more than two-thirds of iny life, she has been the chief object of my thoughts, and I of hers. No man ever had a truer helpunate! no children a more careful mother! No family was ever more wisely ordered, no housekeeping ever conducted with greater prudence or greater comfort.”
My visit to Keswick in the summer of 1815 was marked by a circumstance which may show how well the fame of Dr. Southey, the laureate of Church and State, and the bard who sang the triumphs of legitimacy on the occasion of the allied sovereigns coming to England in 1814, is spread amongst the nations which are the strictest maintainers of his favourite doctrines; a fettered press, a law church, and a government maintained by such statesmen as Castlereagh and Metternich. I was travelling at that time with four of the subjects of these allied sovereigns, whom our laureate had so highly lauded ; a Russian, a Cossack, an Austrian, and a Bohemian ; the Cossack no other than the nephew of the Hetman Platoff, and the Bohemian, Count Wratislaw, since taking a distinguished command as general in the Austrian army in the Italian campaign, under Radetzky, being, moreover, the present representative of that very ancient family of which the queen of our Richard the Second was one, “the good Queen Anne," who sent out Wycliffe's Bible to Huss, and was thus the mother of the Reformation on the Continent; and, singularly also, still closely connected with our royal family, his mother being sister to the Princess of Leiningen, wife to the half-brother of Queen Victoria. Austrian and Russian nobles are not famous for great reading, but every one of these was as familiar with Dr. Southey's name as most people the world over are with those of Scott and Byron. They not only went over the laureate's house with the greatest interest, but carried away sprigs of evergreen to preserve as memorials.
Southey's house, which lies at a little distance from the town of Keswick, on the way to Bassenthwaite water, is a plain stuccoed tenement, looking as you approach it almost like a chapel, from the apparent absence of chimneys. Standing upon the bridge over the Greta which crosses the high-road here, the view all round of the mountains, those which lie at the back of Southey's house, and those which lie in front, girdling the lake of Derwentwater, is grand and complete. From this bridge the house lies at the distance of a croft, or of three or four hundred yards, on an agreeable swell. In front, that is, between you and the house, ascends towards it a set of homelike crofts, with their cut hedges and a few scattered trees. When Southey went there, and I suppose for twenty years after, these were occupied as a nursery ground, and injured the effect of the immediate environs of the house extremely. Nothing now can be more green and agreeable. On the brow of the hill, if it can be called so, stand two stuccoed houses; the one nearest to the town, and the largest, being Southey's. Both are well flanked by pleasant trees, and partly hidden by them, that of Southey being most so. The smaller house has the air of a good neighbour of lesser importance, who is proud of being a neighbour. It was at that time occupied by a Miss Denton, daughter of a former vicar of Crosthwaite, the place just below on the Bassenthwaite road, and where Southey lies buried.
The situation of Southey's house, taking all into consideration, is exceeded by few in England. It is agreeably distant from the road and the little town, and stands in a fine open valle y, surrounded by hills of the noblest and most diversified character. From your stand on Greta bridge, looking over the house, your eye falls on the group
of mountains behind it. The lofty hill of Latrig lifts its steep green back, with its larch plantations clothing one edge, and scattered in groups over the other. Stretching away to the left, rises the still loftier range and giant masses of Skiddaw, with its intervening dells and ravines, and summits often lost in their canopy of shadowy clouds. Between the feet of Skiddaw and Greta bridge, lie pleasant kuolls and fields with scattered villas and cottages, and Crosthwaite church. On your right hand is the town, and behind it green swelling fields again, and the more distant enclosing chain of hills.
If you then turn your back on the house, and view the scene which is presented from it, you find yourself in the presence of the river, hurrying away towards the assemblage of beautifully varied mountains, which encompass magnificently the lake of Derwentwater.
The vicinity to the lake itself would make this spot as a residence most attractive. I think I like Derwentwater more than any other of the lakes. The mountains round are bold and diversified in form. You see them showing themselves one behind another, many tending to the pyramidal form, and their hues as varied as their shapes. Some are of that peculiar tawny, or lion colour, which is so singular in its effect in the Scotch mountains of the south; others softly and smoothly green ; others black and desolate. Some are beautifully wooded, others bare. When you look onwards to the end of the lake, the group of mountains and crags there, at the entrance of Borrowdale, is one of the most beautiful and pictorial things imaginable. If any artist would choose a scene for the entrance into fairyland, let him take that. When, again, you turn and look over the town, there soars aloft Skiddaw, in his giant grandeur, with all his slopes, ridges, dints, ravines, and summits, clear in the blue sky, or hung with the cloud curtains of heaven, full of magnificent mystery. There is a perfect pyramid, broad aud massy as those of Egypt, standing solemnly in one of its ascending vales, called Carrsledrum. Then, the beautifully wooded islands of Derwentwater, eight in number; and the fine masses of wood that stretch away between the feet of the hills and the lake, with here and there a villa lighting up the scene, make it perfect. In all the changes of weather, the changes of aspect must be full of new beauty; but, in bright and genial summer days, nothing can be more enchanting. At the moment of our visit, the deep black yet transparent shadow that lay on some of the huge piles of mountain, and the soft light that lay on others, were indescribably noble and poetical ; ADD the strangers exclaimed continually,—“ Prächtig!" underschön." and " Très beau !”
When we ascend to the house, it is through a narrow sort of croft or a wide shrubbery, which you will. The carriage-road goes another way, and here you have only a single footpathi, and on your right hand a grassy plot scattered with a few flower beds, and trues 2011 shrubs, which brings you, by a considerable ascent, to the front of the house, which is screened almost wholly from view bn tall trees, amongst which are some fine maples and red beeches. It jere, on the