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took a fair allowauce of holidays, not srival an appointment, which he soon unfrequently on the Continent, he gave up, as secretary to Mr. Corry, the never returned to Cintra and the Arra- Irish official, interrupted it. Various bida and those charmed territories of attempts were made by himself and his the “Roi de Garbe” to which he friends to get him something better, looked back as a sort of earthly Para- but without success, and his own predise, for all his consciousness that ferments, until quite late in his life Sir neither the things nor the people there Robert Peel supplemented them with a were in all ways very good.
fresh pension, were a government anNor were many years to pass before nuity of £200 a year (much reduced by he was established in the district with fees), which enabled him to relinquish which his name is connected only less Wynn's, and which was given him by indissolubly than that of Wordsworth. the Whigs in 1808, and the laureateship He had indeed no special fancy for the in 1814 with its pay of rather less than lakes, nor for their climate after that £100 a year. Such were the ill gotten of Portugal, and for some years at least gains for which, according to the had great difficulty in reconciling him- enemy, “Mr. Feathernest” sold his self to them ; but he hated London, conscience. where, when he at last gave up the bar, Although Southey was but seventhere was nothing particular to keep and-twenty when he settled at Keshim ; death and other chances weak- wick, and though he lived for more ened his ties to Bristol, and he had than forty years longer, it is as unnecnone elsewhere, while his fast-growing essary as it would be impracticable to library made some permanent abode follow his life during this later period imperative. At last Coleridge, who as minutely as we have done hitherto. had already settled himself at Keswick The ply was now taken, the vocation in a house too large for him, pressed distinctly indicated, and the means and the Soullieys to join him there. Mrs. place of exercising it more or less Southey naturally was glad to have the secured. Thenceforward he lived in company of her sister, and they went, laborious peace, disturbed only by the at first for a short time, but soon took loss in 1816 of his beloved son Herbert, root. Meanwhile the chief practical about ten years after by that of his question had been settled first by the youngest daughter Isabel, and later by acceptance from his friend Wynn, a the mental illness and death of his man of means, of an annuity of £160, wife. He never recovered this last and, secondly, by much miscellaneous shock; and though he married again, newspaper work in the form of poems his second wife being the poetess Caroand reviews. “Thalaba,” which bad line Bowles, it was as a nurse rather been finished in Portugal, where “ The than as a wife that Edith's successor Curse of Kehema,” under the name of accepted him, and he died himself, “Keraton,” was begun, brought him after some years of impaired intellisome fame, though his gains from this gence, on March 21st, 1843. kind of work were always insignifi- Au almost extravagantly Roman nose caut. But Southey, if he had expen-(the other Robert, Herrick, is the only sive lastes, did not indulge them ; his Englishman I can think of who exwife was an excellent manager (too celled him in this respect) and an excellent indeel, as the sequel was extreme thinness did not prevent thought to show), and he contrived in Southey from being a very handsome some incomprehensible manner not man. His enemy Byron, who had only to keep out of debt, but to help no
to be discontented with bis owo family liberally and strangers his own, declared that “to possess with no sparing hand.
Southey's head and shoulders he would The sojourn at Keswick began in almost have written lis. Sapphics ; 1801, and only ceased with Southey's and, despite his immense labors and life, though immediately after his ar. This exceedingly bad habit of reading
as he walked, he was till almost the imagined to be the principles of the last strong and active. The excellence French Revolution, he changed to a of his moral character has never been hearty detestation of its practice. His seriously coutested by any one who liking for the Spaniards and his dislike knew; and the only blemish upon it of the French turned him from an appears to have been a slight touch of opponent of the war to a defender of Pharisaism, not indeed of the most it, and it was this more than anything detestable variety which exalts itself else that parted him from his old Whig above the publican, but of the still friends. In short, he was always trying kind which is constantly in- guided by his sympathies; and as he clined to point out to the publican was never in his hottest days of Aswhat a publican he is, and what sad pheterism anything like a consistent things publicans are, and how he had and reasoned Radical, so in his most much better leave off being one. We rancorous days of reaction he never know even better than was known fifty was a consistent and reasoned Tory. years ago what were Coleridge's weak- Of his life, however, and his characnesses ; yet it is impossible not to wish ter, and even of his opinions, interestthat Coleridge's brother-in-law had noting as all three are, it is impossible to written, and difficult not to wonder that say more here. We must pass over Coleridge's nephew did not refrain with the merest mention that quaint from printing, certain elaborate letters freak of Nemesis which made a mysof reproof, patronage, and good advice. terious Dissenting minister produce So, too, the abuse and misrepresenta- " Wat Tyler " from nobody knows tion which Byron, and those who took where, and publish it as the work of their cue from Byron, lavished a Tory laureate twenty-three years. Southey were inexcusable enough ; but after it was written by an underagain one cannot help wishing that he graduate Jacobin, the oddity of the had been a little less heartily convinced thing being crowned by Lord Eldon's. of the utter and extreme depravity and characteristic refusal to grant an inwickedness of these men. But there junction ou the ground that a man was no humbug in Southey ; there was could not claim property in a work a great deal of virtue, and a virtuous hurtful to the public, by this refusal man who is not something of a humbug assuring the free circulation of this is apt to be a little of a Pharisee unless hurtful work, instead of its suppreshe is a perfect saint, which Southey, to sion. And we can only allude to the do him justice, was not. On the con- not yet clearly intelligible negotiations, trary, he was a man of middle earth, or misunderstandings, as to his sucwho was exceedingly fond of goose- cession to the editorship of the Quarherry tart and black currant rum, of terly Review when Gifford was failing. strong ale and Rhenish, who loved to In these Southey seems to have somecrack jokes, would give his enemy at how conceived that the place was his to least as good as he got from him, and take if he chose (which he never inwas nearly as human as any one could tended), or to allot to some one else as desire.
he liked ; with the very natural result Of his alleged tergiversation little that a sort of bitterness, never comneed be said. Everybody, whatever pletely removed and visible in the his own politics, who has looked into review's notice of his life, arose bethe matter has long ago come to the tween him and Lockhart after the conclusion that it was only tergiversa- latter's appointment. His selection by tion in appearance. Southey once said Lord Radnor (who did not know him) that political writing required a logical as member for Downton in the last attitude of mind which he had not; and days of rotten boroughs, and his electhis is so true that it was a great pity tion without his knowing it, was anhe ever took to it. From sympathizing other odd incident. The last important in a vague, youthful way with what he event of his life in this kind was the
offer of a baronetcy and the actual | year, though not published till a year conferring of an additional pension of after “Wat ” was written, is now in a £300 by Peel, who, whatever faults he less virgin condition than her brother, may have had, was the only prime Southey having made large changes in minister since Harley who has ever the successive (tive) early editions, and taken much real interest in the welfare others in the definitive one more than of men of letters.
forty years after the first.
Its popuBut we must turn to the works ; and larity (for it really popular) a mighty armful, or rather several shows rather the dearth of good poetry mighty armfuls, they are to turn to. at the time of its appearance than The poems, which are the chief stum- anything else. It displays very few bling-block, were collected by Southey of the merits of Southey's later long himself in ten very pretty little vole poems, and it does display the chief umes in 1837–8. After his death they of all their defects, the defect which were more popularly issued in one, his Coleridge, during the tiff over Pancousin, the Rev. H. Hill, son by a late tisocracy, hit upon in a letter of marriage of the uncle who had been so which the original was advertised for good to him, editing a supernumerary sale only the other day. This fault volume of rather superfluous frag- cousists in conveying to the reader a ments, the chief of which was an notion that the writer has said, “GO Americau tale called “Oliver New- to, let us make a poem,” and has acman," on which Southey had been cordingly, to borrow the language of engaged for very many years. He had Joe Gargery's forge-song, the good sense and pluck (indeed he
Beat it out, beat it out, was never deficient in the second of
With a clink for the stout, these qualities, and not often in the first) to print “Wat Tyler" just as but with very little inspiration for the the pirates had launched it after its poetical. "Joan of Arc” is a most twenty-three years on the stocks. It is respectable poem, admirable iu sentivery amusing, and exactly what might ment and not uninteresting as a tale in be expected from a work written in verse. But the conception is pedesthree days by a Jacobin boy who had trian, and the blank verse is to match. read a good many old plays. Canning, Between this crude production and Ellis, and Frere together could have the very different “ Thalaba” which produced in fun nothing better than followed it at some years' distance, this serious outburst of Wat's :
Southey wrote very many, perhaps Think ye, my friend,
most, of his minor poems; and the That I, a humble blacksmith, here in characteristics of them may be best Deptford,
noticed together. In the earliest of all Would part with these six groats, earned it must be confessed that the crotchet with hard toil,
of thought and the mannerism of style All that I have, to massacre the French- which drew down on him the lash men,
of the “ Anti-Jacobin" are very plenVurder as enemies men I never saw, tifully exhibited. A most schoolboy Did not the State compel me?
Pindaric is “ The Triumph of Woman.” One would like to have heard Mr. The strange mixture of alternate childWopsle in this part. For the rest, the ishness and pomposity which is almost thing contains some good blank verse, the sole tie between the Lake poets in and a couple of very pretty songs,
their early work pervades all the poems considerably better, I should think, on the slave trade, the Botany Bay than most other things of the kind pub- eclogues, the sonnets, and the monolished in the year 1794, which was dramas. Even in the lyrical poems about the thickest of the dark before written ai Bristol, or rather Westbury, the dawn of the “ Lyrical Ballads." in the years 1798-9, there would be no "Joan of Arc,” wal's elder sister by a very noticeable advance if it were not for the delightful “Holly Tree," from Hatto," and the bishop may meet the which Hazliti has extracted the well- modern taste even better than the old deserved text of a compliment more woman. The Fastrada story is too graceful than Hazlitt is usually cred- much vulgarized in “King Charleiled with conceiving, and which, with main,” and it may be generally conthe “ Stauzas written in my Library,” fessed of Southey that to the fiuest is Southey's greatest achievement as touches of romance he was rather an occasional poet in the serious kind. insensitive, lis nature lacking the His claims in the comic and mixed de-strange and high" feeling of passion. partments are much more considerable. But he is thoroughly at home in “ The * Abel Shufflebottom” is fun, and be- King of the Crocodiles.” Everybody ing very early testifies to a healthy con- knows “ The Inchcape Rock," and sciousness of the ridiculous. For his “ The Well of St. Keyne," and " The English eclogues I have wo great love ; Battle of Blenheim ; " indeed it is very but it is something to say iu their favor possible that they are the only things that they were the obvious inspiration of Southey that everybody does know. of Tennyson's English ilylls as much The Spanish ballads are not nearly so in manner as in title. The ballads with good as Lockhart's ; but Lockhart had the much-discussed “Devil's Walk" the illegitimate advantage of grafting as an early outsider in one key, and Scott's technique on Southey's special the curious “ All for Love" as a late knowledge. Nevertheless it may be one in another, have much more to be said that all the ballads and metrical said for them than that in the same tales are to this day well worth readway they are the equally obvious origi- ing, that both Scott and Byron owell nators of the “Ingoldsby Legends." them not a little, and that they indicate They are not easily criticised in a few a vein in their author which might words. In themselves they were not have been worked in different circumquite fatherless, for “Monk” Lewis, stances to even better advantage. no great man of letters but something Still Southey's chief poetical claim is of a man of metre, had taught the not here ; and the best of the things as author a good deal. They are nearly yet mentioned have been equalled by as uvequal as another division of men with whom poetry was a mere Southey's own verse, his odes, of which occasional pastime. Of “The Vision it is perhaps sufficient to say here that of Judgment” it cannot be necessary they were remarkably like Young's, lo say anything in detail. It is not so especially in the way in which they bad as those who only know it from raille up and down the whole gamut Byron's triumphant castigation may from sublimity to absurdity. The bal- think; but otherwise I can only suplads frequently underlie the reproach pose that the devil, tired of Southey's of applying Voltairean methods to any perpetual joking at him, was deterthing in which the author did not hap- mined to have his revenge, and that he pen to believe, while nothing made was permitted to do so by the Upper him more indiguant than any such ap- Powers in consequence of the bumpplication by others to things in which tious Pharisaism of the preface. “The he did believe, a reproach urged | Pilgrimage to Waterloo ” and “ The forcibly by Lamb in that undeserved Tale of Paraguay" are poetically uo but not unnatural attack in the London better thoughı rather more mature than Magazine which Southey met with a "Joan of Arc;” “Madoc" was adreally noble magnanimity. But at their mired by good men at its appearance, best they are very original for their but frequent attempts, made with the time, and very good for all time. best good will, have not enabled me to * The Old Woman of Berkeley,” one place it much higher than these. of the oldest and perhaps the most Roderick," the last of the long popular in its day, is one of the best. poems in blank verse, is also, I think, It has a fair pendaut in “Bisliop' by far the best. The absence of pulse
and throb in the verse, of freshness | paratives and allowances. Scott, aland inevitableness in the phrase and ways kind and well affected to Southey imagery, is indeed not seldom felt here as he was, appears to me to have been also ; but there is something which a little unjust to this poem ; an injusredeems it. The author's thorough tice which appears between the lines of knowledge of the details and atmo- his review of it, and in those of his sphere of his subject has vivified the reference to it in his biography. It is details and communicated the atmo- perfectly true, as he suggests, that sphere; the unfamiliarity and the Southey was specially prone to the romantic interest of the story are general weakness of insisting on and admirably given, and the thing is about clinging to his own weakest points. as good as a long poem in blank verse But this foible as it seems to me is less, which is not of the absolute first class not more, obvious in “ The Curse of can be.
Kelama." In the first place the poet Of “Thalaba” and “ The Curse of has given up the craze for irregular Kehama " we must speak differently. blank verse, and the additional charm The one was completely written, the of rhyme makes all the difference beother sketched and well begun, in that tween this poem and “Thalaba.” In second sojourn at Lisbon which was the secoud place the central idea, - the Southey's golden time :
acquisition, through prescribed means When, friends with love and leisure,
allowed by the gods, of a power greater Youth not yet left behind,
than that of the gods themselves, by He worked or played at pleasure, even the worst man who cares to go
Found God and Goddess kind ; through the course — communicates a when his faculties, tolerably matured kind of antinomy of interest, a conflict by study, were still in their first fresh- of official and poetical justice which is ness, and when he had not yet settled unique, or, if not unique, rare out of down, and was not yet at all certain Greek tragedy. The defeat of Kehama that he should have to settle down, to by his own wilful act in demanding the dogged collar-work of his middle the Amreetacup is as unexpected and aud later age. I have no hesitation as artistically effective as the maxim, as to which I prefer. The rhymeless Less than Omniscience could not suffice Pindarics of “ Thalaba," written while
To wield Omnipotence, Southey was still under the influence is philosophically sound. Moreover of that anti-rhyming heresy which no- the characters are interesting, at least boly but Milton has ever rendered to me. And then, to supplement these orthodox by sheer stress of genius, are several attractions, there are, for the a great draw back to the piece ; there wicked who love passages,” are constant false notes like this of quite delectable things. The author Maimuna,
pretended to think the famous and Her fine face raised to Heaven, beautiful, where the commonplace adjective mars They sin who tell us love can die, the passionate effect ; and though the claptrap; if it be so, would he had eleventh and twelfth books, with the sinned a little oftener in the same journey to Domdaniel and the success- style. Nobody, except out of mere ful attack on it, deserved to produce youthful paradox, can affect to underthe effect which they actually did pro- value the Curse itself. It is thoroughly duce on their own generation, the story good in scheme and in execution, in as a whole is a little devoid of interest. gross and in detail ; there are no better
All these weak points were strength- six-and-twenty lines for their special ened and guarded in “ The Curse of purpose in all English poetry. But the Kehama,” the greatest thing by far finest scenes of the poem are ushered that Southey did, and a thing, as I in by the description of the famous Sea think, really great, without any com- City which Landor described over again